Weston’s local hillside councillors have become aware of a plan by North Somerset Council to dispose of 0.9 hectares of land which constitutes part of the public realm between the site of the former Royal Pier Hotel and Birnbeck Pier.
Although a very small piece of land, it is potentially very valuable to developers. It is already known that the owners of the Royal Pier Hotel site are hoping to gain ownership of Birnbeck Pier. It is obvious to local residents that the intention is to develop the whole area. Many of these residents are very concerned about inappropriate development at this very special and historic area, and have voiced concerns.
Locals have formed The Friends of Prince Consort Gardens, one of whose aims is to protect the gardens from such development. But they remain frustrated that the council insists on keeping locals in the dark about what’s going on.
Councillor for the area Robert Payne, who also lives nearby is furious that the council is acting in such a secretive manner and that it wants to take action which could potentially lead to the destruction of the character of the area. He said: “All negotiations with the developer taken in secret and with no consultation with local residents or the councillors for the area. I remain absolutely and resolutely against the disposal of this ‘ransom strip’ until all plans for the wider area are made public and local residents can be satisfied with these plans.”
His colleague John Crockford-Hawley contacted the council’s solicitor to demand answers as to why local residents and local councillors have not been consulted.