Plans to build a “timber tower” holiday home next to an historic Highland building have been criticised as “wholly inappropriate” and a fire hazard.
Ardgour Trading Company Ltd has applied for planning permission to erect the octagonal, three-storey, timber-clad building in the grounds of Ardgour House at Ardgour on the Morvern peninsula.
But local people are urging Highland Council to refuse the application.
Local historian Iain Thornber, who is one of the six people who has objected to the proposal, described the design as “quirky and unusual”, but did not consider it appropriate in this location.
He said: “While it could sit comfortably in another setting, it is completely out of character and wholly inappropriate within the designed landscape surrounding the listed Ardgour House.”
Mr Thornber was also concerned that the wooden property could be a fire hazard in an area of “valuable native woodlands and walkways”.
And Dolina Richardson, who lives nearby, said the access track was already in a poor condition and unable to handle any more traffic.
She was also unhappy about the design, which she said did not fit in with any of the other houses in the area.
Historic Scotland described Ardgour House as “a good example of an intact 18th century parkland design that relates well to its dramatic setting on the shores of Loch Linnhe”, but did not feel the proposed building would have a significant adverse impact on the area.
The planning application states that the two-bedroom structure, which would be set in “a tangle of rhododendron bushes and trees”, would blend with its environment.
Graeme Cox, of Ardgour Trading Company, bought the B-listed property 20 years ago when it was on Historic Scotland’s buildings at risk register and has restored it to its former glory. He has also built two holiday lets in the grounds.
Mr Cox said: “The new holiday home would be about 200m (656ft) from Ardgour House and is not visible from the house.
“It is going into the old kitchen garden and we thought it would be nice to have something a bit different, clad in wood, which we feel would enhance the environment.”
He added that, although he does not own the access road, he attempts to maintain it and said the property would be no more of a fire risk than any other house.