Trust ‘urgently’ trying to buy South Parade Pier

South Parade Pier
South Parade Pier

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A COMMUNITY trust that is hoping to reverse the fortunes of South Parade Pier says it wants to reopen negotiations with its owners.

The South Parade Trust was officially launched last Friday, on the same day Portsmouth City Council announced it had forced the pier’s owners to close it for safety reasons.

It is the latest twist in the pier’s recent history, which, since 2010, has included insolvency, evictions, and now accusations of the pier being unsafe.

Portsmouth City Council had advised the pier’s owners, Fred Nash and Dawn Randall, to close to the public.

But after being informed that the owners intended to reopen the wooden promenade around the 134-year-old pier, it took the action to force its continued closure.

The South Parade Trust’s chairman, Leon Reis, said before the closure that he had hoped the trust could work alongside the owners to allow public access again.

‘That’s the most important thing,’ he told The News.

In a statement from the trust, released after the council’s decision, he said the trust would look again at ways it could buy the pier from Ms Randall and Mr Nash.

He said: ‘In view of this dramatic turn of events, SPT is urgently seeking talks with the owners to see if this brings us any closer to acquisition by the community.

‘We are keen to play a significant part in repairing the pier so it can be restored to full and safe public access.’

Mr Nash had told The News he had completed a first phase of the pier’s renovations, and a second, to scrape rust off, was under way.

However, council contractors have recently carried out an independent inspection, and deemed the structure unsafe.

Claire Upton-Brown, city development manager at Portsmouth City Council, said the council’s decision had been taken to ‘protect the public’.

She added: ‘Under the Building Act the council has powers to protect the public from immediate danger.’