Homes not casion in Birnbeck rescue bid

PUBLISHED: 06:33 22 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:44 24 May 2010

THE decaying Birnbeck Pier in Weston could have a saviour - a mystery company that has shown an interest in the faded structure. Owner Peter Lay has spent thousands of pounds registering the pier with the Land Registry to make it easier for the company to

THE decaying Birnbeck Pier in Weston could have a saviour - a mystery company that has shown an interest in the faded structure.Owner Peter Lay has spent thousands of pounds registering the pier with the Land Registry to make it easier for the company to buy it.He says representatives of the firm, a British developer with a history of heritage redevelopment projects which does not want to be identified, have visited the pier several times and the company should decide if it wants the site in the next few weeks.He said any rescue package for the pier is likely to include housing element, but not a gambling venue. The RNLI would be guaranteed access to its station on the island.The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust was set up by several organisations including North Somerset Council to save the pier and is in the process of putting together a lottery bid to restore it.Mr Lay said: "It's time to pass the pier on to an organisation that can offer solutions to its problems."Unfortunately the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust hasn't come up with solutions and doesn't have the resources at the moment to preserve it. Until it has there's very little we can do with it."The developer has lots of experience working with English Heritage and on significant heritage conservation projects."I would like to think a deal could be met in the next few weeks or it won't happen at all, but I'm very guarded because we've been here before."It's dreadfully disappointing when nothing materialises, but the firm seems to be genuine and we are talking to an organisation with a track record."It is aware that the pier is the country's most important unresolved restoration project and will need to be restored."It will need to find a way to do it in a viable and sustainable way. I don't know details of the plans but I haven't heard anything about gambling. I think there will be residential development because it lends itself to it and generates significant value."He said another interested party James Scott, was not behind the latest developments.National Pier Society South West representative Mike Davies said: "At the moment the pier is in a dire state and if someone is going to make it safe then that's fantastic. If it's left as it is, it is going to rot and disappear.

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