The RNLI has today announced that work to construct a modern new boathouse at Craig-y-Don, Llandudno will begin in earnest on Monday (11 April). The contract to build the new facility, which will provide a home for the station's new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, has been awarded to North-Wales based contractor Wynne Construction.
Preliminary work to install temporary traffic lights and install pedestrian barriers has already got underway. This week, work began on site fencing. During next week, the site cabins are due to arrive ready to start work in earnest on 11 April.
The station is expected to receive the modern Shannon class all-weather lifeboat in 2017, replacing existing Mersey class lifeboat Andy Pearce, which is reaching the end of her operational life. The current Lloyd Street boathouse in a busy town centre is not fit for purpose, in either the facilities it offers our volunteer crew or its location. Neither is it large enough to house the new lifeboat.
In 2012, the RNLI's trustees agreed the allocation of a 25 knot Shannon class lifeboat for Llandudno. With this in mind, and as previous planning applications to build a new lifeboat station on a site near the pier had failed, the RNLI carried out extensive trials at a new site at Craig-y-Don in 2011. These trials were hailed a success, and in due course, in September 2014 the RNLI was granted planning permission to build the new station here. The project is expected to take about 14 months to complete.
Lee Firman, Divisional Operations Manager for the RNLI in North Wales says: "The RNLI charity has been committed to saving lives at sea at Llandudno since a lifeboat service was established in the town in 1861. We are delighted to see work getting underway to see this much needed facility being introduced which will enable Llandudno to be home to an all-weather lifeboat for many more years to come.
"The new lifeboat station is a sympathetic development designed to blend into the environment. Features of note include a copper roof to give longevity in the marine environment, large viewing window on the rear gable to allow visibility of the Supacat launch rig and Shannon, even when the building is closed. A ground source heat pump will provide environmentally friendly low-carbon heating. The design incorporates significant wave/sea defence structure to protect the building from inundation in storm conditions."
The new RNLI lifeboat station is designed to house a new 25-knot Shannon-class all-weather lifeboat and a D-class inshore lifeboat together with their launching equipment. The modern facilities will give the RNLI's volunteer crews the facilities they deserve to provide an efficient lifesaving service for many years to come.
Marcus Elliott, Llandudno RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager says: "To get to this stage really is the realisation of a dream to everyone involved with Llandudno RNLI. The Shannon would not have fitted inside the existing building, and when previous planning applications failed, it was a frustrating and difficult time for us all.
"During trials the site at Craig-y-Don proved suitable to operate from using the RNLI's revolutionary new Supacat launch and recovery unit, specially designed for use with its new Shannon-class lifeboats. The site would have been totally unsuitable as an all-weather launch site for the current lifeboat, however with advances in technology and boat design together with the introduction of the new unit the site is ideal. We very much look forward to seeing the build project commence."
"We would like to thank the large number of people who so kindly took the trouble to show their support for the RNLI's planning application by calling, phoning, posting items on social media, writing letters and emailing - your support was invaluable and has been greatly appreciated by everyone at Llandudno Lifeboat Station. Since then, many businesses, groups and individuals have further shown their support by making generous donations towards the cost of the new boathouse, and to all of these donors also we extend our thanks."
Chris Wynne, Managing Director of Wynne Construction said: "As an established contractor in north Wales, we are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious contract with the RNLI and to be, once again, working on a coastal project in the region. Our proven experience in this field, more recently with the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events centre in Pwllheli, equips us to deliver the project to a high standard, providing the RNLI and the local community with first-class facilities.
"The lifeboat station project further secures the employment of our existing workforce and also enables us to offer employment and opportunities to a number of skilled workers in the north Wales region along with supporting local community benefits during the build."