Landmark to open up to the public

Rossall point lookout are (from left): Lee Blacow (Wyre Waterfront manager), Coun Barry Birch (Wyre economic portfolio holder), Steve Wong (United Utilities project coordinator) and Tony Barrow (United Utilities asset integration manager).
Rossall point lookout are (from left): Lee Blacow (Wyre Waterfront manager), Coun Barry Birch (Wyre economic portfolio holder), Steve Wong (United Utilities project coordinator) and Tony Barrow (United Utilities asset integration manager).

AN OPEN weekend is being planned to give Fleetwood folk chance to say goodbye to one of the town’s coastal landmarks.

The coastguard tower has stood watch over the beach at Rossall Point for more than 60 years.

But a major transformation is on the horizon thanks to the next stage of the £1.6m Sea Change project.

The old tower will disappear and in its place there will be a new, iconic structure which is set to become a magnet for visitors and bird watchers.

Volunteers with the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI), who are based in the building, say they are looking forward to seeing the new facilities – but want to make sure the old tower gets a suitable farewell.

Watchkeeper Ken Harcombe said: “Our current tower, an old Coast Guard station, which was built in the late 40s, is being part demolished.

“It has been a landmark on the west Fleetwood horizon for many years, overlooking the golf course and Morecambe Bay.

“We plan to hold an open weekend for people to visit one last time and say a fond farewell to a piece of Fylde coast history before the top half disappears.” The open weekend will be held between noon and 4pm from Friday, May 27 until Monday, May 30.

Mr Harcombe added: “It will be a unique opportunity for people to visit for the last time.

“This will be an important year for our charity and you can’t imagine how much we’re looking forward to moving into the new tower.

“However, it’ll still be a sad occasion when the old one goes.

“It seems to have been part of people’s lives in the area for a long time.”

The new four-storey tower will include the NCI facility as well as public viewing platforms.

The first part of the work has begun on an iconic new observatory tower and United Utilities has begun installing a water supply – something the existing lookout has never had.

The company is doing the work through its United Futures programme – a community regeneration scheme run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork. The new lookout, with a distinctive angular profile, should be finished this autumn. It will be a home to artwork as well as being a vantage point for Coastwatch and bird-watchers.

Steve Wong, company project co-ordinator, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to lend a hand to this exciting initiative.

“We’ve every confidence that the new tower will be a valued resource for Coastwatch volunteers, bird watchers and walkers.”

For more details visit http://www.ncirossallpointfleetwood.co.uk or call (01253) 681378.