A COLLAPSED section of Southampton’s historic Royal Pier will have to be cleared, port bosses have said.

ABP said they would requisition a barge to remove the mangled 30m wreck, which fell into the sea on Thursday.

However, port director Doug Morrison once again refused to commit the £4m needed to demolish what’s left of the structure.

“At the moment we are trying to mobilise a barge that can come in and remove the part that collapsed.

Because of the state of the Royal Pier we have to do it from the sea,”

he said.

The 177-year-old former landmark, which was destroyed in a fire in 1992, was last week branded an “embarrassment” by local businesses.

Restaurateur Kuti Miah, who spent £1.5m on renovating the pier’s abandoned old gatehouse into Kuti’s Royal Thai Pier, called on ABP and Southampton City Council to remove the remains.

Mr Morrison said ABP was working with the council to find a developer to transform the entire waterfront site. The selected builder would be expected to pay for the cost of clearing the pier.

“To remove it would cost between £3m and £4m. If possible, we want to do that as part of an overall development,” he said.

“To just spend the money ourselves would not make economic sense. The problem is that the piles have to removed, not just the decking.

“It’s not just a case of coming along and pulling the thing out, they were put there to last.”

The council, along with ABP and the Crown Estate, is seeking proposals to ensure a permanent and improved site for the International Boat Show and better public pedestrian access to the waterfront.

The 60-acre development could feature offices, hotels, restaurants, shops, luxury flats, marina, indoor arena and a Las Vegas-style casino.

Councillor Royston Smith, deputy leader of the council, said July 18 was the deadline for developers to submit their bids.

“The collapse of the pier demonstrates how important it is that we get the remains pulled down and replaced with something that people will be proud of,” he said.

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