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Birnbeck plans compared to Alcatraz

PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 November 2013

Birnbeck Presentation

Birnbeck Presentation

Archant

PROPOSED villas on Birnbeck Island have been described as an ‘eyesore’ and likened to Alcatraz prison.

Wahid Samady exclusively revealed his vision to resurrect Birnbeck Pier in last week’s Mercury, with 15-20 villas on the island and about 170 flats jutting out from the mainland.

However his plans have been heavily criticised by his former business partner, a councillor and the majority of Mercury readers.

Mr Samady said the scale of development is necessary to generate £10million profit which would pay for the pier’s repair and his design would help put the town back on the map.

Cllr John Crockford-Hawley was shown the plans months ago by Mr Samady but he had to promise not to reveal them to the public in return.

He said: “For more than two decades we’ve seen one ridiculous scheme follow another.

“While any successful business at the pier will be dependent upon income generation I’m afraid this Samady plan would create an eyesore of such enormity that the historic pier itself would sink into architectural oblivion.”

Jim Scott, Mr Samady’s former business partner and joint-owner of the former Royal Pier Hotel, was equally critical.

He said: “The island development seems to have been draw up by the same architect who designed Alcatraz.

“Maybe it could be used as a prison when nobody buys what will be overpriced luxury apartments in the middle of the murky Bristol Channel and the three fingers on stilts idea seems to have been cobbled together to resemble a Vietnamese fishing village.”

An online poll run on the Mercury website showed 47 per cent of readers were in favour of Mr Samady’s proposal. But comments left online and posted on the Mercury’s Facebook page were almost unanimously critical.

Messages described Mr Samady’s vision as ‘pie in the sky’, ‘disgusting’ and a ‘monstrosity’.

Concerns over whether there would be enough parking - despite Mr Samady saying the bottom floor of each block of flats would have room for vehicles - and accessibility for emergency vehicles were also raised.

Cllr Crockford-Hawley added: “There is only one way forward and that is for the pier to pass into charitable hands with substantial Heritage Lottery Fund involvement.

“The alternative lies in the muddy depths below.”

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