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Orfordness Lighthouse to be demolished due to damage from Storms Ciara and Dennis

The lighthouse threatened by coastal erosion for the past decade. Credit: ITV Anglia

An iconic lighthouse on the Suffolk coast is going to be demolished after storms left the structure just feet from the sea.

Orfordness Lighthouse has been deemed unsafe by East Suffolk Council and a demolition firm will begin work "in the next few weeks", according to the trust which manages the building.

Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Tanya Mercer

In a post on Facebook, the lighthouse trust said damage caused by storms in October 2019 signalled that "the long-avoided time had come to dismantle the lighthouse".

The trust said: "Almost immediately after volunteers hosted a visit from the children of Orford CEVAP school in October 2019, a severe storm hit Orford Ness, taking away the engineers’ bungalow and the sea-side concrete plinth around the base of the lighthouse itself.

"Where days before the kids had joined hands and formed a ring around the lighthouse, much of the ground on which they had stood had been stripped away."

The lighthouse will be demolished Credit: ITV Anglia

Many of the artefacts inside the lighthouse will be preserved, as well as the lantern room at the top of the building.

Further damage was caused by Storm Ciara in February 2020, when the oil-store at the base of the lighthouse was undercut.

Since then, contractors have moved on site to prepare the ground for demolition work, which Orfordness Lighthouse Trust said will prevent the possibility of any more visits.

They said: "At this time our only focus has had to be the safe dismantling of the building and the preservation of the artefacts.

"We have enabled thousands of visitors, local and not so local, to visit the Lighthouse and learn about this iconic feature of the Suffolk Coast.

"Orfordness Lighthouse has been used as a location for concerts, music videos, student films, television documentaries and even a few proposals of marriage.

"We have had great fun sharing the building and the history of the lighthouse with you and we know it has brought interest and a lot of joy to many people."

The lantern room is going to be preserved, along with other artefacts in the lighthouse Credit: ITV Anglia

A date for the demolition to begin has not been confirmed, although the trust are expecting it to begin "in the next few weeks".

They were formed in 2013 after the lighthouse was decommissioned by its previous owners.

On Facebook, the trust wrote: "As a Trust we committed to defend Orfordness Lighthouse where it stood for as long as possible, and if possible to preserve the artefacts after that.

"We are proud that, through the application of the 'shingle sausage' defences, we kept the Lighthouse standing for years longer than anyone envisaged."