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South Parade Pier Opens for Business as New Operators Comes on Board

Author: Haley Storey Published: 13th April 2017 16:24

 Malcolm Belcher, Project Surveyor at South Parade Pier

It's been

closed to the public for five years and has cost in excess of £5 million but South Parade Pier will be finally opening its doors this month.

Around 100 arcade machines and games will be available to play in the new Family Entertainment Centre as the latest tenant, Harry Levy Amusements, opens for business.

 The arcade has been refurbished with new equipmenMalcolm Belcher who is the Project Surveyor for South Parade Pier Ltd, said, "It's an exciting new arcade at the front of the pier and will be opening on Good Friday, 14th April at 9am."

The Lord Mayor Councillor David Fuller will be officially opening the arcade and walkways at 10am.

And further operators for the future have been announced this week.

Deep Blue Restaurants will be opening a takeaway on the side of the Pier with a full service 275 seat restaurant in what was previously know as the Albert Tavern Bar. 

James Low, Deep Blue’s Chief Executive, says, “We are delighted to be involved in this incredibly exciting project to restore the beautiful South Parade Pier back to its former glory, offering local people and the enormous number of visitors who come to Portsmouth every year, the fun and experience that only a traditional pier at a British seaside location can offer. We are hoping to have the takeaway fully operational in May and the restaurant open in August.  We are looking to employ restaurant managers, chefs, waiting and kitchen staff, a total of about 50 staff in all and we would be keen to hear from anybody who would like to join us for a lot of fun and excitement over the months ahead”.  

 Deep Blue Restaurants will be opening in the old Albert BarAlong the side of the pier will be Pier Side cafe, opening in summer 2017 selling seaside favourites and more contemporary street food.

The High Tide Kitchen Company will be operating on the west side of the pier. Using locally sourced products and local suppliers, they will be serving a range of alternative healthy food as well as classic treats, Lavazza coffee and freshly prepared smoothies.

The owners of the pier have also secured a well-established boat operator who specialises in chartering boat trips around the Isle of Wight. The same operator will be offering a selection of Best of British food and drinks.

 Inside the old Albert Tavern Bar which will be taken over by
Deep Blue Restaurants
News on the Gaity Showbar is expected soon and this will be available to hire for functions, live music and other special events as well as providing classic seaside entertainment throughout the year.

Over the coming months, the owners say that they will be adding attractions such as a zip wire, children's entertainment and rides. They also say that the option to fish from pier will also return and traditional deck chairs will be provided.

Plans to open last year were scuppered after a potential operator pulled out. Malcolm explained, "We were in advanced talks but unfortunately, they cancelled the agreement due to concerns over Brexit. Since then we've obtained new partners and it's taken us six to eight months to get the front of the pier ready for them."

The huge project has not been without its problems as far as the Victorian structure is concerned. "Over the last four years we've had constant setbacks due to the weather and also in terms of what we've discovered about the condition of the pier and this has meant we've had to bring in additional resources and contractors and had to do much more work than we originally anticipated. That has caused us to extend  our programme further. However, all that hard work is coming to fruition and new operators will be on the pier during the course of 2017.

 The pier walkways have been resurfacedBy 14th April, the newly resurfaced walkways around the pier building will be open although the end section of the pier will remain closed due to ongoing maintenance work.

Tommy Ware, one of the owners of Pier, said  "Following an investment of over 5 million pounds we are thrilled to announce the re-opening of the Pier and it's great that we have been able to provide trading space for both local businesses and national companies who will be bringing much needed employment opportunities to people in the Portsmouth area."

Dr Anya Chapman, Honorary Secretary of the  National Piers Society said  "We are impressed to see the regeneration and refurbishment of Southsea South Parade Pier and the millions that have been invested by Tommy Ware and Bob Pettet in the pier's substructure and entertainment areas and wish the owners every success with the reopening of the pier."

The owners of the pier were initially planning to keep things low key for the opening but have now said that there will be food stalls, refreshments and live entertainment from 10am to 10pm on Friday through to Easter Monday weather permitting. 

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