Council works to develop a solution to save Birnbeck Pier

9:18am - 29 January 2020

Working with Historic England, North Somerset Council has begun the next step in securing the future of Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare by exploring the possibility of a Compulsory Purchase Order.

The council served a Repairs Notice to the private owner of the pier in September 2019, advising the proprietor that repair work must take place. The owner has not produced any evidence of intention to conduct work at the site. Historic England has allocated a grant to the council of £127,000, to be used should a compulsory purchase of this unique and important Grade II* listed structure be needed.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Don Davies said: “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.”

An updated report will go to a meeting of the council’s Executive on Tuesday 5 February.

Birnbeck Pier is Grade II* listed with five further Grade II structures and buildings located on the island and the landward end of the site, including:

  • Entrance gates and turnstiles
  • Clock tower
  • Toll house lodge
  • North jetty
  • Lifeboat house and slipway.

The pier was designed by Eugenius Birch, the noted Victorian engineer.

Construction took place between 1862 and 1867, with the foundation stone being laid in 1864 and opening to the public from 1866. The pier closed to the public for safety reasons in 1994.