New owners deserve our backing to get job done

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It would not be the first time someone involved with South Parade Pier has promised the world.

From a failed bid to demolish it and build a £30m construction including a modern art gallery in its place, we’ve heard it all.

So you can forgive South Parade Pier Trust chairman Leon Reis when he praises new owner Tommy Ware’s plan to rejuvenate it in four years with a distinct note of caution.

Mr Reis repeatedly says the consortium will have done a great job ‘if’ they can get the work done.

That niggle of doubt has no doubt grown in the minds of many who have waited to hear what the new owners plan to do but have heard nothing – until now.

For a while it seemed the nostalgic views of the pier’s glory days would be all we have to hold on to – along with bitter rows and court orders over the safety of the structure.

But as we report today, Mr Ware is confident the once-dazzling attraction will rise once again.

He tell us a zipwire, mini-London eye and a working jetty are all possibilities – all after further repairs.

Mr Ware, 59, quietens critics of his own silence when he calmly says: ‘We are very private people. We have been in the background getting the job done.’

The consortium, he tells us, has already spent £500,000 on repairs and he aims to get the whole pier open in phases in three to four years. Previous estimates had been more than triple this, so it’s clear he’s confident of having both the time and money to get the job done.

He even says:‘We don’t go into any business blind.’

Calculated and clear business decisions rather than hot-headed actions are needed to safeguard the pier for all – and Mr Ware’s consortium has made several already. But he is also honest when he reveals the iconic attraction is close to his heart and admits: ‘I’ve got grandchildren, I want them to be able to enjoy that pier.’

Now having seen a glimpse of his plan, credentials and passion, doubters and nay-sayers should give Mr Ware and his consortium the space and time to get the job done.

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