Donside laird puts Scottish estate on the market after suffering a “catalogue of abuse”
The McLean family have owned the 1,600 acre Breda Estate in Aberdeenshire since 1892 but now, due to the illness of the current laird, Hamish McLean, the main house has recently been placed on the market for £4,275,000.
A B-listed Scots baronial mansion, Breda House, dates in main to 1894 and was constructed from pink granite by the Aberdeen architect Marshall Mackenzie. Some 10,678 square foot in size, this 7-bedroomed Victorian house was last occupied as a residence in the 1990s but has been substantially restored by Mr McLean over the last thirteen years.
McLean, who lives in a nearby farmhouse, decided to convert Breda House into a wedding and conference centre after “market research that deemed the project financially viable” . Work began in 2006 and in the time since, the house has been re-roofed and subject to significant internal and external repairs. It is now ready for internal fit out and decoration.
To fund this, Mr McLean successfully applied for planning permission for enabling development in the locality. These plans were met with a “cornucopia of bitterness” and in 2013, The Scotsman reported that the laird suffered his “ two horses [being] deliberately poisoned, his tyres slashed and the body of a deer dumped on [his] doorstep”.
In the same article, the newspaper stated that Mr McLean had told councillors at a planning meeting that “despite a sustained catalogue of abuse, we remain focused on the goal of restoring Breda House and, through our good management, of securing not only the future of Breda Estate for all residents but also to create a future for Breda House that will bring prestige, jobs and business for the community”.
“Whilst we recognise it is the democratic right of parties to express their opinions on planning issues, it is surely equally our democratic right to submit applications for the development of Breda Estate, of which we are owners, as we see fit”.
“My wife and I wish nothing other than to be left in peace to get on with our business, our lives. The proceeds generated from the sale of these sites are crucial to securing the Breda House enterprise for the future, of our achieving our long-term goals of bringing sustainable business into the community and of safeguarding this built heritage for Aberdeenshire”.
Given planning permission to initially build thirteen houses and later permission for a further eight properties, Hamish McLean and his wife Lorna have now instructed Rettie & Co. to market Breda House along with 227 acres of farmland, woodlands, a 3-bedroomed gate lodge and eight residential plots. The property is available as a whole or in upto nine lots.
With plans drawn up for a golf course on the land and the funding of an income generatinga biomass heating system in place, the future for Breda House looks bright. Of selling, Mr McLean told The Press and Journal in January 2015:
“Although Breda House would make a wonderful home and would make a very good business, our priorities have now changed. Living there would be wonderful and running a business there is really exciting and very stimulating but one can’t do everything”.
“I spent some of my childhood here and my father spent much of his childhood here; it was always a very bustling, busy place. It would be lovely to see it busy again. Although we would have loved to complete our vision, someone else will have their own vision for it”.
“What we are endeavouring to do with Breda is to create a small estate, something that is very manageable, and maybe if it’s a foreigner they will like the idea of being a Scottish laird”.
“So we are not just selling the house or a business, it’s also the prestige of being a Scottish landowner. It might appeal to someone who wants to make a statement about their lives. They will be living in this beautiful listed building; it is unique in terms of the pink granite. What is even more useful is that the grounds are ideal for marquees”.
“There used to be cricket matches on the lawn, too. The Breda team used to play the Aberdeenshire team, so it’s not a new idea to hold events here. There is a precedent”.
“The only limitation is one’s imagination”.
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