Owner attempts to delay Birnbeck Pier compulsory purchase order, but council stands firm
- Credit: Archant
The private owner of Birnbeck Pier has put in an application to the magistrates court to put a stay on the compulsory purchase order (CPO) brought by North Somerset Council.
The council has argued in a virtual preliminary hearing, held today (Monday) at North Somerset Courthouse, in St Georges, that a stay on proceedings lodged by CNM Estates last year following the council issuing a CPO on Birnbeck Pier is no longer justified due to the fact that the current owner has not undertaken any repairs on the pier either before or since the CPO was served, and as CNM Estates no longer has a legal interest in the site, following a transfer of ownership to Birnbeck Holdings Ltd, the case should be dismissed.
The court has agreed to schedule a full hearing in March or April, with the exact date to be confirmed.
An initial stay was put in by CNM Estates. However, CNM chairman Wahid Samady - who recently sold the pier back to himself under a different company name of Birnbeck Holdings Ltd - has been in possession of the structure for over a decade with 'no substantive work' taking place to protect it.
Despite this, the owner still states that future work is to take place to restore the pier.
Leader of the council, Don Davies, said: “It appears that Mr Samady is seeking every avenue possible to delay the CPO, which is extremely disappointing.
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"The council would much prefer it if he spent his time and effort focusing on making the necessary repairs to the pier, which we highlighted in September 2019.
“If the owner is not willing or able to do what needs to be done to save this wonderful structure then they should allow the transfer of the land to take place and make way for an organisation who can.”
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The council has been working for some time to secure a future for the pier and announced in June that the RNLI was looking to invest in the historic pier and move its life-saving operations back to the island, significantly improving its access to the water.
The council intends to use its legal powers to compulsory purchase the pier site as part of a back-to-back deal, immediately transferring the property to the RNLI.
North Somerset Council and Historic England recently stated their unwavering commitment to continue with the CPO process.