Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps facility

West Cliff Zig-Zag

Published 23rd October, updated 20th November 2023

The Project

Estimated timeline (subject to obtaining the required consents)
Demolition November to December 2023
Construction January 2024 to March 2025

The Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps Project will provide upgraded lifeguard facilities at the existing Joseph Steps site, which is located beneath West Cliff Zig-Zag.

The building will primarily act as a training and educational facility for new and aspiring lifeguards, helping to ensure people’s ongoing safety in the water through training and developing new lifeguarding talent on our seafront.

The project commenced in November 2023 and has been funded through the Government’s £4.8 billion Levelling-Up Fund, of which BCP Council received £19.9 million earlier this year to complete 11 valuable infrastructure projects. 

Demolition of the existing building

Pictures from 16th November


The existing building on the site

The Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps (the Corps) are currently using a building located at the base of the West Cliff Zig-Zag as their base and boat storage area. The building is in a poor state of repair and needs vital improvements.

In 2020 the Corps submitted a planning application to construct a modern, sustainable, facility which will enable them to encourage even more members to join from the local community. This was approved 01 December 2020.

In 2022, BCP Council successfully bid for Levelling-Up grant funding for improvements to the seafront including the lifeguards projects. Working with the Corps, the project team has now completed the technical design stage and pending approval of final matters from the Local Planning Authority, the team are now preparing to make a start on site with works planned to take place between November 2023 and March 2025.

The new building

The new building will include equipment storage, changing rooms for the lifeguards, a training room and operational room and provide other opportunities for like-minded organisations to use the facilities.

Proposed South Elevation

Proposed Ground Floor Plan

Proposed First Floor Plan


Who is the building for?

The building will be used by the Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps (the Corps), a registered charity affiliated with the Royal Lifesaving Society who are the UK’s leading provider of water safety and drowning prevention education and Surf Lifesaving Great Britain (SLSGB). They have been training volunteers since 1965 in lifeguarding skills and have over 120 members from Rookies aged 8yrs-12yrs, Cadets 13yrs-18yrs and adults of all ages.

Their focus is training members in water safety skills both in a swimming pool and open water. Learning to respect but also enjoy water-based activities which in turn can encourage fitness, teamwork and help with mental health and wellbeing as well as learning life skills in communication, first aid and enable career prospects.

The Corps also work closely with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI), working professionally alongside them during major events such as the Bournemouth Air Festival and British Heart Foundation Pier to Pier Swim, for which they provide water safety cover.

When will the works take place?

Pending approval of final matters from the Local Planning Authority, the team are now preparing to make a start on site with works planned to take place between November 2023 and March 2025.

Construction works will be taking place through the year, with major works avoiding the peak season. This means there will be some noise and work vehicles travelling along the prom to the site. The majority of works will take place between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday

Will access to the beach be affected?

The works area will be fenced off, with a small parking area set up on the beach for works vehicles. Access to the beach outside these areas will be unrestricted.

During some of the works, access to the West Cliff zig-zag will be restricted for health and safety reasons. The duration of these periods will be kept minimal and will be advertised at the top and bottom of the zig-zag. Alternative routes via Durley Chine and from Bournemouth Pier are available.

Who is carrying out the works?

The construction works are being led by BCP Council’s own Construction Works Team (Seascape South). 


Project Details

Budget £1.4 million
Funding UK Government Levelling Up Grant
Client BCP Council
Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps
Seascape South
Footprint Architects
R.J. Watkinson