THE dilapidated Victorian pier at Weston-Super-Mare could be sold to the lifeboat charity RNLI if no other buyer is found by January 22.
The development in the long-running saga over the pier comes after a High Court ruling in a hearing over a loan dispute.
An RNLI lifeboat station was founded on Birnbeck Island in 1882 but closed in 2013 after the pier, which connects the island to the mainland, became unsafe.
The preliminary hearing at London Circuit Commercial Court was brought by Brian Sullivan against the directors of CNM Estates – which owns the pier – over a September 2014 loan agreement.
At that time CNM Estates was loaned £1m by Mr Sullivan to invest in the pier, a top priority on Historic England’s Heritage ‘At Risk’ national register.
Mr Sullivan alleges the money should have been paid back 12 months later and is suing CNM Estates over the failure to repay and seeking a further £1m in interest.
Judge Mark Pelling QC directed a preliminary trial should take place on March 5 over the loan before a fuller trial on other contractual issues later in the year.
He agreed that Wahid Samady, one of CNM’s directors, should be given until January 22 to find a buyer for the pier.
If this was not successful, it could be sold to the RNLI for £350,000 – the preferred option of Mr Sullivan.
The court heard it would cost around £13m to restore the pier.
Meanwhile North Somerset Council is continuing with a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the site, a move that is being challenged by CNM Estates.