Forum looking into community bid for South Parade Pier

28/5/2012 (JN) ''Leon Reis from East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum and Shelagh Simmons from Eastney Neighbourhood Forum are looking for people of Portsmouth to buy South Parade Pier in Southsea. ''Pictured is: Leon Reis from East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum and Shelagh Simmons from Eastney Neighbourhood Forum with South Parade Pier behind.''Picture: Sarah Standing (121862-4959)
28/5/2012 (JN) ''Leon Reis from East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum and Shelagh Simmons from Eastney Neighbourhood Forum are looking for people of Portsmouth to buy South Parade Pier in Southsea. ''Pictured is: Leon Reis from East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum and Shelagh Simmons from Eastney Neighbourhood Forum with South Parade Pier behind.''Picture: Sarah Standing (121862-4959)

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WORRIED residents unhappy with the decline of South Parade Pier have said they want the landmark to be owned by the community.

Representatives from the East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum told the owners of the seafront attraction they are looking to raise funds for a bid.

The announcement follows news that the outside areas of the pier are closed to the public because of health and safety fears.

One of the owners, Fred Nash also disclosed that the pier made a loss in the previous financial year and said he would be willing to consider an offer from Southsea residents.

The move to buy the pier is supported by the Eastney Neighbourhood Forum and at a joint meeting of the two groups at the Royal Beach Hotel on June 14 the proposal will be put to members.

Deputy chairman of the Southsea forum Leon Reis said: ‘We are concerned that a community asset loved by families across Portsmouth is not being developed as quickly as possible because of the economic situation.

‘Also we would hope to see it developed along the lines that people have come to expect – so it is a welcoming place for local families and tourists.

‘The current owners have tried to do their best to develop the pier but they have had a lot of setbacks and people are worried that should things go bad for them we would lose our pier – and we don’t want that to happen.’

He added: ‘What I would like to see happen in an ideal world is the people of Portsmouth and Southsea putting together some kind of community trust which would own the pier for the public good.

‘Local people could buy shares at something like £10 a go, but we will take professional advice on the best way to do it.

‘There are so many things you could do with that pier which would make it the hub of our community and maybe even make it profitable. Let’s make our pier the “People’s Pier”.’

Mr Nash said: ‘If it is the right price, we would definitely look at a bid from the community.’

Southsea Association chairman Vince Faithfull said: ‘I’m really pleased that there has been a meeting about this, because it is something we are also very interested in looking into.’