Weston-super-Mare's Birnbeck Pier has been given a lifeline by North Somerset Council.

Working with Historic England, the council has begun work to secure the future of the pier by considering a Compulsory Purchase Order.

The council previously served a repairs notice to the private owner of the pier in September 2019, advising that urgent repairs were needed.

Since the owner did not produce evidence of impending repairs, Historic England has allocated a grant to the council of £127,000 for a compulsory purchase of the Grade II* listed structure.

We have given the pier’s owner the opportunity to take reasonable steps to preserve it. This has not happened, so we are now looking at all options. We shall continue to work with Historic England exploring options for securing the repair and preservation of the pier, including the potential for a Compulsory Purchase Order. We will work with any parties that have an interest in Birnbeck, with a view to securing agreement for the preservation and repair of the pier.

Cllr Don Davies
Credit: ITV West Country

The Birnbeck Restoration Trust has advocated the repair of the pier since 2004, but has struggled to raise sufficient funds and support.

Built between 1864 and 1867, the pier was once a centre of entertainment in its heyday, with a funfair including a shooting gallery, a merry-go-round and other attractions.

Since the 1980s, Birnbeck Pier has become increasingly derelict. In 2015, the RNLI had to move away from their launch site on Birnbeck Island and last year, the RLNI were repeatedly called out to rescue stranded walkers who had crossed the pier.