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Exciting future for lifesaving for Torbay RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI are looking ahead to an exciting new future in lifesaving after the charity took ownership of the former Coastguard Station in Brixham. While plans are still being developed, the intention is to relocate Torbay’s lifeboat station from their current facilities and develop a lifesaving hub

RNLI/Amy Caldwell

incorporate the town’s active training, fundraising and water safety teams within the same building.

The 30 strong lifeboat crew and other station volunteers have outgrown Torbay’s current lifeboat station. The boathouse capacity, layout and facilities are now cramped and chaotic, falling short of the standards expected of modern lifeboat stations. The option to take ownership of the building that was used by Brixham Coastguard until it was closed in 2014, offers the RNLI an opportunity to relocate the station and provide the volunteer lifeboat crew with dedicated crew changing facilities, a crew training and welfare room, separate office space and a dedicated workshop, greatly enhancing the facilities they have now.

The buildings were an important operational centre for HM Coastguard in the South West going back to 1867. Then in 2014 when coastguard services were centralised, they were sold to Wolsrap Properties Ltd, underwent extensive refurbishment and were subsequently leased to Marine Towage Services (MTS), a worldwide deep-sea tugboat and pilot vessel operator with long marine and Brixham based heritage going back to 1920s.

The sale of the property known as Kings Quay, was lead by Stratton Creber Commercial. The land and all buildings include the space to significantly enhance the operational efficiency of Torbay RNLI’s lifeboat station and will also help support training, fundraising and public awareness programmes. The property also comes with the old coastguard’s 75 foot communications aerial and emergency electricity generator, both of which might prove handy going forward.

Jon Parslow, owner and director of Wolsrap Properties says;

‘These buildings have always played an important marine-related role, going right back to their origins as the Brixham Coastguard Station in 1867. We were hoping for a purchaser who would continue their sea-faring purpose, so we were really pleased when the RNLI expressed interest and concluded the deal.’

Nigel Jones, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager says;

‘The opportunity to take ownership of the former Brixham Coastguard building was one that couldn’t be missed and we’re delighted that, after lots of hard work from those involved, it has come to fruition.

A resolution to the current situation has been sought for several years with the options to extend the building, which is lies against a cliff, not possible due to the physical restrictions of the site and cost of such a project.

Its stands as a significant investment in the RNLI in Torbay. Brixham currently has two RNLI retail units, one in the high street and the other a kiosk located outside the lifeboat station. There is the possibility of relocating both facilities to the new building at some point in the future. The space can also be utilised by the town’s active fundraising volunteers and sea safety teams, bringing the whole of the RNLI within Torbay under one venue and greatly increasing the charities interaction with the public.

We’re looking forward to the next stage of the process, which will include more in depth scoping and planning, and eventually an exciting new phase for lifesaving in the area.’

Notes to editors

· Please find attached an image of RNLI Lifeboat’s Operations Manager Nick O’Brien accepting the keys to the building from Jon Parslow, Director of Wolsrap Properties Ltd, owner of the property credit Nigel Millard (L to R – Roy Tuttle, Torbay Lifeboat Management Group Chair, Mark Criddle Torbay Coxswain, Jon Parslow, Nick O’Brien, Jerry Carter Director of MTS)

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RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 07920818807 or [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or [email protected]

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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