THE opportunity to create a purpose-built Coastguard station near Craster is one that should not – and must not – be missed.
Funding was agreed, planning permission given and land even donated to make this happen.
Yet something as straightforward as running power cables to the new site has threatened to scupper the entire project, because of a dispute over wayleave payments – in other words, compensation to the landowner for disruption caused by the works.
While it is only right that those affected should receive some recompense, the urgent nature of this much-needed life-saving facility has to be paramount.
It will completely overhaul the existing Coastguard infrastructure covering a stretch of shore which has seen its fair share of rescues in recent years.
The current facilities, namely the Victorian cart-shed which acts as the Craster station and its counterpart at Boulmer, are completely unfit for such a dedicated, modern service. They don’t even have toilets or hot water.
We owe our Coastguards, who are volunteers from our own communities, giving up their free time to keep our shores safe, more than this. On a practical level, it would end the ludicrous situation of crews having to race between isolated stations to gather equipment before they can begin a search or a rescue. In matters of life and death, time is of the essence. And so is getting this station built.
There are only weeks left before the funding could be withdrawn. Agreement is needed – NOW.