THE team hoping to launch a residents’ bid to take over South Parade Pier has met for the first time.
A push to bring the pier into community ownership was started by the East Southsea and Eastney neighbourhood forums following the news that the public are no longer allowed on the run-down attraction.
At a joint meeting of the two groups last month it was agreed to bring together professionals from a number of fields to work on a proper business plan.
Dozens of people came forward to offer their services and this was then reduced to a team of 19 key members.
They include project managers, chartered accountants, engineers, property developers, people who have worked in the health and leisure sectors, and marketing and PR managers.
East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum member Leon Reis has been leading the project.
He said: ‘We aim to end up as some form of community trust or maybe even a charity – but to successfully buy, fix and run the pier we have to operate like professional business.’
Former journalist and business PR advisor David Banks said the prospect of trying to market the pier was an unusual and exciting challenge.
He said: ‘I am involved mainly because South Parade Pier is an important part of the history of Portsmouth and it’s got great potential as long as it is approached in the right way. I see it as something that is important for the city. So many people have grown up with it, there are so many people here who have used it for years.
‘It was even the place where Winston Churchill received the freedom of the city of Portsmouth.’
Judith Smyth is the newly appointed chairwoman of the Pyramids Centre on Southsea seafront. She said the community trust structure which has taken over the Pyramids pool could be similar to that set up at South Parade Pier.
She said: ‘It is the way forward. Community involvement in the running of such attractions is very important because it keeps the money in the city.
‘They provide a much more stable long-term future.’
The bid is also being supported by the Southsea Association and the Portsmouth Society.
Those who want to get involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org.