A CITY restaurant owner is calling on the council to turn a waterfront park into a beach.

Kuti Miah has described the city waterfront as horrible and ugly.

The 60-year-old owner of Kuti’s Brasserie in Mayflower Park says he is a man of Southampton and loves the city.

However, he complains the waterfront is plagued by “rats and rubbish”.

Based at the Royal Pier Gate House he suggests rebuilding the pier so visitors can watch ships dock.

Kuti wants to see the waterside park transformed to house boutique shops, coffee bars and restaurants.

He believes “people would come from all over” to visit.

Kuti said: “The waterfront looks horrible. I want to rebuild a pier.

“Why don’t they [the council] make it a beach.”

At the site since 2018, he believes a revamp would create a “lot of business for the city”.

Kuti is inviting the council to discuss the proposal and is “thinking about launching a campaign” to back the idea.

He added: “I need the Council to help me, so we can get together to do good for the city.

“The Southampton [Royal] Pier burned in 1987 and since then, nothing has been done.

“It’s been neglected and nothing is happening on the waterfront. It’s a beautiful waterfront being wasted as it is not being used properly.”

The Royal Pier was damaged by fire in 1987 and then again in 1992.

It had previously been closed after being deemed both unsafe and uneconomical.

Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City & Place said: “We are exploring the potential of closing some of the Mayflower Park car parking area for a temporary timeframe in order to establish what impact it has on the dynamic of visitors to the Park. At this time, there has been no decision made to close any of the car parking area and we are exploring options with local stakeholders and residents. One of these options is to introduce a reduction in car parking spaces along the southern edge of the park to enhance the waterside access and environment for all park users.

"As part of our Green City Plan we are keen to ensure that the city’s many parks and open spaces are primarily areas to be enjoyed on foot or by bike. The Mayflower Park car park area needs to be safeguarded from becoming an overflow parking area for customers waiting for the Isle of Wight ferry service, despite the best efforts of Red Funnel to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

"In the longer term, Mayflower Park sits within the Mayflower Quarter regeneration area which plans to reconnect the waterfront with the city centre."

The Mayflower Quarter regeneration area includes land between Southampton Central train station and the waterfront and will link the two.

The exact boundaries of the quarter are yet to be confirmed, however, a masterplan up to 2040 is being prepared.

Leader of Southampton City Council, Christopher Hammond previously said the regeneration would showcase a modern, vibrant city to visitors and residents from the UK and beyond.