THE owners of South Parade Pier could face legal action for failing to keep it in order.
Portsmouth City Council is considering taking action against Fred Nash and Dawn Randall because they haven’t replaced the rounded edge of the concrete deck which was damaged during improvement work.
A council report revealed the owners didn’t get permission to do the work, which they needed because the Southsea seaside attraction is listed. The council’s planning committee will meet at 2pm at Portsmouth Guildhall on Wednesday to discuss what steps should be taken.
Members could decide to serve Mr Nash and Ms Randall with a listed building enforcement notice that gives them three months to get things done.
If they don’t then they could face criminal prosecution. The report says the rounded edge – called a bullnose – is ‘a prominent and visually important’ feature that’s part of the pier’s architecture.
Leon Reis, chairman of The People’s Pier, which is campaigning to save the pier, welcomed the report and urged the committee to take every action to ensure the owners obey the laws.
‘The damage to the bull nose on the pier is serious,’
Mr Reis said. ‘It shows no consideration for the heritage of the structure they own, or for the community which for most of the past 134 years has taken pleasure in strolling out on our pier, over the water.
‘We’re delighted that, for the first time, the council is taking enforcement action against the owners, because up to now the owners have been allowed to let this beautiful structure rot.
‘They seem to be trying to convert a beautiful family destination into nothing more than a gambling arcade with a drinking parlour and a couple of shops on the prom.
‘But what’s important is that the council now orders the main structural repairs which are required to stop the main body of the pier deteriorating ever more rapidly. So far, the council has not been willing to do so.’
Work is being done on the front part of the pier and the back, which is shut for health and safety reasons, could re-open by the end of the year.
Neither Mr Nash or Ms Randall were available for comment.