THE owner of a castle in Rhu at the centre of a long-running row over alleged anti-social behaviour by ‘Airbnb’ visitors has hit out at a “NIMBY mentality” in the village.

Graham Gardner’s angry blast at residents for what he called the “not in my back yard” approach came as councillors prepared to consider a “change of use” application for Invergare, a Baronial mansion on Glenarn Road in the village.

The application was due to be considered by Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee last Wednesday (May 19) after it attracted 34 objections.

But on Monday – after the Advertiser reported a council officer’s recommendation that the application should be refused – it was revealed that Invergare’s owners had withdrawn their plans.

The property was at the centre of a major row in early 2020 after neighbours complained it had been turned into an “Airbnb party pad” without consent.

It was claimed that anti-social behaviour by some guests, including allegations of shouting, swearing, sectarian singing and the use of a “very loud, Glastonbury-style” sound system, was making life a misery for people living in nearby houses on Glenarn Road.

READ MORE: Invergare neighbours hit out at Rhu Airbnb 'party pad'

When papers for the committee meeting were published earlier this month, Invergare was still being listed on Airbnb, where it was described as being available for group bookings for up to 16 people.

But a search of the website for places to stay in Rhu no longer brings up Invergare as an option.

In a report on the handling of the application, the officer dealing with the case said: “It is considered that the proposed use will be out of keeping with the established residential character of the local area to the significant detriment to residential amenities of local residents by reason of undue intensification of activity; increased level and nature of noise; general disturbance; and the pattern, nature and volume of vehicular traffic all resultant from the proposed use.”

Before the application was withdrawn, Invergare owner and applicant Graham Gardner told the Advertiser: “We are disappointed that local people can’t see the advantages to the project.

“Last year we were pleased to welcome a Premiership football manager to our home who was full of praise for the area.

“We have had families from all over the world enjoying all that Argyll and Bute has to offer. They eat in local restaurants and often employ a local private chef.

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“Earlier concerns relating to noise were addressed by restricting the types of guests and introducing volume limiters on speakers.

“The ‘Glastonbury style sound system’ [comment] made us giggle. It is a figment of someone’s imagination; these are the same Sonos speakers you find in many people’s homes. I suspect this person hasn’t been to many music festivals.

“Unfortunately as lovely as these historic properties are, they are costly to maintain and if these are to be preserved a way of paying for this needs to be found.

“Unfortunately like many small towns Rhu is subjected to the NIMBY mentality and there are a number of people who have nothing better to do than moan. I only hope this decision fills them with the happiness their lives are lacking.”

Mr Gardner did not respond to a follow-up request for comment.