Who has really been responsible for the demise?

PUBLISHED: 09:57 22 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:19 24 May 2010

I REFER to your report concerning the Weston Lifeboat proposing to move to a mainland site at Anchor Head. Yet again Mike Davies, the local spokesman for the National Piers Society, is reported as saying that if the RNLI move from Birnbeck it will be the

I REFER to your report concerning the Weston Lifeboat proposing to move to a mainland site at Anchor Head. Yet again Mike Davies, the local spokesman for the National Piers Society, is reported as saying that if the RNLI move from Birnbeck it will be the "last nail in the coffin for the Old Pier". What utter rubbish.Perhaps he should review the history of the pier since the early 1970s to see who has really been responsible for the demise of Birnbeck Pier. Each of the owners has put forward grandiose ideas and proposals to restore the structure yet not one of them has started, let alone completed any major re-construction and restoration work, including the present owners. Yet throughout this period the RNLI have continued to operate from there in the hope that it may eventually be restored to its former glory. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to visit the Lifeboat Station on several occasions to present donations raised locally. It has always been apparent to me that the RNLI have regularly spent large amounts of money in maintaining the boathouse and slipway to a high standard and during the last 10 years they have also had to construct a walkway complete with lighting and handrails along the whole length of the pier to ensure continued safe access for their crews in spite of the crumbling state of the pier structure itself. If it were not for this safe walkway Mr Davies and others would be unable to access the island except at low water on the bigger spring tides.Unfortunately the RNLI is now faced with a massive expenditure if they are to carry out re-construction of their launching slipway following an in-depth survey carried out by their structural engineers. It must be obvious to anyone that such an expenditure of public donations could not be contemplated unless long-term access to the site could be guaranteed for the volunteer lifeboat crews.Imagine spending upwards of half a million pounds to rebuild the slipway and then the pier collapsed within five years! If Weston is to continue to enjoy peace of mind in knowing that their lifeboat service can still operate a 24/7 rescue facility for residents and visitors they must be prepared to support a possible move to a mainland site and more modern launching facilities as a matter of urgency.I wish the RNLI and our local lifeboat station every success in acquiring a new site and they can be sure of my continued support in helping to raise funds for such a worthy cause.M J HOWE - Milton Road, Weston

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