Orfordness lighthouse: Neighbouring coastguard station could be removed

The Coastguard Station on the Orford Ness shingle spit Image copyright NAtional Trust
Image caption The derelict coastguard station, built in about 1900, has been described as "weather-beaten"

A 120-year-old building on a vulnerable coastal site could be demolished before it is "lost to the sea".

The National Trust has outlined plans to take down the coastguard station on Orford Ness, Suffolk, as first reported in the East Anglian Daily Times.

The building is close to the erosion-hit Orfordness Lighthouse and where a bungalow was destroyed by storms.

East Suffolk Council said a detailed assessment of the impact on the site's habitat must be undertaken first.

According to the proposals, the derelict coastguard station was built in about 1900 and its condition is "very poor" and "weather-beaten".

The National Trust said it was "under threat" from the North Sea and it took the decision to "demolish the building before it is lost to the sea".

Image caption It sits close to the 228-year-old Orfordness Lighthouse on the vegetated shingle spit of Orford Ness

It said it would be mechanically demolished and removed from the site but a concrete slab would remain "as the close proximity to the sea will make it dangerous to attempt to break it up".

The trust acknowledged the site is of national and international importance in terms of human history and as a habitat for birds and plants.

East Suffolk Council said prior approval of the method of demolition was required as the site was within European protected sites.

Image caption The bungalow next to Orfordness lighthouse was destroyed in storms in October

In October, the bungalow that sat beside the Grade II listed lighthouse was wrecked by high tides and strong winds.

Over the last five years, volunteers from the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust, which now owns the 228-year-old lighthouse, have put lengthy bags of shingle - or "geo-textile sausages" - in place to protect it.

The trust hopes to eventually dismantle the lighthouse, which dates from 1792, and "preserve the artefacts inside" in a smaller replica nearby.

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