Plans to turn old Fala bothy into one bed retirement home

A farm owner wants to convert a dilapidated bothy on his land into a one-bedroom retirement home.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 6:00 am
Rose and Charles Dudgeon live in the farmhouse at Fala Mains Farm near Pathhead and have applied for planning permission to convert its bothy into a new home.
Rose and Charles Dudgeon live in the farmhouse at Fala Mains Farm near Pathhead and have applied for planning permission to convert its bothy into a new home.

Rose and Charles Dudgeon live in the farmhouse at Fala Mains Farm near Pathhead and have applied for planning permission to convert its bothy into a new home.

The bothy, which is described by their agents as a ‘bit of an eyesore’ and potentially dangerous, remains part of the steading and would initially be let out.

However Savills who represent the Dudgeons, have told Midlothian Council’s planners that the new house could become the couple’s retirement home.

In a design statement to the local authority they said: “The building is in quite a deteriorated state as well as a bit of an eyesore and if left will become dangerous yet remains an integral part of the steading complex.

“They would therefore like to convert it sympathetically into a residential unit, initially for let but potentially as a unit which they could retire to in the longer term.”

Fala Mains bothy is thought to date back to the early 19th century and evidence of its existence can be seen on an 1850 ordinance survey map.

However Savills said that while its historic relevance was noted and deserves respect an extension will be needed to make it big enough for the proposed one bedroom property.

They said: “The building along with the neighbouring barn deserves respect and any conversion should be sympathetic and sensitive to its origins whilst acknowledging its location within the steading complex.

“The existing footprint is not large enough to allow the development of a single residential unit so an extension will be required but its design should acknowledge the scale and materials of the original buildings.”

The planned conversion will include part of the adjacent barn in the new home.

Applying for approval of the plans the agents argue that it will enhance the area.

They said: “The development of the bothy in its presently deteriorating and potentially dangerous condition can only be seen as a positive contribution to the region’s housing needs and the visual enhancement of the farm complex of Fala Mains benefiting the overall appearance of the vicinity.”

The application is with planners.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Farm bothies were traditionally used by workers, many of whom were travelling from place to place for work, and shared the accommodation.