Somerset

Council approves plan to purchase Birnbeck Pier

Birnbeck Pier Image copyright Rob Farrow/Geograph
Image caption Birnbeck Pier was designed by Victorian engineer Eugenius Birch

A council has agreed to press ahead with plans for a Compulsory Purchase Order to take ownership of an historic pier which has fallen into disrepair.

North Somerset Council wants to secure the future of the Grade II* listed Birnbeck Pier, Weston-super-Mare.

The council served a Repairs Notice to owner of the pier CNM Estates in September 2019 but no work has been carried out.

Historic England has allocated a grant of £127,000 to help fund the CPO.

Members of North Somerset Council voted to authorise its officers to prepare a CPO during a meeting on Wednesday.

Councillor Mark Canniford said "the can has been kicked down the road for 30 years" and the council needed to make clear to the owner that it would be taking action.

Image caption Birnbeck Pier includes an entrance gate and turnstiles, a clock tower and a lifeboat house and slipway

Leader of the Council, Councillor Don Davies, said they would welcome hearing from potential partners to work on the restoration and secure the long-term future of Birnbeck Pier.

The 153-year-old Victorian pier has been closed to the public since 1994 over safety concerns and the RNLI, which had operated there for 130 years, left in 2013.

The pier's condition is deteriorating and is a top priority on Historic England's Heritage At Risk national register.

CNM Estates said that "dialogue is continuing with key stakeholders to find a workable solution for Birnbeck".

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