Maybe it’s the right time to let our pier fade away

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It’s very easy to let nostalgia and sentiment get in the way of common sense decisions.

By nature, we human beings are an emotional bunch and often allow ourselves to go all misty-eyed over our past.

Those TV programmes about people who obsessively hoard things in their spare bedrooms should be viewed as a small-scale study into the human psyche in general.

Although most of us don’t stash every bit of tat that’s ever come our way, we’re all guilty of keeping some keepsakes and holding on to things that mean nothing to an outsider, but everything to us.

And that’s probably not doing us any harm. What difference does it make to anyone else that I’ve kept the staples a doctor removed from my head in 1994, and my mum’s jewellery box has baby teeth mixed in with the earrings?

However, is it time to ask ourselves if we have lost the plot when it comes to our attitudes towards preserving costly buildings?

How much should we be attempting to hang on too, simply because we’ve assigned some sort of historical significance to an inanimate structure? How much should we just let slip away?

The to-ing and fro-ing over South Parade Pier is the perfect example.

Portsmouth City Council has now said it won’t buy the pier in order to save it – and by Jove I think that’s spot on.

The pier is a private sector asset. It was bought as such and if it’s no longer making money for its owners, the responsibility for its future lies with them, not the taxpayer.

Would it really be such a bad thing if we didn’t have a pier anyway? Plenty of seaside resorts lost their own piers years ago. There’s no point in denying that these Victorian walkways belong to a different era, that’s exactly why so many of them have floundered in the first place.

Many people think a visit up the coast to Brighton wouldn’t be complete without a walk along the pier.

But I doubt I’m the only one who actually prefers the other, less gaudy, relic. West Pier burnt down a while back now, but the framework has remained to cast a haunting shadow over the skyline.

Maybe it’s time for us to let go too.