No new check on South Parade Pier despite calls for action

DANGEROUS? South Parade Pier
DANGEROUS? South Parade Pier
Picture: Paul Jacobs (142476-229) PPP-140824-032155001

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A SURVEY to check if South Parade Pier is safe has been ruled out by Portsmouth City Council.

At a public meeting to discuss the seafront and city centre master plans earlier this month, Lib Dem leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson suggested the local authority could ask a surveyor to examine the Southsea attraction.

The news was welcomed by local people and campaigners hoping for the council to use a compulsory purchase order to buy the pier because they believe it has become dangerous.

This happened in Hastings earlier this year after the 140-year-old pier was almost destroyed in a fire which broke out in October 2010.

But now Cllr Vernon-Jackson has said the advice from his planning team is that performing a safety check is not the way forward.

He said: ‘The advice I have received is that they think it is an inappropriate thing to do.

‘The only thing we could do is if there is a problem is put barriers up, anything else is the responsibility of the owners.

‘We only have the power to protect the public from danger by putting barriers up to stop people walking underneath it.’

But at the meeting at the Royal Beach Hotel many people wanted the council to go further to protect the pier.

Trevor Martin, of Craneswater Park, Southsea, said he thought the council’s seafront masterplan for development over the next 25 years missed the point.

‘We should look after what we have got before we spend money building more,’ he said.

‘South Parade Pier is an embarrassing and humiliating eyesore in its present state.

‘The council should be enforcing repairs and improvements or bring a compulsory purchase order to bear.’

Assistant head of planning Claire Upton-Brown said: ‘We can take action if buildings are dangerous to the public – for example if something could fall on a passer-by.

‘We’ve examined the supporting structure of the pier, and although there is deterioration, it hasn’t reached a dangerous stage.

‘We’re continuing to inspect it and review the situation.’