RNLI making plans to return to Weston's Birnbeck Pier

image source, Getty Images
image captionNorth Somerset Council offered the owners £1 to sell the pier and avoid it being forcibly taken into public ownership in July

A life-saving charity wants to carry out structural assessments of Weston's derelict Birnbeck Pier ahead of its potential return to the site.

The RNLI was based at the pier for 131 years before leaving in 2013.

North Somerset Council has issued the pier's owners, CNM, with a compulsory purchase order (CPO), and both CNM and the RNLI have submitted applications to carry out surveys on the structure.

The Grade II Listed pier is on Historic England's at-risk register.

In its application for listed building consent, the RNLI said it wanted to survey the pier in order to move its plans to the design stage, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The charity has previously outlined proposals to remove the crumbling support structures and create a visitor centre, walkway and gift shop.

image source, Rob Farrow/Geograph
image captionThe 153-year-old Victorian pier has been closed to the public since 1994

Mike Buckland, volunteer lifeboat operations manager for Weston RNLI, said: "After many years of investigations into the feasibility of other sites, we are confident that Birnbeck is the safest and most effective place by quite some margin.

"It is the only place we can provide a life-saving service at all states of tide."

North Somerset Council served the pier's owners CNM Estates with a repairs notice in September 2019 and the CPO was issued in February.

CNM Estates applied for listed building consent last month in order to carry out inspections and "safeguard" the pier's future. 

The application said: "Since the issuing of the repairs notice, CNM Estates have sought to prioritise the required works to ensure that those works with the most immediate priority are undertaken to prevent any further loss of structure."

Both applications for permission to carry out work on the pier will be considered by North Somerset Council.

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