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.