Pier vision could make YOU a millionaire

A lucky designer could walk away a millionaire if they can come up with a winning blueprint for one of Weston's oldest landmarks and three

A lucky designer could walk away a millionaire if they can come up with a winning blueprint for one of Weston's oldest landmarks and three other prominent seafront sites.Manchester-based company Urban Splash, which bought Birnbeck Pier and part of the surrounding land last year, has organised a competition for people to come up with some bright ideas for developing the area. The winning designer will be rewarded with a healthy pay packet. As well as coming up with ideas for Birnbeck, budding architects have permission from North Somerset Council to include Prince Consort Gardens between Birkett Road and Upper Kewstoke Road, Madeira Road car park and an area of land next to the Pier View building on the foreshore, in their plans.Urban Splash's chief executive, Jason Collard, met with council leader Nigel Ashton and deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees last Friday.A spokesman for Urban Splash said: "There are three areas which are in local authority ownership which are being included within the competition brief. "There is no specific commitment to develop these areas or to include them in any plans related to the pier and island. "However, there is some broad recognition that they would benefit from attention at some level, so the council wished to take the opportunity to seek ideas for them."The winning designer will walk away with a prize of £25,000 and then will be paid a commission fee for their work, which Mr Collard, says could reach a figure of up to £1million.The international architectural competition, which is being run in association with the Royal Institute of British Architects, is open to individuals and teams from anywhere in the world and designs can be purely residential, commercial or a combination of both.A panel of judges has been chosen to take a closer look at the entries after the closing date of November 9. It includes representatives from organisations like The Prince's Regeneration Trust, the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) as well as Cllr Ap Rees, Birnbeck Pier Regeneration Trust and Friends of the Old Pier Society member Charles McCann and North Somerset Council's director of development and environment, David Turner.The competition will be run in two stages. A shortlist of six teams will be invited back for second stage interviews when Urban Splash will invite people living in North Somerset to comment on the finalists' designs. It is expected that an overall winner will be announced in the early months of 2008.Entries are subject to practical changes but after detailed discussion with the winning designer.Associate director of Urban Splash South West, James Howard, said: "We want to create a fantastic development with public access, new attractions and facilities to draw more residents and tourists to Weston."Since we acquired the site in September last year, a great deal of background discussion has taken place, as well as work to assess the condition of the pier."We're really hoping to attract the best architects from around the world to create a very special new Birnbeck."We have a long-term commitment to this project and our objective is quite simply to secure the best quality sustainable development, delivered to the highest architectural standards and put this historic island firmly back on the map."Competitions of this type are a tried and tested means of attracting great architectural ideas."Entrants will be given a set of guidelines they have to stick to, including that they must include some form of lifeboat station in their designs and must stick to national guidelines in relation to the listed buildings on the site.

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