Lookout tower demolition refused by Council

The demolition of a historical watchtower in Freshwater has been refused by the Isle of Wight Council.

Proposals submitted by Linstone Chine Management Company sought approval for the demolition of the former coastguard lookout, which overlooks Fort Albert, as it is danger of collapse.

According to planning documents, the lookout, which sits on top of the Cliff End Battery, is in a derelict condition, with a partially collapsed roof and doorways, and no safe access to the first floor.

The company was asking for planning permission to demolish the structure as soon as possible.

However, in a letter, as the local planning authority, the Isle of Wight Council rejected planning permission on two grounds.

The first was insufficient information had been supplied to give evidence that the building had not been rendered unsafe by the action or inaction of any person having an interest in the land and that it was not practical to secure safety by works of repair or works for affording temporary support.

The second was the demolition had the potential to cause harm or disturbance to protected species, potentially bats and reptiles, that were afforded legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

A wildlife impact assessment would also need to be supplied setting out the potential impact of the demolition and how that would be avoided or mitigated.

The applicant is able to appeal the decision of the local planning authority.

However, the decision to demolish the lookout has been met with backlash from the local community who want to see it retained as part of the Island’s history.

One local resident said they objected to the proposal in the strongest terms possible, as the observation tower is a vital part of the West Wight’s military heritage.

Although others have supported the application due to the unsafe nature of the structure, which stands on top of an electric power station, and could collapse.