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Watch tower set for new use

PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:34 03 March 2010

A FORMER second world war watch tower could have a new lease of life as a holiday home.

Plans have been drawn up to turn the war time observation tower at East Lane Bawdsey into an upmarket getaway looking out over the sea.

A FORMER second world war watch tower could have a new lease of life as a holiday home.

Plans have been drawn up to turn the war time observation tower at East Lane Bawdsey into an upmarket getaway looking out over the sea.

But the proximity of the building from the sea is causing concern for the Environment Agency who fear holiday makers could be killed during storm tides.

In a report to Suffolk Coastal District Council the agency recommended that the property should only be used between April and October to reduce the risk of loss of life.

If given the go-ahead, the plans will transform the disused building with a spiral staircase providing access to a second floor sitting room.

There would also be a first floor kitchen/diner and bathroom, a ground floor bedroom and hall and storage within the basement area.

The building lies just 130 metres from the sea and within countryside that is designated as an Area of Outstanding Beauty.

So far, the application has met with reservation, particularly from Bawdsey Parish Council and a nearby resident as well as the Environment Agency.

Bawdsey Parish Council have said that they cannot support the application until they have more information about the plans and what will have to be done for the renovation.

In a letter it stated that any conversion would have to be done sympathetically "maintaining the severity of the buildings original wartime purpose and the original view of the observation tower construction."

The parish council also suggested the possibility of turning the building which they described as a building of rare significance, into a visitors centre.

Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service also commented that as the monument forms part of a small group of historic structures, such as Martello towers and first world war pillboxes, preservation and conservation was important.

A resident living nearby also pointed out that the recently built reservoirs are attracting bird life that may be affected by the building work.

The building still seems to be in relatively good condition and an engineers report stated that the building was in sound condition which would not need substantial alteration or extension to carry out the conversion.

Suffolk Coastal will discuss the application, which has been recommended for approval if the Environment Agency does not object on flooding grounds, on October 2.

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