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Owner of Scottish ‘Castle McGlasto’ fights to overturn ban from letting home out on Airbnb

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The owner of a Scottish mansion dubbed ‘Castle McGlasto’ after furious neighbours complained about rowdy outdoor parties is fighting to overturn a council ban from letting the property out to Airbnb guests.

Police have been called nearly 30 times to deal with reports of anti-social behaviour at Invergare Castle near Helensburgh, Argyll amid claims guests have climbed the turrets of the 13-bedroom Baronial home-turned-party pad, lobbed bottles of Buckfast and sung sectarian songs. 

Graham Gardner, a dentist who bought the B-listed castle for £170,000 and spent £800,000 refurbishing it, has now been banned by Argyll and Bute Council from renting out the £1,200-a-night property on Airbnb.

The council claimed he had breached planning rules at the 13-bedroom home and ordered a halt to letting. Mr Gardner has now lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government in a bid to reverse the council ruling. 

The owner of a Scottish mansion dubbed 'Castle McGlasto' after furious neighbours complained about rowdy outdoor parties is fighting to overturn a council ban from letting the property out to Airbnb guests

The owner of a Scottish mansion dubbed ‘Castle McGlasto’ after furious neighbours complained about rowdy outdoor parties is fighting to overturn a council ban from letting the property out to Airbnb guests

Graham Gardner, a dentist who bought the B-listed castle for £170,000 and spent £800,000 refurbishing it with his wife (both pictured), has now been banned by Argyll and Bute Council from renting out the £1,200-a-night property on Airbnb

Graham Gardner, a dentist who bought the B-listed castle for £170,000 and spent £800,000 refurbishing it with his wife (both pictured), has now been banned by Argyll and Bute Council from renting out the £1,200-a-night property on Airbnb

Police have been called nearly 30 times to deal with reports of anti-social behaviour at Invergare Castle near Helensburgh, Argyll. Pictured, the stairwell

Police have been called nearly 30 times to deal with reports of anti-social behaviour at Invergare Castle near Helensburgh, Argyll. Pictured, the stairwell

The council claimed he had breached planning rules at the 13-bedroom home and ordered a halt to letting. Pictured, one of the bedrooms

The council claimed he had breached planning rules at the 13-bedroom home and ordered a halt to letting. Pictured, one of the bedrooms

Pictured, a family room with a pool table in the mansion in the Scottish countryside

Pictured, a family room with a pool table in the mansion in the Scottish countryside

This map shows the location of Invergare Castle near Helensburgh, Argyll

This map shows the location of Invergare Castle near Helensburgh, Argyll

Invergare: The Victorian mansion-turned-castle at the centre of scandalous murder mystery

Now styled as a castle, Invergare was a 19th Century mansion at the centre of a murder mystery that scandalised Victorian society. 

The mansion was home to Madeleine Smith, who went on trial 150 years ago for murder following the death of her secret lover after he drank cocoa laced with arsenic.

Smith was alleged to have given the deadly drink to middle-aged clerk Pierre Emile L’Angelier.

The case gripped Scotland and resulted in the country’s first ever not proven verdict.

Smith fled to America, where she married three times and died aged 92. 

A statement on his behalf insisted the castle owner had not breached planning laws, claimed the enforcement notice was ‘excessive’, and failed to allow time for any scheduled bookings to be dealt with.

It said: ‘For the reasons noted above, the enforcement notice is not applicable, or it is excessive and does not provide a reasonable timescale to remedy the alleged breach of planning control. The enforcement notice should be quashed.’

Mr Gardner had earlier vowed to clampdown on troublemakers, insisting: ‘Guests are warned to respect our neighbours and keep noise down.

‘We are aware that the council have noise monitoring equipment in our neighbour’s property and this has not registered any noise from our property. We will continue to monitor our guests’ activities and maintain a peaceful environment for everyone.’

The property’s listing on Airbnb states that guests cannot have ‘loud music after 10pm’ and ‘no external/third party speaker systems’.

An earlier meeting of Rhu and Shandon Community Council had heard inspector Roddy MacNeill of Police Scotland detail their involvement at the house.

He said: ‘In total there have been 28 incident reports recorded, so it is regular, but some of them will be multiple calls.

‘We go and we deal with what is in front of us. There is a chance that we will take the sound-making equipment out of the property, but what complicates it is that it’s different people each time, so we would need to test the water with it. It

‘It’s a unique situation but it’s very much on our radar.’

Argyll and Bute Council’s enforcement notice stated: ‘Having regard to the scale and proposed nature and pattern of the proposed use in conjunction with the proximity of dwellinghouses within a uniformly residential area, the proposal would be severely detrimental to the residential amenities of residents.

Mr Gardner had earlier vowed to clampdown on troublemakers, insisting: 'Guests are warned to respect our neighbours and keep noise down'. Pictured, the kitchen

Mr Gardner had earlier vowed to clampdown on troublemakers, insisting: ‘Guests are warned to respect our neighbours and keep noise down’. Pictured, the kitchen

The property's listing on Airbnb states that guests cannot have 'loud music after 10pm' and 'no external/third party speaker systems'. Pictured, ground floor layout

The property’s listing on Airbnb states that guests cannot have ‘loud music after 10pm’ and ‘no external/third party speaker systems’. Pictured, ground floor layout

The council claimed he had breached planning rules at the 13-bedroom home and ordered a halt to letting. Pictured, first floor layout

The council claimed he had breached planning rules at the 13-bedroom home and ordered a halt to letting. Pictured, first floor layout

They added: ‘Environmental Health has concluded that this type of proposal could give cause for noise breakout causing nuisance to neighbouring residential properties.

‘It has not been demonstrated that potential impacts upon the residential character and amenities of the local area can be satisfactorily mitigated by means of management or planning mechanisms including planning conditions or a ‘good neighbour agreement’.’

A reporter will issue a decision in due course. 

Now styled as a castle, Invergare was a 19th Century mansion at the centre of a murder mystery that scandalised Victorian society. 

The mansion was home to Madeleine Smith, who went on trial 150 years ago for murder following the death of her secret lover after he drank cocoa laced with arsenic.

Smith was alleged to have given the deadly drink to middle-aged clerk Pierre Emile L’Angelier. The case gripped Scotland and resulted in the country’s first ever not proven verdict.

Smith fled to America, where she married three times and died aged 92. 



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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