Weston reacts to 'important' repairs notice served to Birnbeck Pier owners

PUBLISHED: 06:55 16 September 2019

North Somerset Council has issued CNM Estates with a repairs notice to improve Birnbeck Pier. Picture: Henry Woodsford

North Somerset Council has issued CNM Estates with a repairs notice to improve Birnbeck Pier. Picture: Henry Woodsford

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Weston's MP has said the serving of a repairs notice to the 'useless' owners of Birnbeck Pier is 'an important next step'.

The North Jetty at Birnbeck Pier. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe North Jetty at Birnbeck Pier. Picture: Henry Woodsford

North Somerset Council served a repairs notice to the private owner of the pier, CNM Estates, on Tuesday.

The authority, working with Historic England, has 'exhausted all other options' to encourage the owner to improve the condition of the pier.

John Penrose was pleased by the council's action.

The derelict main building at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe derelict main building at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry Woodsford

He said: "This is an important next step in ratcheting up the pressure on the dreadful, useless owners of Birnbeck Pier.

"They've been sitting on it for years, doing nothing while it slowly falls into the sea.

"It's time for them to act, or to stand aside for new owners who will. Full marks to Historic England and the council for turning up the heat."

The north jetty at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe north jetty at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry Woodsford

Cllr Robert Payne, who is a Birnbeck Regeneration Trust member, added: "I am delighted the council is at last taking this issue seriously.

"It has been so disappointing and frustrating for those of us who value Weston's heritage that the council had, for decades, ignored the decline of this most important asset.

"While the ownership of the pier and island has been, and remains, a challenge, it was always possible for the council to take action against the owners, which I am so pleased it now has done."

CNM Estates has two months to respond to the notice.

Should that period expire without a response, the council will then agree a future course of action with relevant parties.

The derelict main building at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe derelict main building at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry Woodsford

CNM chairman, Wahid Samady, told the Mercury: "We have only just received the documents and will pass them on to our advisors.

"We need to look at these in some detail and we will pick it up from there in the next two months."

The grade-II listed pier has been closed since 1994 and is noted as being in 'very bad condition' by Historic England and is in 'immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric'.

The derelict main building at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe derelict main building at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry Woodsford

MORE: Pier to be repaired?

Hillside ward councillor John Crockford-Hawley said: "We have reached a critical point where CNM Estates has had Birnbeck for seven years and done absolutely nothing with it, hopefully this will now change.

"The new council takes its heritage responsibility seriously, for the first time in a long while things are looking positive."

The derelict main building at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry WoodsfordThe derelict main building at Birnbeck Island. Picture: Henry Woodsford

The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust was 'delighted' with the announcement.

Its spokesman said: "It's been a long journey for the trust, supported by the Friends of the Old Pier Society, throughout the past three years to secure a positive future for the whole site.

"It is great news to finally see a positive action that will help to protect the future of Birnbeck."

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