Work has now started on a new Llandudno RNLI Lifeboat Station at Craig-y-Don. At the moment its lifeboat has to be towed through the town to the sea by tractor when needed.
Building work on the new £2.6 million modern boathouse at Craig-y-Don, Llandudno began on 11 April. It follows years of delays and planning battles to find a site in the town.
The facility will house the latest £2m Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, which is expected to be delivered in 2017. This will replace the existing Mersey class lifeboat Andy Pearce, which is reaching the end of its operational life.
The current Lloyd Street boathouse is in a busy town centre, and is not fit for purpose. At the moment, a tractor has to be used to tow the lifeboat through the town to the sea. The boathouse also isn’t large enough to accomodate 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.
The Divisional Operations Manager for the RNLI in North Wales, Lee Firman 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 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 need to provide an efficient lifesaving service for many years to come.
The Llandudno RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, Marcus Elliott, says the delays in getting a new boathouse has been “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,” he states.
“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,” he concludes.
The work is being carried out by the North-Wales based contractor Wynne Construction.
On April 6, Llandudno RNLI took delivery of a brand-new inshore lifeboat. It arrived by road from the charity’s production facility on the Isle of Wight and replaces the station’s existing inshore lifeboat, D-656 William Robert Saunderson.
The new D-793 lifeboat is named Dr Barbara Saunderson to recognise the Llanfairfechan resident who, prior to her death in 2014, generously provided the funds to finance the boat’s construction.
Dr Saunderson, a former Lecturer in French at Bangor University, was a committed RNLI supporter and fundraiser who over the years had also financed two earlier inshore lifeboats for Llandudno.
A Llandudno RNLI spokesman said, “Dr Saunderson often came to see us at the lifeboat station and always took a keen interest in the work of our crews. It was the wish of everyone at the station that this boat should carry her name and we know that she would have been pleased and very proud to see her new lifeboat powering round Llandudno bay this week.”
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