West Lulworth

a Registered One-Place Study and part of the Dorset OPC network

News - 2005

The Times - 5 November 2005

Boys feared dead after being swept out to sea

By Simon de Bruxelles

TWO teenage boys are feared drowned after being swept out to sea by a giant wave while night-fishing on rocks at a Dorset beauty spot.

Dozens of people searched cliffs and inlets at Lulworth Cove near Swanage yesterday but the only traces found of Matthew Myburgh, 16, and Charlie Morrell, 15, were a baseball cap and a shoe.

The boys went fishing on Thursday night with Richard Lawrence, 15, despite stormy conditions. It is understood that when his two friends were swept away, Richard jumped in after them.

Although he could hear them shouting he was overcome by the swell and could not reach them.

After struggling out of the water he ran to a nearby hotel, where one of the other boys had a part-time job, and raised the alarm.

The small village of West Lulworth was in mourning yesterday, when, after 20 hours of searching ten miles of coastline, rescue teams admitted that the chance of finding the boys alive was remote.

Divers from Avon and Somerset police will resume the search today.

The father of one of the two lost boys broke down after being taken to where the boys had been swept from the rocks. Richard was also said to be devastated by the loss of his two closest friends. All three were pupils at the Purbeck School in Wareham.

Royal Marines joined more than 120 coastguards, lifeboat crews, police, villagers and schoolfriends in the search.

Mark Rodaway, the coastguard commander for southern England, said that the sea had been "funnelling" through the entrance to the cove, creating huge waves. "The waves were enormous — the biggest seas I have seen in years," he said. The swell was between 20 to 30 feet, creating a swirling cauldron-like effect, he added.

"I don’t know why they were out there fishing at that time of night in those conditions. That is a question for another day."

Mr Rodaway said that the accident had devastated the close-knit community of Lulworth, which has a population of 838. Many members of the search teams knew the victims and their families.

Among the volunteers searching were Sam Griffiths and Maria Osmond, who knew the lost boys. Sam, 15, said: "They were our friends and we were out searching for them most of the night."

Maria added: "It is horrible, but you can’t give up hope. I just hope they are safe and on the shore somewhere."

Bournemouth Daily Echo - Tuesday 1 November 2005

Housing on hotel site plans get boot

UNPOPULAR plans to tear down a hotel and replace it with housing have been thrown out.

Developers wanted to build seven houses and five flats - four affordable - on the site of Hambury Hotel in West Lulworth.

But planning chiefs at a Purbeck District Council planning board meeting last week unanimously agreed to turn down the plan.

They said the houses would be crammed in, too close to the road and out of keeping with the conservation area around them.

Chairman of the meeting, Cllr Julie Wheeldon, said: "The whole thing is a total hotch-potch. I do not see that it fits into the village scene at all."

Residents spoke at the meeting on a range of concerns, including over-development of the site, lack of parking, dangerous road access, and loss of open space and hotel accommodation in the area.

They were also worried a house in the grounds of the hotel would be demolished for car parking space- although it was not clearly stated in Truline Developments' plans.

The neighbours said a couple lived there and were devastated their home, Wellington Cottage, might be torn down as they had no intention of selling.

Vivienne King, from West Lulworth Parish Council, said: "It is alarming in the application there is no reference to Wellington Cottage.

"It seems it has been included as part of the hotel to be demolished. It has been the childhood and married home of one of them for 35 years.

"This application should be refused."

Resident Avril Dale, from Main Road, said: "Fifty-seven per cent of the new houses will be built on land that has never been built on which is currently open space.

"If this land is to be built on I suggest that green open spaces are retained as garden for the new homes."

The Hambury Hotel is a large modern building in a Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Heritage Coast and West Lulworth Conservation Area. It is also near to a number of listed buildings.

Another application for the site was submitted earlier this year but refused for being an over-development of the site and inappropriate in the West Lulworth Conservation Area.

Bournemouth Daily Echo - Saturday 23 July 2005

Century of history is axed 'for safety'

VILLAGERS are outraged after a chestnut tree more than a century old was chopped down in West Lulworth.

They claim only a couple of dead branches needed trimming to keep the tree healthy and were shocked to discover it had been felled.

People living nearby have laid flowers at its stump in School Lane to mark the spot where the tree stood until a few days ago.

Monica Meaden, 67, of Moreys Close, who has lived in West Lulworth all her life, believes her great grandfather planted the tree in the grounds of her former home.

She said: "It was a landmark and more than two storeys high. Now there is just a stump left and it's very sad to see it gone. Someone for the council suddenly took it down and people in the village weren't consulted.

"The tree was in the garden of my homestead next to our cottage. That was pulled down and there are flats there now. I think it was my great grandfather who actually planted the tree about 150 years ago."

Vice-chairman of the parish council Margaret Keogh, of Farm Lane, said: "It's a great shame that it has gone. One or two branches had died and we thought they were just going to be trimmed.

"The next thing there we knew there was only a stump left. Everyone loved the tree and it could have been properly surgeoned to keep it alive."

Clyde Vallance, 71, of Moreys Close, said he remembers playing near the tree as a child and added: "It needn't have been chopped down."

A spokesman for Dorset County Council said the sweet chestnut was monitored for almost a year before the decision was taken to fell it.

He added: "The tree was dying, most probably due to a fungal infection, and with the two large limbs overhanging the pavement and highway, there was a clear health and safety issue.

"The specimen also had a large bark wound from a previous car accident, which was infected by insects. In the interests of public safety, a decision was therefore taken to fell the tree."


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