Orfordness: Sea-change for iconic lighthouse
PUBLISHED: 15:17 26 September 2013 | UPDATED: 15:17 26 September 2013
A famous lighthouse which has protected sailors for 221 years will be cared for in its retirement by the local community.
Orfordness lighthouse, built in 1792, was officially decommissioned in June this year. Now ownership of the iconic beacon has been transferred to the Orfordness Lighthouse Company.
The company has been formed to own the building and ensure that local interests are taken into account in decisions about its future.
The lighthouse, which was previously owned by Trinity House, has withstood storms, the 1953 flood, and even enemy attack during the Second World War. However, it is now under threat from coastal erosion and experts predict it could erode into the sea within a decade.
The executive chairman of Trinity House Captain Ian McNaught said the company was “particularly proud” of its association with Orford and Orfordness.
“We are particularly pleased that a way has been found to pass ownership to a local body with a concern for its heritage and which can handle issues relating to public access,” he said.
Nicholas Gold, the founder of Orfordness Lighthouse Company, said: “The long association between Trinity House, the lighthouse and Orford is widely recognised. The recent Seafarers’ Day of celebration is witness to that.
“It became clear that setting up a new company to own the site would be the best solution. This should enable not only the preservation so far as possible of this historical landmark but also, importantly, will ensure that local voices are heard in how it will be looked after going forward.
“We intend to hold a full discussion on how this Grade-II listed monument can best be preserved until such time as it may fall victim to the sea and waves.
“The intention is to establish an advisory group to take things forward in conjunction with the National Trust, the Parish Council, Suffolk Coastal, the New Orford Town Trust, the Alde and Ore Association, the Orford Museum and other interested parties.”
On hearing the news, Anne Macro, chairman of the parish council, and Mike Pearce, chairman of New Orford Town Trust, both reacted enthusiastically.
In a joint statement they said: “We both welcome this development which removes uncertainty over the future of this iconic landmark with which Orford has been closely associated over many years.”