Designs for Stella McCartney’s Sleek, Secluded Home on the Coast of Scotland Have Sparked Local Ire

The house has been designed by Scottish architecture firm Brown & Brown.

Illustration of the plans for Stella McCartney's house in Roshven. Image: Brown & Brown Architects / public access statement.

The plans of fashion designer Stella McCartney to build a contemporary and secluded home on the west coast of Scotland have received nearly 60 objections, with many citing environmental concerns.

The design statement was submitted in the name of McCartney’s husband, Alasdhair Willis, by Scottish architecture firm Brown & Brown to The Highland Council earlier in the year. It proposes a “contemporary intervention in the landscape” capable of maintaining “the wild nature of the site.”

Located on a site used for commando training during the Second World War, the split-level property would be built with rough-cut Scottish stone, a roof seeded with grasses and heather, and ochre-colored steel, chosen to chime with the colors of the landscape. It would “heated by passive solar gain” and use “appropriate renewables,” according to the designers.

Stella McCartney

The architect’s plans for the interior of Stella McCartney’s house. Photo: Brown & Brown public access statement.

However, before work can start on the multimillion-dollar home, the project must obtain the green light from the local council, which has received a string of negative comments both from concerned local residents over the past six months. The building’s appearance was criticized and described variously as being too large and using materials such as glass and concrete that clash with local aesthetics.

Others expressed environmental concerns. The ecological objections fall largely into three categories: loss of mature Scots pines, damage to otter habitats, and concern for public access to a local beach.

The project proposes removing five of the site’s 15 Scots pines, a species that has been the beneficiary of considerable national conservation efforts. “The Scots Pines are important in themselves as mature trees and should also be retained to mitigate wind erosion,” wrote Alasdhair and Belinda Mackie in the public comments section of the planning application.

Stella McCartney Scotland

Stella McCartney’s proposed home in west Scotland has received local pushback. Photo: Brown & Brown Architects / public access statement.

Locals lodged their concern for the impact that construction could have on the otter population. “Otters are a protected species in Scotland, and their holts are critical to their survival,” wrote Thomas Seccombe in the public section of the application. “The proposed development would require significant excavation and land clearance, which could lead to the disturbance and destruction of otter holts.”

Brown & Brown’s design statement stressed privacy had been a motivating factor in Willis and McCartney’s decision to purchase the site, a note that prompted both locals and an environmental health officer to worry access to the bay would be restricted. The officer advised a supplementary plan be submitted to “fully assess the development’s potential impact on public access.”

In 2022, Brown & Brown won Architecture Practice of the Year at the Scottish Design Awards. The council is expected to consider the application and the public concerns it has generated in the next months.

 

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