Image source, PA Media

Image caption, The pier has been closed to the public for 27 years and has fallen into significant disrepair

Taxpayers will not be asked to help pay for an estimated £16m repair project to bring an historic pier back into use.

North Somerset Council has agreed to buy Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare from its current owners CNM Estates.

The Victorian pier is in need of significant repairs and it is hoped that it could reopen to the public within five years.

“We can’t have a drain on council tax payers resources,” said councillor Mark Canniford.

The 153-year-old pier has been closed to the public since 1994 over safety concerns and the RNLI, which had operated there for 130 years, left in 2013.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, The derelict pier was moved onto Historic England’s national at-risk register in 1999

But it is hoped the lifesaving charity will return to the pier when it has been fully restored.

“The taxpayer doesn’t have to fund this project. This is a really good partnership working arrangement and once we’ve got it up and running it will fund itself,” said Mr Canniford.

“That is the business plan and that is how were going to do it,” he added.

Funds for the project will be provided by the council, RNLI, Historic England and potentially the National Lottery.

Image source, Rob Farrow/Geograph

Image caption, North Somerset Council had been trying to purchase the pier for many years before a deal was agreed

Business owners in the area say a fully restored pier would help to rejuvenate the area

“Our footfall at this end of town has been deteriorating,” said Gemma Hardy, owner of Cove Cafe.

“Hopefully it will bring this end of town up. It’s a slightly forgotten end of town. I’m really pleased, it’s really positive,” she said.

Birnbeck Pier, which was designed by engineer Eugenius Birch and built between 1862 and 1867, is the only pier in the UK to connect the mainland to an island.

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