Exclusive pictures of crumbling Birnbeck

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 September 2012

Taken by Tina Lloyd

Taken by Tina Lloyd

Tina Lloyd

A CONSERVATION expert who took these shocking pictures of Birnbeck Pier says the landmark has fallen into such a state of disrepair she is unsure if it can ever be saved.

Tina Lloyd gave the Mercury exclusive access to these images – showing the once-thriving attraction in a dilapidated and crumbling state.

She says her fears are that the structure could fall into the sea any day.

Tina, a historic building conservation graduate and Bath University advanced architecture PHD student, studied seaside piers as part of her dissertation for her degree.

But she says when she drove to Weston and glimpsed Birnbeck for the first time, she was ‘shocked’ at what she saw.

She says having seen the grade two listed pier up-close earlier this year when she took these photos, she is now doubtful the structure can be repaired well enough to bring it back into use.

The pier has benefited from English Heritage grants over the past few years that were used to maintain it.

Tina said: “I’m not sure that it could be repaired now. If you look at it, it only takes common sense to see that.

“The best thing for it would be for it to be brought into public ownership, like Clevedon Pier.

“It needs the local community to want it to succeed.

“I’m shocked the RNLI can continue in such conditions.”

The RNLI currently launches its lifeboats from the end of Birnbeck Pier.

But Tina says she knows those who visit the pier cross it nervously at times.

The landmark, which is currently in the process of being sold to businessmen Wahid Samady and Michael Ross, of Urban Splash, has fallen into an increasing amount of disrepair over the years.

It used to be Weston’s prime attraction, boasting theatre, shops and restaurants, but now stands as a crumbling eyesore.

Numerous developers have made promises of grand schemes for the site since it closed to the public in the early 1990s, but none have come to fruition.

National Piers Society committee member Mike Davies, who lives in Weston, told the Mercury: “This pier is the only pier in the world that connects to an island and needs to be saved for future generations to enjoy.

“The funds are available to safeguard the pier, as long as it is in the right ownership.”

For more pictures see this week’s Weston Mercury.

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