Birnbeck developer owes £100k council debt

Birnbeck Presentation

Birnbeck Presentation - Credit: Archant

THE businessman who wants to rebuild Birnbeck Pier still owes North Somerset Council more than £100,000 for its work in demolishing the Royal Pier Hotel after it was gutted by fire three years ago.

The hotel was destroyed and subsequently demolished at taxpayers’ expense but Wahid Samady and CNM Estates have yet to pay the bill.

A council spokesman said Mr Samady’s debt is £102,939.64 plus interest. A statutory demand for the money has been issued.

Mr Samady unveiled plans to develop the Birnbeck area last week despite having been told by the council his plans were unacceptable. He called on the authority to explain what financially deliverable scheme it would accept.

The council’s spokesman said there were a number of reasons why it had opposed the scheme ahead of a formal planning application.

He said: “Although the council was keen to support the regeneration of the pier and its surrounding area, the proposals, following consultation with English Heritage, did not appear to have regard for the heritage and conservation requirements in either national and local planning policy.

“The height and bulk of the proposals was such it was considered that the setting of the pier would be significantly harmed and the views, especially from Prince Consort Gardens and adjacent roads, would be ruined.

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“Both the ‘fingers’ and the buildings on the island were proposed to be built out over the sea. This area is covered by national and international environmental designations and concern was expressed that such proposals could harm the important wildlife in the area. The proposal for the island would also remove important historical features and limit public access.”

Mr Samady said last week the Environment Agency and Natural England had given him the ‘amber light’ which he believes proves they are happy enough with the plans as they stand.