WORK to provide Morecambe RNLI volunteers with a new base for their rescue hovercraft should start in the next few months.
The project, paid for in part by the Visitor-backed 330,000 RNLI Home for the Hover fundraising appeal, has recently been tendered following final agreement of the scheme by the city council and their development partners.
Subject to an acceptable tender being received, work should begin in the last quarter of 2008 and will take around nine months.
The seafront building will be on a site close to the newly-opened Midland Hotel, adjacent to the Stone Jetty. It will be a stand-alone natural stone structure, partly rendered and with an attractive curved metal roof, designed to be sympathetic to the planned nearby Urban Splash development.
The volunteer crew at Morecambe RNLI lifeboat station have been operating the rescue hovercraft Hurley Flyer since the end of 2002 from temporary housing at Morecambe Yacht Club. Moving to the new purpose-built base will speed up launch times and will provide the crew with improved maintenance, changing and training facilities.
Michael Guy, Morecambe RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said everyone at the lifeboat station is very much looking forward to seeing the work start.
He added: "It has taken some time to finalise the plans but we are now almost ready for work to start. This new building will make a huge difference to the crew – it will make launching the hovercraft quicker and easier, and means we have a purpose-built base for looking after the hovercraft as well as somewhere comfortable where the crew can change before and after a rescue, as well as carry out vital training.
"The people of Morecambe have always been extremely supportive of the RNLI and were incredibly generous when we asked them to donate to our Home for the Hover appeal. I know they are looking forward to seeing the new building as well, and hope that once it's complete we will be able to invite local people to see for themselves the wonderful new facilities they have helped us provide."
Morecambe's inshore lifeboat, the D Class Peter Bond, will continue to operate from the nearby lifeboat station on Marine Road.