A DATE has been set for the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) Inquiry regarding the transfer of Birnbeck Pier to North Somerset Council.

The CPO will take place between August 8 and August 10, 2023, and has been confirmed by The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

In 2020, the CPO was served to the pier's private owner, but they then asked the courts for a stay, meaning that the CPO has not yet been through the formal inquiry process.

The current owner withdrew his case last November, meaning that the formal CPO process can now go ahead.

Cllr Mark Canniford, executive member for spatial planning, placemaking and economy at North Somerset Council said: “We’ve been working towards this point for three years and we’re grateful that our case to acquire and restore the pier can finally be heard. 

"We have developed proposals to restore the Grade II pier and many of the associated buildings, allow the RNLI to use the site once again and the public to visit.

"This will be transformational to the town and its future. We are very grateful to our partners and funders, RNLI, Historic England, Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Levelling Up Fund.”

John Crockford-Hawley, North Somerset Council councillor and Heritage champion, said: “I’m thrilled we are a huge step closer to renovating Birnbeck Pier and seeing it in use once again. Currently it is on Historic England’s National Building Risk Register.

"The Pier was designed by Eugenius Birch, the noted Victorian engineer, and is Grade II* listed with five further Grade II structures and buildings located on the island and the landward end of the site."

There will be three phases of funding for the pier. These include:

  • Emergency funding from the National Heritage Memorial Funds of £3.55m, which will be used to strengthen the pier's 'legs' and create a temporary walkway onto the island.
  • The first payment of £234,760 from a £4.525m funding pot from the National Heritage Lottery Fund to develop detailed proposals for the restoration and reuse of Birnbeck's buildings.
  • A payment of £4.4m from the government's Levelling Up Fund. 

The CPO inquiry will take place at 10am at the Grand Atlantic Hotel. An outcome is expected to be heard in autumn.