In 2007 , the old tower overlooking Torbay which had provided a Coastal lookout and meteorology data for around 100 years was deemed unsafe and too small for operation in the NCI network of Watchstations. Accordingly, NCI decided to build a new,larger tower on the same site with the agreement of Torquay Harbour services and Torbay Council. Planning permission was obtained and the building work put out to tender.
With permission to proceed, work started on a 36 sqm, 3 storey tower to replace the original on the same site. With this agreement settled, the Chairman of NCI, who was personally involved in every stage of the project, set about raising the funds to build and fully equip the new Tower as well as recruiting volunteers to be fully trained as Watchkeepers offering a skilled, reliable,365 day service.
Over a period of 12 months approx,£55000 was raised, largely from local sources. This covered the cost of the Tower,leaving a reasonable sum towards the Visitors Centre built beside the Tower, which was aided by Lottery funding.
Torbay NCI is our only “purpose built ” Watchstation among many in operation, with existing coastal buildings usually renovated to suit our requirements.
On 24th August 2011, £50000 later ,saw the opening of the tower by Admiral Sir Neville Purvis KCB.
In January 2012 , the station was was given Declared Facility Status (DFS) – meaning that the station was fully operational and fully recognised in search and rescue operations with the same status as RNLI Lifeboats and search and rescue helicopters. The assessment , overseen by NCI assessors and coastguards,was carried out in the November 2011, whereby 4 watch keepers working in 2 – 3 hour shifts were closely examined in all aspects of watchkeeping, including emergency flags,signals,markers,and procedures, chartwork, observations and VHF. as well as taking part in a mock exercise involving the lifeboat and a small craft in distress.