Published on Friday, 16th May 2014

One topic that has come up a lot lately is South Parade Pier.

I don’t have any inside information on what is going, although press reports suggest that it in fact has not been sold – at least not yet. One of the current owners, Fred Nash, has apparently also suggested demolishing most of the seaward end of the structure in order to reduce the maintenance liability. Whether that would be a viable thing to do is unclear given demolition costs that would likely exceed £1m.

It is difficult to see how anyone can make money on the pier as it stands. In private ownership it will not be eligible for lottery funding and it requires substantial upfront repairs to even partially reopen. It may just about pay for itself to patch up the area to the rear of the fish and chip shop as that includes most of the concessions and requires the least amount of money to get into a safe state, but what then of the remainder of the structure?

The council leader has publicly promised £100,000 to the new owners. As taxpayers we need to know what conditions (if any) are attached to that offer. After all unless the pier reopens in full the new fencing the council has got a court order for will still have to be constructed and if the council isn’t careful, it will end up with the bill for that as well.

Experience elsewhere suggests piers in community ownership can attract lottery money. Whether that could happen here under the South Parade Trust is impossible to know, but it is hard to see a happy ending for the pier otherwise.

Tags : Seafront, Pier