COMMUNITY ownership of South Parade Pier is one step closer after the owners agreed in principle to sell it.
The South Parade Trust (SPT) has been negotiating with the owners, Fred Nash and Dawn Randall, for months to buy the neglected pier from them – and they have finally reached an agreement.
The crucial thing now is to secure an option to buy – a contract which states an agreed price the SPT can buy it at and giving them a set period of time to raise the money.
Trust chairman Leon Reis, said: ‘I’m bursting to tell local people we’re going to own the pier and it’s all wrapped up. Everyone in our group will be so happy and hopefully that day’s not too far away.
‘But we need an option agreement in our hands before we can say to the public “this is definite”.’
Mr Reis said community ownership is the key to saving the pier and he thanked the owners, saying: ‘I cannot praise the owners enough though for making this offer as it is a difficult decision to decide to part with something this iconic.’
The SPT has been working with the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure what Mr Reis called ‘a sizable sum of money’ to start the first phase of the repair works after ownership has been secured.
If the sale is secured the public will be asked to donate and invest.