CAMPAIGNERS have rejected talk of buying the closed part of South Parade Pier – for just £1.
Leon Reis, chairman of The People’s Pier, couldn’t believe that pier owner Fred Nash asked him if he fancied buying the back part, which is closed for safety reasons, for such a small fee.
Mr Reis said agreeing to the deal would be disastrous as more than £2m would then have to be spent on essential repairs.
The offer was made during East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum’s latest public meeting at The Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea.
Mr Reis had previously rejected the deal during a meeting with the owners after the pier failed to sell at auction last year.
Mr Reis said: ‘Mr Nash told me at the neighbourhood forum meeting, “why don’t you buy the back of the pier, we would sell it to you for £1”.
‘That was the same offer that was made to me after the auction. It’s completely preposterous.
‘It will take more than a year to fix that pier – for the owners to say to that most of the work will be completed by next month is ridiculous.’
If Mr Reis agreed then Mr Nash, who runs the pier with Dawn Randall, would have remained in charge of the front.
Customers would have been granted permission to walk through.
Mr Reis it was an easy situation for the owners because they would be keeping the part which makes money.
‘You can’t divorce the back of the pier from the front,’ he said.
‘It’s a problem that will stand or fall as one piece.’
The People’s Pier is getting together a business plan and raising enough finances so it is in a position to take control of the whole pier and make it successful.
It then wants Portsmouth City Council to make a compulsory purchase order which allows it to take charge without needing permission from the owner – and make repairs before handing it over.
Mr Nash hopes to reopen the back of the pier by the end of the year – but it all depends on the work being done in good weather.
‘You have got to own a part of something to apply for a lottery grant,’ he said.
‘So I said to Mr Reis, why don’t you own the back part and start from there?
‘His answer was, he didn’t want to do the work on the back because we can’t earn any money.
‘The work will all get done – it’s a big project.
‘As far as I am concerned, I saw we had an awful lot of support at the meeting for what we are doing.’