North Somerset Council: We will ‘keep watch’ on Birnbeck Pier’s owners

PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 January 2017

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

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

Archant

North Somerset Council has vowed to keep a close eye on Birnbeck Pier’s owners, after a legal row caused work to demolish part of the Weston-super-Mare pier ground to a halt just one day after it began.

CNM Estates, which owns Birnbeck, was granted permission last year to rip down the pier’s north jetty after it partially collapsed during storms at the end of 2015.

Contractors were seen at the site on January 5 creating a roadway from the top of the cliff down to Birnbeck Island, and tonnes of shingle was dumped on the cliff-face – which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – in the process.

However, workmen were ordered to down tools after the council intervened the next day and claimed CNM did not have the proper permissions needed to create the access road.

The Mercury understands discussions between the council and CNM are still ongoing.

The council’s deputy leader, Elfan Ap Rees, said there were various ways CNM could have carried out the demolition, but its chosen actions were ‘not satisfactory’.

Cllr Ap Rees told the council at a meeting on Tuesday: “What they (CNM) have chosen to do is try to plan a roadway from (the former restaurant) Cosa Nostra across to the shingle part of Birnbeck Island.

“We have challenged that on the basis we are not sure they have got the necessary permissions in place.

“It is not a satisfactory situation by any means and I really do not understand why they would want to make people so cross.”

Council chairman John Crockford-Hawley also claimed CNM did not understand the difference between straightforward planning permission and listed building consent, which is what CNM was granted to rip down the jetty.

Cllr Crockford-Hawley said: “The permission to demolish the jetty was a listed building consent – it is not a planning application. I think there is a misunderstanding from the applicants as to the difference between the two. We are keeping watch on it.”

The Mercury asked CNM whether it had the proper permissions needed for the jetty demolition and construction of the access road, but did not receive a response.

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