South Parade Pier Opens to the Public
|Published: 14th April 2017 16:04|
Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress officially open the front arcade of the pier
The community of Portsmouth have waited five years to have their beloved pier back and from today they are able to walk on it again.
The front arcade and the walkway were officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr David Fuller today (14th April) in front of hundreds of visitors keen to get a first glimpse of the new arcade and try out the newly covered promenade.
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr David Fuller congratulations
pier owner, Tommy WareCo-owner, Tommy Ware, said, "It's a great day for us and a great day for Portsmouth. We'd like to thank all the public for their support and all the workers that are on the pier. It's a mammoth task. We're not quite at the end yet but we're hoping by June/July the whole pier will be functioning and everyone can enjoy all of it again"
After the official opening, members of the public made their way into the arcade to play on the new machines and some walked on the promenade to take in the atmosphere of the Victorian structure.
With food stalls and entertainment set up for the whole weekend (weather permitting), the opening was welcome.
Emily Nicol and Mum Louise try out the arcade gamesLouise Nicol was visiting Portsmouth with her daughter, Emily. She said, "It's fantastic and a great restoration of a beautiful old building. There are families here and entertainment. All the kids are loving it."
Ward councillor, Matthew Winnington, said, "It's been a long time coming but seeing it today is just wonderful. There are loads of people here and events going on all weekend. It's going to be magnificent.
"People have asked me about it and about what's going on, thinking nothing was happening. I came onto the pier about 18 months ago and saw the work going on. I ensured people it would happen, and it did, so it's absolutely fantastic."
Another person who is particularly delighted about the re-opening is Trevor Bratty, owner of the Ice-Cream Emporium at the front of the pier which has just undergone a refit. He said, "We've knocked through to the back and now have a seating area for up to 25 people.
"We are very excited. The pier itself looks absolutely fantastic."
The Lord Mayor said, "South Parade Pier brings back so many memories. It's great that people have supported it and the people that own it have put some life back into it. To me it's just as important as the Emirates Spinnaker Tower. I used to love the penny arcades as a child. I'm really looking forward to it."
Malcolm Belcher is the Project Surveyor for South Parade Pier and has been working on it for three years. He said, "It's a massive day today for the pier and the city. After three and a half years, we've achieve the reopening. It's very, very exciting and there's more to come in the summer."
Plans for the pier include a fish and chip shop opening at the end of May, a 275 seater Deep Blue restaurant, boutique type shops, boat operator and a ferris wheel.
Mr Belcher continued, "It's very much something that Portsmouth City Council wanted to achieve for the regeneration of the east Southsea area. From a tourist point of view, we believe this is going to be one of the major attractions in Portsmouth."
Mr Ware said, "There is a a lot more to come and we'll be adding and adding to this over the years. It's here to stay now."
The Ice-Cream Emporium has had a refit and now has a seating area