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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 07:10 GMT
Split over lifeboat station plan
The old lifeboat station has been a feature in Tenby since 1905

A plan to demolish a 100-year-old lifeboat station is dividing opinion amongst heritage campaigners.

Since it was built in 1905 the listed building has featured on thousands of postcards sent around the world from the Pembrokeshire resort.

A modern replacement station opened two years ago and the RNLI says it cannot afford to pay for the upkeep of both.

Tenby's civic society is supporting the demolition, but the Victorian Society hopes the building will be retained.

Its future is being discussed by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority at a meeting on Wednesday, but the Welsh Assembly Government's historic environment division Cadw will have the final say.

A new 5.5m lifeboat station opened in Tenby in 2005 and the RNLI said it estimated it would need to spend 6,000 annually on routine maintenance for the old one.

Leaving it decay will be visually ugly, damage the town's image as well as being dangerous
Tenby Civic Society

The charity said it had received interest for several uses for the building ranging from converting it into a residential property to opening a themed restaurant.

It had also been suggested it could become a museum but the RNLI said none of the options was financially viable.

The old station is on land owned by the Crown Estate, which the RNLI said had further complicated matters.

The issue has divided opinion among heritage groups and a previous application to demolish the station was refused.

The Ancient Monuments Society and Victorian Society both want it retained.

Tenby's new lifeboat station
The new lifeboat station was opened in March 2005

Dr Kathryn Ferry, regional architectural adviser for the Victorian Society, said: "It's a listed building and therefore it has legal protection so the case must be made very forcibly for its demolition.

"The idea of listing is to protect buildings of historical and national interest for future generations.

"The fact it is owned by a charity is not a sufficient reason for it to be demolished.

"The viability issue is crucial - no one wants to see it just sitting there rotting away but it does not seem to us that all the potential avenues for its future use have been examined."

But Tenby Civic Society has supported the move.

In a letter to the park authority it said: "The two stations together look cluttered and confusing.

"Leaving it decay will be visually ugly, damage the town's image as well as being dangerous."


SEE ALSO
Lifeboat completes first rescue
18 Apr 06 |  South West Wales
Lifeboat first for Tenby station
02 Mar 06 |  South West Wales
New 5.5m home for Tenby lifeboat
01 Mar 05 |  South West Wales

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