A new permanent coastwatch station has been given the go-ahead to help keep visitors to a Norfolk beach safe.

The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) has operated a temporary look-out at Brancaster, near Hunstanton, since April 2022, in a trailer loaned by the RNLI.

The charity has now been given planning permission for a permanent post overlooking the sea by the golf club. It will be equipped with VHF radio, Wifi, CCTV and a weather station.

The NCI said in a planning statement: "When people get into trouble, the NCI watchkeepers are there to alert HM Coastguard and direct the appropriate rescue services to the casualty.

"Since the station opened in April 2022, its volunteer watchkeepers have dealt with 22 incidents and intervened in many more.

"This has resulted in a dramatic drop in coastguard and RNLI call-outs and has ensured that Brancaster beach has become a much safer environment to engage in water-based activities, whether from the beach or on the sea."

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It adds the popular beach famed for its wide expanse of sand can be dangerous when the tide turns.

"The danger is posed by the number of channels that can quickly fill on the incoming tide, potentially cutting off the unwary," it says.

"This resulted in the death of a child a few years ago as remembered by a memorial at the entrance to the beach."

The new station will also watch over the harbour channels at Brancaster and Thornham - which are used by both fishing vessels and leisure craft - and enable volunteers to monitor shipping within an eight-mile radius.

NCI Brancaster has 27 watchkeepers operating two watches a day, 365 days of the year and the charity says it is its busiest station in Norfolk.