Weston’s historic Birnbeck Pier has been purchased by CNM Estates under a new guise.
Pursuant to a High Court order, CNM purchased Birnbeck Island and pier on January 22 under a new entity, Birnbeck Holdings Limited.
The company intends to start works on the vital repair and the redevelopment of site without the hindrance of historical litigation.
Planning permission for phase one of the immediate repair works was submitted in June.
CNM and Birnbeck Holdings Limited are working closely with North Somerset Council and Historic England and are close to agreement regarding the start of important bracing work to reinforce the pier’s trusses. This work is vital to stop further deterioration of the pier’s structure.
A planning application for the next phase of works has been drawn up and will be submitted shortly.
A CNM spokesman told the Mercury: “CNM Estates has always supported the RNLI presence on the island as it has been identified as the best location for life-saving and remains open to a consensual arrangement with the group to enable this.
“CNM Estates reiterates its position that the RNLI should be provided with space reasonably required to meet their operational needs for life-saving. However, it believes the RNLI should contribute, as they have already agreed, to the costs of the repair of the pier, which they have occupied and had beneficial use of for nearly 150 years without contributing towards its maintenance.
“This would help to ensure its ongoing use for the next 100 years. “This position remains open for sensible dialogue between the site owner and the RNLI.
“Unfortunately, since January 2020, certain members of the RNLI team have taken it upon themselves to force through commercial discussions by supporting vexatious litigation and the compulsory purchase order (CPO), where CNM Estates believes that significant misunderstanding or misrepresentation has been made.” CNM has appealed the CPO to both the Magistrates Court and to the Secretary of State and is confident that its appeal will be upheld, particularly as works will, in any event, commence soon after the decision notice issued for the phase one works.
The company has also instructed award-winning architects Darling Associates to draw up a masterplan for the regeneration and revitalisation of its holdings, with the first phase focusing on the site of the former Royal Pier Hotel, which it also owns. Wahid Samady, CNM chairman, said: “I am delighted that all the distracting background noise has now been removed and that we can now focus on delivering an exciting new vision for Birnbeck Pier and Island, regenerating the north end of the town and complementing the vision and opportunity identified in the Super Weston prospectus.”