McLaren drags neighbours into feu dispute

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The owners of the McLaren Hotel site in Brodick claim the buildings on each side of the hotel are in breach of their title conditions as they are too tall.

They claim that under historical feu conditions the Co-op building should be no higher than two storey – yet it is three, while the building occupied by Arran Active, should only be one storey.

The abobeGroup have made the claims in submissions to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland in their bid to discharge a feu disposition imposed in 1937, limiting any building on the McLaren site to two storeys, as reported in last week’s Banner.

The company wants to build an 88-room, four storey mid-market aparthotel on the site, for which it received planning permission for last December, at an estimated cost of £9 million.

Arguing for the disposition, in documents seen by the Banner, the abodeGroup says one of the reasons it should be granted is because both its neighbours have already broken the rules.

The papers state: ‘On the western side (the land forming the Arran Active centre, a cafe and minature/crazy golf course and car park by virtue of a feu disposition by the Commissioner for the Arran and Easton Trustees to ‘Mini’ Developments (Ayreshire) Ltd), there is condition to only allow a single storey structure when there is currently a two-storey structure; and,

‘On the eastern side (land owned by Co-operative Group under title BUT2423) there is a condition to only allow a two-storey structure when there is currently a three-storey structure.’

‘In addition, Co-operative Group is the largest consumer co-operative in the UK with in excess of 4,200 locations, so we feel they decided these title deeds were obsolete when they built their three-storey building as there is no recorded minute of waiver.’

However, the abodeGroup says if its application is granted it will ‘undertake not to object’ to the breaking of the title conditions by its immediate neighbours.

The new owners also argue that the existing McLaren Hotel already breaches the 1937 title conditions, limiting development two storeys, as it is three storeys high.

The public have until March 11 to make representations for or against the application to have the feu condition discharged. If the application is not opposed it may be granted without further inquiry, but if it is opposed the tribunal would usually call a hearing.

In arguing for the disposition the abodeGroup state: ‘The existing building has been vacant since at least 2015 and is a veritable eyesore as it is a mish-mash of poor quality extensions, awkwardly annexed to the existing building. In addition it appears that the economy of Arran is suffering due to the lack of suitable accommodation in terms of local jobs and also new visitors spending money in the economy in Arran. The owners feel this is a significant dis-benefit to the owners, the neighbouring businesses, and the public at large.

‘The only option to ease this is to construct an economically viable building, and the owners exhaustive research confirms that it is not commercially feasible to refurbish the existing building or build anything other than a four-storey hotel here, which is what they have received planning (permission) for.

‘This is largely due to the high costs of building on Arran estimated to be 30 to 50 per cent more than on the mainland. So the title conditions, which is inter alia stopping improvement to the property, by not allowing the four-storey hotel appears to be bad for all parties – which surely was not the original intention of of the conditions.’

When told of the abodeGroup claims by the Banner, Alastair Bilsland, who owns the Arran Active building, said: ‘I’m speechless. The building is not two storeys but one a half storeys, with a half storey of attic space and complies with all current legal requirements.’