Stella McCartney faces another hurdle for planned £5million mansion
Stella McCartney and her husband face another hurdle for planned £5million modernist mansion in the Scottish Highlands after previous owner of the site lodged an objection
- The couple bought the plot on Commando Rock at Glenuig for £450,000
Fashion designer Stella McCartney and her husband face another hurdle for their planned £5million modernist mansion in the Scottish Highlands after the previous owner of the site lodged an objection.
Ms McCartney,52, and her husband Alasdhair Willis bought the plot of land on the rugged coastline of remote island Commando Rock at Glenuig, which was on the market for £450,000.
However, Mrs Karen White, who now lives in Taunton, Somerset, has stuck a spanner in the works for the daughter of Beatles star, Paul McCartney, after formally objecting to the designs for the £5m modernist home.
Mrs White said that what is proposed would have ‘a needless impact on the sensitive ecology and landscape’.
The former owner of the plot is not the only one with a gripe against the couple’s plans, which have also been less than well received by locals too, with over 50 objections.
Applying in Mr Willis’s name, the couple have lodged plans with Highland Council.
Fashion designer Stella McCartney (pictured at the Met Gala in New York) and her husband face another hurdle for their planned £5million modernist mansion in the Scottish Highlands
Ms McCartney and her husband Alasdhair Willis bought the plot of land on the rugged coastline which was on the market for £450,000
In her letters to Highland Council Mrs White says she was writing as the previous owner of the site, detailing that when she had obtained planning permission in the past, it was ‘carefully considered’ with ‘minimal impact on flora and fauna’.
She had obtained planning permission for a permanent family home in 1999, which was ‘extremely sensitive given the nature of the site and great care was taken to make the house unobtrusive and appropriate for the stunning environment and setting’.
But Mrs White said that Willis’ application was out of keeping with the area, and would require ‘the removal of mature pine trees’ and would disturb the habitat of otters.
She wrote: ‘Firstly, the site is very beautiful and ecologically sensitive. It has ancient oak woodland as well as significant landscape trees.
‘The original 1999 proposal was very carefully considered to ensure the building had minimal impact on flora and fauna and in particular the ancient woodland and the landscape significant pines.
‘This is not the case with the current proposal. The building footprint has been moved further forward towards the sea.
‘The footprint has been enlarged significantly by adding two new wings, one of which impinges on the ancient oak woodland and the other encroaches on the cliff edge and hence requires the removal of mature pine trees.
‘The justification given by the architect for shifting the site make no sense but mean there is a far greater impact on the flora and fauna. There is no need on such a large site to impact so significantly on this precious flora and fauna.
Ms McCartney and her husband Alasdhair Willis bought the remote plot for £450,000
Mrs Karen White, who now lives in Taunton, Somerset, has formally objected to the designs for the £5m modernist home at remote Commando Rock at Glenuig
‘Secondly in siting the 1999 building the planner at the time, (Ken Johnston) and I spent significant time on site finding the optimum placement where it would not be obtrusive in the landscape.
‘By siting the building as close to Commando Rock as possible we ensured that it can not be seen from Roshven Bay or from the A861 between Glenuig and Roshven.
‘The suggestion by the architect that the current building would be visible on the skyline is very surprising as it is carefully nestled among a number of ridgelines.
‘By moving the entire set of buildings forward into the open they will become much more apparent.
‘The fact that the pine trees can be clearly seen from the A861 means that their removal will have a significant effect on the local landscape and probably means that the proposed bedroom wing will be visible from the A861 too. This seems unnecessary.
McCartney was awarded a CBE this year in recognition of her services to fashion and sustainability
‘Thirdly when he bought the property in 1855, Professor Blackburn embarked on an ambitious programme of landscaping and tree planting and the pines were part of this.
‘By removing the Pines planted by Professor Blackburn the development would have an impact on the remaining cultural history of Roshven and the sense of place.
‘Fourthly the otters. Otters do not appear on demand. Just because the architect visited and did not encounter otters or a set does not mean that they are not there! On numerous occasions over the last 50 years I have seen single otters, pairs of otters and families on the rocks and there is no doubt that they would be disturbed should this building be allowed to proceed.
‘As I said in my previous submission, the purchasers’ solicitor assured us that a modest house with a light footprint was planned and I am shocked that what is proposed should potentially have such a needless impact on the sensitive ecology and landscape. It should be possible for talented architects to achieve a stunning design which does not affect the local flora and fauna or sense of history and place.’
Mr and Mrs Willis may not have the privacy they crave, it has also emerged.
Mrs White claims that she has seen otters on the island and said ‘there is no doubt that they would be disturbed’ should the plans for the mansion go ahead (File photo)
A letter from a Highland Council access officer says the applicant ‘may mistakenly believe that the privacy area of the proposed development will extend to the limit of the land owned by them’.
Local residents have also raised issues with the property’s ecological impact and how it would restrict access to a beach ‘used extensively by locals and holidaymakers’. Some people living nearby have described the proposed house as ‘monstrous’ and a ‘carbuncle’.
READ MORE: Stella McCartney hits back at her would-be neighbours after they slammed her planned £5m modernist mansion in the Scottish Highlands
But architects Brown & Brown has written to Highland council, calling some of the comments ‘inaccurate’ and have outlined how public access to the beach would be maintained.
Brown & Brown said the couple also rejected some comments over the size of the planned house. It said: ‘The applicant is aware of several comments made relating to the scale and location of the proposed development, which are either felt to be inaccurate, or against which it is felt further context would be beneficial.’
Ms McCartney, the daughter of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, has established herself as one of the world’s leading fashion designers. She was awarded a CBE this year in recognition of her services to fashion and sustainability.
The plans, submitted in February, are still to be put before the planning committee.
Leading Scottish architect Alan Dunlop previously argued in favour of the scheme, describing it as ‘an exceptional project from an equally exceptional firm of young architects, which needs support’.
MailOnline has approached Stella McCartney’s publicist for comment.
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