The Pyramids Centre in Southsea suffers fresh setback as Storm Katie causes damage

REPAIRS continue at The Pyramids Centre after flooding from Storm Katie forced the closure of the Southsea venue.

Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 6:02 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 8:05 am
The Pyramids on Southsea seafront Picture: Malcolm Wells (160329-1594)

Stormy weather in the early hours of Monday led to rain pouring down the side of the building, into the pump room and through the main reception area.

Water also seeped into the offices and resulted in a loss of power.

The BH Live-operated centre has been closed while engineers carry out repairs. The swimming pool is set to be closed for up to three weeks, though the majority of services – including the gym and spa – were reopened today.

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Assurances have been made that there has been no repeat of the severe damage caused to the venue by poor weather in February 2014, which led to it being closed for most of the year and up to £1m of council cash being spent on major refurbishment and flood barriers.

But residents say storm barrier gates bought to go at the back of The Pyramids were not in place, leaving it exposed.

Southsea dog walker Mike Watmore said: ‘The storm hit early on Monday morning, I was down there at 9am and the storm water gates were not in place.

‘They were installed last year and were used after Christmas when there was a storm. This situation was predicted, yet no-one put them in place.

‘The word on the street is that there was no-one to put them up on Monday morning.’

Storm Katie saw wind gusts of up to 60mph batter the region, leading to the collapse of some gable walls and roofs being torn off.

The council admitted the gates were not put in as the risk wasn’t considered great enough.

Alan Cufley, the council’s transport and environment director, said: ‘We are working with BH Live to fully open the Pyramids as soon as possible and would like to praise staff who have been clearing up over the bank holiday.

‘The initial tide and wind level flood warnings were not high enough to trigger the use of flood defence barriers, however storm conditions rapidly worsened overnight and the situation across the city was under constant observation.

‘At this stage it would have been extremely dangerous for staff on site to activate the flood defence barriers and also it is likely this could have made matters worse, by causing flood water to enter from a different position.’

Cllr Symes said: ‘We have never had weather like this. The bandstand has about 18 inches of water around it.’

A BH Live spokeswoman said: ‘The phones are now back on and the gym, spa, soft play, studio-based classes and Terrace café will all be open from today at their usual times.

‘Events in the Plaza will also go ahead this week as planned.

The swimming pools and slides will be closed for a bit longer while we carry out repairs to ancillary equipment and source parts to get them back up and running again.

‘We estimate this could take between one to three weeks.’