THE way could be cleared for South Parade Pier’s fortunes to turn around, as we can exclusively reveal it is being sold at auction next month.
During the past 18 months the pier has hit the headlines for going into administration twice, and is currently partly-closed to the public over safety fears.
Now pier owners Fred Nash and Dawn Randall have made the decision to walk away from it.
It has a guide price of between £190,000 to £210,000 – similar to a three-bedroom house in Portsmouth.
But it is thought that it will cost £2m just to get the pier safe enough to reopen.
This time last year Mr Nash and Ms Randall unveiled ambitious plans to see the pier redeveloped into a major waterfront attraction – but the plans never made it off the drawing board.
The city council has declared the structure unsafe, which Mr Nash says is wrong.
But he said: ‘I’m not fighting the council. They said we could go to court, but I’m not doing that.’
He says he is selling the pier because he is fed up of fighting the council.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he welcomed the news that the pier will be auctioned.
He added: ‘When Fred Nash took it over we wanted him to invest in it and turn it into a thriving business, and that still is what needs to happen.
‘The buildings are a state and need a lot of money spent on them.’
Community group People’s Pier has been campaigning to see the structure returned to its former glory, when it was a popular attraction.
The group’s chairman, Leon Reis, said they would bid for the pier if no-one came forward who wanted to buy it and keep it open to the public.
He added: ‘We would be keen to talk to anyone who shares our aims, which is for someone to invest in it, to make it a success, and to keep it publicly accessible, ahead of the auction.’
The auction will take place at the Ageas Bowl, among 135 lots being sold through Clive Emson auctioneers, at 11am on December 12.
Rob Marchant, from Clive Emson, said it was a rare opportunity.
He said: ‘It is a listed structure and needs someone who can restore it to its former glory while at the same time appealing to 21st century consumers.
‘Given its existing facilities the possibilities are enormous.’