THE new owner of South Parade Pier has shrugged off having three failed businesses – and said even Walt Disney got it wrong before becoming a major success.
Tommy Ware, who revealed he has spent more than £500,000 repairing the attraction to date, said he and his consortium are ‘more than capable’ of leading it into the future.
It comes as records on the company check website reveal Mr Ware was the director of three firms which have all closed down since 2010.
He was involved with International IT Trading Ltd, Meg Property Investments Ltd, and T & T Property Consultants Ltd, which were dissolved in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
The 59-year-old businessman, a local property and car dealer, said: ‘Walt Disney went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland and Richard Branson has had 14 failed companies to date, so the fact that I have only have three at the ripe old age of 59 is not really anything to worry about.
‘Recognising mistakes and recovering from them are essential skills for any entrepreneur. The repair and reopening of South Parade Pier is way within our capabilities and to be perfectly honest, I am enjoying the challenge.
‘It’s an iconic structure that means a lot to myself and the people of Portsmouth and I can’t wait to see it back as the centrepiece of Southsea seafront and to be able to walk my own grandchildren to the end of the pier.’
Mr Ware recently broke his silence over owning the pier and revealed to The News that his son Tommy Ware Jnr, businessman Lawrence ‘Larry’ Mendel and another entrepreneur – who did not wish to be named – were also on board.
The consortium are carrying out a consultation with the public as to what they would like to see happen on the pier and have set up a website to gather views – southparadepier.net
They have already revealed their masterplan to get the back of the pier brought up to scratch in time for the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth in July.
And they hope to bring the front of the pier back into use within weeks once a dangerous structure notice is amended.
But Mr Ware Snr insists the new owners are not connected with another consultation event being run over the pier’s future on Saturday, February 21, at the Royal Beach Hotel, in South Parade, Southsea. It has been set up by University of Portsmouth students with the help of South Parade Pier Trust, a community group which had hoped to take over the pier.
Mr Ware Snr said: ‘We are not associated with this group and will not be attending this event, but we will be looking at the results of the Portsmouth University project and will consider the ideas that are put forward from their students.’