Posted: Fri 25th Mar 2016

Coastwatch Volunteers Handed The Keys To Porthcawl’s Old Pilot Lookout Tower

This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 25th, 2016

Porthcawl’s coastline is set to become even safer with the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) starting weekend watches from the Old Pilot Lookout Tower this summer. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Coastwatch volunteers were handed the keys to the iconic building this week, after its transfer from Bridgend County Borough Council was confirmed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The trained NCI volunteers will be manning the tower – initially on weekends only – to help spot danger so that amateur sailors and fishermen can stay safe. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Heritage Lottery Funding, together with contributions from Bridgend County Borough Council, Cadw and the NCI has helped to restore the grade II listed building to its former glory through the Porthcawl Townscape Heritage Initiative. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Originally built around 150 years ago, the Old Pilot Lookout Tower has been given replacement windows, doors and roofing, while the external staircase has also been renewed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Charles Smith, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “The restoration of this historic waterfront building complements the exciting work planned for the nearby Jennings Building and Customs House, and is another important step in Porthcawl’s overall regeneration. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Not only did we want to restore the Old Pilot Lookout Tower, but we wanted to bring it back into use, so I’m delighted that we have now handed over the building over to the National Coastwatch volunteers so that they can make the necessary preparations ahead of the summer season.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The NCI have received fantastic support from the local community, and 90 per cent of their 25 volunteers for the Old Lookout Tower are from Porthcawl itself. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Station Manager Phillip Jones said: “We’ll be kitting out the station with a range of equipment to enable us to conduct both offshore and onshore surveillance to help keep users of the coastline safe, and we’ll be reporting back to the Milford Haven Coastguard. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We’ve been in training now for a while and we’re looking forward to running watches on weekends to begin with, up until 8pm in the evening, and eventually as more watch-keepers become qualified we’ll be operational every day of the year including Christmas Day.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Established in 1994, the National Coastwatch Institution operates nearly 50 stations across the UK and to find out more visit www.nci.org.uk. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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