THE final step in fully reopening Southsea’s historic seaside pier has finally been made.
South Parade Pier has just rebuilt its boat deck - the final part in a series of works to restore the Southsea landmark after it was reopened in April 2017.
The £200,000 project will now offer mooring for boats as well as allowing people to fish on the new deck, which was completely removed in 2014 due to storms.
Tommy Ware Jr has overseen the project and said: ‘The fishing is a massive thing on this pier. There’s nowhere you can moor up, this is the only place. And hopefully we can see more people arrive into Southsea by boat.’
From April next year, Exhilaration Boat Rides, which is based on the pier, will offer rib rides around the Solent and to the Isle of Wight.
The boats can take up to 12 passengers, including young children and elderly people from £8.
Mark Laskey, who will run the boat rides and also owns the Best of British Food van on the main pier, said: ‘We’re very pleased to see the deck’s finished as you can imagine. We’ve been planning this for five years. It should be a very big attraction for Portsmouth.
‘It makes sense, we’re a naval city and people expect to see boats. It’s a new, exciting thing for Southsea.’
The owners are also planning to offer mackerel fishing trips, as well as outdoor cinema screenings on the new deck and can even facilitate for weddings.
The new deck uses metal flooring with small holes to allow for adverse weather, so the high tides and waves don’t put pressure on the hydraulics under the pier.
Leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson, welcomed in the new deck.
He said: ‘The whole city needs to be incredibly grateful to the Tommys for bringing the pier back. It’s absolutely brilliant. Lots of people said it wouldn’t happen and now the whole pier has been restored to working use. It’s absolutely wonderful.’
The pier was reopened by Tommy Ware and his son Tommy Ware Jr in April 2017 after being closed for five years.
The family is still planning on making improvements to the pier, but this is the final step in the structural reopening that has spanned two years.