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A bid to reintroduce hutting on the island is being made by Arran Estates.
Hutting is a term used to describe a traditional style of living which emerged in Scotland between the First and Second World Wars. Since then is has fallen out of fashion. However, there has been a revival of interest in the post pandemic world with an upsurge in new hutting communities.
Now, Arran Estates believes tourism on the island can benefit from this and have lodged an Arran Hutting Project proposal with the North Ayrshire Council planning department.
That would see 20 huts located in Merkland Woods near Corrie which would be for sale for a 25-year lease. Three hut models would be available. A basic hut would cost £9,704, a bigger hut £15,825 and a deluxe hut £24,515. Owners would own the hut but not the land.
Historically, huts tended not to have running water or electricity, and were simple and eco-conscious in design. Usually they were made from a timber structure and featured a compost toilet and wood burning stove.
These rustic dwellings, sometimes referred to as bothies, cabins or shielings, were often used as temporary shelters for fishermen or those tending to livestock. Today they are seen more as a rural getaway – somewhere to escape the stresses of busy city life.
The structures will have a floor area not exceeding 30 square metres and will be within a site that is managed under a head lease and where the terms of the sub-leases include a prohibition against permanent residence.
Of course the most famous hut community in Scotland are the Carbeth Hutters who, after a 15-year fight, won the right to buy the land on which their huts were sited.
A supporting statement with the Arran Estates planning application states: ‘A century ago, a new wave of hutting provided industrial workers with a chance to have
weekends and holidays outside the city, where they could connect with family and live simply in the natural environment, and following the First World War, a refuge for soldiers returning from the stress of battle to rejuvenate their spirits in peace and quiet, and land was made available in various parts of Scotland for this purpose.
‘In the current hurley burley of business and city life, especially with the recent confines of the Covid pandemic, there is a revived interest in hutting. Often, people’s happiest memories of childhood are times spent in simple rustic surroundings close to nature.
‘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 from those whose only current option are to wild camp (becoming more prevalent due to shortage of affordable options on the island) in a supported and monitored way within reach of urban centres.’
The hutter is given the right to place a hut on an area of ground not much bigger than the hut’s footprint for a period of years, and shall remain in keeping with the low impact, ecologically sustainable and affordable tradition of Scotland’s hutting communities.
The main access to the huts would along the track formed by Forest Enterprise that joins the A841 near the Mann Burn, towards Corrie, constructed over land belonging to the applicant, for timber extraction but is now redundant because timber is taken south towards Brodick from the nearby plantation.
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. 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 statement adds: ‘The introduction of a hutting site at this location not only brings this barren area into play as a generator of income in its own right, thereby producing a business opportunity to a young local person (who will pass a share of the takings to the landowner by way of a modest rent) but also bring trade to the local hotel, restaurant and hopefully a local provisions store in due course.’
Arran Estates were asked for a comment but failed to respond.
The entrance to the hut site would be via the Maol Donn path near Corrie, currently closed for forestry work. 01_B41huts01