South Parade Pier trust’s launch sees big support

TRUST South Parade Pier, Southsea
TRUST South Parade Pier, Southsea

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HOPES of a community takeover of South Parade Pier grew last night at the launch of the pier trust.

Members of South Parade Trust invited dozens of residents and city leaders to The Royal Beach Hotel, opposite the pier, to garner support.

It is owned by Fred Nash but the group wants to buy him out, or have the council get a compulsory purchase order.

It has enlisted help from the Pompey Supporters Trust in the mission to restore the pier.

Leon Reis, chairman of the pier group, said it has around 1,000 members.

‘It’s escalated almost without doing anything,’ he said.

‘The job now is to convert it to thousands, and to raise thousands.

‘We’ve done all the other groundwork and we’re writing grant applications.’

The trust’s business plan, which has been show to city council officers, says it will buy the pier and fix it up to how it was three years ago.

That involves spending around £650,000 – including a survey costing £100,000. The costs are not agreed among the trust.

When they have ownership the group will then pay entertainment experts to draw up what should be included in a new-look pier.

Plans would then go out to the public.

And at last night’s meeting residents, councillors, members of the trust and a former PST board member said failure was not an option.

Scott Mclachlan opted not to stand for a second two-year term on the PST in September.

‘Over the summer I saw what Leon and his group are trying to do,’ he said.

‘I thought I could bring some skills to what they’re trying to achieve.

‘Tonight is about pitching to the community.’