Delight at sale of 'neglected' pier

PUBLISHED: 06:16 26 September 2011 | UPDATED: 09:06 26 September 2011

(click on image for larger view)Birnbeck Pier.

(click on image for larger view)Birnbeck Pier.

Archant

THE sale of a derelict Weston pier to an ambitious business duo with big plans has been welcomed by a piers watchdog.

On Thursday, the Mercury reported how Wahid Samady and Michael Ross had signed a contract confirming they had taken control of Birnbeck Pier.

The duo paid a ‘significant’ sum to buy the landmark from Urban Splash, a firm which had seen its own regeneration plans flounder during the recession.

Mr Samady and Mr Ross told the Mercury they wanted to move swiftly to finalise plans and revamp the pier into ‘something special’.

Since then, Tim Phillips, chairman of the National Piers Society, has told the Mercury he is excited to see new plans to revitalise the attraction.

He said: “The National Piers Society is delighted to hear that Birnbeck Pier and island have been sold, after previous owner Urban Splash South West’s initial enthusiasm failed to produce a viable redevelopment scheme.

“he Grade II* listed pier structure, designed by Eugenius Birch and opened in 1867, has been at the top of the National Piers Society’ list of threatened piers, and also on English Heritage’ Buildings At Risk register, since Urban Splash announced that they were unable to restore it, owing to current economic conditions.

“We look forward to seeing the Samady/Ross proposals, as particularly being adjoining owners they can see a bigger picture for this neglected part of the town.

“We look forward to working with them to ensure this unique pier is restored to its former glory.”

Mr Samady also won planning permission this week to revamp the former Royal Pier Hotel site, just yards from the pier.

The former hotel was gutted by fire and demolished a year ago, and will now be revamped as up-market apartments, cafes and a museum.

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