Plans to demolished Historic watchtower on Freshwater cliffs

A demolition application for a two-storey observation tower believed to date from the Second World War has been made to the Isle of Wight Council with the demolition scheduled for 9th July.

The steel and reinforced concrete watch tower on the cliff edge above Fort Albert in Freshwater is currently closed to the public. Part of the cantilever roof lip on the upper storey has fallen off, although the majority of the structure remains.

A video of the tower showing the original roof intact is available on Youtube courtesy of the Isle of Wight Archive.

Local resident Daniel James commented “Cliff End Battery is a locally-listed heritage asset, but there is no heritage report in this application for demolition. Local people are not aware of this application, which has only just been released to the press by the Isle of Wight Council, with one weeks’ notice of the end of the consultation on July 3rd.”

“There are no details whatsoever of measures which could be taken to protect the Cliff End Battery or the adjacent Fort Victoria Site of Importance for Nature Conservation from damage during the demolition of the observation tower. Nor are there any details of measures which will be taken to restore the battery or the nature conservation site after demolition.”

“The observation tower is a landmark on the cliff edge, and if repaired, could form a tourism asset offering a viewpoint for bird watchers and walkers on the coastal path. As a former military station manned by soldiers from Golden Hill Fort and elsewhere, the battery could attract heritage grants for restoration, and the tower used to provide information to visitors about the history of the area.”

Objections to demolition of the tower can be made via the Council’s website.