Fife country house owner in new fight with council over courtyard plans

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A historic Fife country house owner who has clashed with Fife Council on several occasions in recent years is set to do so again.

Ian Macallan has lodged a formal appeal with the Scottish Government against the local authority’s decision in September to refuse retrospective planning permission relating to the courtyard at Carphin House, which is at Luthrie near Cupar.

Random stone paving was removed from the site for safety reasons back in 2018 and replaced with concrete paving stones, but Mr Macallan had not received the appropriate consent and went back to Fife Council asking for approval.

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Council planners had described the loss of the original stone at the rear courtyard as “regrettable but acceptable”, and recommended the application should be approved as there would be no adverse impacts on the setting of the C-listed building to justify refusal.

Courtyard at CarfinCourtyard at Carfin
Courtyard at Carfin
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However, members of the region’s north east planning committee overturned that, refusing the application on the grounds of visual amenity and calling for enforcement action to ensure either the restoration of the original surface or replacement with natural stone.

Mr Macallan has now signalled his intention to appeal that decision to Scottish ministers, with a final decision anticipated in the New Year.

The appeal represents the latest chapter in a lengthy saga involving Fife Council and Carphin House, which has been at the centre of a planning row over efforts to use the venue for weddings for the past three years.

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An application for the erection of a wedding venue within the grounds to the south west of this site was refused by committee in April 2018, and a subsequent appeal to Scottish Ministers was dismissed.

Subsequent to that, a certificate of lawfulness in relation to the use of the grounds as a commercial wedding venue for up to 28 days in any calendar year was refused in August 2018 and again the appeal was dismissed.

An enforcement notice was then issued requiring the cessation of the use of the house and curtilage as a commercial wedding venue.

The enforcement notice was appealed, and the appeal was dismissed by Scottish Ministers, before an application for an outbuilding within the grounds of Carphin House was refused in August this year.

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An enforcement notice followed requiring the removal of a concrete platform that had been constructed, but this time planning permission for the outbuilding was granted by Scottish Ministers following a successful appeal.

The saga also saw the suspension of Cupar Conservative councillor Tony Miklinski, who was banned from attending two full council meetings in November 2020 following an investigation by the Standards Commission.

A hearing panel found that Councillor Miklinski had failed to treat two members of the public with courtesy and respect and that he had “engaged in behaviour towards them that amounted to harassment” - contravening the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.

It is understood allegations about Mr Miklinski’s behaviour forms a key part of Mr Macallan’s appeal, but those documents have not been made public due to them being of a “sensitive nature”.

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