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Lundy lighthouse has bright future

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 4:45pm

By Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter, and Radio Exe News

Bristol Channel flasher

And the light will go in the tower!

The historic Lundy Island North lighthouse is set to be modernised, improved and brought back to its original function.

The lighthouse, built in 1897, is 56 feet tall, has a focal plane of 157 feet, and produces a quick white flash every 15 seconds. But the lighthouse tower and engine room have been non-operational, except as a daymark, since the lighthouse was automated and converted to solar in 1991.

Now the light could go into the tower, solar panels installed and part of the building reconfigured so loos can be installed.

The Corporation of Trinity House, a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, have submitted plans to Documents submitted to Torridge District Council to improve both the function and appearance of the station. Lundy itself is 12 miles off the North Devon coast, but falls in the Torridge area. The island is managed by The Landmark Trust on behalf of owners The National Trust.

They say the current 'mothballing' doesn't serve help with maintenance visits to the lighthouse and that the key heritage element of the building, the tower, has no function. In some places, there's a safety hazard.

The proposals would see:

  • a new light installed inside the lantern room of the historic lighthouse tower
  • solar panels onto roof of the water recycling tank
  • remove the redundant fuel tanks
  • remove the redundant emergency light from the top of tower
  • install two gates to deter members of the public from accessing the solar panelled area
  • add lightening protection to the tower
  • separating off the lighthouse tower as an operational property away from the former living accommodation block and the former engine room by blockwork walls and creating a suspended floor.
  • blocking off of the corridors that connect the lighthouse to the engine room and the accommodation blocks also to allow the corridor areas to be uses as rooms in their own right and so provides for the opportunity to create a dayroom and toilet facilities.

A design and access statement adds: “The station is scheduled for programmed modernisation and is a good opportunity to improve both the function and appearance of the station.

“It is considered that moving the light into the tower will be a very positive improvement to the building in heritage terms. It is considered that the proposed new position for solar panels will be much more sensitive to the setting of the listed building than the current arrangement.

“The removal of the emergency light from atop the lighthouse tower is considered to be a minor change not harming the historic character of the building. This is an unmanned station where access is difficult and expensive.

“As such, the future viability of this building relies upon an ability to keep ongoing maintenance to a minimum and that is especially the case in parts of the building that no longer serve an operational function. It is not therefore practical to repair and maintain the existing light.

“The internal alterations to create a toilet and dayroom do affect the historic character of the building to a degree as they alter its configuration. However, they should be seen as part of the project to bring the lighthouse tower back into use for its original function which, it is submitted, presents an overall improvement to the character of the historic building.”

 

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