Council urged to do more over South Parade Pier

CLOSED South Parade Pier in Southsea.  Picture: Sarah Standing (124039-7324)
CLOSED South Parade Pier in Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing (124039-7324)

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PORTSMOUTH City Council has been called upon to use compulsory purchase power to save South Parade Pier.

The Grade II listed building has been closed for safety reasons since October and is rotting away.

At a meeting of the East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum last night council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson was urged to step in to try and force the owners, SPP South Coast Limited, to undertake the vital maintenance work or use it’s powers to buy the pier.

Leon Reis, of The People’s Pier, said he feels the owners are ignoring the pier’s listed status and the vital work that needs to be carried out.

He said: ‘The situation is that Gerald Vernon-Jackson was very good. He offered to help us and we’re delighted with that, however we just don’t think the council gets it.

‘What part of the owners will not sell it and they will not repair it do they not get?

‘We’re very happy to buy it from the owners but they’re saying very unequivocally they will not sell the front of the pier.

‘They want to sell us the £2m liability on the back of the pier. That’s fine but that does not make it a viable proposition for anybody.’

He added: ‘Up to now, the owners have basically allowed this pier to go to rack and ruin. From now on, every day that Gerald and his council do not order repairs on this pier, the rest of the damage and the wreck that’s happening is down to the council I’m afraid.’

But Cllr Vernon-Jackson said the council just does not have the money to take on the pier. A survey alone would cost £80,000 which they do not have.

‘The last thing I can do is try to go and buy a pier and be left with a responsibility of millions of pounds of repairs to a pier that we got rid of years ago.’

He said if the supporters had the money in the bank they would be able to work with them - as they did with the Pompey Supporters Trust.