Cottage featured in Renoir painting can be restored

A DERELICT cottage at Moulin Huet, which featured in a Renoir painting, can now be restored and used as self-catering accommodation after planning permission was granted.

The historic nature of the site opposite the bay’s tea rooms, and its sensitive location, meant it has taken two years for the permission to come through.

Project architect Andrew Dyke, of CCD, said he was delighted.

‘It’s been one of the longest and most challenging planning applications of my lengthy career,’ he said.

Mr Dyke is no stranger to historic projects, having worked a number of time with the National Trust of Guernsey. In this case there were a number of bodies backing the work, including La Societe, the National Trust, Guernsey Museums and Visit Guernsey. But the project also faced some challenges. The building had been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. It was unclear whether it would become a protected monument, which would restrict any development, or a protected building, which would allow it to be restored, with care.

Planners have decided the structure should be considered a protected building – which confirmed the structure was a building and not a ruin.

‘The planners were very cautious,’ Mr Dyke said.

Son of the owners, Nik Le Page, said they had no problem with the site being listed.

‘We always wanted it to be back as it was and now it is protected for the future.’

The existing three-room layout will be maintained, with the addition of a mezzanine storage area over the northern and middle rooms, accessed by way of a new staircase adjacent to the north gable wall.

Existing door and window openings will be reused, with two new window openings are to be formed in the rear elevation.

A new roof structure and chimney stack will be constructed.

Mr Dyke said the structure would be used for limited visitor accommodation – similar to how the National Trust is using Fermain Tower.

There would be one bedroom and an area for children upstairs.

Mr Le Page said it was important for Guernsey to have unique visitor accommodation.

‘Jersey has these sorts of things – like bunkers and towers, so we are trying to get into that,’ he said.

‘This is the way forward for Guernsey tourism – to have niche accommodation.’

The site is set to get a boost in publicity before being finished, as it is set to feature in the Toilers of the Sea film, which is being filmed next year.

Mr Le Page said they expected the cottage to be attractive to the international market, due featuring in a Renoir painting and also having been visited by author Victor Hugo and his family.

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