A CAMPAIGN group which wants to safeguard the future of South Parade Pier says it is concerned the structure is unsafe for public events.
The South Parade Trust says it ‘does not believe there is sufficient evidence that South Parade Pier is structurally safe’ for events to be held in its Gaiety Bar, such as a boxing event held last weekend.
As reported previously in The News, on October 25 last year the pier was closed to the public after a city council surveyor branded it dangerous.
Since then, the pier’s owners Fred Nash and Dawn Randall have applied to open a new bar on the pier, to the rear of the arcade, saying it is structurally sound.
Mr Nash told The News that work began to reinforce the pier’s concrete piers in April, and rust cleaning and other general maintenance was to be carried out this month as part of a series of phases to repair the pier and get it fully open. But the trust says there is no evidence of this work being carried out.
Leon Reis, trust chairman, said: ‘If the Gaiety Bar is safe now, why did the owners shut it for a year until last Saturday, at great loss of revenue to themselves?’
‘Now the owners say the pier is safe because they have had some superficial concrete repairs and a minor piece of steelwork done near the beach.
‘But saying the pier is safe does not make it safe. If evidence is not immediately forthcoming that the Gaiety Bar has been made structurally safe, Portsmouth City Council should not allow it to be open to the public.’
Mr Reis said he had emailed the council to highlight the issue.
He added: ‘Not only are people attending pier events potentially being put at risk while the council remains ignorant of the true state of the pier, but if something does go wrong at one of these events the council can hardly claim it did not know the risks.
‘We must also question whether allowing boxing events in the Gaiety Bar is also a serious financial risk to PCC from potential claims in the event of an accident.’
Gerald Vernon Jackson, council leader, said he had been advised the structure was ‘safe to be used’.