Wedding venue in row with banned Fife councillor reported to prosecutor, report reveals

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The owners of a wedding venue at the centre of a row with a Fife councillor were reported to prosecutors for allegedly breaching an enforcement notice, a new report has revealed.

A detailed summary of proceedings against Cupar councillor Tony Miklinski, published by the Standards Commission for Scotland earlier this week, revealed how the owners of Carphin House in Luthrie were referred to the Procurator Fiscal by Fife Council.

The local authority made the decision to refer the venue, run by Ian and Ruth Macallan, over allegations that they breached a planning enforcement order in summer 2019.

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The couple bought Carphin House in late 2016, according to official documents, and sought permission to operate it as a wedding venue.

Cllr Tony MiklinskiCllr Tony Miklinski
Cllr Tony Miklinski

That was refused by Fife Council, which went on to serve the venue with the planning enforcement order in September 2018 after several unauthorised weddings were held over the summer.

In both cases, the pair sought to have the decisions overturned by the Scottish Government. Ministers opted to uphold both rulings, in effect double-stamping the ban on Carphin House staging weddings.

However, the Macallans were subsequently granted temporary alcohol licenses in April 2019 to stage weddings close to, but not at Carphin House, using teepees on woodland outside of the estate.

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However, they allegedly used the country home during the celebrations, breaching the enforcement notice.

It is understood that the report was made to the Procurator Fiscal over a year ago.

While no action has been taken, a spokeswoman for the Crown Office said the matter was not considered closed.

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She said: "We have received a report and it’s under consideration. We can't give any more information at this stage."

A spokeswoman for Fife Council said: "Fife Council has submitted a report to the Procurator Fiscal in respect of a breach of a planning enforcement notice."

In response to a request for comment, Mr Macallan insisted that no breach had ocurred.

"The council has alleged that we could not have cars parked on our own land, despite us having a meeting in advance of weddings whereby they confirmed we could," he said.

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"We went to extreme measures and expense to insure that no breaches occurred. The report on this happened over a year ago now, and no action has been taken."

Scottish Conservative councillor Mr Miklinski was banned from attending two full meetings of Fife Council after engaging in behaviour that "amounted to harassment" towards the owners of Carphin House.

A hearing panel convened by the Standards Commission for Scotland concluded that his behaviour had not been appropriate.

Gary McIlravey, representing the councillor at the hearing, admitted that he may have become too personally invested in the matter and was a "relatively inexperienced" councillor having only been elected in 2017.

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The Luthrie Residents Group, which had been in contact with Cllr Miklinski over the use of Carphin House, says it remains supportive of him despite the decision to suspend him for two meetings.

Cllr Miklinski did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

> Jon Brady is the Local Democracy Reporter for Fife & Angus

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