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West Bay look-out gets go-ahead
A LOOK-OUT station at West Bay has been given the green light.
But the volunteer Lyme Bay National Coastwatch Institution volunteers now face a cash shortfall and a hunt for a new temporary location to provide cover next summer.
Planning delays and unexpected building costs to shore up the foundations of the shelter on the Esplanade mean that an extra £10,000 could be needed before the build can be completed.
But despite objections to the West Bay scheme, NCI Lyme Bay station manager Clive Edwards said he hopes people will realise their concerns were unfounded.
West Dorset District Council’s development control committee granted planning permission for the look-out.
It will sit over the top of the ice-cream kiosk and shelter to provide the watchers with a vantage point across the bay.
Planners had received eight letters of support including the backing of the local tourism association and five objections to the proposals.
Bridport Town Council objected on the basis that the structure would be detrimental to the surroundings.
Mr Edwards said that despite now facing a further delay and having to fundraise to make up the cash shortfall over and above the original £20,000 to £25,000 estimate, the good news far outweighed the bad.
He said the organisation was in touch with the National Trust with a view to finding a temporary site for a lookout in the Burton Bradstock area to enable the volunteers to maintain their watch next spring and summer.
The team have to move out of the current lookout at Hive Beach, which is not in an ideal position, without a full view of the coastal area.
Mr Edwards said “Our chairman, Air Marshal Sir Christopher Coville, my colleagues and myself all hope that those who objected to our application will find that their fears were unfounded and that the benefits of having a Coastwatch station at West Bay far outweigh any adverse impact that they might have anticipated.
“However we are concerned that the delays in getting planning approval following those objections have had an impact on our finances in terms of our having had to spend money on our current premises.
“This means that we will probably need to seek another temporary location while we raise the money for the building costs necessary to underpin the shelter, in addition to the cost of constructing the actual look-out itself.
“We may therefore need to implement the move to West Bay in two stages.”
Mr Edwards said a full survey of the Esplanade site will now be carried out by local consulting engineers Brody Forbes, which will reveal exactly what needs to be done and how quickly the build can proceed.