WORK on a new state-of the-art observation tower at Rossall Point is set to start following the formal appointment of a contractor.
And Fleetwood people are being asked for their ideas on a new name for the tower.
Wyre Council has awarded the contract to Fylde coast based Parkinson Building Contractors who will bring the 14m tower to life between now and next spring.
The iconic structure is part of the wider £1.6m Sea Change programme adding a new dimension to Wyre’s waterfront.
It will boast several viewing platforms, an education centre on the ground floor where views from the top will be projected on to screens and a new home for the National Coast Watch Initiative (NCI) volunteers – who will suspend their duties while work is carried out.
Wyre councillor Barry Birch said: “People have been very patient while we sorted things out behind the scenes but now we have a contractor in place we can really start bringing this project to life. “Soon we will have an eyecatching focal point for visitors on a part of the seafront that is often overlooked.
“By becoming part of the coastal trail, it will also provide the physical link that has been missing between Cleveleys and Fleetwood, allowing us to promote the whole area as one remarkable coastline.
“We are delighted to be working with Parkinsons and look forward to seeing the end results next spring.”
Parkinsons hope to be on site by late autumn, when the surrounding promenade and pathways will need to close for short periods of time.
The National Coastwatch volunteers were offered an alternative base by Wyre Council to use temporarily while the work was being carried out.
But Steve Martin, the NCI station manager at Fleetwood, told the Weekly News: “The council have been very good to us but the alternative accommodation was a small room in the Marine Hall complex.
“There were no windows so it would have meant having to keep the door open just to see out, and in winter that would have been uncomfortable.
“Many of our volunteers are elderly and it just wouldn’t have worked. Additionally, in the tower at Rossall Point we use compass equipment to help us pinpoint any incidents exactly, and we wouldn’t have been able to use that in this alternative room.”
Mr Martin said the volunteers were excited by the improvement works due to start at the tower.
Suggestions for the new name for the tower can be left on www.facebook.com/seachange or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on (01253) 887260.