Deal for pier needs to be sealed to 
secure future

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Less than two weeks after new owners for South Parade Pier were officially announced, dark clouds are once again gathering.

In our leader column that day we spoke of the danger of welcoming false dawns, and we genuinely hoped that this didn’t prove to be another one.

We still hope that this doesn’t prove to be the case, but the ruling from Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court could yet prove fatal to the pier’s future.

The creation of a ‘Great Wall’, would indeed protect the public from a hypothetical danger, but at what cost to the future of the remaining structure of the pier?

The current state of the pier is a great shame for the city. It could and should be a jewel in the city’s crown, rather than the dilapidated embarrassment that it has become.

Even if the works are put in place, they are going to be far from attractive and will not enhance the look of the pier, particularly as a tourist attraction.

We have yet to hear a great deal from the new owners – and let us hope that the deal is finalised quickly so that works can begin as soon as possible.

If they are able to implement their alternative plan at the earliest opportunity, then the ‘Great wall’ option could remain unneeded.

It would be useful for them to come forward to at least allay some of the public’s fears over the pier’s future.

The suggestion by Fred Nash – the pier’s current co-owner along with Dawn Randall – that the seaward end should be knocked down appears to be a doomsday scenario that should be avoided.

While the pessimism of Leon Reis of the South Parade Pier Trust is hardly unsurprising, given everything that he has seen happen over recent years, we are still hopeful of a positive outcome for the structure.

The proposals put forward by the new owners for a music venue and a restaurant are ones that we believe would be widely welcomed – if they ever get the chance to be put in place.

In the meantime, the next six months will certainly prove to be a tense period.