And so the saga of South Parade Pier is about to take another twist.
More details have come out about the pier owners’ application to the city council for a new bar at the rear of the arcade.
The council’s licensing sub-committee is due to make a decision on the matter on Wednesday.
Considering that we were reporting only last week that a large cloud remains over the pier’s ability to stay open – English Heritage had pulled out of a deal to provide funding towards a structural survey – the timing is interesting, to say the least.
The application was made back in September, and owner Fred Nash told The News at the time that it was part of a three-stage refurbishment plan for the pier.
However, Mr Nash remains typically bullish in the face of claims the pier is unsafe, asking: ‘Who can claim the pier is not structurally safe unless they are experts?’
The pier should be a jewel in the city’s seafront crown, drawing in crowds as it once did.
Instead it has become a tired mess, with many people no longer sure of whether they are even allowed on it or not.
The pier needs to become a going concern again, and obviously there are no straight-forward answers, but if the owners are to put their money where their mouths are, then it would be good to see life return to the pier.
But the question of the safety of the structure is an important one and should not be brushed aside lightly.
The idea of the council buying the pier has been floated if orders to make repairs are ignored, but in these straitened times, would that be a wise use of council money? Probably not. And in fairness to council leaders, they have said the same.
And with the South Parade Pier Trust still hovering over proceedings, and looking to buy it, it seems there is still plenty of interest in restoring some of that tarnished glory.
The uncertainty needs to end.
But who will enable that, and at what price, is the (multi) million pound question, has yet to be definitively answered.