OFF GRID. SUSTAINABLE. REGENERATIVE. COMMUNITY-LED.
The Arran Huts project has been developing an alternative model for tourism and rural living, based on the traditional practices of hutting in Scotland. Here we take a look at what the project involves, from the Arran Huts website:
We believe that the conservation, protection and reestablishment of our beautiful landscape and its wildlife has a direct link with the ethics, interests and desires of those enjoying the countryside around us here on Arran. That there is a desire for those people to connect to a place simply and affordably in the long term, to have a space to get to know and contribute to. That this can be done in a sustainable way that helps to care for and support the locality, its environment and community.
Tied in firmly with the above aims, we believe that hutting could be an illustration or model of what might be possible on our island and further afield.
HUTTING DEFINITION OF A HUT IN SCOTTISH PLANNING POLICY 2014:
A hut: A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (i.e. not a principal residence); having an internal floor area of no more than 30m2; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life. Huts may be built singly or in groups.
Our overarching aim is to assist individuals, like ourselves, wishing to access the countryside in an affordable, low impact and safe way, whose rental funds are directly, and accountably, used to aid the conservation of this and further sites around the island, and to allow the employment of a Ranger for these aims.
Huts can strengthen family bonds, build community resilience and create memories which last a lifetime in a affordable, accessible way with secure tenure, providing a much needed space and helping to mitigate against pollution and wildfires in a supported and monitored way within reach of urban centres.
The huts will be made from natural materials, built together as a community, with the help, guidance and support of Natural Build and Conservation specialists and Government Agencies
Hut construction will follow these basic rules:
- An internal floor space of no more than 30 square metres, with small front and side deck permitted
- Constructed using low impact, natural materials, sourced sustainably
- Will not be connected to mains water, sewerage or electricity, with no generators.
IN COMMUNITY AND CONSERVATION TERMS
Although this project enables the provision of ‘recreational accommodation’, often a massive concern to rural communities of which we are part, the pattern of use, natural materials and minimal disturbance of the landscape, affordable costs, job creation and wide conservation outputs that we aim to achieve, will allow the Arran Hut Project to be viewed and supported as a tester to a different and modern conservation & recreational partnership – one that is sustainable and beneficial for both Hutters, the local communities, and conservation more widely on the island.
To have the same hutting family returning to the same hut, multiple times, year on year, which is commonly within 10-50 miles from their permanent residence (Arran, Ayrshire and Glasgow is the targeted geographic for this project), we aim to build long term relationships, stable tourism and reliable income year round to local businesses, the development of close relationships and working ties to Arran and the site itself, and show an example model that directly links – tourism, place and its conservation.
As the tenant of the land, the Arran Huts Project, has permission to formally sub lease 20 plots within the site boundaries. Group members can place a hut for individual and immediate family use, for a secure 25 year period (rolling thereafter in 5 year blocks unless negotiated otherwise).
The location proposed for the individual huts is an area between the top the raised beach to the south of the village of Corrie and the higher FLS plantation.
Between the NS02384071 and NS 25904059, a number of individual sites (20 in all) have been identified on small, level areas of ground, having a reasonable distance between them for the sake of privacy, yet all easily accessible from the access. The woodland on top of the raised beach is native birch scrub and on the flatter, more boggy area below, near the road, is mainly Alder, all naturally regenerated.
The huts will be situated well above the general eye-line of the casual passer-by but still secluded and shielded from view by the natural screen of trees, even after management and selective thinning has been applied
To find out more about the Arran Huts project and how to get involved please follow the link to their website here