Tag Archives: Ayrshire

A Wee Knock Aroon’ Knockroon

24 Mar

Show homes: through the looking glass...

I’m just back from a very interesting morning spent looking around Knockroon, a ‘sustainable’ housing development outside Cumnock.

And I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised!

Knockroon, a village-style mixed-use development, backed by the Prince of Wales, aims to create sustainable, affordable housing in such a way that a community can be built through daily interaction between neighbours. The land was bought up following the Prince’s eleventh-hour style save of Dumfries House, a large Georgian manor house just a half hour walk from Knockroon. He envisaged a community which would allow the town of Cumnock to be extended in a culturally, socially, economically and environmentally sensitive way, retaining a quintessentially ‘Ayrshire’ character to the building style. To this end, all the houses are based on examples of traditional Ayrshire and Wigtonshire architecture from the 17th-19th centuries. 

And what does every country cottage need? A wood-burning stove of course! Every home comes with one,  from the one bedroom flats all the way up to the large end of terrace houses with three double rooms, bringing not only some olde-worlde character, but also a reminder about how the homes are being heated. Sadly, there are currently no plans to provide any community energy generation, as it is too expensive at present, but hopefully as the development grows, this is something which could be looked into.

The developers, Hope Homes, have also teamed up with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, who have been designing the development’s gardens. Interesting features to look out for include bat boxes built into the house walls, ‘invertebrate hotels’, hedgehog houses (and hedgehog paths between gardens), raised vegetable and herb gardens and a water butt and composter in every garden. 

The houses aren’t just a pretty face though – they are just as beautiful on the inside. We looked around a one bedroomed flat, a three bedroom mid-terrace and a four bedroom end-terrace, and every one was as spacious, light and airy as the last. From the skylights in the stairwells to the heritage style window frames and over-stair storage space in the master bedrooms, the houses are going to make fabulous homes.

And there aren’t any clever industry tricks being employed here: the double beds really are double, and the kitchen-diners are large enough to take a table for 6, a full wall of cupboards, 3 under worktop appliances, a cooker, oven, sink, fridge and freezer with more than enough room for a busy family, friends and associated pets to congregate in.

However, is this all just a clever marketing ploy, or is Knockroon ticking the sustainability boxes?

  • Insulation: you can upgrade from standard insulation to sheep’s wool insulation for your loft for £25 per square meter…pricey, but the option is there.
  • Showers: all showers are aerated (bubbly water to you and me), making them more efficient to run – they heat up faster and you get ‘more water’ for less electricity.
  • Community: pupils from Auchinleck Academy are building a one-bedroom house in the car park to learn joinery skills, a pupil from Grange Academy designed and made the chalkboard in one of the homes and paths and roads are designed to integrate Knockroon into Cumnock, instead of creating a gated community.
  • Environment: as already explained, there are lots of energy saving features inside the buildings, as well as lots of attempts outside to encourage local flora and fauna, with a definite emphasis on self-sufficiency.
  • Sourcing: here’s where Knockroon might have a few problems. The ‘real slate roofs’ which our guide was telling us about aren’t sourced from Ayrshire. Or Scotland. Or Wales. Or in fact, the UK. So that’s a bit of a beef if all the buildings are slate-roofed. However, the granite is all from local quarries,  and one of the decorative red sandstone walls is recovered from an old property which Hope Homes bought and was falling into disrepair. A bit of a mixed bag on that front then.
  • Money, money, money: Knockroon’s big draw is the cost of living there. You can get your hands on a really spacious one bedroom flat for £80,000 (or you could, but it’s sold now), and a gorgeous two and a half storey home with three bedrooms comes in at £175,000. Amazing. If I wasn’t a broke student, I’d be moving in there tomorrow.

I really can’t sing Knockroon’s praises highly enough. It’s a tasteful development in a beautiful setting, with real sustainability-trendsetting potential, and at such affordable prices, I wouldn’t be surprised if a waiting list crops up soon.

To find out more about the venture, visit http://www.knockroon.com, or go along to their showhomes for a nosey around.

Until the next time dear readers, 

The one with the Amazing Woman Talents

A quick note – I haven’t been sponsored, paid or bribed to write this little piece. I just really enjoyed mooching about pretending the houses were my own…I urge you to do the same!