Our seafront is becoming a joke

Heather James with Divine Diva

Heather James with Divine Diva

Tamara Siddiqui

TAMARA SIDDIQUI: ‘She should not have been vilified’

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As you know folks, I’m proud of being a Pompey gal born and bred. So what I’m about to write I find quite upsetting.

On bank holiday Monday I was sitting on the railings on the east side of the South Parade Pier area and voiced what is on the tip of the tongues of thousands of Portmuthians.

‘What a ruddy mess.’

I’d wandered over mid-afternoon because for the past couple of years the folk and roots festival has been on the pier and there’s always a lively atmosphere.

But they’d moved to an alternative venue over the weekend. Apart from the market, sweet shop and amusement arcade, South Parade Pier was closed for business.

The ice cream parlour is closing down. The burger bar is long gone. the fish and chip cafe is closed, as is the Albert Tavern.

Across the road, there is now the burnt-out Savoy building.

The hoardings that surround the area with Portsmouth-inspired murals are now peeling and look a sight.

No wonder Portsmouth’s not in the top 10 of Best British Seaside Towns.

How many visitors would vote for our seaside once they got to the South Parade area? Not many.

Our marketing people are always promoting four miles of seafront with some of the best shipping views in the world.

And then we’ve got privately-owned South Parade Pier and a privately-owned building site opposite. They’re making our seafront a joke – and a bad one at that.

What a difference the day before, when I went to the Proud in Portsmouth street beach party in St Paul’s Road, organised by gay pubs The Old Vic and Hampshire Boulevard.

An enormous rainbow flag fluttered in the breeze, while dozens of people enjoyed superb music and drag acts. Maybe our city elders should consult the gay community on how to promote Portsmouth in a positive light.

They sure know how to put on a magical party, dear.

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