Birdwatchers have an eye on buying Platte Fougere house

THE PLATTE FOUGERE lighthouse station could become a haven for birdwatchers.

Platte Fourgere was formerly the Lighthouse station located adjacent to Fort Doyle and near to Beaucette Marina. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30823371)
Platte Fourgere was formerly the Lighthouse station located adjacent to Fort Doyle and near to Beaucette Marina. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30823371)

The people behind the Alderney Bird Observatory have their eye on the property, formerly owned by the States but now back on the market for more than £1m., and are approaching investors looking for backing on the project.

Last year the bird observatory was planning on developing the historic watch tower at Mont Herault on the island’s south coast, but the cost of installing mains electricity and water proved too much.

So the observatory, headquartered in Alderney but keen to extend its reach, has looked to the other end of the island, where the former lighthouse station has just gone back on to the market.

‘The cost [of Mont Herault] was a stumbling block but not insurmountable,’ said Mr Horton, who said the Fort Doyle property would be the perfect place for watching birds, particularly sea birds. We have approached a few investors who may be interested. The market for a bird observatory in Guernsey is there – it just needs a bit of nurturing,’ said Mr Horton.

Platte Fougere was sold by the States for £535,000 in 2018, but is now back on the market for more than £1.1m., having been granted planning permission for a variety of uses.

No formal offers have been made so far, but Mr Horton said there was interest from some investors he has spoken to.

‘It’s such a shame that the States sold it off so cheaply a few years ago – it is just the perfect venue. I can’t say any more than that as this is in less than the early stages – but it would be a great long-term investment, it’s a win-win.’

La Societe ornithology secretary Julie Davis said a local observatory would increase the island’s tourism appeal.

‘It would be wonderful if we could set up a bird observatory to complement the fantastic work Mr Horton has done in Alderney,’ she said.

The ABO was established in 2016 and offers guided birdwatching and wildlife walks among other nature excursions.

‘We’re very keen to get one set up over here as it would encourage eco-tourism and I think deputies need to look more closely at that – there is a great future for it,’ Ms Davis said.

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