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TAP wins planning for £250k house on abandoned Scottish mill site

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Taylor Architecture Practice (TAP) has won detailed approval for a new 140m² house on top of the ruins of a derelict former flax mill in the Loch Tummel National Scenic Area, Perthshire, Scotland

The £250,000 steel-frame scheme, for a couple who continue to farm the land on the edge of the loch, is 1km to the west of the hamlet of Foss in the abandoned settlement of Balnairn.

Most of the one-bedroom house will be built above the remains of the mill’s dry-stone walls in a new elevated element that projects out over the river bank below.

A semi-open storage area makes up half of the ground, which could be converted into further bedroom or bathroom at a later date.

Work is expected to start on site in March next year.

The flax mill tap internal view 01

The flax mill tap internal view 01

The architect’s view

A couple who have farmed on the land along the edge of Loch Tummel for many years, need to build a small house so as to be based close to their livestock.

They bought a narrow strip of land between river and road, near the small settlement of Foss, and we were approached to examine the possible options.

’The planning department was resistant to a stand-alone house in this isolated location’

The planning department was resistant to the idea of a stand-alone house in this isolated location, but we successfully argued that site should be designated as Rural Brownfield Land, due to the existence of the ruin of the former flax mill on the site. We obtained outline planning permission and then last month (August 2017) we were granted detailed planning consent.

The presence of a number of mature trees, the stone walls of the ruin and some steep slopes, restricted the positions where a house could be located. Our solution was to build within the footprint of the ruin leaving the ‘dry-stane’ walls in place where possible and locating the majority of the accommodation within an elevated, upper level that projects out over the river bank at the western end.

A semi-open storage area, for agricultural equipment, occupies one half of the lower floor. This can be converted into further bedroom/ bathroom accommodation if and when required. An entrance under the projecting upper storey leads to a hallway and stair to upper level, where the glazed living spaces enjoy views to river and mountains.

Glazing, timber panelling, metal roofing and an expressed steel-frame have a utilitarian character, but combine to give a rich and variegated effect, appropriate to the rural setting

The flax mill tap long section

The flax mill tap long section


Project Data:

Location Balnairn, Loch Tummel, Perthshire
Type of project Domestic
Client Private
Architect TAP
Structural engineer McColl Associates
Funding Private
Tender date December 2017
Start on site date March 2018
Completion date November 2018
Contract duration 9 months
Gross internal floor area 140m²
Form of contract and/or procurement Traditional JCT/ SBCC
Total cost £250,000 approx.

The flax mill tap model view 1

The flax mill tap model view 1

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