Call to protect gardens may hit future of Birnbeck Pier

PUBLISHED: 06:48 03 June 2013

Birnbeck Pier.

Birnbeck Pier.


COUNCILLORS have been urged not to 'destroy' Weston for future generations, ahead of a meeting which could have major ramifications for Birnbeck Pier.

The Prince Consort Gardens may be given town green status by North Somerset Council on Wednesday, to help protect it.

If the area is given town green status, it would prevent development of the Birnbeck Road site and anywhere that would spoil the views from it.

The self-claimed owner of Birnbeck Pier, Wahid Samady, wants to build a mixture of residential and retail buildings in the area to fund the pier’s estimated £10million restoration.

But in April he told the Mercury his plans – which remain secret at present – would affect the views of the Severn Estuary currently enjoyed from the gardens.

He said: “People want no blocked views, the pier rebuilt and the island restored. The things are mutually exclusive.”

Brian Wilkinson, chairman of the Friends of Prince Consort Gardens (FOPCG), urged councillors to grant the order, even if it scuppers plans for redeveloping the area.

He said: “A total of 210 people completed the necessary evidence questionnaire and we submitted this application in November 2012.

“Weston Town Council across all parties voted for this and now we must see how North Somerset will deal with this.

“Locally, this space is important for the many flat dwellers in nearby Victorian properties.

“You can build buildings but you can’t build a view, only destroy it for future generations.

“The aim of FOPCG is to maintain the gardens and protect the view. Last year the community contributed more than 600 man hours of work and we would not see any part of the gardens lost to one person’s business opportunity.”

A decision will be made at the planning and regulatory committee meeting at Weston’s Town Hall on Wednesday at 4pm.

Ward member John Crockford-Hawley, who is not a member of the committee, said the former Flagstaff Hill had been made to look ‘delightful’ by volunteers and should remain unspoilt.

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