New lifeboat station takes shape
- Credit: Mark Frary
Work on a state-of-the-art lifeboat house for Wells is gathering steam.
Crews from Mackley Civil Engineering are making good progress on the concrete slab the new boat house will be built on, and the slipway for station's future all-weather lifeboat has already been put in place.
Wells Lifeboat chairman Peter Rainsford said: "It's looking really fabulous. Considering the difficulties of doing any sort of work through Covid, they're pretty much on target.
"Within a matter of weeks all of the groundworks and floor slabs will be completed, and they expect to hand over to the building contractors in May."
Mr Rainsford said the new station would be built in sections off-site and assembled on the site of the new station, which is next to the current lifeboat house at the end of Beach Road.
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He said: "Suddenly, there's going to be a building appearing there pretty quickly.
"It's going to be built with something called glulam [glued laminated timber], which is a way you can fabricate timber frames using laminates. It creates big, airy spaces, and this particular design has been used several times before by the RNLI.
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"It's very exciting and we have reasonable confidence that we're looking at a completion date in the spring of next year.
"I'm confident people will come to love it as much, if not more, than the current building."
When it is opened the station will also get a Shannon-class all-weather lifeboat to replace the exiting boat, called, Doris M Mann of Ampthill, which is more than 30 years old.
Mr Rainsford there would be volunteering opportunities when the new station - which will include a shop and a viewing platform - opens.
Anyone interested in learning more about the project can visit www.wellslifeboat.org
It is not yet known what is to become of the site of the existing lifeboat station.
The site will be handed back to its owners, Holkham Estate, once the RNLI's new station begins operations.
James Bracey, Holkham's general manager of land and property, said the matter was a “work in progress.”