Birnbeck to be handed back?

HISTORIC Birnbeck Pier in Weston could be handed to the trust set up to save it as part of an effort to get millions of pounds to rebuild it. Negotiations between specialist developer and owner Urban Splash and Weston's Birnbeck Regeneration Trust are ong

HISTORIC Birnbeck Pier in Weston could be handed to the trust set up to save it as part of an effort to get millions of pounds to rebuild it.Negotiations between specialist developer and owner Urban Splash and Weston's Birnbeck Regeneration Trust are ongoing over whether the trust should takeover the pier.If the trust took over the running of the pier, it would be able to bid for multi-million pound grants, which it hopes would stop the iconic structure from crumbling into the sea. As Urban Splash, which bought the pier in September last year, is a private company, it cannot bid for these grants.The trust firmly believes bidding for these grants, possibly from the lottery, is the last chance for saving the pier, one of the oldest in the world and the only pier in the world attached to an island.The two organisations appear keen to work together to save the pier, with Urban Splash wanting to create significant commercial development on Birnbeck Island. Exactly what its plans are is still unclear.The two groups are also negotiating whether the trust would either completely take over the pier or lease it from Urban Splash.The trust is made up of representatives of bodies such as Weston Town Council, North Somerset Council and the Friends of the Old Pier Society. It will holds its next full meeting at the end of the month when it hopes negotiations will be nearing a close.Exactly what the trust would control, whether it is just the pier or perhaps the foreshore of the island as well, is still undecided.Trust member Robert Payne, who represents Weston Town Council on the group, said: "It is pleasing that Birnbeck is now at last owned by a credible development company, and I remain hopeful the pier and the associated historic buildings can be restored by a partnership between Urban Splash and the trust."It would seem this is the last chance to save Birnbeck, and I hope that we can all work with the company to provide a lasting solution for the benefit of the town.


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