Birnbeck Pier owners to reveal regeneration plans
- Credit: Archant
The owners of Birnbeck Pier say plans for its regeneration will be revealed soon after councillors voted to force its sale.
CNM Estates say they will listen to ‘any constructive suggestions’ for the ‘truly amazing’ landmark and it would like to see the RNLI and public access return.
North Somerset Council unanimously agreed to begin the compulsory purchase order (CPO) process on the grade II-listed pier on July 14, saying it was ‘the last chance to save it from falling into the sea’.
The authority will give CNM one final opportunity to sell it voluntarily before serving the order.
Company chairman Wahid Samady said: “CNM Estates will listen to any constructive suggestions on the regeneration of Birnbeck Pier and island, and would like to see the RNLI lifeboat station and other uses returned and for the public to enjoy this truly amazing location.
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“Planning applications to kickstart the repair works and the regeneration will be submitted shortly.”
The CPO will not be served until CNM is given a time-limited opportunity to voluntarily sell the pier to the council for its market value, plus reasonable transaction costs.
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CNM asked councillors to delay, saying it was better placed than the RNLI to carry out the necessary repairs.
If it is not willing to sell, the council will proceed with the compulsory purchase.
The council served CNM with a repairs notice in September but officers said there was little evidence any work had been carried out.
A report to the meeting said the company had only agreed to address four of the 25 issues identified in a repairs notice served last year.
Cllr Ash Cartman said: “It’s extremely sad it’s come to this. Property rights come with responsibilities.
“Hopefully this sends a message to other people who own heritage assets that they have a responsibility to the wider public to look after these and not just let them fall apart and degrade.”
Cllr Robert Payne added: “Birnbeck is probably the most important heritage site in the Weston area and it is for this council to enforce the listed building status.
“It seems pretty obvious to me that the pier has no commercial viability and that’s why all the various owners over the past 40 years or so haven’t been able to achieve anything there at all.
“So this solution is the only realistic way forward and it would secure the restoration of the pier, allow public access and maintain the vital life-saving at sea the RNLI do.”