Council moves closer to buying Weston-super-Mare's Birnbeck Pier

Credit: ITV

North Somerset Council has been given a boost in its bid to buy Weston-super-Mare's Birnbeck Pier.

The pier is privately owned and has been in a state of disrepair for years.

The council has now succeeded in a court case against the owner and will be allowed to continue with a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to acquire the Grade II listed Victorian structure. 

It is expected the CPO will be completed next year, with plans already in place to restore the pier. 

Cllr Mark Canniford, Executive Member for Placemaking and Growth at North Somerset Council said: “We’re extremely pleased the case has been withdrawn and we can now begin the purchase of the pier as soon as possible.

"Following the emergency funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund of £3.55m and the National Lottery Heritage Fund of £234,760 we can start the first two stages of works, which will include strengthening the legs, creating a temporary walkway onto the island, developing detailed proposals for the restoration and reuse of Birnbeck’s buildings and wide-ranging community engagement."

The pier has been closed to the public since 1994, with some parts having since collapsed into the sea.

Council plans to restore the pier would also involve reopening an RNLI station, something which the lifesaving charity welcomes.

Duncan Macpherson, Principal Estates Manager from RNLI said "There is still a long way to go but this is a positive step in the right direction towards North Somerset Council taking ownership of the pier and Island."

"Once ownership has been resolved the RNLI and North Somerset Council can commence with the collaborative restoration and reopening of the Pier site. Once pier access is restored the RNLI will be in a position to re-establish its lifesaving activity from Birnbeck.” 

Birnbeck Pier is classed by Historic England as being a 'priority level A' Listed building in their National Building at risk Register.