The billionaire ruler of Dubai is told he can build a six-bed lodge in the Scottish Highlands … if he pays £ 30,000 for affordable housing in the area, the city council says
- The billionaire ruler of Dubai won the battle to build a six-bed lodge on his Scottish estate
- But Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has to pay out £ 30,000
- The prepaid amount will be used to create affordable housing in Ross-shire
He is the ruler of Dubai with a multi-billion pound fortune and a real estate portfolio that spans 63,000 hectares in Scotland.
But the wealth and status of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum mean little to the Highland Council's northern planning application body.
The Vice President of the United Arab Emirates had to pay £ 30,000 for affordable housing in Ross-shire to get approval for a new lodge on his property.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has approved plans to build a new lodge on his 63,000-acre Inverinate Estate in the Scottish Highlands – but it will cost him £ 30,000
The committee rejected his original request.
The billionaire's plan for the six-bedroom lodge in Inverinate, Wester Ross, was abandoned in June because the property was too close to a bungalow where Roddy Macleod and his daughter Tina lived.
The Sheikh appealed through his firm, Smech Properties, and Scottish Government reporter Gordon Reid now intends to approve the project subject to conditions.
In his letter of intent to grant approval, Mr. Reid said, "In accordance with local development plan policy requirements … either on-site provision or financial contribution to affordable housing is required."
He added that Smech Properties had agreed to an upfront payment of £ 30,000.
Highland Council attorney Karen Lyons has confirmed the money has been received. Yesterday a disappointed Mr Macleod said: "It's not unexpected – the big boys always seem to win."
The 71-year-old sheikh, believed to be worth more than £ 3.3 million, has paid £ 30,000 to develop affordable housing in the Ross-Shire area
He had previously claimed that the sheikh rarely visited his estate in the Highlands and said, “In my 30 years or so, the family has only been awake five times.
From time to time other guests come – like his staff in London and the airline. "
Mr Macleod, whose house is 65 feet from the proposed lodge, said it would violate his privacy.
Locals also said the access road to the lodge will cause problems.
The sheikh's architects previously said the family's trips to Inverinate were "limited by a lack of accommodation" – although there were already 30 rooms there – and another 28 were approved in February last year.
The sheikh reportedly has six wives, more than 20 children and a huge retinue of bodyguards and servants.
The 71-year-old, whose personal fortune is estimated at more than £ 3.3 billion, bought the 63,000 acre property for £ 2 million in the 1990s.
The billionaire's plan for the six-bedroom lodge in Inverinate, Wester Ross, was abandoned in June because the property was too close to a bungalow where Roddy Macleod (pictured) and his daughter Tina lived
The Sheikh's Highland Retreat already has helipads and a 14-bedroom vacation home in addition to a luxury 16-bedroom hunting lodge, pool and gym.
He made headlines last year when it emerged that he was planning to send an unmanned spacecraft from the Emirates to Mars in 2021.
The oil-rich country wants to set up a space program to prove that, despite the many conflicts in the Middle East, the Arab world is able to make scientific contributions to humanity.
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