Future of the lifeboat station

THE NEWS that the owners of Birnbeck Island and Pier, Urban Splash, are open to suggestion on the future of the pier is disappointing.

THE NEWS that the owners of Birnbeck Island and Pier, Urban Splash, are 'open to suggestion' on the future of the pier is disappointing.

Urban Splash have a reputation for innovative projects and for taking on schemes that other developers fear to touch. Their acquisition of Birnbeck in 2006 was good news after decades of neglect and inaction by previous private owners.

But the current economic climate does not favour substantial and expensive residential-led development. And perhaps the challenges of dealing with a listed historic structure are proving too much for the Manchester-based firm.

Can we afford to wait for the economy to improve or for the project to reach the top of the 'to-do' list of Urban Splash bosses? Because the fact is that for too long Birnbeck simply has not been at the top of anyone's list of priorities - and it should be.


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My immediate concern is the future of the RNLI Lifeboat Station at Birnbeck. The station has been based at Birnbeck for 127 years, but its future has never been more uncertain.

Recent events have once again proven, if any proof were required, that our lifeboat crew do an absolutely vital job. We cannot allow the uncertainty over the future of Brinbeck to put their work at risk in any way.

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My appeal to Urban Splash - and indeed anyone interested in the future of Birnbeck Island and Pier - is that regardless of whether their intention is to sell or to hold on, to act decisively and avoid the uncertainty and delay that has dogged so many major projects in Weston over the last few decades.

Local people - least of all the RNLI - need mixed messages and decisions like a hole in the head.

MIKE BELL

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Weston

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