Château d’Invergare: the guests of the luxury manor of Rhu “always cause misery to the neighbors”
ANGRY Residents of Rhu say antisocial guests at a holiday chateau in the village continue to make their lives more difficult – and have pleaded for the rejection of a new town planning application for the building.
Neighbors at Invergare Castle on Glenarn Road reacted skeptically to the news that the owners of the property plan to screen potential customers before accepting bookings – and review them afterwards.
A new application to Argyll and Bute’s board is asking for retrospective authorization for a change of use at Invergare, from residential accommodation to visitor accommodation.
A previous request was filed earlier in 2021, but was withdrawn after a local authority official recommended the denial shortly before it was considered by councilors.
This prompted the owner of the house, Graham Gardner, to go after a “NIMBY [not in my back yard] mentality ‘in the village.
A concerned resident, who has lived near the property for more than a decade, told the announcer he was “shocked and surprised” by the “rude” behavior of a group of guests last week, with reports of revelers drinking all night, some of whom were “on top of the roof”.
READ MORE: Owners of luxury Rhu mansion file new planning request – and say guests could be assessed afterward
Police have reportedly been called twice in the past week and three times in total last month.
The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We all had a real fright the other night at the screams that went out just after 3 am.
“Some of the language used made my toes curl, and we thought there were people in our garden.
“Rhu is very calm, we hear a fly flying in the area, so the noise travels and especially when 14 or 15 people outside have had a drink.
“We would like this activity to stop. It is totally unacceptable.
“The past two years have shown that the unsupervised rental of this property, which is being offered and is already taking place, is a plague on the community.
“I don’t see how the proposal has any merit at all, it doesn’t support the community.”
READ MORE: Chateau de Rhu owner denounces ‘NIMBY mentality’ in village as Airbnb plans are withdrawn
Last week, the advertiser shared news of the latest planning request for Invergare in which the owner of the property promised stag and hen parties would no longer be accepted and vowed to screen potential customers before confirming reservations and reviewing them after their stay.
“If this is her screening, it doesn’t work,” said one resident.
“The ‘good neighbor agreement’ and the promise to rate customers is just another smokescreen from homeowners.
“One thing the lockdown did was put a temporary end to this situation, but it’s back with a vengeance.
“We will continue to put our arguments together and try to convince the planning department that approval would be grossly inappropriate.
“I don’t know of any neighbor in the locus who is happy with the situation. Everyone is really concerned.
“If we let this go without proper objection, it will open the floodgates. Where will it end? Should we just open all Rhu to Airbnb? ”
READ MORE: Vacation rentals ‘should be banned’ at castle near Helensburgh due to nuisance from neighbors, city council officials say
Helensburgh Police confirmed to the announcer that they received calls to report to the house last week and those in attendance were told to calm down.
Jim Duncan, organizer of the Rhu and Shandon Community Council (RSCC), said: “The Rhu and Shandon Community Council is aware of the problems that Invergare has been causing to neighbors and the community at large for some time.
“We met and supported local residents who provided details of the antisocial activity and nuisance that regularly occurs at Invergare when rented to short-term tenants by the absent owner.
“This is a growing problem in our community as more and more large properties are rented short term by absent owners.
“On behalf of the community, RSCC made representations to the Argyll and Bute Board, who were instrumental in the enforcement of the Argyll & Bute Board’s enforcement order against the landowners. ‘Invergare.
“In support of the local community, RSCC opposed the previous urban planning request for a change of use at Invergare.
READ MORE: Airbnb mansion in Rhu “still on our radar”, Helensburgh Police say
“The planners recommended that the planning, protection and authorization committee of the council deny the authorization and this request was subsequently withdrawn by the applicant.
“We see no changes in this latest application that would remove nuisance and disruption to the local neighborhood and RSCC will continue to support neighboring residents by opposing this latest town planning request for a change in use.
“We hope that planning officials will come to the same conclusion on this request as on the previous one, and recommend that it be refused.”
Mr Gardner told the announcer: “Unfortunately the neighbors recently saw the need to call the police. Given the extent of the police, we would prefer [neighbours] would contact us directly.
“I understand from talking to the police that the call involved four people talking outside.
READ MORE: Invergare Neighbors Go After Airbnb’s ‘Party Space’ Over ‘Anti-Social Behavior’ From Guests
“We have no interest in leaving our beautiful home to drunk and destructive groups and taking steps to prevent it.
“We are happy to engage with the board and discuss additional steps and tradeoffs that can be made.
“We are continually looking to improve the experience of customers and our neighbors, we constantly ask every customer to be respectful of our neighbors.
“These old buildings are very expensive to maintain and there must be a way to preserve them for future generations.
“The alternatives are for it to fall into disrepair – you will recall it being in a very poor state of repair – or to be converted into apartments, sacrificing many of the original features that have historical and architectural significance.”
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