Major firms show interest in running South Parade Pier

How the owners hope South Parade Pier will look next summer
How the owners hope South Parade Pier will look next summer
  • Plans for orangery and roof terrace also revealed
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PIER bosses have met major companies interested in getting involved with the attraction as work on the seafront gathers pace.

Contracts have been handed out to start work on the promenade at South Parade Pier so passers-by will soon see progress.

Co-owner Tommy Ware Snr said a multinational leisure firm has shown an interest in running the pier as an attraction.

He said: ‘We’re looking at the one that would be the best operator. We’ve got loads of people that want to take it.’

Work under way will see two front turrets refurbished and ready for tenants later this month.

Details of the potential firms, which the trust has described as including ‘household names’, have not been released. No commercial deals have been done yet.

Mr Ware said the group will soon be going back to court as ‘99 per cent’ of the work to lift a repairs order has been completed.

He added: ‘It’s really been all systems go for over a year.’

But he also said the group was prepared to take time to make sure they made the right decisions. He added: ‘We’ve got to make the right decision for the pier.’

Consortium spokesman Nick Courtney added: ‘It’s absolutely brilliant.

‘I’m pretty impressed by the speed they’re working at.

‘The great bit is that the next part is the actual cosmetic side of the building so the public will be able to see it from the promenade.’

External decking at the pier is due to open this year.

Bosses hope the rest of the pier will be fully opened and running from mid-summer 2016 next year.

A listed building planning application is due to be submitted to Portsmouth City Council this month with designs for a new roof terrace and orangery – a type of conservatory with trees.

Under the plans small boats will be able to moor at the pier.

Leader of the council Donna Jones was optimistic about major firms’ interest.

She said: ‘This is great news for the city as big names often attract large numbers of people if they’re popular UK chains.’

Cllr Jones said Harry Ramsden’s and Loch Fyne were previously interested in the pier at one stage prior to the consortium taking over.

She added: ‘All of these plans are fantastic.’