Heritage champion welcomes Pier’s reopening

South Parade Pier, the Grade-II listed pier on Southsea seafront, is to start to reopen to the public this Easter weekend.

Closed in 2012 after being deemed too dangerous for the public to set foot on and at risk of collapsing, South Parade Pier Ltd are in the process of completing a significant programme of repair and investment to make the attraction a success again.

The Southsea landmark has seen £5m of improvements by its owners to get residents back on the 137-year-old Victorian structure. From Good Friday, the amusement arcade will open its doors to the public.

Visitors will also be allowed to walk along the walkways up to the end of the former Albert Tavern Bar.

Welcoming this news from the pier’s owners, Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth Labour Leader and the city’s first ever heritage champion, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted South Parade Pier is starting to reopen to the public this Easter weekend after many years of closure. 

As a city heritage champion, I want to see the pier as the jewel in our city’s crown. The owners and those involved have invested significant time and money to get the pier back to its glory days. The regeneration and refurbishment works – as experts have confirmed – are impressive.

Now they just need to sort some fine sunny weather for us all to enjoy the pier once again this bank holiday weekend!”

The history of the pier has been eventful. Construction started in 1878 and the pier’s pavilion was destroyed by fire on 19 July 1904  It was partly dismantled during the Second World War in an attempt to hinder any invasion and it has also caught fire several times, most famously in 1974 during shooting of the film ‘Tommy’.

A 275-seater restaurant and chip shop will be opening later in the year as part of plans to offer full access to the public once more.