Stagecoach boss challenges Land Reform Act

Gerrard Winstanley office at
Mon Oct 9 12:02:49 BST 2006

Followed by background story and photo from earlier this year

8 October 2006

Tycoon asks judge to hear rambler case in her castle
By Gordon Currie
BUS tycoon Ann Gloag wants a Scots court to sit in the GARDEN 
of her £4million castle.
The bid is part of a move to ban ramblers from her property.
Stagecoach millionairess Gloag is demanding a sheriff, legal 
teams, court officials and witnesses convene at Kinfauns Castle, 
overlooking the River Tay in Perthshire.
Her plea was made at Perth Sheriff Court, where the Ramblers 
Association are claiming the public should have access to some 
of her grounds.
Gloag's QC Mike Jones asked the court to make a site visit.
He said her head of security could explain why she wants a 
greater area closed off than that proposed by Perth and Kinross 
Council, who are backed by the Ramblers Association.
He said: "What we have here are two demarcation lines. It is for 
the court to decide which line to impose.
"It is not possible to understand the two competing demarcation 
lines without seeing them on the ground." The Ramblers 
Association claim that if Gloag wins the right to keep her estate 
closed off it will set a dangerous precedent.
They hope to raise £20,000 from members to fight the case.
Gloag claims to want to ban ramblers from entering her estate 
because she fears being kidnapped.
Sheriff Michael Fletcher is set to rule on the landmark bid this 

Red tape slashed for Gloag's castle
Sun 26 Mar 2006
Ann Gloag's Kinfauns Castle as seen over the 6ft perimeter 
fence the businesswoman has erected to protect it. Picture: Phil 

JEREMY WATSON (jwatson at 

THEY are seen by some as hard-nosed bureaucrats who will 
readily order a wall ripped down if it is inches out of place. But a 
different side to Scotland's planning officials emerged when they 
came face-to-face with the country's second-richest woman. 

Remarkable documents obtained by Scotland on Sunday 
suggest officials were prepared to relax their normal procedures 
when confronted with Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag. 

An e-mail from Perth and Kinross Council shows how one 
senior member of staff urged colleagues involved in a planning 
application at Gloag's home to visit together to minimise the 
intrusion on her privacy. 

But the council's handling of the affair, which culminated in 
Gloag receiving planning permission for a 'prison camp' fence 
around her home, is now under investigation by Historic 

The organisation, which is charged with the protection of some 
of Scotland's most important properties, is furious that it was not 
consulted over plans for Gloag's Category-A listed home, 
Kinfauns Castle. 

Scotland on Sunday revealed earlier this year that Gloag, who 
has a personal fortune of around £400m, had received 
permission to put a 6ft-high fence topped with barbed wire 
around Kinfauns. Walkers claimed their right of way had been 
barred, but doubt was cast on whether any such right ever 

While there is no suggestion that Gloag or council officials broke 
any rules, documents obtained under the Freedom of 
Information Act by this newspaper show: 

• The council's access officer originally opposed the size of the 
12-acre wire-mesh enclosure but changed his mind after 
receiving a letter from Gloag's lawyer; 

• The council's head of development control was prepared to 
offer privileges to Gloag not available to members of the public; 

• The planning department fast-tracked the planning application 
for the fence without waiting for objections. 

Gloag bought Kinfauns Castle, a former luxury hotel two miles 
east of her home town of Perth, last year for £4m. 

E-mails and letters released under freedom of information show 
that last June, Dave Stubbs, the council's access officer - whose 
job it is to police the access legislation - 

wrote to Gloag saying "concern" had been expressed to him 
about "access issues" at Kinfauns Castle. He wrote: "In my view 
some of the land within the new fence would fall within the new 
right of responsible access and we have a duty to uphold these 

However, in July, after receiving a letter from Peter Watson, 
Gloag's Glasgow-based lawyer, who wrote that "Mrs Gloag has 
privacy issues which she wants respected," Stubbs backed 
down. He wrote back: "Whilst we agreed to differ on the status of 
all the land within the planned fence, I can confirm that the 
council will not take action on this at the present time." 

At the end of October, with the fence already constructed, Gloag's 
representatives submitted a planning application to the council 
asking for permission to change the use of Kinfauns to a private 

Gloag was warned it could be up to two months before a 
decision would be reached, or even longer if a Category-A listed 
building is involved. This is because in normal circumstances 
Historic Scotland would be consulted. 

But by mid-November alarm bells were ringing at the council 
because the application still made no reference to the security 
fence, even though it had already been built. 

In an e-mail on November 16, Stubbs wrote to Paul Kettles, the 
council's area planning enforcement officer, referring to the 
application, saying: "Remember this one. No word about the 
erection of a 6ft fence." 

On November 21, Kettles raised the question of the 
"unauthorised... fencing" with Ian Sleith, his boss and the 
council's head of development control. 

Sleith's return e-mail reveals that he had already been 
personally contacted by Gloag's representatives about 
alterations at the castle. It also shows how the council was 
prepared to treat her case differently from most other 

Sleith wrote: "Owner will not be happy with numerous people 
inspecting interior of her home, indeed I have had a personal 
request it is me! 

"I am ready to recognise the importance of privacy to this 
particular individual. So can I suggest enforcement officer, 
planning officer and Historic Scotland all inspect at same time if 
at all possible and by arrangement." However, council officials 
did not inform Historic Scotland about the planning application. 

With the fence finally included, it was published by the council on 
December 16. 

Normally, the public is given up to 21 days to make their 
objections known, 

but just five days later, under delegated powers, council officials 
recommended that the fence should be approved, noting, 
perhaps unsurprisingly, that no objections had been received. 
Even when they received a legitimate objection within the 21-day 
limit, it did not alter their view. 

On January 9, three days after the 21-day objections period 
ended on January 6, Sleith wrote to Gloag confirming that 
planning permission had been granted. The objection, accepted 
as legitimate by the council on January 4, came from the 
Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, a heritage charity. It 
said it objected to the fence "on the strongest possible terms" as 
it ruined the setting of an A-listed mansion. 

Bill Beaton, chairman of the Society's Perth and Kinross panel, 
said: "I would have expected our objection to at least have been 
considered by councillors." 

The council's processing of the planning application brought a 
stinging rebuke from Historic Scotland. 

On January 30, the council's planning director, James Irons, 
received a letter from Richard Fawcett, head of Historic 
Scotland's northeast region. 

Fawcett wrote: "Historic Scotland was surprised to learn, from 
the media, that retrospective planning permission had been 
granted for the security fence which has been erected around 
Kinfauns Castle. We would have expected to have been 
consulted on this. 

"Kinfauns Castle... is of outstanding scenic and architectural 
interest... It is possible that we may have objected to the 
development, had our views been sought." 

Perth and Kinross Council said it was content that the correct 
procedures were carried out in considering the planning 

Yesterday, a spokesman for Ann Gloag declined to comment, 
saying: "We are unaware of the matters raised by Scotland on 

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