Well, its one step forward and 2 back this month !
I’ve just received the building warrant so it’s all systems go – logs have been ordered and will leave Canada by 15th August – horah!
Not so fast…..
On my visit to site earlier in March I found the area where the cabin is to be sited was pretty boggy, alarm bells rang pretty loud. So on further investigation I found it to be surface water that forms large puddles just in that spot. The other worrying thing was the sight of debris that the new high levels of the loch had dropped right up to that area too.
Loch Garry had risen by 2.74m, the highest level ever recorded, this time last year; but also pretty high this year too. Although SSE control the level of the dam, it would seem that when there is a lot of water draining into the loch it just surges up before it can be released or drain away naturally
So, very swiftly back to the drawing board – quite literally. Colin (Friend/land surveyor/balloon pilot) and I spent Easter surveying every bit of the land to get a thorough picture of the levels across the site. We even went to the dam at the end of the loch to take the level of the spill way.
Tuesday I met a structural engineer and a ground works contractor on site to assess the type of ground and what the solutions could be. We had a digger to excavate 6 holes in different areas around the site to find that we will need to dig down 2m to get to firm ground. Could be worse – it could have been rock or peat! They both agreed, we need to build on the higher ground – no surprise there!
Armed with hard facts and evidence I sent the planning officer a new plan to ask if it would be possible to re-site the cabin to the higher land. She said she would be supportive so long as we get the nod from the forestry officer. As it happens there are less trees to clear on this plateau than the current permitted area. There are just 3 oak trees up there and they look a bit unhealthy, so its down to where the forestry officer sees fits to build now…
So, I have organised an arboricultural survey for next week, this will provide a report on the health of the oaks, a plan of where the trees (anything over 150mm diameter) are and a constraints plan – the forestry officer requires this information in order to help him make his decision. I will get the constraint plan by next Friday so Colin and I can fly back up on Saturday to mark out the constraint area and the proposed new cabin, garage and driveway positions. I will then meet with the forestry officer on the following Tuesday and hopefully get his verdict so I can inform the architect who can than amend the plans and submit the request to amend my existing planning permission.
Are you worn out yet? !!!
So you may be thinking, OK – logs leaving Canada mid August should be ok to get the permission and foundations laid by September? All being well, then yes. It will take about 5 weeks to prepare the site and lay the foundations. I guess the amended planning app will take around 4 weeks to process, so as long as the outcome is positive it will be fine. If not then it will be terribly tight! I have learnt that for this to work I will have to be on everyone’s tail and make sure they fully understand the situation and timescales I’m now working with. I cannot afford for this to slide…
Just in case I need reminding why I’m doing this…