Neighbours on Aberdeen’s wealthy Rubislaw Den North faced off in the council chambers over a controversial extension.
Aberdeen businessman George Stewart bought the mansion on the city’s Millionaires Row last year.
The 100-year-old home sold for £900,000.
But he has been butting heads with next door neighbour James Halliday since moving in, and the tensions escalated over plans for a new extension.
Businessman defends Rubislaw Den North extension plans
Mr Stewart had written to the council seeking permission for the addition, explaining that it’s needed as he wants to move his family in with him.
The 69-year-old wanted to create an extra kitchen in the extension, complaining that the existing one is “inadequate” for the “intended number of occupants”.
And in seeking inspiration for his extension, he looked to the north of Spain…
Mr Stewart argued that the vision “speaks the same language as the Barcelona pavilion that was designed by Mies Van De Rohe for the 1929 Exposition”.
Businessman appeals to decision-makers in person
Mr Stewart urged the council’s planning committee to rubber-stamp his design during a speech in the townhouse.
The property director argued that Rubislaw Den North, which took shape over 50 years, has an “interesting tapestry of different styles”.
And Mr Stewart told councillors that he has won awards for architecture in the past.
He continued: “We have worked for a period of 15 months on this extension.
“It will contribute to the preservation and conservation of the housing stock.”
Why do neighbours oppose Rubislaw Den North extension?
In the months after the plans were lodged, complaints were submitted by neighbours next to Mr Stewart as well as some at the rear.
James Webster lives on Morningfield Road, with his property backing onto 26 Rubislaw Den North.
He claims the extension is of an “extraordinary” size, and would not suit the C-listed 1927 home it’s attached to.
And real estate company director Tim Williams, who also lives on Morningfield Road, warned the council that approving the plan could set a risky precedent.
But it was next door neighbour James Halliday who attended the crunch meeting in person, imploring elected members to bin it.
‘This will undoubtedly change character of area’
Next door neighbour James Halliday has written to the council to express his doubts about the Catalonian-themed addition.
His home sold for more than £1m in 2011.
Unimpressed by the continental claims of his neighbour, he noted: “This is not Barcelona.”
Mr Halliday also attended the meeting of the planning committee at Aberdeen City Council’s townhouse.
He said the 10x4m extension would be “overbearing” on his 24 Rubislaw Den North home, causing loss of light to his plush property yards away.
Mr Halliday, a fellow of the Geological Society, added: “This will undoubtedly change the character of the neighbourhood.”
The resident also explained that works already carried out on the historic property itself “without permission” had also raised his ire.
Mr Stewwart fired back that heating upgrades had been necessary, and
How did council respond to Rubislaw Den North extension row?
Planners said the extension was “architecturally compatible with the original dwelling”.
And there was little in the way of debate before councillors approved the Barcelona-inspired Rubislaw Den North extension.
Do you think the council made the right call? Let us know in our comments section below
Rubislaw Den North is a broad, tree-lined street in the city’s well-to-do west end.
Its AB15 postcode area once counted 240 millionaires among its residents.