LEGAL action is being taken against the owner of South Parade Pier over safety work desperately needed at the ageing attraction.
Portsmouth City Council wants to get a court order against Fred Nash and Dawn Randall to ensure they pick up the bill for repairs it may have to do on their behalf.
It comes after Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson, the council’s leader, wrote to Mr Nash this week requesting he spend £100,000 on work at the Southsea venue, and do it within seven days of getting his letter.
It asks him 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.
But Mr Nash says he hasn’t received anything, and has told Cllr Vernon-Jackson new owners are coming in and would get in touch this week. But that hasn’t happened, so the council is stepping up its action.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson has now questioned whether there are new owners after all, and wants the situation sorted out as soon as possible. The current owners have promised me each day of this week that the new owners will contact me,’ he said.
‘On each day of this week, I have had no contact from them.
‘It may be that they do the repair work, but as we have no idea who they are, or had no contact from them, I don’t know if they even exist.’
A council is given power under Section 77 of the Building Act to deal with a building or structure which is in a potentially dangerous condition.
Mr Nash said he was unaware of any court action.
‘Hand on my heart, I have not received a letter,’ he said.
‘But whatever we are required to do, we will do.
‘If you put up wooden barriers, as soon as the first high tide or swell comes, those barriers would be knocked down.’
‘If we instead put a chain link fence around the pier struts, and pulled it taut back to the pier, then the water would go through it and back out.’
Last week Ms Randall said that she would reveal the identity of the new owner within seven days, but Mr Nash has now said that there is a confidentiality clause as part of the exchange of contracts and that he could not disclose their details.
Both parties will appear at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on March 31.