Sorry saga must get sorted once and for all

Clive Smith is disgusted that a priest said he hopes Prince George grows up to be gay  Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: What decade is this out-of-touch priest living in?

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South Parade Pier has certainly had more than its fair share of ups and downs in the past.

But not even two potentially devastating fires could bring it to its knees for long.

Despite the setbacks, Portsmouth’s waterfront has been able to offer visitors and residents alike a traditional pier almost continuously since 1879.

And yet there are many who genuinely fear that the latest series of events could scupper the pier’s long and proud history for good. Considering the many twists and turns in this saga, it’s not hard to see where they’re coming from.

People have already had to put up with parts of the pier being closed, prompting many to ask: ‘What’s next?’

We make no apologies for returning to this subject so regularly. Considering its prominent position on our seafront, it’s perfectly natural that people should take an interest in what happens there.

For the sake of those who do care, we urge all parties involved to sort out this sorry situation once and for all.

There are those who feel Portsmouth City Council should step in to provide a rescue package that would guarantee the pier’s future for good.

But considering the financial pressures all local authorities are under these days we understand why, for now, the council has decided it shouldn’t venture down that road.

At the end of the day, the pier is a privately-owned structure with a unique part to play in public life.

The owners must therefore bear the brunt of the responsibility for ensuring that the structure is safe and keep in mind what works best for the people of Portsmouth.

In the long run we must hope that the owners will engage fully with those who express an interest in taking it over in the years to come.

The worst-case scenario for all involved is that the pier should fall into such a state of disrepair that its once-grand pillars and posts are simply claimed by the sea.

There would be something wrong about a Portsmouth without its pier.