Bid to extend Southsea's South Parade Pier cafe sparks war of words

The owner of South Parade Pier has branded the recommendation to refuse his plan for an extra cafe seating area '˜a joke'.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 7:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 7:31 pm
South Parade Pier

The proposed beach terrace for Tea on Sea at South Parade Pier would provide an extra 19 tables and 76 chairs for the kiosk which adjoins the southern end of the historic pavilion and would be reached from the prom.

However, concerns about the decking were raised in a Portsmouth City Council report ahead of a planning committee meeting on Monday, stating that it would detract from the pier’s architectural quality and the beach’s conservation area.

Pier owner Tommy Ware said: ‘It’s just a bit of decking for dog walkers and others who walk our seafront to stop and have some tea and cake. There are already other cafes such as the Southsea Beach Cafe on the seafront providing a similar service without any problems.

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‘We discussed the idea with the National Piers Society when we won pier of the year a couple of weeks ago and they thought it was a great idea.

‘We have received very little support from Portsmouth City Council and already have to deal with restrictions on the previously granted licence. Surely it’s time that we received the support we deserve? It’s a bit of decking. Any objection would be beyond a joke.’

Nick Courtney, who runs the People’s Plan for Southsea Facebook group, added: ‘What’s wrong with having more choices for people to sit and have a cup of tea and a slice of cake? I don’t understand how that can affect or hurt anybody.’

But council leader Donna Jones said: ‘South Parade Pier has had more support from the council than any other privately-owned business. In 2015 it was awarded £50,000 as part of the Coastal Revival Fund which was given towards the pier’s restoration. Then it was given over £70,000 of which was part council funded.

‘In total Portsmouth City Council has given this private business more than £120,000 that has helped them with its regeneration.’

A city council spokesman said: ‘A variety of things have to be considered around the proposal to put a terrace next to South Parade Pier. The pier is a listed structure and it is in the seafront conservation area, this means the proposal has to either preserve or enhance the special architectural or historical features of the pier and protect or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area, it isn’t felt this is the case so the recommendation is to refuse.’

The decision on planning permission for the seating area will be discussed at the planning committee meeting on Monday.