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Demolition of Penlee’s lifeboat station to make way for new facility

Lifeboats News Release

Demolition of the current Penlee lifeboat station has started today (5 September) making way for the new multi-purpose lifeboat facility, which will occupy a slightly larger footprint over two storeys in the same location.

A number of crew and volunteers from Penlee RNLI were at the site this morning to watch the building come down and witness the start of the next phase towards the new station being realised. Designed by architects Studio Four Ltd, the new two storey station will provide a larger crew room, training room, changing room and workshop, along with a visitor engagement area and is hoped will be operational in Summer 2019.

The current station was cleared out ahead of demolition and the volunteer crew have moved into the temporary accommodation adjacent to the old inshore lifeboat building at the southern end of the Newlyn Harbour car park. They will operate from here throughout the rest of the build, ensuring that Penlee RNLI’s lifeboat operations will be unaffected.

Work began on site during July with contractors, Symons Construction establishing the site compound and diverting existing services to clear the footprint for the new building.

At around 10am today subcontractors Gilpin Demolition began the process of taking down the current lifeboat station making way for the new building.

Janet Madron, Penlee RNLI Chair said; ‘We are thrilled to see that the building of our new lifeboat station has taken a big step in the right direction. We couldn’t have reached this stage without the amazing support of our local community and beyond - a huge thank you to all our fundraisers, to our generous donors, and to everyone who has donated to the Penlee Lifeboat Station Appeal. Another chapter in Penlee’s long history has begun.’

Patch Harvey, Coxswain of Penlee RNLI said ‘We are all looking forward to seeing the start of the new build which will give us a much improved, purpose built lifeboat station. The crew will have first class changing and training facilities, and the addition of a Visitors Centre will enable us to share important RNLI safety messages and the long and meritorious history of Penlee Lifeboat Station.’

Ben Holtaway, Coastal Infrastructure Engineer says demolition will take a couple of days;

‘Complete demolition of the lifeboat station and existing foundation slab will take around two days. A grab mounted on a 20 tonne excavator will take the building down piece by piece and Gilpin will sort the rubble into timber, plasterboard and aggregate which will all be sent for recycling. Once complete the site will be cleared, levelled and made ready for the arrival of the piling rig.

We are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum and appreciate the cooperation and support from those using and working in the harbour who are directly affected.’

Notes to editors

  • Please find attached the following pictures

    • RNLI volunteers Mike Hersant, Andrew Munson, Patch Harvey, Roy Pascoe and Janet Madron Credit RNLI/Phil Monckton

    • Three pictures of the first stage of the demolition credit RNLI/Phil Monckton

    • Image of current Penlee lifeboat station

    • 3D image of the proposed new Penlee Lifeboat Station credit RNLI/Studio Four Architects Ltd

  • Penlee’s current lifeboat station in Newlyn was built in 1983 as a temporary measure but unfortunately, 34 years on, it is no longer fit for purpose. With approximately 25 volunteer crew and additional shore crew as well as fundraisers using the building, there is an urgent need for more space.
RNLI media contacts

For more information please contact Amy Caldwell, RNLI Regional Media Manager on 07920 818807 or amy_caldwell@rnli.org.uk or Elaine Trethowan, Penlee RNLI Lifeboat Press Officer on 07704669406 or elaine.trethowan@btinternet.com


RNLI/Phil Monckton

◦RNLI volunteers Mike Hersant, Andrew Munson, Patch Harvey, Roy Pascoe and Janet Madron

RNLI/Phil Monckton

Demolition of current Penlee lifeboat station

RNLI/Phil Monckton

Demolition starts on current Penlee lifeboat station

RNLI/Phil Monckton

Demolition starts on Penlee lifeboat station

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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