Work begins to restore ageing South Parade Pier

REVAMP South Parade Pier. Picture: Paul Jacobs (122983-7)
REVAMP South Parade Pier. Picture: Paul Jacobs (122983-7)
HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth for the last time
Picture: Shaun Roster

RETRO: Watch the last voyage of HMS Illustrious from Portsmouth

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WORK has begun to restore Southsea’s ageing South Parade Pier.

Owners Fred Nash and Dawn Randall have hired contractors to repair the seaside attraction’s concrete pillars.

Divers will take pictures underneath the back of the pier, which is closed for safety concerns, on Sunday to assess how much work needs to be done.

Workers have already fitted new electrics and given the inside a fresh coat of paint.

The ice cream shop has been refurbished and there are new security shutters at the entrance. The front of the pier containing arcades and shops was reopened this month following a winter closure. Mr Nash said: ‘We are repairing inside and doing all sorts of work.

‘We have got a repair contractor firm repairing the concrete pillars underneath the pier. The council has put a fence in to stop people walking underneath.

‘It can soon remove that eyesore as and when the concrete is repaired.’

Meanwhile, The People’s Pier, which wants to take over the venue, is coming up with a business plan which outlines how it intends to turn it around.

Leon Reis, chairman of The People’s Pier, said: ‘We have started to collect professional help towards our business plan. We have been in contact with the council which has asked us how we are getting on. We said we will be there by the end of April or roundabouts with the first cast of our business plan, but it will take us longer to back it up with the business advice we need because we need money to pay the advisors.’

The pier group is considering selling off shares towards a bid.

It has sent out a questionnaire to people in Southsea asking how they would improve the pier if they were each given a £10 share.

Eastney and Craneswater Ward councillor Luke Stubbs, said he was sceptical about what the owners were doing.

‘If they do enough to overcome the pier closure order then everyone will welcome that, but it will require a certain level of investment,’ he said.