Birnbeck's future could be decided by independent company as owner hands over control of Royal Pier Hotel site
PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:10 19 September 2017
An 'independent' company will now decide what should happen to Weston-super-Mare's derelict Royal Pier Hotel site after years of inaction by its owner - and may also have a say in Birnbeck Pier's future.
CNM Estates, run by Wahid Samady, owns both the deteriorating pier and Royal Pier Hotel.
The bank which loaned £2million for the hotel site is now trying to recoup its money as CNM’s plans to build luxury apartments, bars and restaurants there have not come to fruition.
The hotel was destroyed by fire in 2010, and North Somerset Council paid £103,000 to demolish the unsafe structure – money which has never been repaid by Mr Samady.
Mr Samady confirmed to the Mercury this week that the council will now have to resolve the debt with a third party company, which will decide what should happen to the Royal Pier Hotel site – and will also assess the future of Birnbeck Pier.
Mr Samady said: “After 11 years of owning the Royal Pier Hotel and at a very significant cost it appears we have failed to find a solution that would lead to its delivery.
“Obviously all parties are very frustrated, including our bank. And I am sure other stakeholders are just as frustrated too.”
Notices have gone up around the Royal Pier Hotel site, in Marine Parade, which suggest a company had taken it over, and it has been confirmed the property firm CBRE is now responsible for what will happen next.
Mr Samady said his firm still owns the land and he has invested close to £4million into it.
A planning application in 2011 for luxury apartments, bars and restaurants was approved, but the final agreements were never signed, meaning building consent was ultimately never issued.
Mr Samady said CBRE was chosen by CNM and the bank Investec – which loaned £2million towards the site in 2007 – to decide on the next steps.
CNM Estates also owns Birnbeck Pier, and Mr Samady told the Mercury CBRE may look at the future of the two sites together to see if this will ‘accelerate development’.
Mr Samady said: “We feel an independent credible third party can engage with the council and other stakeholders to see whether a solution which reflects in the regeneration of that area could be forthcoming. Or not.
“It’s with some sadness and regret I have recognised we have not been able to find a solution which would be satisfactory to all involved. We believe there is not sufficient understanding for the viability of a scheme, without which delivery and funding will not be forthcoming.
“Whoever the developer is, and we at CNM still obviously own the site, we would hope that this next step can be the catalyst to bring some resolution which results in the sale of the site or the redevelopment of it.”
North Somerset Council is owed £103,000, plus interest, from CNM Estates for the demolition of the Royal Pier Hotel which was destroyed in a fire in 2010 and its legal department is in touch with CBRE regarding this money.
Mr Samady says the overall situation with the council has reached a ‘deadlock’ and added: “We want CBRE to find a solution... which will include resolving any residual issues with the council. They have a mandate to do that.”
What next for Birnbeck Pier?
The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust has been working with the pier’s owner, CNM Estates, about trying to restore the structure.
CNM’s chairman Wahid Samady believed developing the Royal Pier Hotel site could unlock funding for the pier. He confirmed CBRE will now be asked to work closely with the Trust, an organisation he says CNM ‘completely supports’.
The situation is somewhat complicated by the fact Birnbeck is owned by a separate company to the hotel site, although both are run by the same directors, including Mr Samady.
A Trust spokesman said: “In real terms nothing changes because they are two independent sites owned by two independent companies.
“The Trust will continue on its journey to save the pier.”