A BORDERS businessman has lost his battle to keep renting out his mansion for ‘luxury hen parties’ following a planning battle with the council.

Michael Cameron, of West Linton, has been renting out the 7000-square-foot Greenloaning Mansion, just north of West Linton, as a luxury getaway for groups of 15 to 30 guests, complete with cinema room, spa, two outdoor hot tubs, pool table and gym, since 2008.

Mr Cameron charges groups up to £8,000 for a one-week stay, and even offers chauffeur services in and out of Edinburgh in either a black Bentley, a white Maserati or blacked-out Range Rover.  

However, Mr Cameron had failed to notify Scottish Borders Council planners about the change of use, who found out once concerned neighbours began to complain about noise disturbances by rowdy hen parties.

In November 2018, Mr Cameron received an enforcement notice from the council outlining its grievances, which included concerns over noise disturbances, a detrimental impact on residential amenity and a breach of planning protocol.

Mr Cameron subsequently appealed to the Scottish Government’s department for planning and environmental appeals (DPEA), saying that because the property has been used for this purpose for more than ten years the council could no longer object to the change of use.

The appeal statement also outlines the steps Mr Cameron has made in order to mitigate the noise disturbances from his property.

This includes removing two hot tubs from the rear of the building, and instead installing a new one in the spa, which has triple-glazing to minimise noise impact.

Mr Cameron has also proposed to remove the barbeque facility from the rear decking of the property, in an effort to stop groups of guests congregating outside.

Finally, Mr Cameron has proposed employing a night manager to monitor the property and sound levels between 11pm and 2am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and to give the four closest neighbours a direct line to the night manager to raise any issues immediately.

Despite this, the DPEA has ruled against the West Linton businessman, and has been two months to cease using the property as a party mansion.

Chirs Norman, a DPEA reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers, writes in his ruling: “Before 9 November 2008 the availability of ‘Greenloaning’ for holiday letting, and its limited use for 12 weeks, was ordinarily incidental to its main use as a house.

“Some two or three years after 9 November 2008 it ceased to be the appellant’s main residence.

“From 2010 ‘Greenloaning’ was continually promoted and used as self-catering accommodation for short-stay lets.

“On the balance of probability and on the basis of the evidence before me I find that the unauthorised change of use of the house occurred between 9 November 2008 and 9 November 2018.

“Therefore the council is not time-barred from taking enforcement action and the appellant’s appeal fails.

“I find that the house is accessed from an unsurfaced road in the north-east part of West Linton and is in an area characterised by large, in the main, detached houses set in substantial garden grounds in a semi-rural part of the village.

“Its location some 200 metres from the A 702 and the centre of the village means that residents in the area enjoy a very high standard of amenity.

“I have studied the representations on the case and note the alleged impact on residential amenity caused by the use of the property for short-stay letting.

“I further note that the appellant has taken steps to curtail the effects of the unauthorised use, and in particular noise and alleged anti-social behaviour.

“I am also mindful of the support given by persons staying at ‘Greenloaning’ to businesses in the village.

“However, I conclude that the unauthorised use of ‘Greenloaning’ has an unacceptable impact on the character of the established amenity in this generally quiet part of West Linton.

“External activity can arise after 20.00 hours and a significant change into the quiet residential area has been introduced.

“The two-month time period for the cessation of the use is reasonable, given the impact of the unauthorised development on the amenity of this part of West Linton.”