The billionaire ruler of Dubai has won his two-year battle to build a six-bedroom lodge on his sprawling estate in the Scottish Highlands – even though it's just yards from another family's home.
The billionaire sheikh appeared to have lost his battle to build the lodge after the Highland Council rejected a proposal to build its 63,000-acre Inverinate Estate in June.
The spacious property already houses a manor house with 14 beds and a guest house with 16 beds.
Dozens of local residents raised concerns that the proposal was too close to a neighboring bungalow and would detract from the natural beauty of nearby Loch Duich.
Roddy MacLeod was among the complainants, as the lodge is to be built just 20 meters from his 35 year old house.
The Scottish government is expected to approve the call by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to build a six bedroom lodge on the Inverinate Estate
The 71-year-old sheikh, with assets of more than £ 14 billion, has been accused of a "hostile takeover" of his Loch Duich coast by adding several buildings for one to his 63,000 acre estate he bought more than 20 years ago reported £ 2 million
However, the £ 14 billion sheikh appealed to the Scottish government, which has now approved the proposals.
A "letter of intent" revealed permissions will be granted but will be delayed to meet final planning requirements.
The 71-year-old sheikh who had six wives and up to 30 children. has an estimated net worth of £ 14 billion and bought the property more than 20 years ago.
A statement of complaint filed by the sheikh's planning agents stated: "There would be no" significant adverse "impact on individual housing facilities, while the proposed location and the high quality design of the proposal would match the prevailing character and pattern of development both the immediate as well as the wider area.
"Complainants are content to fully endorse the designer's report and leave it to the appointed rapporteur to judge the appropriateness of the location and layout of the proposed home."
Nine councilors on the Highland Council's Planning Committee voted to deny the building permit, while five voted for the permit.
71-year-old Roddy Macleod, whose 35-year-old home is just 20 meters from the proposed lodge, said the new building in Wester Ross would invade his privacy and affect his enjoyment of his property.
72-year-old neighbor Roddy Macleod, whose 35-year-old home is just 20 meters from the proposed lodge, said the new building in Wester Ross would invade his privacy and spoil his enjoyment of his property
The chair of the committee, Councilor Maxine Smith, moved to block the proposal because of the size of the house and its proximity to Mr. Macleod's property.
She said, “I really don't understand why you have to build right next to someone else.
"Placing this massive villa right next to a small bungalow is just terrible for the people who live in this place."
Locals also raised concerns that the proposed access road the Sheikh was planning to use for the lodge was unsuitable and would create increased traffic problems.
The sheikh's architects changed the design of the building and reduced the number of bedrooms from nine to six in order to get approval.
Planning officials wrote to his representatives asking why the lodge couldn't be relocated to another part of the 63,000 acre property.
They received a response that he had bought the land for the specific purpose of building the lodge and would not move it.
Government reporter Gordon S. Reid said he would allow the building after final planning details were agreed.
In a written letter of intent, Mr. Reid stated that none of the objections raised were sufficient to stop the future buildings.
He said: “Arguments were made in the letters of representation that an alternative location should be used on land that the complainant owns further west.
“As I take note of this point, I must consider the appointment proposal based on the merits of the proposed location in front of me, rather than the potential suitability of another alternate location.
Pictured: Drawings sent to the Highland Council show Mr MacLeod's bungalow, which is just a few meters from the sheikh's hut. The council denied the request, but a call to the Scottish government appears to have received approval
Overall, I believe that the appeal proposal complies with the provisions of Directive 28 and related supplementary guidelines on size and location.
"In addition, I am pleased that it would maintain the character and pattern of development in the environment and sympathize with them."
He added: "I conclude that the proposed development is overall in line with the relevant provisions of the Development Plan for the reasons stated above, provided that a financial contribution is made to provide affordable off-site housing."
The decision is expected to be confirmed in due course.
The Highland Retreat already has helipads and a 14-bedroom vacation home in addition to a luxury 16-bedroom hunting lodge, pool, and gym.
Last year he also received permission to build a 19 bedroom lodge and nine bedroom house on the property.
The Highland Council was asked to comment.