THE owners of South Parade Pier have one more chance to prove they are serious about reopening the attraction to the public – or their bid will be scrapped.
Neither pier bosses Tommy Ware Jnr and Snr or a representative showed up at court yesterday to try and get an order lifted preventing public access to the decks.
It’s obviously very frustrating. This is the third time we have appeared in this court and haven’t progressed at all.Portsmouth City Council prosecution lawyer Jenny Ager
Portsmouth City Council imposed a dangerous structure notice on the pier under the Building Act in May 2014 as it was declared structurally unsafe.
It comes after the owners failed to appear at a scheduled hearing on August 3 and cancelled a court date ahead of the America’s Cup World Series in July as a report into completed repairs hadn’t been done.
The council has now agreed to go back to court with the owners on September 29 – but warned it will drop their application to lift the notice if they do not show up.
Council prosecution lawyer Jenny Ager said: ‘It’s obviously very frustrating. This is the third time we have appeared in this court and haven’t progressed at all.
‘It’s frustrating South Parade Pier haven’t made any contact at all.’
Ms Ager said the council has already racked up £300 in court costs and will seek to claim that back.
But Mr Ware Snr told The News he wasn’t even aware yesterday’s hearing was going ahead.
Mr Ware said: ‘Our engineer was going on holiday, he couldn’t get the report out to the council in time.
‘So Malcolm Belcher (the pier’s project co-ordinator) emailed the court and asked for some dates. We have been waiting for that for the last two to three weeks.’
He added: ‘There is no more structural work to be done now. We have done the work.
‘Our target is, when we go to court, to have the safety notice lifted on the pier, and to see the pier declared structurally safe.
‘We are well on schedule.’
As reported, Mr Ware has revealed a multinational leisure firm is interested in running the pier as an attraction.
But Leon Reis, of South Parade Trust, which is campaigning for the restoration of the pier, said: ‘The owners need to tell the public if they have got the money to go forward with the major repairs to the buildings, and get them open for spring 2016.’