Pier sale still in the balance a year after contract exchange

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 August 2012

(click on image for larger view)Birnbeck Pier.

(click on image for larger view)Birnbeck Pier.

Archant

THE sale of Weston’s historic Birnbeck Pier has still not been completed - nearly a year after contracts were exchanged for the landmark.

Developers were due to meet with councillors yesterday (Wed) to try to find a way forward for the grade two listed site.

The Mercury reported earlier this year how concerns were raised that plans for the pier, which have remained mainly under wraps, could adversely affect some of the best views in Weston.

Both English Heritage and North Somerset Council have raised concerns that Wahid Samady’s plans for Birnbeck Pier could impact on the views from the historical Prince Consort Gardens.

The gardens were planted in the 1860s in memory of Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, Prince Consort and are a popular site for both visitors and locals.

But council deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees says he understands Mr Samady need to make the project viable as a businessman and arranged yesterday’s meeting, to also include ward councillors for the area.

He said: “The developer needs to appreciate that the view from Prince Consort Gardens is sacrosanct but we need to all sit down together and find a way forward that everyone can be happy with.”

Mr Samady says he does not believe his proposals would have a negative affect on the views. He has kept his plans close to his chest since drawing them up earlier this year, showing them only to members of official bodies and selected councillors.

The businessman, who also owns the nearby Royal Pier Hotel in Birnbeck Road, has said that one of his main objectives is to maintain the quality of views from key areas in the town.

His plans involve a rebuild of the former hotel site, which was destroyed by fire.

Cllr Ap Rees has always said he is keen to see discussions continue, even though he feels the issues are unlikely to be ironed out ‘in the near future’.

Mr Samady says he will keep the images for the seafront area secret until he knows he can fulfil the grand scheme, but has revealed the proposals include a mixture of residential and commercial use.

He joined up with fellow businessman Michael Ross last September and the pair exchanged contracts for the site with Urban Splash.


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