A pier that needs help
8:10am Thursday 18th October 2012 in Letters
MANY Penarthians will be relieved to see that the work to refurbish our beautiful Pier Pavilion is under way.
The large number of contractors’ portable cabins lined up adjacent to the pier shows clearly that this is indeed a major project.
Although the Pavilion has been languishing for many years, the pier itself is very well maintained by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and is one of a small number of seaside piers that still retain a working landing stage for pleasure steamers. But just across the channel at Weston-super-Mare, one Grade II*-listed pier is in desperate trouble. Weston-super-Mare has two seaside piers – the Grand Pier which was virtually rebuilt following the devastating fire of 2008 and is now one of the most successful piers in the country; and Weston Birnbeck Pier, built partly on an island and now almost completely derelict.
The more mature residents and visitors to Penarth will still remember the steamer trips that regularly linked Penarth and Birnbeck piers. But there haven’t been trips from our pier to Birnbeck for many years and unless something happens soon, there never will be again. The National Piers Society was founded in 1979 under Sir John Betjeman and exists to support and promote seaside piers everywhere. The Society is now very concerned that what was once one of our finest piers, and one which had a long and close association with Penarth, is in severe difficulties.
You can learn more about Weston Birnbeck and help in the efforts to save this once wonderful example of seaside piers by joining the Friends of the Old Pier at www.birnbeck-pier.co.uk Also take a look at the National Piers Society’s website at www.piers.org.uk
Chris Wyatt Penarth Executive Committee Member National Piers Society