Doubts cast over future of new lookout tower

National Coastwatch Institution Skegness station manager Steve Atkins and deputy station manager Ian Whalley at the Winthorpe lookout
National Coastwatch Institution Skegness station manager Steve Atkins and deputy station manager Ian Whalley at the Winthorpe lookout

Doubt has been cast over plans for a new Coastwatch lookout station in Skegness after concerns were raised about its environmental impact.

National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) submitted a planning application in August to locate the lookout close to X-Site Skatepark on North Parade.

However, revisions will need to be made following responses from Environment Agency and Natural England to the proposal.

NCI Skegness station manager Steve Atkins said: “The Environment Agency has reservations about putting the structure on top of the sea defences. There are concerns about flood risk and damage from tidal surge. Natural England registered concern over the potential removal of vegetation and the fact that constructing the station might interfere with wildlife.

“East Lindsey District Council has said that a specialist species survey will be needed. That will require additional resources.”

A statement from East Lindsey District Council said: “The processing of this planning application has been suspended to allow further information to come forward from the applicants. Once the additional information is received and we are happy it’s in order we will begin the consultation process.”

Watchkeepers moved into a temporary mobile unit at the Derbyshire Miners Convalescent Home in Winthorpe four weeks ago. They had previously been based at the Old Coastguard Tower on Winthorpe Avenue until the lease expired earlier this year.

The new two tier lookout station would be about twice the size of the mobile unit. It was originally planned to be placed on a concrete base or sleepers, but the Environment Agency has said it would need to be constructed on 
piling.

National Coastwatch trustee Ian Whalley said: “The Seaview Pullover on North Parade remains our favoured position, but if there are concerns over this site that cannot be met then we will have to move elsewhere. We are looking at alternative locations in Skegness between North Parade car park and the pier, both seaward and landside.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “The planning proposal is for development on coastal flood defences. More information is needed on how the applicant proposes to put foundations in to construct the building.

“A flood risk assessment and separate flood defence consent from Environment Agency will be required as part of the planning process.”