Couple get go-ahead for bothy conversion

A BUCHAN couple have been given the go ahead to convert a disused bothy into a house, despite concerns that the conversion would have negative effect on the appearance of the rural landscape.

Buchan Area Committee Councillors approved Mr and Mrs Knowles’ application to alter, extend and change the use of the bothy at Upper Cairnbanno, about three miles west of New Deer, at a meeting in Peterhead last week.

The application outlines plans to install two dormer windows to the front of the building, a sun lounge in the centre of the front elevation and a larger extension to the rear.

Reports released prior to last Tuesday’s meeting recommended that Councillors reject the change of use application as alterations would compromise the “traditional vernacular appearance” of the countryside setting.

Planning officer for Aberdeenshire Council Stuart Newlands said that the application was originally submitted as a ‘householder application’ whereby the applicant sought planning permission for the alterations and extension to an established house.

He said: “Upon the site visit it became clear that this building was not currently being used as a house and could not be considered as a householder application,”

“In response the applicant submitted information in the form of old photographs and historical maps showing the building dating back as far as the 1800’s arguing the point that this building was the original farmhouse for the farming enterprise of Upperton of Cairnbanno.”

“However, the applicant and agent themselves acknowledged that the building had not been used as a dwelling for more than 30 years.”

Councillors voted unanimously against the recommendation, arguing that the building had already been used as a dwelling, albeit some time ago.

Central Buchan Councillor Norman Smith said: “In my eyes, a bothy is a dwelling and it was used as a residential building some time ago. I think that the plans are very sympathetic with the surrounding area.”

Fellow Councillor for Central Buchan Sandy Stronach agreed that old photographs submitted by Mr and Mrs Knowles made it clear that the bothy had previously been used as a dwelling.

He said: “Upstairs fire places make it clear that this was a residential property.”