Crumbling Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare could be taken out of private ownership and handed to the RNLI
Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare could be taken out of private ownership and handed to the RNLI.
The Grade II listed pier has been falling into the sea following years of decline and North Somerset Council encouraged the owner to make repairs in September 2019 by serving a repairs notice.
The local authority will launch a Compulsory Purchase Order in July in a process that could take 18 months to complete until confirmation is received from the Secretary of State.
Birnbeck is unique because it is the only pier in the country to connect the mainland to an island.
It was built between 1862 and 1867 and moved onto Historic England’s national at-risk register in 1999 after closing to the public five years earlier.
In late 2019, the RNLI began initial conversations with the council and Historic England on the possibility of the charity moving back to the Island and a transfer of ownership.
During the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries the pier was popular with locals and tourists as a boarding point for steamers plying their trade in the Bristol Channel.
During the Second World War the pier was used by the navy for research into new weapons and, although it later reopened for excursions, visitor and steamer passenger numbers steadily declined.
Don Davies, leader of the council, added: “Clearly there is a lot of work to do to restore the pier and re-establish the lifeboat station back to its original home. We would like to thank Historic England for their ongoing support... and look forward to seeing this historic structure reopened to the public, as well as providing vital lifesaving to North Somerset.”