Heritage funding clears the way for John O'Groats corn mill visitor hub
October 18 2021
Plans to turn a B-listed former corn mill in John O'Groats into a tourism destination and community hub have taken a significant step forward with a dual funding announcement from heritage bodies.
The twin funding deal sees the Architectural Heritage Fund earmark up to £30k to finance a detailed survey of the structure while a further £162k has been set aside by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to fund detailed design work for a heritage attraction costed at between £1.5 and £2m, subject to live planning consideration.
Indicative designs prepared by McGregor Bowes showing how the mill could look as a social, educational and cultural centre earned the practice a nomination in the future building category of the Scottish Design Awards. They show how the mill buildings, machinery and water systems could be restored to working order, giving visitors a taste of how the mill would have looked in its heyday. This would be augmented by a side extension and viewing terrace under a 'rug' of grass to blend with the surrounding landscape.
In a statement, Chris Bowes wrote: "The design principle for the extension is that the building is tucked into the landscape and the greenery extends over the building like a rug of grass. The extension opens up on the west side with a wall of glazing. The roof of the extension overhangs this glazing to limit solar gain during the summer, but enable it in the winter and shoulder periods. The floor of the extension is made of Caithness slabs to match the floor of the original mill and in the extension it increases the opportunity for creating thermal mass.
"On the mill first floor, mill interpretation and mixed-use will continue in the west wing. An escape stair route to the north is shown from the main building exiting over the new extension.
"The second floor continues the theme of mill use, interpretation and mixed uses. A new stainless steel mesh floor will be installed above the kiln area to replace the life-expired cast iron plates. The space can be used for temporary exhibitions when it is not in use for drying grain. There is also an escape route from this area that leads via a new bridge to a banked up stepped area of the adjacent field."
The programme of restoration and conversion is being assisted by Torrance Partnership, David Narro Associates and Rybka.
The cash will enable indicative designs to be refined further and assemble funding bids for capital works
Back to October 2021
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