Training centre for coastguards takes step forward

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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A NEW £2m coastguard training centre has taken the next step towards becoming a reality after being given planning permission by two councils.

Officers at Fareham Borough Council used delegated powers to give the go-ahead to the site at Daedalus airfield, Lee-on-the-Solent, last week. Gosport Borough Council has also approved the plan.

When built, the new training centre will feature a 16m wall to simulate cliff rescues, as well as conference rooms and a 30-space car park.

It will replace MCA Highcliffe and provide a new Coastguard Rescue Station to replace the one at Hill Head.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: ‘The new centre will be a purpose-built facility which will provide our rescue officers with essential skills to help them deal with incidents and prevent loss of life.’

Up to 10 existing HM Coastguard employees will be based at the new training centre – this number will be flexible though depending on what courses are being run.

The purpose-built facility will be run by 29 permanent staff and 11 volunteers once completed in 2015.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said architects would now be finalising plans, before putting out visions of their design later this summer.

It comes as a new national maritime operations centre in Segensworth is due to be up and running by this autumn.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘The coastguard is now completely based in Fareham.

‘I took a tour of their new operations centre at Kite’s Croft in Segensworth last week and that’s all coming together too. Daedalus is an important facility and having the coastguard training centre there really puts Daedalus on the map.’

Fareham Borough Council said work must begin within three years.

It also said the Maritime and Coastguard Agency must put in soft planting in the next planting season and replace any shrubs and trees that die within the first five years.

It is estimated it will cost about £1,925,000.