East Looe Town Trust’s Old Lifeboat Station and Watchtower (“OLS”) Heritage Led Regeneration Project has successfully bid for this substantial funding, in the face of stiff competition, without which this multifaceted project would have been impossible
The beautiful building has been under-appreciated for its heritage value and its poor condition is depressing East Looe seafront. East Looe Town Trust will be investing around £100,000 of its own funds in the project with the rest gained via  support from funders.
The repurposed building will create two unique workplaces for Looe providing renewable energy and decent staff facilities. The Watchtower will become a low-carbon workplace for ELTT staff, freeing up their present offices in the listed Guildhall. ELTT will evaluate the repurposing of the Guildhall offices to boost the economy of the historic town centre.
The Boatshed will become a flexible modern workspace offering an exciting opportunity for many types of new business from workshop, to commercial or retail. Both new workspaces will offer year-round employment and increase the footfall, vitality and appearance of the seafront.
An online Looe lifeboats’ history and archive will be commissioned that brings together the exciting exhibits held in the Looe Museum with a wealth of documents data and photograph donated by Project Ryder – the charity that operated the restored Ryder Looe lifeboat. The focus will be on the crews who gave service between 1866 and 1930, connecting with many of today’s Looe families.
A new ‘Devon & Cornwall’s Great Scenic Railways’ circular walk will lead seafront visitors through the Wooldown’s wartime and conservation sites, and the historic town.
ELTT Manager Jane Day said, “We thank everyone for the strong support we have received for the project. Once restored, the Old Lifeboat Station, and its information display will help recreate the sense of place around Looe’s iconic landmark. Our project is a perfect fit for the heritage led regeneration strand of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Fund and we are grateful for their investment in Looe. The project has got off to a great start.”
The project is being funded with the help of a £289,000 investment from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Culture and Heritage-led Regeneration and Skills programme, which is managed by Cornwall Council and funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Cllr Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, said: ““It is heartening to see that this award from the Shared Prosperity Fund will be put to such innovative use and help secure and transform these buildings for the benefit of the community. It means that not only will local heritage be preserved, it will be given a new lease of life and play its part in regenerating our places and communities.”
Leading conservation architects Le Page have been appointed to deliver the construction work, and an invitation to tender for the online history will be issued soon. We look forward to working with the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership on the heritage and conservation walk.
The OLS heritage led regeneration project is grateful to have received essential financial support from The Carew Pole Family Trust, Project Ryder charity, Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, Cornwall Cllr Armand Toms community chest, Looe U3A.
1. “The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK by investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/gove…/publications/uk-shared-prosperity fund-prospectus”.