Historic lighthouse to be demolished

A historic lighthouse is to be demolished after hopes that it could be saved from the sea ran out.

Orfordness Lighthouse in Suffolk, built in 1792, was decommissioned in 2013, with the General Lighthouse Authority, Trinity House, predicting that the building would soon succumb to the waves.

Volunteers from Orfordness Lighthouse Trust battled to protect the landmark where it stood for as long as possible and committed to save artefacts after that.

A spokesman said they were proud to have kept the lighthouse “standing for years longer than anyone envisaged” with the help of “shingle sausage” defences.

Queen Elizabeth visits IMO
File pic of the Queen being shown an optic from the decommissioned Orfordness Lighthouse in Suffolk (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

The trust said East Suffolk Council has “determined that Orfordness Lighthouse is now unsafe and ordered that it be taken down”, adding: “We have long known this day would come.”

Demolition work will be carried out “in a way which enables the trust to preserve the key artefacts”, it said.

A date for demolition is not yet known as it is dependent on the weather but is expected to be in the next few weeks.

“We have had great fun sharing the building and the history of the lighthouse with you and we know it has brought interest and a lot of joy to many people,” the trust said.

A spokesperson from East Suffolk Council said: “Following a site inspection last month, our building control team advised the Orfordness Lighthouse Company that the structure was in a dangerous condition due to exposed foundations on the entrance porch and a void between the base of these foundations and the ground.

“In order to remove this danger, the owners were advised to demolish the entrance porch and secure the access into the main lighthouse building.

Orfordness Lighthouse
The Orfordness Lighthouse (Orfordness Lighthouse Trust/PA)

“Officers advised that the main lighthouse was a potentially dangerous structure and consideration should be given to its long-term future.

“However, officers did not feel the main lighthouse was in immediate danger and due to its remote location, it was not felt there were any safety risks to the public.

“Therefore, the council has not issued a notice for its demolition.

“The decision to demolish the lighthouse at this time has been taken solely by the owners and is not being ordered by East Suffolk Council.

“It is sad to see such a historic feature disappear from our coastline however it is not unexpected.

“Our building control team will continue to liaise with the owners to ensure appropriate action is taken.”

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