Work on new station to start in April

The jetty at the RNLI's new Wharf Street site.
The jetty at the RNLI's new Wharf Street site.

THE SECOND phase of construction on Montrose’s new £1 million lifeboat station is due to start in the spring, the RNLI has said.

As reported by the Review in September, phase one of the long-awaited project began with the construction of a steel jetty at the Wharf Street site. A pontoon section, at which the lifeboat will be berthed, has now been fabricated and will be added to the structure over the next few weeks.

It has been completed by contractors McLaughlin and Harvey at a cost of around £500,000 and the second phase, the £550,000 itself, is expected to begin in April with completion scheduled for November.

The charity is currently in the process of appointing a contractor to carry through the second part of the project, which was made possible by a £1 million legacy to the RNLI by Fife couple Hugh and Molly Brown, who left it their entire estate.

Its new site will mean that the lifeboat’s crew will be able to respond more quickly to emergencies without having to enter the harbour and it will also be more visible to the public, raising the charity’s profile and improving access.

It was felt the present site on the north quay, where the boat has been stationed since 1988, had become too developed with warehousing and access to dock-side businesses.

The facilities at the new station, the site for which has also been leased from the port authority, will include a crew parking area, a souvenir outlet, changing area and a boathouse.

Work on the project was held up for more than a year due to continuing negotiations with Scottish Water regarding sewerage services running beneath the site.

An RNLI spokesman said: “We still have some dredging work to do on the site and the new station can’t be built until work is done on the sewer to make the site safe to build on.

“We’ve appointed a contractor for that work and it’s expected to take between six and eight weeks to reroute the sewers, which will start in February.”

From 2013 the new station will be home to the newest vessel in the RNLI’s fleet. The £1.5 million Shannon-class vessel features the latest technology and has been paid for with a bequest from a Morayshire couple who were keen supporters of the charity.

The legacy comes from the estate of Ruth Grant Smith, who died in 2005 aged 99, and the new lifeboat will be named after her late husband, Grantown-on-Spey solicitor Ian Grant Smith.