11:00am Friday 23rd March 2012
By Catherine Bolado
THE future of a new Coast watch lookout station at West Bay is uncertain.
Bridport Town Council has raised a number of objections to the building to be built at the end of the pier at West Bay.
These include height and the effect on the area.
At a meeting, planning committee members said they supported the objectives of the coastal watch but felt that more consultation should be undertaken with residents.
NCI station manager at Lyme Regis Clive Edwards said he was disappointed by the decision.
He said that the lookout would have only been raised by one-and-a-half metres off the ground to allow the RNLI beach lifeguards to store their beach buggy underneath.
The RNLI would also have had a room in the building to use during the summer months.
He admitted he had been taken aback by some of the objections and said he did not think the new building would ruin the views.
Mr Edwards said: “One of the things that disappoints me most is that over the last two years we have recruited volunteers and they have given huge amounts of their time for training and watches and the thanks we get is ‘we don’t want you here,’ which I find disappointing.”
Mr Edwards said that he was particularly disappointed in light of the government’s move to close the Portland Maritime Rescue and Co-ordination Centre in Weymouth and axe Portland rescue helicopter after 2017.
He added: “We are looking at alternatives. If the town council can come up with alternatives we would be very happy to look at them.”
He said he did not want local people to be upset by the idea of the lookout.
Town councillor Phil Lathey said the committee supported the Coastwatch and said he would be happy to see a consultation done to find a suitable location.
He said: “I support the work of the NCI, they do a brilliant job.
“It is nothing against them, in fact, I think it will improve the safety of the area. But it’s about being in the right place and if it’s not in the right place it will stick out like a sore thumb.”
Mr Lathey added that committee members did not feel it had been located in the right area and that it was too large, but that they would be happy to work with the NCI to find alternatives.
He said: “We are not against the NCI in West Bay. We are against the building and the position that had been mentioned.”
Mr Lathey said there would be enough time for a full consultation on the building before the Coastwatch moves premises next year.
He said there were now six weeks before West Dorset District Council made its final decision.
He added: “They will either take our recommendation or they will ignore us.
“We hope they will listen to the recommendation and come back and do something positive and have a consultation process.”
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