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Dirleton expansion puts castle in the frame

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January 15 2018

Dirleton expansion puts castle in the frame
Queensberry Properties have come forward with plans to build 32 houses and four flats on four hectares of land on the outskirts of Dirleton, East Lothian.

Occupying a conservation area the properties off Castlemains Place are oriented to maximise views of the castle, with the masterplan calling for a new street to be laid enclosing a landscaped strip of planting with accommodation arranged across lane, steading and courtyard elements.

In a statement JTP wrote: “The proposed layout takes inspiration from the surrounding Dirleton context in terms of its form, height and scale to establish a new but complementary development which sits comfortably within its boundary and which enhances the appearance and value of this important and prominent edge.”

New housing has been designed to marry existing homes in terms of materials, scale and massing, managing the transition from countryside to town via a shift from detached to terraced properties. A landscaped buffer will accentuate this transition.

Properties will be finished in a mixture of smooth dash render, timber infill, and stone.
Properties will mark the transition from town to countryside
Properties will mark the transition from town to countryside


Bill S
#1 Posted by Bill S on 16 Jan 2018 at 10:04 AM
Ah Dirleton, I feel so sorry for you. What a load of tosh. For sensitive and contemporary housing design on the green spaces at the edge of communities, perhaps the Architects and Local Authority should look to the Accordia and Abode developments in and around Cambridge for inspiration. The scale and density is probably a bit much, but the design principles remain the same.
John MacCallum
#2 Posted by John MacCallum on 16 Jan 2018 at 13:45 PM
Your comments Bill are quite disappointing. What suits Cambridge doesn't have to suit everywhere else. We don't need English design in Scotland - that's not a criticism, both are equally as good. Keeping identity is important culturally, particularly in rural areas. The architects are taking inspiration from the immediate local area not from far flung places and should be applauded for that.
Bill S
#3 Posted by Bill S on 16 Jan 2018 at 14:18 PM
Hi John, thanks for your thoughts. Please note that I explicitly suggested using those examples from Cambridge as "inspiration" of "design principles"; nowhere did I suggest copying their identity. In fact, I would argue that these proposals are taking inspiration from generic housing schemes from across the country, England included, and should not be applauded. The twee dormers, red render / brick finish and entrance porches of the low rise units suggest the Architects have not visited the sites.

Having been raised and schooled in Direlton, I am well aware of the tosh that has been built in and around the historic village, and I'm afraid this just contributes towards it.
Derek Carter
#4 Posted by Derek Carter on 16 Jan 2018 at 14:54 PM
I am a landscape architect living in Dirleton. I can assure you that this suburban scheme is completely alien to the historic character of Dirleton which, by the way, is a rural village not a town. East Lothian has its own architectural tradition, and none of it is apparent in this proposal. It could be anywhere in suburban Scotland. To see the community's alternative visit www.dirletonvillage
J Finlay
#5 Posted by J Finlay on 16 Jan 2018 at 15:13 PM
As a retired Architect it is not difficult to see that the proposal is just another one of the formulaic, invasive and anonymous suburban developments that, like a virus, are spreading everywhere.

Unfortunately their dreadful impact is felt most in conservation and historic villages like Dirleton. It has a rich and easily defined character. Why have the Architects/developers not tapped into that? And, why have they not mentioned that the housing is to be built in the shadow of Dirleton's 13th C castle?
#6 Posted by Sven on 16 Jan 2018 at 22:01 PM
Why bungalow's? That is one housetype that I have never understood the attraction of, even ones with what looks like a dodgy loft extension. I will not repeat others wise words on poor design and fitting in with the local environment but will point out the 2 shared drives and garages - why inflict such things on people? It just takes one to leave their car too far onto the others side and all hell breaks lose, so why design something so wrong?

Are the row of red looking bungalows low cost housing as they look especially mean and plain.
#7 Posted by Egbert on 17 Jan 2018 at 10:47 AM
Folks... (particularly #3 and #6) the red rendered bungalows with that 'dodgy loft extension' look are existing. I believe they are recent-ish affordable housing. The JTP/Queensberry proposals start to the south of the tree/hedge line and while they're certainly not great they're an improvement on the aforementioned bungalows.
#8 Posted by StyleCouncil on 17 Jan 2018 at 22:21 PM
East Lothian is fast becoming a humongous, crap suburb of Edinburgh. Roundabout upon roundabout of standard house builder dross. The swathes of new 'estates' behind North Berwick are particular unsympathetic and undermine the unique characteristics of the landscape. This is just another such example....

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