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First Ideas

A bitter result from the Sheriff Court

Sheriff McSherry refused the appeal and awarded costs against Holmehill Ltd. The appeal was refused not on the merits of the decision that Scottish Ministers had taken, but because the Sheriff concluded (based on precedents in other cases) that he should not interfere with the decisions of Scottish Ministers.

We were astonished. If the the appeal process were bound to find for Scottish Ministers, as the Sheriff seemed to suggest, then no appeal could ever succeed. What, then, was the point of the appeal procedure?

Now came the pressing issue of the legal costs. The proceedings in the Sheriff Court had involved three advocates: Mr John Campbell QC for Holmehill, and legal teams for Scottish Ministers and also for the Stakis Group. It was certain that the costs would greatly exceed our resources. But very fortunately Mr Campbell treated his work for us as pro bono, Stakis bore its own costs, and the Scottish Executive reduced its claim, leaving us solvent.

Holmehill was sold to Allanwater Developments Ltd.   At that time the company was owned and managed by Mr Ian Stirling, who later passed control to his son David.   Allanwater had a preliminary meeting with Stirling Council: see First Ideas.

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