A COUPLE fighting to save an iconic landmark have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support shown to them.
Sharon West and Russell Hellyer started a Facebook page to save the old Selsey Boathouse on Saturday and within 24 hours had more than 600 ‘likes’ on the page.
“It is amazing how quickly it has taken off,” said Sharon. “It has been a bit overwhelming.”
The group was started when Sharon and Russell discovered the old boathouse is set to be demolished when a replacement is built to house Selsey’s new Shannon-class lifeboat.
The boathouse, which has stood elevated above the waves for generations, has become part of the historic Selsey landscape and those commenting on the Facebook page seemed reluctant to let it go without a fight.
“We don’t know that much at the moment,” said Sharon.
“We are just trying to find out what can be done, if anything, to save it. If you are going to try and save something you have got to do it fast.”
Russell has contacted English Heritage to ask about getting the boathouse listed and the couple have been in touch with Selsey’s Coastal Group and the Manhood Heritage and Wildlife Group.
However, the RNLI’s hands appeared to be tied.
A spokeswoman said plans for a new land-based boathouse were in the ‘early stages’ with building work set to be completed by the end of 2015, subject to consent.
She also said the existing slipway was ‘nearing the end of its structural lifespan’.
“As part of our lease agreement with Crown Estates, which owns the seabed on which the slipway boathouse is built, it must be demolished once the current Tyne class lifeboat is removed from service,” she said.
However, lifeboat stations have been saved in the past.
The former Tenby boathouse was sold to a private buyer when it was replaced and later featured on the television programme Grand Designs.
When asked about the campaign Selsey Town Council clerk Gill Jennings said: “It is a shame to lose the old boathouse because it is an iconic building, it will be a sad loss but I can’t see Selsey Town Council launching any initiatives that will get in the way of lifeboats.”
Anyone who wants more information on the Save Our Selsey (SOS) Boathouse campaign can visit www.facebook.com/SOSBOATHOUSE.