IRN-Bru mogul Robin Barr has put his historic mansion up for sale for £1.25 million after losing a legal battle to stop houses being built next to it.
The head of Scotland’s AG Barr soft drinks dynasty had fought plans by Aberdeen FC chairman Stewart Milne’s property firm to build almost 60 new homes in fields near the B-listed house.
Mr Barr, 76, who retired as chairman of the company which makes Irn-Bru in 2009, has lived in the property for almost 30 years.
His latest attempt to have planning permission for the houses overturned was rejected by three judges sitting at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in January.
His resistance to the development was mainly down to the possible loss of his tree-lined access lane and a natural habitat for wildlife.
Mr Barr’s home is now being advertised for offers over £1.25m.
It boasts six bedrooms, a snooker room, a formal dining room and a large conservatory.
The property was built in 1911 and is set in around 11 acres of land which include a cottage, landscaped gardens and stables.
The sales brochure describes it as “a little-known category ‘B’ listed country house and secondary cottage fringing countryside and set in about 11 acres [of] parkland grounds”.
The development next to the mansion prompted a storm of objections from residents who fear the Stewart Milne Homes estate will lead to an increased flooding risk.
Dozens of people signed a petition and objected to the local council, claiming the housing would be “out of character” with the area.
There were also concerns over loss of access, increased traffic levels and dangerous parking practices, anti-social behaviour, issues with public footpaths and other social nuisances.
Although he initially cited six reasons for his objections, Mr Barr eventually proceeded with the legal action on the grounds of just one. This stated that “the proposed development would inevitably, for safety reasons, require the removal of trees alongside our driveway (the tree belt) with a further loss of amenity in the area – and specifically in relation to the approach to one of a limited number of listed buildings”.
He further argued that, as a landowner, he would be forced to cut down mature trees that posed a risk to any buildings nearby.
However, the court found against him last summer and appeal judges have upheld that decision.
Mr Barr, whose family wealth is estimated at £125m, was not available to speak about the sale yesterday.
He spent 31 years as chairman of the company, which was founded by great-grandfather Robert Barr in 1875. Irn-Bru – whose catchphrases include “Made in Scotland from girders” and “It’s phenomenal” – was created in 1901.
Mr Barr is one of just three people who know the exact make-up of “Scotland’s other national drink”, along with his daughter and company secretary, Julie, and another, unnamed, person.
When he retired five years ago, he said he would continue to make a monthly trip to Barr’s Cumbernauld factory to mix the 32 ingredients that make the drink.
Speaking at the time, he said: “Irn-Bru has been manufactured using the secret recipe since 1901.
“The control of that recipe by a member of the Barr family is part of the mystique.
“The recipe was handed down to me by my father. And my father was given it by his father before him.”