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New site is lined up for West Bay harbour lookout
A NEW site has been proposed for a Coastwatch lookout at West Bay – over the top of the landmark ice-cream kiosk on the Esplanade.
A planning application has been lodged to build the lookout and terrace at first floor level over the kiosk and shelters.
A previous application for a lookout for the National Coastwatch Institution on the east pier failed to get off the drawing board as the structure is listed.
Now Lyme Bay NCI station manager Clive Edwards says he hopes the project will go ahead as the new scheme is the only viable site.
The current temporary lookout at Burton Cliff at Burton Bradstock is not ideal, he added, and does not have a clear viewpoint to the west for the harbour approaches.
The new West Bay structure would sit independently on a steel frame and columns over the top of the kiosk and shelters, with the wooden clad lookout on the western end and a balustraded terrace across the remainder.
Mr Edwards said he hoped that the local community would support the scheme.
“It is as environmentally sensitive as it can be,” he added.
“We all have an interest in preserving the place.
“This scheme absolutely gives us what we need and is at least as good a location as the east pier would have been and that would have been double the size as it would have been used by the RNLI too.
“It worries me slightly that this should be considered controversial.
“There are now no alternative sites as the cliffs are crumbling near the car park site at Eype, which was one site we considered.
“Without a lookout there would be no coverage for small boat operations. This is a huge area of the Jurassic Coast which is unguarded and this applies to cliff walkers and beach users too.
“I think the events this summer have shown the value of what we can do.”
Mr Edwards said the cost of the project would be between £20,000 and £25,000, which would be raised through public donations and a grant from the West Bay enhancement scheme.
Margaret and John Grundell, who have run the ice-cream kiosk for 44 years, said they were resigned to the changes, but did not believe that it would affect them.
“I don’t think it make a lot of difference to us and it won’t affect what we do,” said Mr Grundell.
Bridport Town Council plans committee will meet on October 29 to consider the application.