Dispute in Fife village over weddings at historic house

MSP Murdo Fraser and Cllr Tony Miklinski outside Carphin House.
MSP Murdo Fraser and Cllr Tony Miklinski outside Carphin House.

All eyes will be on an historic Fife house this weekend as it hosts the first of four weddings – as a conflict with local residents continues.

Ian Macallan, owner of Carphin House, on the outskirts of Luthrie, was granted a liquor licence to host four marriage celebrations, the first of which is taking place this weekend.

Last year, councillors refused to grant Mr Macallan a licence to use the grounds of the house as a wedding venue, meaning the events have to be staged on a woodland clearing outside the enforcement zone.

Fife Council has confirmed that checks will be made to make sure the weddings comply with the permissions in place.

But the newly-formed Luthrie Residents’ Group, which claims to include 92 per cent of residents in the small hamlet, has voiced a number of concerns about the planned weddings.

They have concerns about the noise and the amount of traffic going through the village, including up a small farm road which leads up to the house.

“For the last 18 months, the residents have been through hell,” commented Luthrie Residents’ Group chair, Ian Purvis. “And it keeps on going.” Mr Purvis described the situation as “deeply distressing”.

The group also has concerns about the impact the weddings will have on Lower Luthrie Farm, which sits next to Carphin House. They argue it has scared cattle, traffic has caused gridlock on the farm road, and that this has all had a financial impact on the farm.

But Mr Macallan disputes the claims, calling it “incredibly distressing” and saying that he and his wife, Ruth, have “done everything we can to address their concerns”.

He said there will be no noise in the village, saying that from the 10 weddings the house hosted last year, just one noise complaint was received.

“It’s all a bit rubbish,” Mr Macallan added. “It’s what we’ve had to live with. A couple of neighbours are not nice people and have tried to make out there have been a number of issues.

“We just want the couples to have a great wedding day. We’re looking forward to it.”

However, the Luthrie residents have also received support from Councillor Tony Miklinski, MSP Murdo Fraser and MP Stephen Gethins.

“These people have been under stress,” said Cllr Miklinski. “Law abiding people in a decent community, living the life of a small hamlet in Fife and it’s all gone out the window.”

Cllr Miklinski also raised concerns about the noise and described the road to the house as “unsuited for hundreds, possibly thousands, of people going up and down.”

Mr Fraser added: “My involvement started last year when a number of the residents came to see me. Since then I’ve been in correspondence with Fife Council on the whole question of enforcement, trying to make sure the planning department properly enforces the law to protect the community.”

“This is a dreadful situation that has affected this quiet, rural community for over two years,” said Mr Gethins.

He said he has contacted Fife Council, arguing that “no one, where ever or whoever they are, is allowed to do anything which could have a detrimental impact on their neighbours, the wider community, the environment, animal welfare or wildlife habitats.”

He says “action must be taken” if there are breaches.

Mr Macallan has submitted plans to Fife Council seeking permission to set up a teepee on the grounds of the house under 28 days per year, to be used as a wedding venue.