The ongoing saga at Weston-super-Mare’s Birnbeck Pier reached a new stage of intensity last week, after North Somerset Council confirmed that they had served the pier’s owners with a Compulsory Purchase Order.
Councillors had been threatening just such an action for the better part of a year, accusing CNM Estates -which purchased the dilapidated Victorian structure in 2014 – of allowing the pier to fall into an irredeemable state of disrepair.
But Monday saw the local legislature follow through on its promised course of action, after an earlier offer to purchase the structure for the princely sum of £1 was apparently rejected by CNM.
A photo-shoot by local newspaper the Weston Mercury showed NSC leader Don Davies proudly standing at the open door to the pier, which has stood shuttered since the attraction was closed to the public in 1994.
“We had hoped to avoid the CPO process and for the owner to voluntarily transfer the site to the council or the RNLI, but sadly it seems this will not be the case,” he remarked, adding that issuance of the CPO marked “a significant step towards restoring Birnbeck.”
But for its own part, CNM seems unlikely to take the CPO lying down. Speaking to BristolLive, a spokesperson for the company stated that it intended to “challenge the CPO,” and that its appeal to the magistrates court would be forthcoming and allow “the facts [to be] properly and independently scrutinised.” The battle of Birnbeck Pier has a long way to play out.