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Popular Canvey beach could get own watch tower
8:30am Tuesday 4th December 2012 in Local News
Keeping the shores safe - Volunteers Terry Drury, 'Skipper' Dave Price, Tony Belford and Paul Roberts at Holehaven station.
SAFETY at a popular Canvey beach could be given a boost as plans are in the pipeline to build a new watch tower.
The National Coast Watch Institution is considering plans to build a new station at Concord Beach, off Eastern Esplanade, to help increase public safety and provide better protection for swimmers and passing ships.
Volunteers from the organisation give up their time to keep a watchful eye on the Thames coastline, alerting the Coastguard to any emergencies or potential incidents.
The move will enable members a better view of Canvey’s coastline, right at the heart of the seafront, as the watch tower at Holehaven only allows 90 degree views of the island’s shores.
Tony Belford, 71, of Long Road, Canvey, who volunteers for Coast Watch, said: “We believe this will be of huge benefit to the community if the plans went ahead. Holehaven watch tower only gives us limited views of the coast, whereas at Concord Beach we would get 180 degree vision.
“The beach is so popular, and by having a station there we would be right where all the action is and where all the swimmers are, and would probably be of greater assistance to the public.
“It’s early days yet, but I believe everyone will be putting forward their ideas and then hopefully we will submit something to Castle Point Council to see if the plans are acceptable.”
Coast Watch currently operates 49 watch stations across the UK manned by 2,000 volunteers who provide eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility.
Over 190,000 hours were logged by volunteers in 2011 who assisted in reporting 262 incidents.
Colin Letchford, chairman of the Friends of Concord Beach volunteer group who tend the beach, said: “I never did understand why they set up the station at Holehaven rather than elsewhere along the seafront.
“I am in favour of anything that improves safety for children along the beach as it is becoming more popular than ever here.”
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