Birnbeck Image Slider Photo #28

Birnbeck Regeneration Trust


7 August 2015

(N.B. Parts of the following were screened as a Powerpoint presentation)


Safety Moment - Building Safety
Key Personnel
History of the Site and Trust
Site Ownership
Progress with site owner
What if nothing is done
State of the Pier 2015
Heritage Lottery Fund
Our proposal
What if nothing is done? (recap)
Outcomes and Conclusion
Any Questions?


(Panel present - Christopher Charlton - Trustee; Charles McCann - Chairman; Richie Griffin - Delivery Manager; Richard Nightingale - Local Council Representative; Mike Dooley - CNM Estates Representative; Neil O'Donoghue - Business Support; Stage management - Shane Burney.)

Key Personnel



1862 - Weston-super-Mare Pier Act. The Weston-super-Mare Pier Company was then founded.
1867 (June 5th) - Birnbeck Pier was opened
1885 - the switchback railway was commissioned
1907 - the zigzag slide was commissioned
1941 - the Pier was used by the Admiralty during the war as a weapons development site as 'H.M.S.Birnbeck'
1979 - the last steamer ran
1994 - the Pier is closed due to weather damage
1996 - the Pier is bought by White Horse Ferries
1996 - the Friends of the Old Pier Society is formed

History of the Trust (I)

2002 - North Somerset Council hold a meeting with several interested parties to discuss their views on the commercial redevelopment of the of the Hillside Ward of Weston (the wider Birnbeck area).
2004 - the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust was formed and attempted to gain control from the owners.
2007 - the then owners sold the Pier to Urban Splash. The Trust then became dormant.
2010 - NSC working with Urban Splash launched an international design competition and supporting viability studies to refurbish and redevelop Birnbeck Island.

A short list of six options was consulted on and displayed in the Winter Gardens, and based on feedback and further amendments a winning scheme selected.

Due to the economic recession and the huge upfront investment required, the Urban Splash scheme was moth balled.

History of the Trust (II)

2012 - these efforts to find away forward ceased when once again the Pier was reportedly sold to new owners, CMN Estates.
2014 (15th August) - CNM Estates made an presentational attempt to demonstrate what a 300,000sq ft scheme could look like but for various reason this did not resonate well with NSC, Weston Town Council or the general public.
2014 (October) - CMN Estates (Birnbeck) Ltd formally became the new owners of the Pier.

Since 2012 CNM have been trying to find a solution on how to deliver the refurbishment of the Pier.

The conclusion since 2004 remains clear that without millions of pounds of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund [or other public sources] substantial private development of about 300,000 sq ft would be required to meet all the refurbishment costs.

History of the Trust (III)

Early 2015 - Following a popular Facebook campaign interest in Birnbeck Pier was revived, and as a result of an initiative by the Friends of the Old Pier Society the Trust was reformed.

2015 to the present - due to lack of any other initiatives to save the Pier the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust has worked to develop a Preliminary Business Plan for the future redevelopment of the Pier and are in search of funding and awards to regenerate to its former glory.

Funding conditions from the Heritage Lottery Fund will require the BRT to have a long lease on the Pier.

Site Ownership

The Pier is owned by CNM Estates (Birnbeck) Ltd, and has been since Oct 2014.

The RNLI own the 1902 Lifeboat House complete with Slipway with right of access.

The Trust's first meeting held with CNM Estates was on the Jun 19th 2015.

We are now working with the owners to negotiate a long term proposal which will meet the requirements of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The owners and ourselves are working together to agree key performance milestones which will need to be met. However, in the first instance we need to agree the terms.

Whilst the negotiations between CNM and BRT are on going, both parties have agreed to keep them confidential in order to build on the good will that has now been established.

Site Ownership (II)

(Screened map)

Progress with Site Owner

If the owner cannot do anything with Birnbeck Pier it will fall into the sea; nobody wants that to happen!

North Somerset Council and Central Government will be left with an ecological clean up costing taxpayers an unknown sum!!

The pier will be gone forever we have this last chance to save this unique historical

State of the Pier 2015

(Screened video)

Heritage Lottery Fund

The Trust has had a long history of contact with the HLF, this favorable relationship continued at the latest meeting held with the Head of the South West HLF on the 2nd July 2015.

We have accepted their advice and split the project into 4 major phases.

Our first goal will be to undertake a feasibility study with a full structural survey costing between £80-£100k. These surveys will be required to underpin each of the 4 phases. Part of the funding will be provided by CNM Estates the remainder however will be need to be raised by public donations.

A Major Fundraising effort is required immediately as the trust must raise a contribution towards the total site refurbishment costs which the HLF suggested a minimum of 10%

The trust are due to meet with stake holders including NSC, CNM Estates, HLF, Historic England, RNLI, English Nature, Crown Estates, various local and national politicians and interested parties to bring this project to a successful conclusion.

The Proposal (I)

The Project will look to maintain the heritage and history of the pier no ideas are firm we are still in the consultation and concept phase.

A workshop is planned bringing together main teams to ensure what is provided is, in line with heritage needs, cost effective, helps with commercial growth locally and sustainable for the future.

Listed Features to maintain:

Birnbeck Pier – Grade II*
Entrance Gates and Turnstile – Grade II
North Jetty – Grade II
Lifeboat House and Slipway – Grade II
Clock Tower – Grade II


The Proposal (II)

The Project will be split into 4 main phases with a separate bid to the heritage lottery for each phase, this allows us to apply 4 times a year should it be needed.

Stage 1 – Mainland and Bridge Refurbishment
Stage 2 – Buildings on the Island Reconstruction
Stage 3 – Visitor Attractions for the Island
Stage 4 – Future Improvements

The Proposal (III)

First stages:

A Feasibility Study and Structural Survey is required to underpin the ideas chosen for the pier to ensure the cost and programme to deliver the project are accurate with financial risk applied prior to any bid for Heritage Lottery Funding.

Where Can You Support

Volunteers are needed to help with the following:

Support at Pier View Information Centre.
General Site Management.
Minor works to Pier View, Pier Masters Cottage and the Clock Tower.
Helping with applying for donations and financial support from smaller bodies to help maintain progress whilst the larger bids are being presented by the team of Trustees.
Project support in developing the proposal to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
General fund raising activities.

Also needed are Local Businesses who can donate building materials, scaffolding, expertise etc to help with the minor works.


The regeneration project is currently assessed in excess of £21 million.

We will be requesting in the region of £15 - £17 million from the HLF spread over the 4 packages.

Major fundraising is required and the efforts Friends of the Old Pier Society keeps the Trust moving forward but these efforts alone will not fund the major project initiative.

Our initial objective is to raise between £80-£100k by local fundraising which will support the feasibility study and structural survey to underpin cost, programme and sustainability for the 4 applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Major Fundraising Ideas

General Grants and Awards Applications
Corporate Sponsorship
Internet Shop
Society Lottery
Buy a Piece of Pier History
Sponsor a plank by donating to a Plaque
Music and Comedy Festivals
Dining Nights
Share scheme
Fishing Packages
Gift Aid – 25% on every £ raised

These are some schemes in the process of being organised, your ideas are needed - please let us know where else you can support us.

What if nothing is done (recap)

If the owner cannot do anything with Birnbeck Pier it will fall into the sea; nobody wants this to happen!

North Somerset Council and Central Government will be left with an ecological clean up costing taxpayers an unknown sum!!

The Pier will be gone forever - we have this last chance to save this unique historical landmark!

Outcomes and Conclusions

The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, North Somerset Council and CNM Estates are working constructively to secure the Pier's future.

The Project will secure a major item of heritage from decay, demolition and prevent what could be an environmental disaster.

The Project will regenerate the local area encouraging commercial growth.

The Project will be long term and sustainable once completed.

The Project will be 'not for profit' - this means that any profit will be driven directly back into further improvements to the pier and the Birnbeck area.

The Project will provide training in heritage skills and jobs throughout the delivery period and into the future.

Without YOUR support this project will not be a success.

Any Questions?

(Audience participation to end)

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