A NEW station to house Swanage RNLI’s next lifeboat has been given the go-ahead by Purbeck District Council.

Work should start in autumn 2014 to house a 25-knot all-weather Shannon class lifeboat, the newest craft in the fleet. The charity submitted plans for a new £3.5million boathouse in May to replace the existing building and the project is expected to take a year.

In 2016 Swanage RNLI’s current all-weather Mersey class lifeboat Robert Charles Brown will be nearing the end of her operation life and will be replaced by a craft offering improved speed and manoeuvrability, with water jet propulsion. The craft is larger than the Mersey and needs a bigger lifeboat station.

It will also provide a changing and shower room for the volunteer crew, training room, workshop, office and base for the D-class inshore lifeboat. Detailed designs are to be finalised and a substantial legacy will provide a large contribution towards the cost.

Local fundraisers are well over half way through their appeal to raise a further £200,000 and more activities will take place during Lifeboat Week from August 8 to 17.