Dangerous Birnbeck Pier jetty to be knocked down?

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 July 2016

Birnbeck Pier's crumbling north jetty. Photo by Neil O'Donoghue.

Birnbeck Pier's crumbling north jetty. Photo by Neil O'Donoghue.

Archant

The owner of Weston-super-Mare's Birnbeck Pier has applied for permission to demolish the pier's north jetty, after it was irreparably damaged by storms at the end of last year.

CNM Estates wants to pull down the jetty and five trestle piers attached to it, but plans to maintain the landing stage at the end of the walkway to use again once the entire pier complex is restored.

According to CNM and its planning agent Indigo, any proposal to repair the jetty would be too expensive and could jeopardise plans to restore the main pier.

In its design and access statement, CNM said: “The north jetty poses an immediate safety risk to the public which must be resolved and any proposal to retain and repair or restore the structure would involve considerable expense, for which there is no funding available.

“Securing funding for restoration of any part of the complex, of which the most important is the grade II*-listed promenade, is dependent on developing a long-term viable use and the focus of such funds should be on this more significant element.

“The public benefit of bringing the promenade itself back into use, thus allowing access to the island again, would outweigh the harm caused by loss of the deck and trestle piers of the north jetty.”

CNM chairman Wahid Samady would not reveal the details of his plan for Birnbeck when asked to do so by the Mercury, but said he had a strong team working alongside both North Somerset Council and Historic England to complete the jetty works.

However, the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust – which wants to completely restore the pier and build a multi-use event centre on the island – said it is important the public remembers the complexity of the project.

In response to claims made in the design and access statement about the trust’s apparent lack of success, project director Richie Griffin said progress had stalled due to a lack of engagement from previous owners.

Mr Griffin told the Mercury: “The trust could never position itself to gain the backing to restore the pier.

“CNM Estates has said publicly it is committed to working with the trust to save the pier and its heritage – we are on a long road and we hope CNM stays committed to work with us on that road.

“Everyone needs to remember the heritage significance of the site and carrying out work on listed buildings takes many approvals, so before any work is carried out, there are a number of hoops which we, as a trust, need to jump through.”

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