FRESH trouble looms at South Parade Pier after its owners re-opened an unsafe section without the council’s approval.
Portsmouth City Council will ask Fred Nash and Dawn Randall why they’ve decided to let fishermen on the back of the troubled seaside venue.
As previously reported in The News, the owners closed it off to the public last year after the council said it was too dangerous.
Mr Nash and Ms Randall say what they’ve done isn’t wrong because they’ve filed an engineer’s report which says £55,000 has been spent on improving the pier’s concrete and iron frames. They plan to let everyone else get to the back part once a refurbishment of the front is finished.
Mr Nash said: ‘We would not do anything against what the council wishes.
‘We are very happy with how the council has handled everything and treated us.’
But Leon Reis, chairman of The People’s Pier, which is campaigning to save the Southsea attraction, said he had serious concerns about the owners actions.
‘Council officers have said the pier is unsafe,’ he said.
‘Whether the pier falls down under the fishermen tomorrow or in a year’s time, I can’t tell. But if things don’t change then it will fall down.
‘The council will be faced with a wreck that they will be under massive pressure to save, and demolition of the pier will cost more than £1m – probably £2m.’
A new fish and chip shop will open on the pier at the weekend and a family bar is due to be built within the next two months. The boat deck won’t re-open until it’s been replanked.
Asked about whether he thought things were moving forward, Mr Nash said: ‘Let your eyes be the judge. Look at all the work that’s being done.’
In the long run, the owners want to install modern beach huts costing £30,000 each installed with a computer, microwave and stove.
They’re also in talks with a Russian firm about building a wheel on the side of the pier.
Today the owners were due to find out if they faced criminal prosecution for not replacing a rounded edge of the pier’s concrete deck, which they decided to remove during improvement works.
They could be given three months to reinstate it.