South Parade Pier’s future now unclear as council demands repairs

SAFETY CALL Portsmouth City Council's leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson has given the owners of South Parade Pier seven days to carry our vital repair work
SAFETY CALL Portsmouth City Council's leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson has given the owners of South Parade Pier seven days to carry our vital repair work
Former deputy mayor of Fareham Chris Wood.

Picture: Sarah Standing

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THE businessman behind South Parade Pier says he is focusing on other things and said: ‘I don’t need it’.

Fred Nash’s comments come as Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said he has written to him giving him seven days to carry out safety work costing £100,000.

That is despite co-owner Dawn Randall saying the pier had already been sold. Mr Nash said the sale was still going through.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson says if the repairs are not done then the authority will carry out the work and chase the owner – whoever it is – in the courts to reclaim cash.

But speaking to The News, Mr Nash said he’s had no notice from the council and he is moving on to other things.

He said: ‘They couldn’t carry out any works without a survey. They’d have to serve us notice with the survey and give us a copy of it.

‘I’ve had no letter. I don’t know anything. There’s no doubt that the pier has got to be repaired. We will have to work with proper surveyors and not how the council sees it.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson says he has written to Mr Nash and Ms Randall to instruct them to put up wooden barriers to stop anyone getting down either side of the pier and install a boarded tunnel on the decking to prevent any objects falling on people.

He said: ‘We’ve got to make sure we protect the public from injury.

‘We’ve written to the current owners and we hope they pass this on to future owners, if there are future owners.

‘If they can’t pay or won’t pay, we put a charge on the property and then sell it.

‘If there was a new owner who the city council had confidence in, who was going to do a proper system of repair, then we could talk this through.’

Mr Nash said he has signed a confidential agreement about the pier’s sale but confirmed it was being sold.

He suggested a trust is involved, but not the South Parade Trust.

He said: ‘I personally am not interested in being part of the pier.

‘I’m 70 years old. I’ve had enough of work, period. I can do other things. I don’t need the pier.’

Leon Reis, chairman of the South Parade Trust, which wants to buy it, said he does not believe the pier had been sold.

He said: ‘There is no doubt that a business with its hard head on does not want to invest in this black hole.’