A FAMILIAR site will soon be back in place in Bude as the official opening of Compass Point has been announced.

Five years ago conversations were held by the local council concerning the maintenance of the town’s historic Storm Tower.

Built in 1835, the Storm Tower or ‘Pepperpot’ as it is known to many locals, was used as a base and shelter for a coastguard overlooking the water, as well as a landmark for passing ships. Designed as an octagonal tower, it featured the eight principal points of a compass engraved on the appropriate faces. However, due to coastal erosion, the tower was rebuilt further in land around 50 year later in its life – this time no longer oriented to the points of a compass - and as coastguards became less common, the building slowly became but an elegant silhouette atop the cliff and a piece of local history.

Following conversations held by Bude-Stratton Town council it was decided that the iconic tower should be saved and thus the Compass Point Project was launched.

Following conversations held by Bude-Stratton Town Council, it was decided that the iconic tower should be saved, and thus the Compass Point Project was launched, a project which would see the tower dismantled and reconstructed 200 metres further in land.

After crowdfunding efforts from the local community, Sally Strachey Historic Conservation were appointed as contractor.

A project of this scale does not come cheap however; the activity was funded by a £250,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, £50,000 from Cornwall Council, £40,000 from Bude-Stratton Town Council – plus £60,000 as a result of a fantastic community crowdfunding effort.  

Since work began in April last year, the site has been looking less than familiar, with each stage of the project providing a new silhouette standing over Bude.  

Now, almost a year on, Bude-Stratton Town Council have announced a date for the grand opening of the completed tower. On March 5, the site will host its grand re-opening. 

Despite some challenges faced during the project, Peter LaBroy, Cornwall Councillor for Bude, believes this is a historic moment for the town.  

Speaking to the Post, he said: “It’s been almost exactly five years since February 2019 when we started serious conversations about the possibility of moving our Storm Tower to a safe location. The early puzzles that we identified were about the ownership of the structure, whether it was reasonable in planning terms to move it, and of course, who would actually pay for the job. 

“Each one of these questions turned out to be much more complicated than we imagined, but with the commitment from Bude-Stratton Town Council to take responsibility for the job, and a good team behind us, we found a way. The project hasn’t been straightforward, but a key milestone was the astonishingly successful Crowdfunder which raised over £60,000, tripling our best expectations and hopes. 

“We’ve all witnessed the careful dismantling of the tower and the reconstruction, all performed to the highest standards by a specialist historic conservation company that are more used to working on cathedrals and historic monuments. 

“It has been wonderful to see the hard work and challenges being met throughout this project, and I am incredibly glad that our team has saved our historic talisman for future generations. 

“I’m also incredibly glad to have played my own small part in getting the project off the ground and am thankful to everyone that has played a part, whether it was you dipping into your pocket for the Crowdfunder, a councillor voting in favour of a potentially risky project, all the professionals working on the project and, of course, our own council officers in Bude who have managed this successful and historically notable preservation of our Storm Tower at Compass Point.”  

Mayor of Bude, Cllr Mike Dawe added: “I’m very pleased that we are nearing the successful completion of the Compass Point Storm Tower Project. This has been a significant undertaking, with the tower being carefully dismantled stone by stone, safeguarding it from the sea and ensuring its preservation.  

“Additionally, I am delighted to warmly invite everyone to join us at the official opening ceremony on St Piran’s Day, March 5 at 2pm. This will be a moment for us all to come together and celebrate this remarkable achievement. I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone there.”