Petition gathers steam as repairs commence at South Parade Pier

More than 12,000 signatures have now been collected on a petition calling for urgent repairs to South Parade Pier
More than 12,000 signatures have now been collected on a petition calling for urgent repairs to South Parade Pier
James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Those halcyon days when pen and paper just worked!

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ALMOST four people every minute signed a petition during the busy Victorious Festival calling for repairs to be made on South Parade Pier.

South Parade Trust chairman Leon Reis said volunteers collected signatures from more than 4,000 people during the weekend on a petition demanding Portsmouth City Council orders urgent repairs to the damaged landmark.

A group of six businessmen, who claim to have bought the pier, have started survey work and repairs on the building.

But South Parade Trust wants the council to intervene to secure the pier’s future.

Mr Reis said there were now more than 12,000 signatures on the petition — well above the 1,000 needed to provoke a council debate.

He said: ‘We had a team of between four and six volunteers at Victorious for 10 hours on each of the two days and we collected 4,390 signatures – that’s nearly four signatures a minute for the entire duration.

‘Almost nobody believes the council has done enough to protect the pier.

‘Almost nobody believes we are getting our pier back as things stand.’

Bernie Cooper, of North End, is a spokesman for a group of six businessmen who have taken over the pier.

Mr Cooper said the purchase of the pier was all but completed, and there were ‘no hurdles left to jump through’.

He said: ‘We’ve spent more time and effort on it in the last five months than has been done in the last five years.’

Mr Cooper said the groups’ aim was to have the pier made safe and open by next Easter.

Mr Cooper said: ‘Discussions with commercial operators are now underway and the intention is to have the pier operating in a similar way to how it has been in the past with amusement arcade, restaurants, bars and entertainment suites.

‘In addition the pier will be available for a casual stroll and other leisure activities.’

Mr Cooper said the group planned to launch a website asking people to give their ideas on the pier’s future next month.

Councillor Donna Jones, the council leader, said: ‘If Portsmouth City Council went to court now to obtain the right to issue a repair order it would be unfair and too heavy handed.

‘We need to give the new owner the time to carry out the survey and present their case to us. ‘They are co-operating and undertaking all the things asked of them by both the courts and Portsmouth council.

‘If they had not made progress with the commencement of the survey and were not engaging with the council, I would be forced to consider issuing a repair order to the existing owner.’