Sutton Bridge lighthouse plan revealed

Doug Hilton at the East Bank lighthouse in Sutton Bridge.

Doug Hilton at the East Bank lighthouse in Sutton Bridge.

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THE new owner of the iconic Peter Scott Lighthouse at Sutton Bridge has unveiled his plans for it in the hope of putting the public’s fears to rest.

Architect/builder Doug Hilton has been prompted by people’s concerns that he may knock down the wooden buildings around the lighthouse tower or build something not in keeping with the beautiful isolated site on the east bank of the River Nene.

The answer is no on both counts, and to prove it Doug told a multi-agency meeting at Sutton Bridge last week that he wants to welcome the public into the lighthouse grounds with a new low profile, timber-clad building which will provide a classroom, toilets and canteen.

Visitors will be able to look out from all the rooms at the riverbank and fields and the ponds and collection of wildfowl on the site.

Doug, who already runs a wildfowl reserve in Kent with wife Sue and daughter Tamsin, has designed the visitor centre himself. The next step is to submit his plans to South Holland District Council.

He said this week: “The meeting went really well, and it looks as though the scheme will be welcomed by the community and fit in with so many local groups, wildlife organisations, schools and environmental courses based on the incredible wildlife area of The Wash and the history of the area.

“This isn’t some multi-million pound visitor centre, all glass and steel. We just want people to come out here and get up close to the wildfowl and the landscape, so toilets and the chance to have a cup of tea would be good.

“It shouldn’t cost more than £150,000 in total.

“Everyone’s so intensely interested in this building, they’ve all asked what we’re doing with it and rumours have been going round.

“Of course we will keep the buildings around the tower where Peter Scott lived and painted and watched birds.

“The last schemes for an arts and wildlife centre here failed to attract enough funding – they would all have cost well over a million pounds.

“We won’t be applying for public money. Instead we’ll do it through our own charity which we’ve renamed the Snowgoose Wildlife Trust in honour of the famous ‘Snow Goose’ story written by American writer Paul Gallico that was based on the lighthouse, Sir Peter Scott and his wildfowl.”