Former army building to be renovated

A FORMER derelict radar building at Eagle View on the Portpatrick cliffs is destined to be renovated into a holiday home.

The 'Hush Hush', as it is known locally, has been given provisional approval for transformation from a "deteriorating eyesore" into a brand new house by a local couple.

Shona McCaig, of Eagle View, Portpatrick told members at Wigtown Area Committee on Wednesday that she and her husband hoped to transform the rectangular, grey building which was thrown up during the war and has stood empty ever since.

Planning officer Peter Barker described it as "characterless and without a lot of architectural merit", and said it was built quickly during a time of national need.

The planning department had recommended the application be refused because local policy doesn't allow for the transformation of buildings which aren't of a traditional nature.

But Mrs McCaig's neighbours wrote to the planners to express their support for the venture, claiming the Hush Hush is a deteriorating eyesore which cannot be used for anything of any purpose.

Mrs McCaig told members: "Our plan is to make a much improved outlook for that area and the works will be undertaken in a sensitive manner. What else are we supposed to do with this building?"

She went on: "Our families have farmed this land for generations and at a difficult time for farmers, what with Bluetongue and the like, we are looking to expand our business and this is how we think we can do that."

Councillor Grahame Forster said that the committee needed to bring "common sense" to the table and see that the building is crying out for refurbishment.

But councillor Robert Higgins disagreed. He said: "I don't agree with military buildings being used as homes. This was never a traditional dwellinghouse and I move to refuse the application."

The committee were moved to agree with Cllr Forster and the application will now go to Planning Housing and Environment services at Dumfries for a final decision.