A DREAM of welcoming visitors to the Sir Peter Scott Lighthouse is another step closer to becoming reality.
Just six months after buying the Sutton Bridge landmark, owner Doug Hilton has now submitted his plans for a visitor centre and museum on the site to South Holland District Council.
“There has been such a huge amount of goodwill expressed about this,” said Mr Hilton. “That is what has pushed us to do it so quickly. Everyone is fascinated by the lighthouse and they don’t want to see it done wrong.”
This is the second major project by the Snowgoose Wildlife Trust, which was set up by Mr Hilton, following the 65-acre Buckland Lake Reserve in Kent.
Mr Hilton said: “Now the planning application has been submitted, we have to work hard on the building regulations, which involves huge amounts of work, but the project is looking really good.”
The plan, if approved, involves a timber-clad visitor centre with a classroom, toilets, canteen and a shop. It also seeks to change the use of the lighthouse garage and transform it into a museum.
Mr Hilton hopes it will become home to a large collection of memorabilia bought two weeks after he bought the lighthouse.
He has also sought permission to reproduce some of Sir Peter Scott’s paintings on canvas.
“This is what we were hoping for in our wildest dreams,” he said. “Something like this has never happened before and it will never happen again.”
He added: “This lighthouse is the most important building. For global conservation, this is where it all started. I would have bought it even if it had been a row of bricks in a field. It’s so inspirational.”
Mr Hilton is hoping to be able to open up the lighthouse to the public at weekends throughout August and use the proceeds towards the visitor centre.