Birnbeck pier developer is 'biggest obstacle to its survival'

PUBLISHED: 13:58 29 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:12 29 August 2014

Royal Pier Hotel site with Birnbeck Pier in the background.

Royal Pier Hotel site with Birnbeck Pier in the background.

Archant

Weston MP John Penrose has labelled the would-be developer of Birnbeck Pier 'the biggest obstacle to its survival' and called on him to stand aside from the project.

Last week the Mercury revealed CNM Estates, which in November revealed a ‘grand plan’ to save the derelict site, has been claiming the neighbouring Royal Pier Hotel site it also owns is ‘under construction’.

The company, led by chairman Wahid Samady, received planning permission in 2011 to build 63 apartments on the remains of the hotel which was gutted by fire in 2010, but to date no development has been undertaken.

Soon after, the group agreed a deal to buy Birnbeck Pier from current owners Urban Splash and the Mercury understands it is due to pay its last instalment for the building in the autumn.

However, no plans for its future have been approved and crucial repairs were carried out earlier this year to reduce its risk of structural failure.

Weston MP John Penrose said Mr Samady should ‘stand aside’ from the project for the ‘good of the pier’, citing the lack of development at either site.

He said: “It’s been more than two years since Mr. Samady took over Birnbeck Pier and nothing has happened. Now it looks as though he has got his hands full dealing with another stalled project at the Royal Pier Hotel next door.

“That is a much simpler site and already has planning permission, so if he cannot get it going then what chance does a more complex and less-developed project like Birnbeck have?

“I share Mr Samady’s ambition to get Birnbeck sorted out, and so does the rest of Weston, but I’m afraid he’s changed from being the pier’s saviour into the biggest single obstacle to its survival.

“For the good of the pier, and the town as a whole, he should stand aside and let other developers take on the site before it is too late.”

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