Weston’s MP John Penrose has welcomed news that Birnbeck Pier’s will be compulsory purchased from current owners CNM estates, to be taken over and restored by the RNLI.
It marks the culmination of a long-running campaign which began eight years ago when John, a former Architecture & Heritage Minister in David Cameron’s government, brought his successor as Heritage Minister to Weston to see the building, and then convened English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery fund together with North Somerset Council to discuss how the pier could be saved. Birnbeck is a grade 2-star listed structure, which puts it in the top 2-3% most important buildings in Britain’s heritage, but has been on the ‘Heritage At Risk’ list for years.
The Compulsory Purchase Order is expected to be agreed by the Council in July, at which point it will go to Government Ministers for approval. John has promised he will support it strongly, so Ministers understand the strength of local feelings and the urgency of completing the transfer quickly.
John said: “It was 8 years ago that I bought the Heritage Minister to Birnbeck Pier, and got English Heritage and Heritage Lottery to start discussions with the Council about our options. In parallel, there has been a huge effort by community groups such as the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust and local historians who have been pushing for Birnbeck to be taken back and given to someone who truly understands and cares about both its heritage and its future.
“This is a big, community victory and I’d like to thank everybody who has contributed over many years. The future finally looks bright; Birnbeck Pier should be a local landmark and a jewel in Weston’s crown, not a rotting ruin!”
John asks Pier owners to stand aside:
John and the Heritage Minister were interviewed about Birnbeck by BBC here:
John’s interview with BBC after the storms of 2015 can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDYHDfPfciQ
MP & Trust vow to continue Birnbeck Pier mission: