Storms leave pier walkway on brink of collapse

PUBLISHED: 15:12 10 January 2015 | UPDATED: 15:12 10 January 2015

The walkway, on the right-hand side, looks ready to collapse.

The walkway, on the right-hand side, looks ready to collapse.

Archant

HIGH winds over the past 24 hours have caused fresh damage to Weston's derelict Birnbeck Pier - with one walkway now seemingly on the verge of collapsing.

The damaged walkway appears to be on the brink of collapse.The damaged walkway appears to be on the brink of collapse.

The town was buffeted overnight by winds of around 40mph, while gusts from the sea are likely to have been substantially stronger.

Those winds look to have led to further damage to an already-dangerous pier boardwalk, which has suffered major subsidence and appears set to fall into the sea.

Pier debris litters the rocks beneath the boardwalk.Pier debris litters the rocks beneath the boardwalk.

Several readers have contacted the Mercury today to express their sadness at the fate of the pier, which was once Weston’s key tourist attraction.

Anita Jay wrote: “After years of neglect, the pier is crumbling into the sea. Can nothing be done?”

The pier has suffered years of neglect.The pier has suffered years of neglect.

And Trish Edwards added: “So upset to see the devastation that the high winds have left the walkway this morning.”

The condition of the pier has long been a concern for Weston people and key town figures, as a series of ambitious redevelopment projects have failed to safeguard its future.

Last year, the RNLI ended its 131-year association with the pier after crews felt it was no longer safe to use the crumbling boardwalk to get to their base on the island.

Back in October, Birnbeck was sold by Urban Splash to developer Wahid Samady, though his most recent proposal – which includes substantial residential development on Birnbeck Island – has failed to win the support of North Somerset Council.

The council’s deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees has since described the pier as ‘a serious health and safety concern’ – a worry which is likely to have been increased by the fresh storm damage.

The Met Office has warned the stormy weather is likely to continue for several days with ‘strong winds and sharp rain’ affecting all parts of the South West – though whether Birnbeck’s crumbling walkway will still be intact at the end of the storms remains to be seen.

* Do you think Birnbeck Pier can still be saved? What could or should be done with the site? Share your views below.

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