Published: 21/04/2018 07:00 - Updated: 20/04/2018 13:55

Millionaire in 'cabin' planning row

Written byNeil MacPhail


Peter Sanctuary
Peter Sanctuary in his garden with the building work at Mr Savage's home above him.

A MILLIONAIRE businessman has been forced to suspend work at his luxury home in Inverness after a neighbour complained his construction of a "log cabin" was unauthorised.

Peter Sanctuary (72), a retired oil industry worker, claims that Alan Savage, chairman of international recruitment company Orion Group, had the work started in the grounds of his mansion in Stratherrick Road without planning permission.

He fears loss of privacy from the sizeable structure which sits at the top of a steep escarpment overlooking his garden.

He also has concerns about its safety.

A Highland Council planning enforcement officer has now become involved and work stopped on site earlier this week while the situation is examined.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: "The enforcement officer confirmed that he has visited Mr Savage and work has stopped pending submission of the required planning applications. 

"This will allow an assessment of all information to be carried out."

The statement added: "This was an amicable decision as Mr Savage had already contacted his architect to prepare applications."

Mr Savage did not respond to requests for comment on the work, but a woman who came to the gates of his home insisted: "There is no story."

The leafy neighbourhood first became aware of the construction project two weeks ago when a large crane appeared in Mr Savage’s grounds.

It was used over two days to hoist metal sections over his house, known as Westwood, to form a cantilevered platform at the edge of the escarpment, according to Mr Sanctuary, on which it is understood the "cabin" would sit.

Mr Sanctuary lives in Drummond Crescent with his wife Joyce and is concerned that the metalwork may have been placed without concrete foundations or piles to keep it secure.

He said: "It is a 30ft-wide overhanging steel structure. I visited Mr Savage about the building work going on and he said there was to be a log cabin on top.

"Once the metalwork was in place a bunch of joiners moved in and started on the timber work."

Speaking about the visit by the planning officer, which came after he contacted the council planning department, he said they had seemed "surprised" at what they had seen.

He added that they had phoned their boss "and suggested she might want to look in and see what was going on for herself".

He said: "I have lost sleep with the worry."

This week Mr Sanctuary said that, following the planning intervention, there would now be discussions with all parties involved.

Mr Sanctuary was one of the workforce who worked on building the massive Ninian Central oil platform in Wester Ross and became known as the "Kishorn Commandoes". He said that in the past he had worked for Mr Savage during his oil industry career.

Inverness-headquartered Orion Group is an international recruitment business working across a number of industry sectors but mostly oil.

It currently employs more than 310 staff in 57 offices around the world and was established by Mr Savage in 1987 to provide personnel to the rig construction yards of McDermott at Ardersier and Highland Fabricators at Nigg.

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