Southsea's South Parade Pier 'music venue' plans

image copyrightGeorge munson
image captionIt is likely repair and restoration work will have to be carried out from barges alongside the pier

A Victorian pier has been bought by a group of businessmen who plan to turn it into a music venue, the BBC understands.

The consortium for Portsmouth's South Parade Pier is fronted by Southsea entrepreneur Lawrence Mendel, the Portsmouth News has reported.

The BBC has been unable to contact Mr Mendel, who has been listed as the pier's director since 27 March.

The pier, which was reportedly sold that month, has been closed since 2012.

'Detailed plans'

Portsmouth City Council has confirmed the pier, which is in a state of disrepair, has a new owner but has not named them.

One of the pier's previous owners Dawn Randall said she could not yet reveal the identity of the new owner after "signing an agreement".

However, the council said it had been "really encouraged" after seeing "detailed plans" for repairs and restoration of the structure following a meeting earlier with the lead surveyor.

It added the owner had said the pier would not open this year due to the amount of work which needed to be done, including storm damage repairs.

It is likely the work will have to be carried out from barges alongside the pier as the structure "can't cope with the extra weight of machinery", a council spokesman said.

Community group The South Parade Trust had hoped to take over the pier and received a £10,000 grant in March, but said millions of pounds would be needed to restore the structure to its former glory.

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