Posts Tagged ‘Machair’

Huisinis Gateway Centre is revealed

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Following the success of the North Harris Eagle Observatory, we have been looking at ideas for a development at Huisinis. The Trust owns and operates the public toilets at Huisinis with the help of the local crofters. The current building desperately needs updating.

We secured funding from Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Ideas fund to bring in an Architect to come up with some ideas for a new building. The Feasibility Study has just arrived and is available to download at the bottom of the page -bear in mind it’s a big file.

In speaking with the local community, there are a few other issues that the influx of summer visitors brings to the township -the biggest being the volume of vehicles. We cannot restrict access to the township – but we can manage the influx better. We hope to create new parking for campervans in the quarry on the road before Huisinis, and create more marked parking areas with the toilets. People have suggested camping sites and cafe facilities; we do however have to manage these expectations with the fact that this is a special area with SSSI, SPA and SAC designations. At this stage we have no commercial plans for the development.

Key features of the design are:

  • A wood and turf-roofed building to blend into the landscape
  • Improved car-parking layout and additional spaces to stop access being obstructed
  • New disabled-friendly toilets
  • Changing facilities for school groups
  • An indoor public area with large windows, interpretation panels and display space
  • A secure building with a single 24 hour access toilet
  • Improved bin facilities
  • A sluice point for camper vans

 

This Feasibility Study is a starting point. The document’s purpose is to start discussion and allow us to gather comments. We are working closely with SNH to ensure that we meet their requirements of any development in this designated area. Now we are working on getting a planning application together.

Documents:

Floorplan    Siteplan   Design

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Redevelopment at Huisinis

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As well as making a donation towards the running costs of the toilet, one recent visitor was good enough to leave us some feedback on our redevelopment plans.

Thank you for this toilet which we have appreciated greatly over the years. But please don’t improve it too much or increase the parking. We come to Harris for many things; the beauty, the wilderness, the freedom and the solitude. We love your beautiful island and tread carefully but recently have begun to feel restricted and confined. Please don’t rope us off & herd us together too much. Remember we the tourists come for freedom and solitude. Please don’t take it away from us with notices prohibiting access and overnight parking unless absolutely necessary. The wild, open spaces, just as they are, are almost unique to Harris. They don’t need improvement.

The note highlights what attracts people to Harris and highlights what we need to protect. Unfortunately there are some less-responsible visitors that will drive their vehicles on the machair, will empty their campervan tanks in the toilet and will stack their rubbish up on the floor for the seagulls to spread around. Somehow we have to find a balance between improving facilities, making it easy for people to act responsibly without taking away from what everyone comes to see. We are working closely with SNH on this project and welcome all feedback.

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The Big Lottery spends more than a penny at Huisinis

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The Lottery’s “Investing in Ideas” fund is kick-starting a project to redevelop the Huisinis Public Toilets. The current toilet block is nearly 20 years old, and is in dire need of an update. The North Harris Trust has received the grant of nearly £5000 to engage an Architect to carry out a Feasibility Study.

Following the huge popularity of the Eagle Observatory, the plan is to build something similar at Huisinis, incorporating modern toilet facilities. We plan to work closely with Scottish Natural Heritage, who are keen to draw attention to the special machair landscape at Huisinis. We also plan to work with the local community to try to address some of the issues that the summer influx of visitors is causing.

This is the first step for the project. The study will give us some architect’s impressions of what the building could look like with indicative costs. This will help us look for funding for the redevelopment itself.

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