An iconic Portland landmark is set to be modernised.

The owners of Portland Bill lighthouse are asking for planning permission for the building to be modernised as well as the relocation of the historic lens.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the plans to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council reveals that the owners want to remove the lantern optic from the Lantern Room at the top of the lighthouse and relocate it in the base of the tower, as well as removing the directional fog signal emitters from the lower tower window and installing an omni-directional fog signal on a retractable mounting bracket on the Lantern Gallery Walkway.

The project is expected to be carried out across two years, and completed by April 2020.

The lighthouse is a listed building so planning permission must be granted before any alterations are carried out.

The statement adds: “Portland Bill Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1906 on the southern tip of the isle of Portland. Its lights guide vessels and shipping through the England channel and safely into Portland and Weymouth past the hazardous Shambles sandbank.

“The present lighthouse, which is Grade II listed, replaced two previous lighthouse which were in use between 1869 and 1906.

“The lighthouse was last modernised in 1996 when the station was automated and controlled from the Trinity House Planning Centre in Harwich.”

The new fog signal is designed to replace the older system, which is now obsolete. The more modernised equipment will make the lighthouse less likely to fail, ensuring the continued safety of those out at sea.

Trinity House said it has been working with WPBC since 2017 to plan the project and minimise any impact on heritage features.

A heritage statement included with the planning document adds that modernising the building is the best way to ensure its continued future.

It states: “The history of most lighthouses, is one of constant evolution in response to technological changes and operational practicalities. Portland Bill Lighthouse is no exception.

“This evolution will continue as long as the lighthouse remains a functioning aid to navigation. Technological advances continue to allow improvements in its function. They also result in the obsolescence of older plant and equipment which can no longer be properly serviced or have replacement parts sourced. It is in this context that the need for regular review and re-engineering needs to be understood. If an existing lighthouse building is no longer the best means or meeting modern requirements, it will likely cease to be a lighthouse – the two former lighthouses nearby are a testimony to that fact.”

Interested parties are asked to submit any comments on the planning application by December 9.