Lifeboat stations to merge in Eastbourne



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Plans to merge the town’s two lifeboat stations will be put before Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning Committee on Tuesday.

The RNLI currently operates from Sovereign Harbour, with its all-weather lifeboat, and from Fisherman’s Green with the smaller inshore lifeboat.

Inshore Lifeboat Station Eastbourne SUS-141120-122317001

Inshore Lifeboat Station Eastbourne SUS-141120-122317001

But the voluntary organisation wants to build a new station at Sovereign Harbour to house both boats.

Tim Ash, RNLI public relations manager for the South East, said, “The RNLI has for some time considered how it could improve the current configuration of having a separate boathouse for the inshore lifeboat at Fisherman’s Green, and a main lifeboat station at Sovereign Harbour North.

“The inshore boathouse is very dated and has come to the end of its operational life – it would require considerable spending to maintain it. Doing this whilst still running the newer station would not be the best use of donors’ money.

“Apart from the financial cost, co-locating the inshore lifeboat and the all-weather lifeboat together at Sovereign Harbour North would mean training and operational meetings could be delivered under one roof. This is line with the majority of other lifeboat stations that operate an inshore and an all-weather lifeboat.

“The planning application seeks permission to create a new building on the footprint of the existing station, with improved crew changing facilities and a dedicated room for the vital training that equips our volunteers to help save lives at sea. It also includes provision of a crane which would be used to lift the inshore lifeboat into and out of the water, negating the need for the vehicle and trailer currently used to launch that lifeboat. The lifeboat station, which is one of the busiest in the country, would operate from a temporary facility on site so the work would not impact on our ability to launch on rescue missions.”

The plan will go before the committee on Tuesday and is recommended for approval.