Birnbeck Pier’s owners given chance to sell it voluntarily

birnbeck piers owners given chance to sell it voluntarily - Birnbeck Pier's owners given chance to sell it voluntarilyImage copyright Rob Farrow/Geograph
Image caption The 153-year-old Victorian pier has been closed to the public since 1994 over safety concerns

The owners of a derelict Victorian pier have been given the chance to sell it voluntarily after the local council voted to force its sale.

North Somerset Council wants to secure the future of the Grade II* listed Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare and voted for a compulsory purchase order.

In September last year, owners CNM Estates were served an order to carry out repairs but no work has been done.

The firm said it would “listen to any constructive suggestions”.

The pier was built between 1862 and 1867 and added to Historic England’s national at-risk register in 1999.

On Tuesday, the council voted for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) which it said was the “last opportunity” to save it from falling into the sea.

It said CNM Estates could sell it voluntarily before they serve the CPO.

Image caption The RNLI left Birnbeck Island in 2013 after operating at the site for 131 years

CNM Estates chairman Wahid Samady said it would “listen to any constructive suggestions on the regeneration of Birnbeck Pier and Island, and would like to see the RNLI lifeboat station and other uses returned and for the public to enjoy this truly amazing location”.

“Planning applications to kick start the repair works and the regeneration will be submitted shortly,” he said.

Last month the RNLI, which had operated from the pier until 2013, said it was interested as a potential buyer.

Council leader Don Davies said the CPO could be stopped at any time if CMN Estates could demonstrate it was able and resourced to carry out the repairs, or sell it on to either the council or the RNLI.

Councillor John Crockford-Hawley said: “I can see no other option than Birnbeck falling into the sea and Birnbeck Island returning to its original state as an island.

“This is our last opportunity to save Birnbeck. There will not be another one. The sooner we can kiss goodbye to CNM the better.”

A report to the council meeting said CNM Estates had only agreed to address four of the 25 issues identified in the repairs notice served last year.

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