THE owners of South Parade Pier have appeared in court over safety work the city council says is needed at the ageing attraction.
Portsmouth City Council has lodged two formal complaints against The People’s Pier Southsea Ltd over the structure’s condition.
The council said the pier in its current state is dangerous.
As reported, it has applied at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court for an order stating that the owners must carry out the necessary repairs under section 77 of The Building Act 1984.
The council has also applied for an order to ensure that the pier remains closed to the public under the same Act.
If the second order was to be made, it would then be up to magistrates to decide if and when the pier could reopen, subject to the necessary work being completed to what they believe to be a satisfactory level.
Alternatively, magistrates could modify any restrictions imposed at a later date.
Fred Nash and Dawn Randall, who own the pier, appeared before magistrates at the brief hearing yesterday.
But the case was adjourned ahead of a plea and case management hearing which is due to be held later this month.
A trial is set to take place in May.
The hearing came after city council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson wrote to Mr Nash last month requesting that he spend £100,000 on work at the pier withing seven days of the letter being received. Mr Nash denied receiving a letter.
He told Cllr Vernon-Jackson that new owners were taking over and would be getting in touch.
When that did not happen the council turned to the courts.
Miss Randall later said that she would reveal the identity of the new owner.
But then Mr Nash said there was a confidentiality clause as part of the exchange of contracts that prevented the buyer from being named.
Meanwhile Leon Reis, chairman of the South Parade Pier Trust, which wants to take over the pier, said the community group will do all it can to help any new owner.
He added: ‘Our aim has always been the repair of the pier.
‘The only reason we have been interested in acquiring the pier was because there was no obvious buyer and repair the whole pier, not just the front of it.’
The trust recently received a £9,990 grant from the government’s department for communities and local government.