Millionaires urged to get along by sheriff

A PAIR of feuding neighbours in one of Scotland’s most expensive streets have been urged by a sheriff to get along, following a bitter dispute over the building of a new mansion.

Malcolm Howats Caledonian Crescent home, Strathearn Lodge. Picture: Perthshire Picture Agency

Sheriff Michael Wood made the plea to the wealthy owners whose homes overlook the 2014 Ryder Cup venue at Gleneagles, Perthshire.

He told battling James McCaig, 65, and Malcolm Howat, who is in his late sixties, to repair their relationship, which had torn the residents of exclusive Caledonian Crescent apart over the past four years.

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Both men have pursued court orders against each other.

Mr McCaig – a former farmer – is seeking an interdict toprevent works vehicles parking on his land while Mr Howat’s huge mansion is beingconstructed next door.

Mr Howat – a nickel-chrome tycoon – has already been granted an interim interdict toprevent Mr McCaig from harassing his contractors.

Sheriff Wood wrote in a30-page judgment issuedyesterday that both men needed to find a way to get along.

He said the court orders would fall away once the mansion was completed, and that he hoped “both parties can move forward more amicably”.

Mr McCaig has complained that construction vehicles have parked on his land on a virtually daily basis since Mr Howat began converting Strathearn Lodge.

He bought it from a bankrupt businessman for £3.75 million in 2007.

In July last year, Mr McCaig was cleared at Perth Sheriff Court of injuring another neighbour, James O’Neil, by ramming his car as he entered his drive through electric gates. Mr O’Neil – who was understood to be abroad at the time of the court date – did not turn up to give evidence against his rival and the Crown decided to abandon the prosecution.

Mr McCaig had denied a charge of driving dangerously outside his home on 10 February, 2012.

He denied driving his 2009 Range Rover – with a personal number plate – into Mr O’Neil’s Range Rover Sport.

Mr McCaig’s wife Maggie has led the opposition to theextensive work on Mr Howat’s property and to the work vehicles parked on the road and the verge outside.

Mr Howat, who also has a mansion in Florida, mademillions as the boss of Glasgow-based nickel-chrome alloysupplier Eryngium and also the Howco Group.

He was formally censured by Perth and Kinross Council after making unauthorised changes to his mansion, which towers over the McCaig’s home,Southernwood.

The council heard how Mr Howat breached planningpermission as he doubled the size of his home.

A total of 11 complaints were received by the council from the 16 homes that are in Caledonian Crescent.

Despite criticism of the extent of the work done, Mr Howat was eventually granted retrospective permission for the huge extension.

Mr Howat, from Lenzie, isestimated to be worth upwards of £40m.

Mrs McCaig, who has lived in the next door house, Southernwood, for 25 years with her husband, said: “People think it must be lovely living in Caledonian Crescent, but it has turned into a nightmare.”