PIER bosses have won legal permission to open another section of the attraction – with the possibility it could be used to watch the America’s Cup races next month.
South Parade Pier is subject to a court order that restricts which parts of it can open.
But yesterday Malcolm Belcher, surveyor for the owners, welcomed the legal ruling that allows the side decking to be opened.
While this won’t happen immediately, Mr Belcher said the owners – Tommy Ware Snr and Tommy Ware Jnr – are exploring the possibility of opening the deck so people can watch the America’s Cup World Series events.
Mr Belcher said: ‘It’s another victory for the pier, its owners and the city.
‘We’ve successfully achieved the structural safety of the external decking areas including the perimeter railings.
‘Final preparation to ensure the decking can be used, including decoration and seating, will be completed shortly.
‘Together with the ruling of the front section of the pier back in May, we have now ensured that approximately 75 per cent of the pier is structurally sound and final preparations are being undertaken for the full opening of the pier.
‘The owners are delighted with the legal ruling which further enforces their commitment to open the pier fully by the summer of 2017.
‘The owners’ financial commitment has not wavered whatsoever over the past 24 months and, as a team, we’re very much looking forward to completing in the coming weeks or months.’
Yesterday at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court the bench agreed to lift the restriction in respect of the external decking.
Peter Baulf, assistant city solicitor at Portsmouth City Council said the order was agreed by the authority.
In court, he said the pier’s work had ‘assuaged his concerns’.
But he added it did not mean the council had approved the pier on safety grounds, just that it could bear the weight.
He said: ‘The responsibility for safety of members of the public and visitors rests with the legal owners.’
The previous hearing in May gave permission to open the pier 51 metres back from the promenade.