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Time And Tide – An Update On The Pier.

Time And Tide – An Update On The Pier.

At the time of my last post on the subject, the pier was due to be rescued by a mystery consortium who’s ambitions were to restore the iconic landmark to its former glory. So where are we now? As time keeps marching on, the pier continues to slowly crumble into the sea and the potential new owners continue to shroud their identity in secrecy without any real sign of the purchase going ahead. During this time, the council have resumed their legal action against current owners Fred Nash and Dawn Randall, by ordering the construction of a protective perimeter wall rather than opting for the repairs it badly needs. So where does this leave us? We have two penniless owners who want to wash their hands of the structure, a shadowy group who quite clearly have nothing in their coffers, an eyesore of a wall that will cost money to put up and subsequently tear down, and a local council who seem happy enough to sit down and watch this farcical situation go from bad to worse.

We should remind ourselves that Portsmouth is not the only coastal city who have battled to save their pier. Let us take Hastings as an example. Hastings Council rightly issued a compulsory purchase order and placed their pier firmly in the hands of the Hastings Pier Trust (the model for South Parade Trust). Whilst the financial risk are taken on by the trust, it leaves them free to apply for grants. Hastings Pier Trust received £11.4m from this process alone thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Take a second and drink that figure in. This type of back-to-back handover would not only best serve the people of Portsmouth, it will also save the pier from certain ruin and clear any of the water that has been muddied by the consortium. Should Portsmouth City Council choose not to go down this simple route, it will be tantamount to neglect.

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  1. JohnDR

    20 May

    I’ve just looked at the Hastings Pier website – http://www.hpcharity.co.uk/ – it looks really positive and is encouraging to see that this process can be so simple and effective.

    Fingers crossed our own council see sense.

  2. Pernille

    20 May

    They did this with the Wymering Manor too.
    http://www.wymeringmanortrust.com

  3. Paul Thurlow

    20 May

    great post , send it to the News and other news outlets so that it gets a wider audience and hopefully …. ( I pause) someone with authority in the council can analyse the benefit of heritage funding and why it should it be handed over to an imaginative and enthusiastic group. It is an eyesore at the moment.

  4. Carl wood

    20 May

    I just took a walk along the seafront today such a waste of our cultural heritage.

  5. vincent faithfull

    20 May

    the only way to save the pier is to get behind Leon rees and the trust and push the council to support them or vote to get the lib dems out of council and hope the newly elected will help save the pier

  6. Tezz

    21 May

    Apparently the option of serving an order requiring the repairs was not possible because the Council cannot determine exactly what repairs are required and the order has to specify exactly what work is required.

    To determine what repairs are required I understand that a very detailed structural survey and report would need to be done which would include inspection of all structural elements including those below sea such as the foundations. To do this would place a significant burden on Council Tax payers and ultimately would be of no use as it seems neither the current or future owners have any money.

    So I think you’re right, we have a pier that is sadly going to fall further into neglect and finally fall into the sea.

    If the Council want to save it I think your suggestions of the compulsory purchase and passing it onto a trust are the only ways to save it. Is this a possibility? I don’t know but let’s hope with an election tomorrow it’s something that all candidates are thinking about.

    In the meantime let’s not be too hard on the Council -remember this is a privately owned building and its the owners that must take ultimate responsibility for its downfall.

  7. Steve Langton

    21 May

    Good article Charlie, council should hang their heads in shame, elections coming up soon, vote them out.

    The bureaucracy is ridiculous, compulsory purchase and deliver to the trust, at least they are pro active, it cannot be in a worse state than the present one.

  8. Leon Reis

    22 May

    Thanks Charlie and all your contributors for supporting South Parade Trust.
    This is quite simply the council’s fault for failing to order repairs, neglecting their duty to protect our heritage from delinquent owners. Meanwhile, Gerald Vernon -Jackson,PCC leader, seems to be blaming the Trust for this mess.
    We are simply following the repairs order route set out by English Heritage for this kind of rescue… as used successfully for Hastings Pier by their council.
    Leon Reis, Chairman, SPT.

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