A key historic building in the centre of Haddington has been brought back to life despite being at risk of dereliction only two years ago. In 2009 the B Listed Maltings, Newton Port, was languishing on the Buildings at Risk register and the prospect of it being put on the property market at the start of the recession, didn’t bode well for its future.
Oliver Chapman Architects were commissioned by Whiteadder Developments and East Lothian Housing Association to Convert the derelict former maltings into 14 affordable low energy modern apartments.
The site was three former buildings, parts of which date back to the sixteenth century, located in the heart of mediaeval Royal burgh town at a key entrance to the market square. Its various uses over many years have included a chemist shop, flats, maltings, and newspaper offices and printing works for the ‘Courier’ newspaper. Part of the archaeological report revealed it had been built over a mediaeval cemetery.
The conversion required many new features and technology to be added, but not of this substantially affected the layout of original stone walls. As part of the building’s innovative energy strategy, the new apartments are super insulated and use a communal heating system. This distributes metered hot water for heating and taps directly to each flat. Extensive building services required for ventilation, sprinklers and electrics are hidden, invisible from the street. A new heavily insulated roof was installed on the top floor with large roof-lights which provide dramatic views across the Lammermuir hills.
At a time when many historic buildings are in danger of being seen more as a liability than as an opportunity, this project is a welcome example of a successful attempt to bring affordable community life back in to a town centre despite the economic stagnation. It paves the way for future improvements to the immediate area which should restore Newton Port's status as a major element of Haddington’s public thoroughfare.
Scottish Home Awards 2012 Small Housing Development of the Year Award | Scottish Home Awards 2012 Conversion of the Year Commendation