Portsmouth's South Parade Pier loses retrospective planning bid for decking branded a 'scar' near Southsea listed building

PERMISSION for decking already built next to South Parade Pier has been rejected by councillors who said it was ‘shoddy and tawdry’.

Sunday, 21st November 2021, 4:41 pm

Portsmouth councillors said the decking to the east of the listed building was ‘a scar on the side of the pier’ and turned down retrospective planning permission at a recent meeting.

The plan was for the decking to have 19 tables for the use of Tea on Sea, a cafe already based on South Parade Pier.

Councillors mulled over the plans after the pier owners asked for permission for the decking.

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South Parade Pier, with the decking next to the promenade on the left of this image. Picture: Neil Campbell Instagram: @Skymariner skymarinerdrone.com

The owners were previously given permission in 2018 for 133 sq m of decking, but this expired before the current 177.9 sq m decking was installed.

In their application, the pier owners said: ‘The covering of this relatively small part of the beach, which is little used by bathers, would not have any negative impact on the overall attractiveness of the beach for users.

‘This is an entirely reversible addition to the pier that could be removed in the future without harm to the pier structure.’

But councillors at the meeting earlier this month raised concerns about how it looked, and who could go on to use it.

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Concerns were also raised as the plans were ‘40 per cent’ bigger than the 2018 scheme that was approved.

‘It's just like a scar on the side of the pier now,’ Cllr Linda Symes said.

She added: ‘It really detracts from the beauty of that wonderful listed building and makes it look shoddy and tawdry.’

Cllr Daniel Wemyss added: ‘It isn't an attractive area with that decking.’

Five out of eight councillors voted to refuse planning permission.

They had been urged to approve the scheme by a planning officer who put together a report ahead of the meeting.

The report said: ‘The objection of local residents to the loss of public beach is noted and it is acknowledged that the design and management of the structure would reduce public access or at least the perception of public access to his part of the beach.

‘This impact does of course need to be balance against the enhancement to facilities and economic implications of the proposal.’

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