Lifeboat station could move back to Birnbeck Pier

lifeboat station could move back to birnbeck pier - Lifeboat station could move back to Birnbeck PierImage copyright Rob Farrow/Geograph
Image caption The RNLI left Birnbeck Island in 2013 after operating at the site for 131 years

A lifeboat station could move back to its original home at the end of a derelict Victorian pier.

North Somerset Council started a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to buy Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare in February and said the RNLI had “decided to step in as a potential owner”.

The council said the pier’s owner has failed to carry out required repairs.

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

Council leader Don Davies said pier owner CNM Estates had been given “many opportunities over the years to undertake the necessary repairs” but “without success”.

He said: “Clearly there is a lot of work to do to restore the pier and re-establish the lifeboat station back to its original home. “

Image caption The 153-year-old Victorian pier has been closed to the public since 1994 over safety concerns

Duncan Macpherson, from the RNLI, said: “Weston-super-Mare is a very important search and rescue base for the RNLI but is also a very complex area in which to build a lifeboat station.

“Birnbeck Island offers the best solution for the safe and most effective launch and recovery for the volunteer lifeboat crew at all states of the tide.”

A spokesperson for CNM Estates said: “We have been negotiating with senior figures at RNLI, at a detailed level, for more than a year.

“The council’s ongoing involvement only serves to delay the whole process. We remain committed to restoring and repairing the pier and island and seek a positive future for it.

“We respect the council’s right to instigate a CPO process and we will be dealing with it accordingly.”

The council said it would receive a report next month to authorise the issuing of a CPO and the process could take up to 18 months until confirmation is received from the secretary of state.

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