Council website not currently accepting planning objections

Ewan Kennedy, of the SaveSeilSound campaign, has been trying to lodge an objection to a planning application and found that the Argyll and Bute council website will not accept it.

He has therefore written direct to the council, explaining this difficulty and attaching his objection – to application 12/000814/pp for a dwelling at the head of Loch Melfort.

Mr Kennedy’s objection

I am writing to object, as a local resident, to this application. There are two main grounds.

Intrusive impact on the appearance of the head of Loch Melfort

The application site is presently totally undeveloped and partly wooded. While the application is on the face of it for a single dwellinghouse the plans disclose a very substantial property of three storeys plus attics and a walled courtyard, which would be highly conspicuous over a considerable distance.

The head of Loch Melfort is presently relatively undeveloped. I submit that it is very important for this not to be destroyed, as open land once developed is lost for all time.

Inconsistency with Planning Advice Note 72 Housing in the Countryside

The basic purpose is for ‘rural housing which respects Scottish landscapes and building traditions’. The main principles include:

  • Context – Fit in the landscape.
  • Identity – Design details which reflect the local character …

The proposal violates both of these.


The site forms part of land that was part of the original policies pertaining to Glenmore House, comprising open fields, a walled garden, steadings and gatehouses, together forming a cohesive appearance and a good example of a grand but also stylish small country estate from the early part of the Nineteenth Century and currently listed.

It should be noted that Glenmore represents an interesting development in Scottish architecture, when design was moving on from the formality of the late Eighteenth Century, typified by buildings such as Barbreck House, towards the modern era. It is regrettable that historically ownership of the house itself and the grounds have become separate, as clearly the two were conceived to be a comprehensive whole. A previous application to construct dwellings within the steading has been dealt with on the basis that the external appearance would not be altered and I submit that the principle applies as much, or even more, in the case of a proposed new edifice within the grounds. The present applicant would presumably have acquired his site in the knowledge of the protection that the appearance of this property enjoys.


The proposal is effectively for a pastiche of a grand, East coast castle, of which a good example would be Allardice Castle in Aberdeenshire. In modern times it is often not properly understood that the historic boundary between the Highlands and the Lowlands of Scotland did not run East and West somewhere South of Loch Lomond. Instead much of the East coast formed part of the Lowlands, with a quite separate cultural identity from the more rugged West. Landowners in the more affluent, peaceful East could indulge their fantasies in constructing castles with turrets and fancy features, whereas those on the West coast were far more concerned with practical defence, typified in the standard fortified house, of which many abound in ruinous state and a few restored.

The whole of mid-Argyll is full of history and archaeology, much of it currently unexplored, ranging from the prehistoric standing stones, cairns and duns to the fortified houses and Georgian masterpieces. What is shown in this application can only be described as a monumental folly, totally out of keeping with the traditions and culture of the West coast, an insult to our past, a conspicuous fake that would provoke confusion and contempt in equal measure.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Would the tone of Mr Kennedy’s objection suggest, perhaps, that he would be able to see the development from his own house at er….. the head of Loch Melfort?

    Just a thought.

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    Mel Gibson June 1, 2012 10:22 pm Reply
  • The council’s reference for this application is actually 12/00814/PP – but it seems that it’s yet to appear on the interactive map of planning and building warrant applications on the council’s website. I can understand Ewan Kennedy’s objections but it might just be that the location of the repro castle, albeit not far from Glenmore House, is sufficiently tucked into the woodland at the foot of the hill slope that it doesn’t really spoil the house’s setting. It wouldn’t be the first ornate ‘non native’ castle in the west – or even the first modern repro castle. As long as the existing woodland is conserved it could well be less obtrusive than other recent development in the area, for example the array of bungalows further down the loch at Kames.

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    Robert Wakeham June 1, 2012 11:31 pm Reply
  • I make absolutely no secret of the fact that I am a local resident and suggest that it’s not unusual for people to be concerned about the amenity of the area in which they live. It is of course welcome that Mr Gibson takes an interest in our environment from his home in Malibu.

    And, Robert, I agree that the decision to grant consent for more houses on the Kames peninsula was a shocking example of bad planning, in breach of the policies that were supposed to protect that site. You will find that I objected to it at the time.

    I see that A&BC have called for a photomontage of the proposal, so it will be interesting to see how obtrusive it will be. The problem with most repro castles is that they usually are highly visible, perhaps Shuna Castle being a good early example, that maybe being the whole point.

    Finally I should clarify that my objection failed to go through as it exceeded the permitted length, not due to any software fault. I wouldn’t want to add unfairly to A&BC’s woes.

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    Ewan Kennedy June 2, 2012 7:53 am Reply
  • Good luck to the development a nice bit of house building if you can afford it beats the glut of boring bland house that currently clutter Loch Melfort..

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    awayyago June 2, 2012 11:03 am Reply
    • The vernacular architecture in Argyll tends towards white or drab grey single storey boxes (largely of the McLeod variety in that area I believe), with some individual ‘flair’ such as the ubiquitous conservatory.
      There is rarely anything being built that in 50 years time people will look at and say wow.
      If someone has the cash and the imagination to build a faux castle, in a style that really will not spoil that particular landscape and amongst a complete mishmosh of house styles and types, then why the shrill objections?
      No jealousy from me, I say good on them.
      And as for Mr Wakeham’s PhD in Pedantry, the application is on the website with all the detail anyone needs.
      And I think Mr Kennedy has mistaken me for a film actor.

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      Mel Gibson June 2, 2012 8:24 pm Reply
      • Why the gratuitous sour remark, MG? At the risk of being accused of further pedantry, the proposed site for the repro castle isn’t ‘amongst a complete mishmash of house styles and types’ and my comment about the council website was accurate, so wouldn’t it be a good idea to stick to the facts? Or do you just like sniping at people?

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        Robert Wakeham June 3, 2012 12:36 am Reply
        • Pedant.

          And I said that Argyll was a mishmash of house styles and types.

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          Mel Gibson June 3, 2012 3:23 pm Reply
      • The problems on house design in ABDC stem from the planning department at ABDC .Simply McLeod’s have to build according to the criteria supplied by ABDC planning…Mr Kennedy’s house is such a mis-mash and has angles and glass everywhere with no design towards heritage which he so vehemently presented wrongly in his argument…what has his own house to do with Scotland ? all to do about nothing except, a 70`s dream trip on modern design…as they say people in glass house’s should not throw the verbal stone..

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        awayyago June 3, 2012 10:52 pm Reply
        • Haven’t seen your name before, ‘awayyago’, but – taken with your comments – it seems fairly intolerant. Why on earth shouldn’t someone criticise proposed development if they think it’ll effect the setting of a fine existing house? I happen to think that the damage might not be too bad, but I’m not about to start slanging him; I’ve no idea what his house looks like but I do wonder what you consider a house should be ‘to do with Scotland’.- repro?

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          Robert Wakeham June 3, 2012 11:32 pm Reply
          • Planning applications are always a difficult and sensitive subject, having been at the sharp end from both sides in the past. There will always be someone who disagrees with another person’s idea of a dream home, and as we well know there are plenty of people who object to applications because they got there first and want to keep the area as they found it.
            I agree with you Robert that the damage from this proposal shouldn’t be a problem (and I apologise for my snippy pedant comments, the Rose is heady stuff in this heat) and might actually enhance the area, setting off Glenmore house and whatever happens to the steading.
            While I wouldn’t stoop so low as to criticise Mr Kennedy’s taste in house design, it does beg the question what is considered acceptable and what isn’t.
            Of course, we don’t want to return to the days of the blackhouse, so we should embrace house design, whether traditional, modern or ’70’s dream trip with a twist.

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            Mel Gibson June 4, 2012 7:10 am
          • Sure this is the grey area of design in Scotland. Simply if someone wants to build on stilts should it not be allowed?(it would save the flood plains as in Germany an adopted design).Simply ,Scotland is unlike the Germans,Egyptians, or the Popeye’s so why the high brow approach from Kennedy?. who seems to be nothing more than a career objector when it comes to anyone, submitting a planning application. For a dog kennel never mind a hoose….the guy is well documented ..just ask him he will proudly tell you all the applications he has objected to in the very short time he has been resident on the West Coast …question for him how many local people can he recognise in the film, Ring Of Bright Water?..How local is he honestly? ZILCH!!!

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            awayyago June 4, 2012 11:07 pm
          • And..has anyone ever seen an objection from said owners of the existing hoose?..but! agast! this is not Kennedy`s argument ..he does not take that small point into consideration but…. based argument`s along the line of scottish design on the west coast..which simply none exist`s …and were proud of it!!

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            awayyago June 4, 2012 11:41 pm
  • May I add my support to your application.
    Not before time Argyll engages with innovative architectural design.
    Historically Architecture has always plagerised styles from the past and there is nothing fundementally wrong in that.
    Good luck with your application.

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    Iain S MacLean June 3, 2012 12:50 pm Reply
  • If the council website will not allow online objections to a planning application there is a simple solution. Deal direct with the “Organ grinder and not the Monkey”!
    The last time I was unable to make an online comment about a planning application I sent an email direct to Angus J. Gilmour the Head of Planning at Argyll & Bute Council concerning my complaint. The following business day I had an email from one of his staff apologising for the problem with the council website.

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    Treble T June 5, 2012 2:13 pm Reply
  • There has of course been some quite shocking prefab type housing in the west of scotland over the years which has been neither inspiring nor inkeeping. It really has to end and decent planning officers employed and supported by the council instead of them trying to be everyones pal. Their weak attitude has tarnished many areas here forever.

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    David Woodhouse June 6, 2012 9:08 am Reply
  • This whole affair of a ‘castle’ at the head of Loch Melfort has precipitated rumours from within the local community (no names mentioned but seems to have emanated from the Childrens playgroup mothers) that movie star “Mel Gibson” – yes he of antipodean, post-holocaust B movie fame slash William Wallace wannabe – has been revving up and down the coast road from the Culfail to the Galley of Lorne – no doubt picking up anything in a skirt and abusing the local minorities. The rumour has spread to Oban as a local Electrician was heard discussing having spotted MG at the Oyster Bar in Connel. By this time next week Mel will be propping up the local economy in Fort William.

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    Ken Williams June 13, 2012 8:13 pm Reply

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