Council re-affirms commitment to compulsory purchase of Birnbeck Pier
- Credit: Archant
North Somerset Council and Historic England have stated their 'unwavering commitment' to continue with the compulsory purchase order (CPO) of Birnbeck Pier as a new owner was announced for the Victorian structure.
On January 22, the owners of the pier purchased the landmark from themselves - under a different company name.
CNM Estates purchased Birnbeck island under a new entity, Birnbeck Holdings Limited. Wahid Samady is the chairman of both companies.
The council has been working for some time to secure a future for the pier and announced in June that the RNLI was looking to invest into the historic pier and move its life-saving operations back to the island, significantly improving its access to the water.
The council intends to use its legal powers to compulsory purchase the site as part of a back-to-back deal, immediately transferring the property to the RNLI.
Cllr Don Davies, leader of the council, said: “Despite the recent change of ownership to another company, the pier is still owned by the same individual who’s been in possession of it for the last decade.
"The same individual who’s allowed this historic jewel to crumble into the sea.
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“We continue to be extremely concerned about the perilous state of Birnbeck Pier and we’re unconvinced that the owner has the capacity to undertake the required restoration needed.
"We shall press ahead with the CPO, with the support of Historic England, to bring the RNLI back to the island and restore the pier and public access to this much-loved site.”
The RNLI believes returning its life-saving operations to Birnbeck Island is 'the most credible option' to enable it to provide the safest service for Weston.
Jon Ette, from Historic England, said: “It’s heart-breaking to see a magnificent structure neglected for such a sustained period.
"Historic England have put Birnbeck on the top of the Heritage at Risk Register, and we will continue to support the council to save the pier from the sea and bring it back to life, with the RNLI.”