Huisinis Interpretation Centre Project

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The Huisinis  project came about by an approach from the Huisinis crofters. Each summer a huge number of visitors are attracted by the beach at Huisinis. This brings with it many issues, like overflowing rubbish bins, vehicles eroding the machair and vehicles restricting resident’s access. The existing public toilets are now owned by NHT and are in need of modernisation. This project aims to address some of the summer issues whilst building a new modern facility.

existing toilet

Aims/Objectives

  • Replace the 17 year old toilets with new low-maintenance, low energy use and fully accessible facilities
  • Better-manage the influx of visitors each summer
  • Provide a new facility to base outdoor and learning activities
  • Stop the damage to the beach head and machair by vehicles
  • Develop a new tourist destination that will
    • secure a bigger share of tourist spend for North Harris
    • create an anchor facility that will stimulate local economic growth

 

Deliverable

The project will demolish the existing building and replace it with a new timber frame/clad building (see documents below). In addition to toilets, a changing room and showers will be incorporated. We have a letter of support from Lewis and Harris Youth Club that operates Coasteering sessions at Huisinis. There will also be a multi-use indoor space. This will have large windows to the hills and sea  for winter visitors seeking shelter. It will include interpretation panels to educate visitors about the precious machair landscape, the existing wind turbines that power the building and some gaelic culture. Outside the building there will be much-improved parking. A formal parking area for campervans will include electric hook-ups. Water and a waste dumping point will also be available.

Panorama montage

Progress

In 2013, NHT commissioned a Feasibility Study. A township meeting was held to pull together thoughts, and consultations took place with SNH and CnES. Planning permission was granted in 2014, then the search for funding got underway. In 2016 CnES CCGF and LEADER funding was secured. With a contribution from HIE and the Trust itself, the required £270K budget was completed.

The project was tendered through the Public Contracts Scotland web portal, as a Design and Build project. The contract was awarded in January, ground being broken in March and completion August 2017. The building is now operational – see details HERE