THE co-owner of South Parade Pier has admitted he ‘doesn’t care’ for it and says the city council is proving the stumbling block in the derelict attraction being sold.
Fred Nash’s startling comments come as a petition calling for urgent action to be taken over the troubled Southsea venue had last night attracted more than 3,300 signatures.
Boards remain in place around the sad-looking structure and Portsmouth City Council has put a closure notice on it since it’s too dangerous for the public to walk on or under.
And campaigners have warned if nothing changes soon and urgent repairs aren’t carried out, the pier will fall into the sea.
But Mr Nash, 70, who lives in Findon, West Sussex, said he had little concern for what is going on.
‘I just want to forget about Portsmouth and just think about the road out of it,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to come to Portsmouth any more.
‘Why should I care for the pier? I’m sat here with my children as the owner of lots of things.
‘I own a pony that I don’t care about.’
Contracts have been exchanged between pier owners Mr Nash and Dawn Randall and a group of business owners who want to take over.
But Mr Nash said no deal has yet been finalised, and there are delays since a schedule of repairs need carrying out as part of the terms of the council’s closure order. ‘If the consortium had already paid for it, we wouldn’t still be the registered owners,’ he said.
‘Portsmouth City Council has given us no help, and the issue is the prospective new owners can’t get any reasonable discussions out of the council about what is going on.’
Leon Reis, chairman of The South Parade Trust, which set up the petition and has collected a further 248 paper signatures in support of its cause, said: ‘Fred Nash has never changed his tune, he hasn’t spent any money on the pier since they bought it in 2010.
‘I have been saying consistently since 2010 that unless money is spent on the pier, it will fall down, and there will be a £4m bill for demolition, or a blighted seafront.’
Cllr Donna Jones, council leader, is holding a meeting with officers sometime next week over the pier’s future.
‘I am disappointed by Mr Nash’s comments,’ she said.
A spokesman for the prospective owners was unavailable for comment.
The petition is at www.southparadetrust.org/petition.
Lib Dem says there’s no evidence of pier being fixed
LIB DEM leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson says he has been told progress is being made on the sale of South Parade Pier.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson has received an email from Malcolm Belcher, the co-ordinating surveyor for the new owners, with the update.
But the politician says he can’t see any evidence to back up his claims.
‘Nothing has happened,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said. ‘There is no work being done on the pier, there is no sign there saying whether work might happen on the pier, so I just don’t know.’