Dubai ruler takes Highland retreat appeal to government

The billionaire ruler of Dubai has appealed a decision by the local authority to reject his plans for a lodge at his Highland retreat.

Dubai ruler takes Highland retreat appeal to government

Image by Colin Armstrong Architects

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum wanted to expand his Inverinate Estate, near Kyle of Lochalsh, by erecting a six-bedroom building designed to accommodate his large family.

Plans for the proposed Ptarmigan Lodge were originally submitted in March last year. It is the third time agents have applied to build on the site.

Highland Council’s north planning applications committee voted 9-5 against the project, which had been recommended for approval, amid concerns it was too close to a neighbouring bungalow and would spoil the natural beauty of the area at Loch Duich.

Committee chairwoman Maxine Smith said what was being proposed was “a mansion” which could not have been originally imagined for that land.

The 71-year-old sheikh, who has six wives and 23 children, has an estimated £14 billion fortune and bought the estate more than 20 years ago. Alongside the original manor house, he has added a 16-bedroom hunting lodge with a swimming pool and gym, and several helipads.

He has now appealed the decision to the Scottish Government’s planning and environmental appeals decision.

An appeal statement submitted by the sheikh’s planning agents states: “The very subjective nature of design and associated siting matters and the interpretation of related planning policies and associated supplementary guidance as to what is appropriate or not, is fully recognised by the appellants.

“This is clearly illustrated by the range of negative comments in respect of design-related matters made by local objectors, the decision to refuse planning permission and, by contrast, the positive comments of both the project architect and the council’s planning officer.

“There would be no ‘significantly detrimental’ impact on individual residential amenity, while the proposed siting and high quality design of the proposal would be in keeping with the prevailing character and pattern of development within both the immediate and wider surrounding area.

“The appellants are content to fully endorse the planning officer’s report and leave it to the appointed reporter to make a judgement on the appropriateness of the siting and design of the proposed dwelling house.”

A government planning reporter is due to issue a decision on the appeal by November.

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