Council makes £1 bid for Birnbeck Pier

The owners of Birnbeck Pier have been offered £1 to avoid it being bought using a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

CNM Estates had been issued with a CPO after failing to carry out repairs to the grade-II listed pier.

North Somerset Council has made the £1 bid sell in order to avoid it being forcibly taken into public ownership.

Speaking to BBC Radio Bristol, councillor Don Davies, leader of the council, said the condition of the pier made him want to ‘weep’.

Cllr Davies said: “I’ll deliver the pound coin personally if it makes it any quicker.

“As part of the CPO process, we wrote to the owner and made an offer for a voluntary sale, so they don’t have to pay for legal costs themselves.

“This could save 18 months of effort, and this nominal sum will mean we can get down to the hard work of getting the pier back to the state it should be.”

CNM, which has owned the pier since 2014, said it will listen to ‘any constructive suggestions’ for the ‘truly amazing’ landmark and it would like to see the RNLI and public access return.

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Company chairman Wahid Samady said: “CNM Estates will listen to any constructive suggestions on the regeneration of Birnbeck Pier and island, and would like to see the RNLI lifeboat station and other uses returned and for the public to enjoy this truly amazing location.

“Planning applications to kickstart the repair works and the regeneration will be submitted shortly.”

The council agreed to press ahead with the CPO in July, which would take place as part of an immediate transfer of property to the RNLI, which will move its life-saving operations back to the island.

MORE: Process of acquiring Birnbeck Pier begins.

The authority originally served a repairs notice to CNM in September 2019 after it had ‘exhausted all other options’ to encourage the owner to improve the condition of the crumbling pier.

Council members asked officers to make a ‘reasonable offer’ to CNM as part of a private purchase, to avoid the CPO process and speed the renovation of the pier up exponentially. This would be a back-to-back deal with the RNLI.

MORE: Weston reacts to ‘exciting’ rescue plan for much-loved pier.

The life-saving charity spent more than 130 years operating lifeboats from the pier but left the island in 2014 due to health and safety concerns.