Permanent flooding defences still not in place at The Pyramids Centre

Sandbags atf The Pyramids in Southsea
Sandbags atf The Pyramids in Southsea
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WORK to protect The Pyramids Centre against further storm damage has yet to be finished – sparking concerns over why the venue has been left vulnerable.

It comes after pictures show sandbags and plywood being used to prevent rain pouring in and damaging equipment.

Portsmouth City Council insists ‘bespoke’ defences requested by its insurers will be fitted – but it is waiting for parts to be delivered.

But critics say it is not good enough given the amount of taxpayers’ money that was spent last year making repairs and upgrading the Southsea facility after it was severely damaged by floods.

The council, which owns the building, spent £100,000 making repairs and then forked out another £997,000 on an upgrade programme which was brought forward while the Pyramids was shut.

Southsea resident David Spencer, 55, who took the pictures, said: ‘It’s been a year since it was flooded, and yet it doesn’t take a year to install new flood barriers. I’m amazed it has taken so long.

‘If The Pyramids flooded again now, it would go back to square one, after hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent – and that seems crazy.

‘This should have been done before it reopened.’

Councillor John Ferrett, Labour group leader, who has warned about the venue’s burden on taxpayers, said the situation is farcical.

‘It seems a farce there are no flood defences in place, considering what happened last year, and the huge amount of public money that has once again been poured into that venue,’ he said.

‘We know that over the last year, up to £1m has been spent, and we now find no flood defences are in place if there was a situation.’

Cllr Linda Symes, Tory cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: ‘The council is waiting for the delivery of purpose-made permanent flood defence barriers to protect The Pyramids against flood damage.

‘In the meantime, marine plywood and sandbags were used last week as a precautionary measure to safeguard the building when we had particularly rough weather.

‘As well as this, any equipment in the building that could have been affected by any flooding has been raised above the ground so that it can’t be reached by sea water.’

Mike Lyons, director of leisure facilities at BH Live, which runs The Pyramids, said membership numbers have risen to nearly 2,000 since it reopened in September.

‘The leisure pools, gym and fitness classes are proving popular and the centre has a great atmosphere,’ he said.