Brown & Brown defends the controversial design of Stella McCartney’s home
Scottish Practice has written to Highland Council, which will consider the planning application for the scheme, insisting that claims about the potential destruction of biodiversity at the site on the west coast of Scotland – including the loss of native Scots pines and interference with otters – are untrue.
Brown & Brown also took issue with comments regarding the size of the scheme and its location at Commando Rock, a viewpoint about 34 miles west of Fort William. She insisted that the impact on views from some surrounding properties was exaggerated.
More than 50 objections have been made to Paul McCartney’s daughter’s proposal.
The contemporary modern house design includes a single-storey main building with a lower ground floor and an attached side building. The house will have an en-suite master bedroom and four other bedrooms, as well as a covered terrace, a living area and a warm storeroom.
But the practice has come under fire from residents of the remote area for the designs, which one objector described as a “binder on the bluff” that would “spoil” the landscape, and another described as “out of the ordinary, in style and size, with other buildings nearby.”
Others objected to the proposal due to concerns about biodiversity loss, claiming that native Scots pines would be felled to make way for the house, and that its location would interfere with the local otter (a hole in the ground used by mammals to sleep).
“These native pines have already been taken out of the environment, and since these trees take a long time to grow, cutting down any of them should be avoided at all costs,” one objector wrote.
Brown & Brown responded by saying that the arboricultural advice it had received regarding the alleged Scots pines “appeared to indicate that this group of trees were non-native Corsican pines”, and that site visits had revealed “no evidence of such trees ( foxes)’.
The company also condemned claims regarding the size and location of the proposed home and similarly described them as “inaccurate” or lacking context.
In response to concerns that the building would be visible from two neighboring properties, Brown & Brown insisted that the “existing topography and woodland” of the site would make it “impossible” for the building to be visible.
The company added that it “welcomes further discussion of the app in general as things progress.”
McCartney and her husband Alasdair Willis, whose name appears on the planning application, reportedly bought the site for £450,000. The plans submitted in February are still before the Planning Commission.
“The secluded nature of the site will be maintained, with the house largely invisible to the site, only visible from the water,” Brown & Brown said in the submitted design statement. She added that she is also proposing a green roof.
Scottish architect Alan Dunlop has previously argued in favor of the scheme, describing it as “an exceptional project from an equally exceptional company of young architects, which needs support”.
Brown & Brown, which in August obtained planning permission to build a new house on the hillside at Grasmere in the heart of the Lake District, declined to comment.