Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southsea's South Parade Pier wins national award

South Parade Pier Image copyright Peter Trimming
Image caption The pier was closed by Portsmouth City Council in 2012 following safety concerns

A restored Victorian pier which recently reopened after being deemed at risk of collapse has been voted Pier of the Year.

The National Pier Society said the Grade II listed South Parade Pier in Southsea, Hampshire, had been brought "beautifully back from the brink".

It was shut in 2012 when Portsmouth City Council served the previous owners with a dangerous structure order.

The new owners partially reopened the pier in April 2017.

The National Piers Society said their "commitment and investment" had allowed the pier to "play an important part in the tourist economy" and "inject civic pride".

Image caption South Parade Pier opened in 1879, but was destroyed by fire in 1904 and rebuilt in 1908

South Parade Pier Ltd bought the structure in 2014 for an undisclosed sum.

Company director Tommy Ware Snr said he was "delighted" his team's "hard slog" had been recognised.

Previously he said more than £5m had been invested in the pier, allowing the first 51m (167ft) to be reopened.

The city council said the whole structure was now considered to be safe.

Image copyright N Chadwick
Image caption The new owners said more than £5m had been invested in the pier

The pier's restored Gaiety bar has been leased to a firm for concerts and tea dances.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the previously "derelict" pier was "thriving again", thanks to "good business sense and real long-term investments".

South Parade Pier opened in 1879, but was destroyed by fire in 1904 and rebuilt in 1908.

In 1974 it was again wrecked by fire during the filming of the Ken Russell movie Tommy and part of the superstructure was rebuilt.

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