Court lifts legal restriction on South Parade Pier

South Parade Pier in April 2017. Picture: Shaun Roster
South Parade Pier in April 2017. Picture: Shaun Roster
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LEGAL restrictions stopping South Parade Pier from fully opening to the public have been lifted at a court hearing.

Bosses are set to open the pier further within months, with seaside-lovers able to walk from front to back.

Malcolm Belcher, the surveyor for the pier’s owners, told magistrates: ‘In August of this year the public will be able to walk from front to back.

‘The full safety certificate with building control and fire safety will be coming along the line.’

Speaking outside court he said the work accomplished since January 2015 had been huge, with the pier in his view nearly at breaking point when Tommy Ware Snr and Jnr bought the attraction.

He said: ‘I can’t emphasise enough that the pier was days away from collapse, it was days from breaking its back.’

But now the attraction is nearly fully-let, with 14 partners set to move in to internal sites, and another negotiation ongoing this week.

It comes after Portsmouth City Council asked city magistrates to impose an order in 2014 insisting building work be completed and closing the pier until it had been done.

The council said the pier, then under different owners, was dangerous.

Today’s ruling means the pier and council are unlikely to need to return to court over the matter.

The jetty could be opened next year, depending on commercial deals.

There is uncertainty whether it was covered by the original order but that is likely to be resolved out of court.

Councillor Steve Pitt is spokesman for culture for the Liberal Democrat opposition group at the city council.

He said: ‘I, with most of the Lib Dems, was at the opening of the front part earlier in the year and we were impressed with the work being done.

‘The level of investment and the effort they’ve gone to do a really good quality job there means they deserve every success.

‘The thing people need to remember is how much work needed to be done out of public sigh to make sure the steelwork was repaired, which they’ve done.’