September 14, 2023

Saving Birnbeck Pier

We are delighted to have been selected to continue working on the Birnbeck Pier regeneration project alongside North Somerset Council, RNLI, Friends of the Old Pier and the National Lottery Heritage Fund through a competitive tendering process.

This project will bring the 'at risk' pier and island back from the brink and create a nationally unique destination that will not only support the regeneration of Weston-super-Mare but also provide the RNLI the safest and most effective place for their volunteer crew to launch and recover their lifeboats at all states of tide.

Alongside architects, Haverstock Associates, RHB will develop detailed designs for the repair works to the pier and associated buildings, followed by planning and marine consent applications.

RHB will carry out the Phase 2 works, including new water, electric and telecom utility services to the pier and mainland buildings, and utility services for Phase 1, which will be led by the RNLI during 2024.

Phase 2 will see designs developed to RIBA stage 3, including new external lighting to the pier, and the design of other buildings on the pier and on the beach head to the pier.  

This project has a £5 million construction budget, and the Phase 2 development will take place from 2023 to September 2024, with the delivery phase from February 2025 to 2030.

A brief history of the pier:

Initially connected to the mainland by a narrow spit of land, subsequently eroded by the sea, a bridge was built in 1866, and the pier was officially opened in 1867.

Even though there was only a small pavilion on the pier, 120,000 people visited during the first three months. Thanks to the income from regular steamer traffic, mainly from Wales, improvements followed over the next 22 years, including refreshment rooms, a large concert hall, reading rooms, an extended pavilion, a low-water jetty and a lifeboat station.

However, on Boxing Day 1897, most of the structures on the island were destroyed by fire.

Over time, the pier’s fortunes fluctuated, and after it suffered extensive storm damage in 1990, it was finally closed to the public in 1994.

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