Next step in £5million plan to bring Second World War rescue ship to Hartlepool is approved

The rescue motor launch RML 497, which will be renovated in Hartlepool before being put on permanent display.
The rescue motor launch RML 497, which will be renovated in Hartlepool before being put on permanent display.

Plans have been approved for the next step in a £5million restoration project to house a Second World War rescue ship in Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Council bosses announced earlier this year that they hope to bring the rescue motor launch RML 497 from its current berth in Southampton to the town as part of the extension of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN).

The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool.

It is hoped that the extension of the museum and restoration of the vessel will create hundreds of jobs.

Proposals have now been approved by the council planning department to create a temporary building to house the ship at the Hartlepool Marina site.

The ship will be restored in the temporary building before being given a permanent location as part of the wider regeneration project in the area.

The vessel is one of the ships which would have gone out to rescue aircraft crew who were lost in the English Channel.

The council regeneration support team backed the move and said it would provide a boost to the area.

A statement said: “The proposal to bring the RML497 to Hartlepool is an important project for the regeneration of the Waterfront and the transformation of the NMRN (Hartlepool) site.

“The application will attract visitors and help to grow the visitor economy, supporting businesses and jobs within the area.”

The vessel’s condition means it can not move under its own steam. It would require a lift onto a cradle and then be moved by barge to Hartlepool for restoration.

Museum bosses said this needs to be carried out ‘as soon as possible’, as it can be a difficult process and has to be undertaken before the weather deteriorates over winter.

A planning statement said: “The NMRN are anxious to relocate RML 497 from its present water mooring into a properly controlled dry environment where restoration can commence.

“This would need to be at its National Museum centre at Hartlepool, where it can be viewed by the general public as restoration progresses, and where it is the intention that the vessel would be finally located at a berth still to be determined.”

The site of the temporary building is currently used as coach parking for the museum.

The 500-space car park would lose 20 spaces if plans are given the go-ahead.

The building will measure 40 metres by 15 metres, and will protect the ship and those wortking on it from the weather during its renovation.

Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service