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West Bay look-out station cost estimate doubles
A CONTROVERSIAL look-out station in West Dorset could cost twice as much as originally planned.
Spiralling costs mean that estimates to build a new National Coastwatch Institute (NCI) above the ice-cream kiosk in West Bay have risen to £50,000.
Original estimates when the site was proposed in October last year stated the new facility would cost around £25,000.
Outgoing station manager Clive Edwards said the voluntary organisation is facing an uphill struggle to get the project off the ground.
He said: “It is getting more and more difficult. The look-out itself is expected to cost around £15,000 but with shoring up costs, the overall amount is £50,000.”
But incoming station manager William Knapman said the new building was not costing any more than he had anticipated.
He said: “Originally they thought it would just be a case of putting the building on top, but obviously that was not going to work, and steel work had to be designed to support it off the prom.
“But the cost is about what it should be.”
He added: “It has not been an easy job, but the trouble is there are plenty of sites that are available but not suitable and plenty of sites that are suitable but not available. We are looking at £50,000 and that does not include a contingency.”
The NCI Lyme Bay was set up by Mr Edwards and Mr Knapman in 2010 and the existing site at Hive Beach was only designed to be a temporary site.
The new location on top of the ice-cream kiosk at West Bay was granted in December, and planners had received a number of letters of support and objection, including an objection from Bridport Town Council who felt the building would be detrimental to the surroundings.
Drill borings are being carried out to test the foundations.
If the results show the site is unfeasible, Mr Knapman said he will look at other locations.
He said: “We have approached the National Trust and they have offered us two temporary sites, and we are looking at moving into one of them whilst fundraising for a new base.
“The landowners at Hive Beach have been hugely supportive the whole time we have been there.”
Despite the challenges, Mr Knapman said he is looking forward to the role of station manager.
He said: “I have been associated with the Coastguards since I was a toddler and my previous role with the NCI was operations manager.
“The important thing is being able to keep a clear head in a crisis.”
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