First step towards a long-term goal

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has submitted a planning application to North Somerset District
Council for a new lifeboat station at Portishead.

The charity plans to demolish the former
Portishead Masonic Lodge and construct a purpose built facility for the
local lifeboat team.

This is the latest move toward the RNLI eventually
adopting The Portishead Lifeboat Trust.

The RNLI first
unveiled their proposals for a new lifeboat station in May at a public
meeting held in the town.

The new building would be primarily for the
storage and maintenance of the lifeboat, launching tractor, and carriage
and for the crew’s personal protective equipment, but it would also
allow for modern crew changing facilities and a multi-purpose crew room
for operational planning, local training and meetings.

Toilets, a small
workshop and store area and a souvenir sales point would also be
included in the design.

An extension that would be constructed at an
angle to the main building would house the lifeboat and launching rig.

tractor would be used to push the lifeboat and carriage to the water
via a new 65 metre pre-cast concrete ramp.

Tom Mansell, RNLI divisional inspector for the south west, said: ‘The general
reaction from local people to our plans to operate from this site has
been very positive but we have taken into account the numerous comments
made at the public meeting before submitting our application.

‘We have
done a lot of research and consultation and liaising with relevant
advisors, organisations and individuals and have taken much time and
effort so as to ensure we have produced a fully comprehensive document
for consideration.

‘The trustees of the RNLI have agreed, in
principle, to pursue the adoption of the Portishead and Bristol lifeboat
from the Portishead Lifeboat Trust.

‘However, the RNLI will be unable to
do this until a suitable operations site has been identified and the
requisite shore facilities put in place to enable an RNLI B class
inshore lifeboat and its launching equipment to operate effectively.

‘This means a long term permanent facility, built to RNLI standards, must
be a real option before adoption can continue.

‘The submission of this
application is the latest step towards this goal.’

Dave Herbert, a spokesman for The Portishead Lifeboat Trust, said: ‘The
Portishead Lifeboat Trust is pleased to see the RNLI have submitted a
planning application for development of a new lifeboat station at the
site of the former Masonic Lodge.

‘This is the next positive step towards
what we hope will be the mutually agreed adoption of The Portishead
Lifeboat Trust by the charity.’  

The Portishead and Bristol
lifeboat is part of a chain of safety around the Severn Estuary. The
volunteer crew there work in tandem with RNLI lifeboats at Burnham on
Sea, Weston super Mare, Penarth and Barry Dock and the RNLI believe it
makes sense to bring them all into the RNLI.

If planning consent
were to be granted a fundraising campaign would be launched in support
of the project to build the new lifeboat station and work would start at
the site in 2013.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the proposals at Portishead or to make comment on the proposals can email

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