Police called as row erupts over Lady Carbisdale's planning bid for her castle

Carbisdale Castle with a gated entrance
Police were called following a council meeting regarding the purchase of land around Carbisdale Castle (Image credit: Google Earth)

A community council meeting surrounding the future of a plot of land around Carbisdale Castle resulted in the police being called.

Lady Carbisdale, who called the castle her "legacy" proposed to buy and renovate the land around the castle by using it as a building plot in what she claims was an attempt to preserve the castle.

However, her plans were rejected at a Ardgay and District Community Council meeting and police were called.

What was the council meeting for?

Lady Carbisdale, also known as Samantha Kane, sought to secure public land surrounding Carbisdale Castle in Culrain for a third time from Forestry & Land Scotland.

The barrister, who bought the property for over £1million in 2022, called for an Extraordinary General Meeting (a special meeting called by council members outside of the regular annual meetings), on November 21 centred around Lady Carbisdale's bid to own 7.4 acres of the marshy plot type around Carbisdale Castle.

The third proposal aimed to turn the castle into a private members club with 23 bedrooms for guests by spending £20 million on restorations and by building a spa and swimming pool in an attempt to preserve the site.

Complaints raised after proposals were rejected

The council members voted unanimously against the proposals after concerns were raised about:

  • The influence of Lady Carbisdale on local decision-making
  • Issues including a lack of clarity on the economic and community benefits of the sale of the land, with an undisclosed business plan and doubts about the effectiveness of land purchase in safeguarding the castle
  • Facilities like a spa and swimming pool are desirable but not deemed necessary
  • Concerns about the proposed excessive carbon footprint
  • Inadequate information on plans for the land, concerns about setting a precedent, and potential consequences if Lady Carbisdale sells the castle after acquiring the land

After the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) there was a reported disturbance and a statement was published by Ardgay & District Community Council (A&DCC) saying it "acknowledges receipt of several complaints made by the public in response to the events following the EGM held on 21st November 2023".

It stated: "We wish to reassure the public that A&DCC is treating this matter seriously and we are working with The Highland Council to find a solution. This issue will be discussed at the next public meeting to be held in January 2024.

"A&DCC would like to thank the community for their support and continued engagement with these important matters."

Why were the police called?

Following a reported disturbance on November 23, police were called relating to the community meeting.

There were allegations made, which Lady Carbisdale responded to by describing the police involvement as an "overreaction".

The 63-year-old, an elected community council member, claims the events were exaggerated, with a small faction attempting to derail her preservation efforts.

According to Lady Carbisdale, the gathering wasn't a disturbance except for a few individuals seeking to undermine her objectives. She noted the presence of opposing mutterings from a group against her, those in support, and others with differing opinions towards her proposal.

She expressed frustration, stating: "I’ve got a half a dozen people trying to smear my name and the castle’s name. They’d rather see a ruined castle than a preserved castle.

"If they had left it alone, that would have been the normal reaction after any heated meeting."

An anonymous local resident claimed to have heard Ms Carbisdale speaking to a committee member, describing the language used as exceptionally strong.

A police spokesman said: “On the evening of Thursday, November 23, police were called to a report of a disturbance in the Carron Place area of Ardgay.

“Suitable advice was provided and one woman was issued with a Recorded Police Warning following an earlier disturbance on Tuesday, November 21.”

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.