Erosion-risk coastwatch tower to be dismantled

From this tower, Andrew Sharples pays close attention to ships that pass by to make sure they can b

From this tower, Andrew Sharples pays close attention to ships that pass by to make sure they can be easily pin-pointed if they vanish out at sea. Picture: Andrew Sharples - Credit: Archant

A Coastwatch building at risk from erosion is looking for a new home.

The team at Winterton says its days of scanning the beach and waves from the spot at the end of Beach Road are numbered due to rapid erosion.

A post on Facebook said dismantling the unit and setting it up elsewhere would likely be beyond the pocket of the charity and an appeal is being launched.

As apart of his role, the 71-year-old records and details suspicious activity which could involve dr

As apart of his role, the 71-year-old records and details suspicious activity which could involve drugs, people smuggling from this watch tower. Picture: Andrew Sharples - Credit: Archant

Winterton has suffered an erosion streak in recent years, surging seas claiming many metres of land.

The popular cafe was demolished in December 2020 when it came dangerously close to the edge.

Mobile Airstream units that have been catering to the crowds have been pushed back four times since then.

Coastwatch said it was "shocked at the rate of erosion" and no longer sure of its future.

The post said: "We anticipate surviving for a couple more months before the tower will have to be removed.

"We are still actively searching for an alternative site but both logistically and practically have found nothing suitable yet.

"Simply moving back is not an option. There are many hurdles to get over and we have concluded that even if we find a site the permission process could be very long indeed.

"We are expecting to dismantle the tower and hopefully find storage for it until both a suitable site has been found and all permissions have been sought.

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"Sadly, we can see we may well not be able to fulfil our duties for a while.

"Meantime no matter what we do comes at a cost so we have to get it right as another move would not make sense."

The unit sees around 20 volunteers working in shifts tracking shipping movements and helping to keep those at sea and on the beach safe.

James Bensly, county councillor for Winterton, said early discussions with landowners had been positive.

"I believe they have to stay in Winterton because of the numbers of people there," he said.

"It is arguably busier in the winter that it is in the summer. It is a phenomenon and with that popularity comes challenges.

"We are really working hard to make sure it stays there.

"They are an emergency service."