A LAST minute bid to persuade the owner of Beachy Head Lighthouse to reconsider its decision not to paint the iconic stripes was made this week by Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd.
The MP met Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert, the executive chairman of Trinity House, to see if the authority would change its mind and meet the cost of repainting the light tower before the official appeal to raise the money needed was launched by campaigners here in Eastbourne.
And although Sir Jeremy stood by the organisation’s decision that it cannot justify using boat owners’ subs to repaint the structure, Mr Lloyd said he was delighted Trinity House would work with both him and campaigners in a community project to see the lighthouse repainted.
Mr Lloyd said, “It was a pleasure to meet Sir Jeremy who explained Trinity House receives its funds from an aids to navigation levy paid by ship owners. The Lighthouse Authority is therefore unable to access ship owners’ funds to repaint Beachy Head lighthouse. Sir Jeremy did say, however, that Trinity House was delighted to support our local campaign and the efforts of the Eastbourne Herald, Rotary AM and the Facebook group Keep Our Beachy Head Lighthouse’s Stripes, headed up by resident Shirley Moth and others to raise funds for the repainting of this magnificent structure.”
Sir Jeremy said, “Every few years Trinity House undertakes a review of all its aids to navigation to ensure it is providing the service infrastructure the mariner needs. It is in this context that the user consultation process found Beachy Head lighthouse was no longer required to act as a day mark; the reason for its red and white striped appearance.
“As a ‘user pays’ organisation we were therefore unable to justify the expenditure necessary to repaint the structure.”