40 Point Road
client: Private
location: Killough, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
date: 2020
category: residential/culture/commercial

Feasibility study and design development for 3 low energy sustainable holiday homes on a remote coastal site in Northern Ireland.

The site consists of a historic farmhouse and series of associated outbuildings, on a small farm holding on the south-east coast of Co. Down, Northern Ireland with spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains.

The development appraisal consisted of research into the viability of the conversion and restoration of 3 derelict buildings, traditional stone built cottages, former farmsteads from the 1800s* into off-grid self-catering holiday accommodation. Planning restricts that the three buildings be developed as holiday accommodation. Use as a private home is not permitted.

The prominent coastline site is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and the equivalent of a SSSI (ASSI). The pig ‘crew’ is a listed structure with a corbelled stone roof. Otherwise the complex of buildings are not listed on the Register of Protected Structures (RPS) but are of vernacular significance.  

The aim of the development is to offer a low-carbon family holiday destination that immerses its guests in nature, but that also refers back to previous times. The development seeks to encourage guests to embrace the idea of living in a less consumable manner, and at the same time a leisure destination that could emphasise the pleasure that can be found in enjoying nature and living a sustainable life, an off-grid retreat. The aim is to create a deep sense of connection with nature and the surrounding landscape as well as recognising the importance of our vernacular built heritage, and how we can appropriately and sustainably conserve rural vernacular settlements of this type for future generations.

The 3 self-catering units would be served by:

  • Bore hole with filter for fresh water
  • Wastewater treatment plant – small on-site in-ground tank
  • Water harvesting, with grey water 
  • Self composting toilets
  • PV panels and a water source heat pump to provide localised self-sufficient heating and electrical source
  • Wireless broadband internet connection
  • Use of natural materials and local building techniques – local stone, lime plaster, sheeps wool insulation etc.

*A Clachan settlement – a cluster of small single storey cottages of farmers found on poorer land ‘a nucleated group of farmhouses with land holdings organised communally’ – characteristic of marginal farming land in coastal and mountainous areas, with concentrations in County Down.