THE man responsible for Portsmouth’s seafront has decided to step down from leading a forum giving businesses in the area a voice.
David Evans says he can’t go on being a part of the Seafront Attractions and Traders Forum as it has just become an excuse to ‘complain’ about the council.
Over the years, fewer and fewer people have attended, and it has got to the stage where it seems to have become a forum for people to complain about the city council.Portsmouth seafront manager David Evans
He said it is no longer fulfilling its purpose to lobby councillors for changes and that its membership has dwindled.
In a letter, Mr Evans said he hopes the group will carry on despite his decision.
But fears have been raised the organisation will now be ‘torpedoed’ by the council and traders won’t have anywhere to go to raise concerns or offer ways of improving the seafront.
It comes after business owners complained about the lack of support they received during the Portsmouth America’s Cup World Series.
Mr Evans wrote: ‘Over the years, fewer and fewer people have attended.
‘It’s got to the stage where it seems to have become a forum for people to complain about the city council.
‘While SATF was a forum where it could lobby city councillors, it has moved away from this now.
‘As a result and very reluctantly, I cannot continue to manage the process and therefore I will no longer chair or attend SATF meetings.
‘Of course, you may wish to continue meeting on a regular basis, but I can no longer participate in the forum.’
But he praised changes that had come out of the forum, including the park-and-ride scheme’s extension to Southsea which Tory leisure boss Linda Symes campaigned for.
Southsea Beach Group was also formed following meetings.
The council says Mr Evans will chair his last meeting next month and in future there could be a rotating chairperson.
But Lib Dem culture spokesman Lee Hunt, who represents Central Southsea ward, said: ‘It’s not a good thing if it breaks up.
‘I found the letter very bizarre from Mr Evans.
‘The traders have got a lot to put up with along the seafront and they need a forum to talk to the council, and the council needs to be engaged with it.
‘It’s disappointing it looks like the council is looking to torpedo it, or let it go free.’
Seafront venues including Clarence Pier, Mozzarella Joes and Blue Reef Aquarium were yesterday unavailable for comment.