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A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BIRNBECK REGENERATION TRUST

The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust was formed in early 2004 as a later result of a meeting instigated by North Somerset Council’s (NSC) Commercial, Planning and Conservation Department, which had previously been held in 2002.

This meeting was attended by several parties who in the opinion of NSC would have a vested interest in seeing the Old Pier restored. The organisations present included the Friends of the Old Pier Society, the Paddle Steamer Preservation Trust, Weston Civic Trust, the Princes Preservation Trust and the RNLI.

The restoration of the Old Pier was seen by NSC as being the lynchpin in the process of regeneration and restoration of the entire Birnbeck area, this being the major part of the northern end of the Weston-super-Mare coastline.

The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust was then incorporated as a recognised charity (Registered Charity No. 1103012) in the form of a private limited company (Company No. 05077252) on 18 March 2004, with the Trustees being enlisted from the interested parties listed above. From that time until 2007 the Trust instigated a number of structural surveys and several feasibility studies.

The Trust then proceeded with the help of NSC to pursue the idea of obtaining a Compulsory Purchase Order against the then current owners.

However, in late 2007 the Old Pier was then sold on to new owners. The Trust thereafter worked with the new owners and North Somerset Council to try and formulate a plan which was agreeable to all concerned for the restoration of the Old Pier.

In mid-2008 working progress on the plans to restore the Old Pier came to a halt. Organisations who had previously worked with the Trust started to lose interest in the project and their Trustees withdrew from the project.

From late 2008 until early 2010 the Friends of the Old Pier Society, the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, NSC, the RNLI and the then-current owners came together once again and held monthly meetings hosted by English Heritage and chaired by NSC to try and formulate a plan agreeable by all for the refurbishment of the Old Pier. Unfortunately, these talks came to a halt when it became clear that the then-current owners had entered into negotiations to sell the Old Pier to another party.

From that time until very recently the Trust had remained inactive and financially dormant, with only 3 remaining Trustees having any formal and personal involvement.

Recent Events

In January 2015 a sudden upsurge of local interest in Birnbeck Pier following a local gathering and a subsequent Facebook campaign prompted the Friends of the Old Pier Society to put forward a formal initiative to the remaining 3 Trustees of the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, who thereafter resolved to reactivate the Trust. New Trustees are currently being elected, bringing with them a range of new skills and experience. The Trust is once again working in partnership with the pier's present owners and North Somerset Council along with other bodies to hopefully bring this project to a long-overdue and successful conclusion.

Unfortunately, bad weather and other destructive elements continue to take an increasing toll on the Birnbeck structures, and this adds pressure to act quickly. The following image shown further damage sustained by the North Jetty as caused by 'Storm Frank', on 30 December 2015.

Please support the Trust in any way you can.

Thank you on behalf of Birnbeck.

Storm Damage to the North Jetty - 30/11/2015

(Image © and by courtesy of Timmay Curtis)

A visual guide to the Birnbeck complex:


Pier Plan Image #1

Pier Plan Image #2

(Image © and by courtesy of Martin Slade)

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Pier Composite Photo #1