News : Construction to begin on £1.4million Lifeboat Station
The Trustee Directors of the Southport Lifeboat are delighted to announce that a lease for the site of the new £1.4 million lifeboat house has been signed and building work is due to commence on the station in the coming weeks.
Despite a lot of the funds being in place and having obtained planning permission in August 2015, the Trust have been working with Sefton Council and Natural England to meet the conditions necessary for approval to be granted for signing over of the land.
Trustee Nicola Goldup said; “We’re delighted that we have been able overcome this hurdle and are excited for the building work to get underway.
“Whilst it has taken longer than all parties had hoped, we have been able to tick all the boxes necessary to satisfy all parties and can move forward in delivering an iconic building for our seafront, which will serve as an operational base and training centre for all of our crew and lifesaving equipment for generations to come.”
Construction on what will be the largest lifeboat house in the North West is due to begin in the coming weeks with the station expected to be completed in early 2019.
A larger, purpose built station not only means that both lifeboats and their respective launch vehicles can remain coupled together, but will also allow room for the much needed facilities our crew have been lacking for so many years; all at a location closer to the beach.
The current boathouse was built in 1886 and has served Southport’s independent crew loyally since our establishment in 1987. Inevitably, the facilities are now dated, with the station suffering from a lack of washing provisions, heating and space; meaning crew often go home cold and wet, with kit that can still be damp three days after being used.
Nicola continued; “We would like to thank everyone who has helped so far; the trust would not be in this position without the kind support of the people of Southport. Wholeheartedly, we thank you.”
The hard work is not over, despite having the funds to build the station, the Trust still need your help and support as they look to raise funds to furnish the inside of the building once it has been completed.
The dream of a new lifeboat house has been in the pipeline for nearly 20 years, however, the National Lottery rejected a proposal for a new station in 2000 leaving the Trust to raise the necessary funds itself. The lifeboat house project unfortunately had to be shelved as other appeals, including that for a new lifeboat, took priority.
Since the purchase of the current Lifeboat in 2007, our fundraising efforts have been focused towards the new Lifeboat House, whilst simultaneously covering the annual running costs of the boat and continuing to improve on the quality of service provided.
Key Facts about the new Southport Lifeboat House
The site was transferred into the ownership of the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust (SORT) on the 29th March 2018 from Sefton Borough Council after a long period of negotiation.
The site is an undeveloped, relatively flat and irregularly shaped area of coastal scrub land close to the slipway onto Southport beach, which will save us potentially critical minutes when attending a call out.
The development comprises of the design and build of a new lifeboat station with associated external works and services with a gross floor area of 705m², believed to be the biggest in the North of England.
The new lifeboat station will incorporate storage for SORT’s two Lifeboats, Launch vehicles, ATV quad bikes and all other lifesaving equipment used by the crew.
The building will also include an operations lookout, office space, workshop and designated area to allow for a training facility which will also double up as an area where public tours can be accommodated.
Designated areas for drying kit and welfare facilities such as a shower, toilets and kitchen will also be incorporated. These facilities are currently not available at out currant facility.
The Architect has worked with Sefton councils planning team to ensure that the design and building materials compliment the surrounding development areas, whilst withstanding the harsh marine environment that the development will be exposed to.
We have competitively tendered for a Principal Contractor to build our new lifeboat station and are currently in the final contract negotiation and hope to sign the construction contract by the end of this month.
The selection criteria for the Principal Contractor has been to ensure value for money has been obtained for SORT with an emphasis on how they will employ local labour and suppliers.
The construction period will be around 36 weeks which will mean we will take occupation early in the Spring 2019.
We have a committed project team which consist of an Architect, Employers Agent, Engineers and an Ecologist to ensure we comply with the requirements of our planning permission, building regulations, Charity commission, land lease and building licence.