Visitors to the new-look South Parade Pier will be first introduced to a 100-machine arcade at the front which will be run by the Harry Levy Group.
The arcade will be open to visitors from 9am on Good Friday and will be offering various games, free giveaways and raffles for a range of prizes. The group is employing 12 full-time and 10 part-time staff.
Lovers of fish and chips can rejoice with national chain Deep Blue Restaurants – which already has a chippy in Eastney – set to open a takeaway on the pier and a 275-seat restaurant in the former Albert Tavern bar.
Deep Blue’s chief executive James Low said: ‘We are delighted to be involved in this incredibly exciting project to restore the beautiful South Parade Pier back to its former glory, offering local people and the enormous number of visitors who come to Portsmouth every year the fun and experience that only a traditional pier at a British seaside location can offer.’
The business is looking to take on about 50 staff in order to run both the takeaway and the restaurant with the former set to open in May and the latter to welcome customers from August.
Mr Low added: ‘We are looking to employ restaurant managers, chefs, waiting and kitchen staff.
‘We would be keen to hear from anybody who would like to join us for a lot of fun and excitement over the months ahead.’
An ice cream parlour and gourmet sandwich bar will be popping up at the pier.
The parlour, a souvenir shop and the sandwich bar will be opening in the coming months to the front of the pier with Portsmouth-based business Pier Side to open up a cafe on the side of the pier offering contemporary street food and bringing fresh Southsea cuisine.
The High Tide Kitchen Company will open on the west side of the pier, providing alternative healthy eats for visitors.
A zip wire and rides are due to arrive in the coming months with a boat operator to provide trips around the Isle of Wight also secured for the southern end of the pier.
Nick Courtney, spokesman for the pier’s owners said: ‘To get the pier to this stage has been an enormous task and has been exhausting for both us and our contractors and we are grateful for the huge effort that has been made by everyone in getting the pier ready for the public.
‘We are also thankful for the help provided by Portsmouth City Council and would like to take this opportunity to give Malcolm Belcher from Vivid Surveyors a special thank you for the amazing job he has done managing this entire project.
‘We would also like to thank the public for their amazing patience and support.
‘The end section of the pier will remain closed due to ongoing maintenance work.
‘This is the first time the public will have been able to walk on the pier since 2012 and it will give us great pleasure to see it back in use.’
Trust welcomes reopening
A TRUST says the reopening of South Parade Pier will be one of the ‘biggest moments’ in Portsmouth’s history.
Leon Reis, chairman of South Parade Trust has heralded the news that people of the city will once again be able to walk along the pier.
Speaking to The News, Mr Reis said: ‘This will be one of the biggest moments in history for the people of Portsmouth. It is absolutely fantastic to know that the pier will be reopening.
Mr Reis had previously pushed owners South Parade Pier Ltd on news regarding when the pier would open to the public on numerous occasions over the last few years.
The trust was first set up in 2012 in a bid to safeguard the future of the pier in Southsea.
He added: ‘It has been a long time coming getting to this point but if it opens and the other operators also open this summer then this really is wonderful news and I wish the owners every success.
‘There have been a lot of false dawns with the pier and I very much hope this is not another one.’
Leaders celebrate attraction’s return
CIVIC bosses have backed the announcement that South Parade Pier will be open to residents once more.
Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, said it would be a ‘great day’ for the city.
Cllr Stubbs said: ‘This has been a long time coming and I really hope all the plans come to fruition.
‘Clearly a lot of money has been spent on it and I am sure there will be lots of people keen to explore it.
‘It’s been closed for such a long time and some may have thought that it would never have opened up again so this really is a significant announcement for the city.’
Flick Drummond, Portsmouth South MP also welcomed the news.
She said: ‘I am delighted that South Parade Pier is opening again at last. I know that the owners have been working hard to make sure it is stable and it looks great with the paintwork now finished. I wish it success and look forward to visiting.’