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Irn-Bru family to sell mansion after court loss

THE head of the Irn-Bru dynasty has put his historic mansion up for sale for £1.25 million after losing a legal battle to stop new houses being built next to it.

B-listed PROPERTY: Fa'side House is on the market for £1.25 million.

Robin Barr had fought the plans by Aberdeen FC chairman Stewart Milne's property firm to build almost 60 new homes in fields near the B-listed Fa'side House.

Mr Barr, who retired as chairman of AG Barr in 2009, has lived in the property in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, for almost 30 years.

He is one of only three people in the world who know the secret recipe for his company's famous soft drink.

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. He had objected amid fears about the possible loss of his tree-lined access lane and a loss of natural habitat for wildlife.

The 76-year-old's home is now being advertised through estate agents Robb Residential 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 Newton Mearns and set in about 11 acres of parkland".

The controversial 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 nuisance.

Although he initially cited six reasons for his objections, Mr Barr eventually proceeded with the legal action on the grounds of just one, stating 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 in Newton Mearns".

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 Lord Ordinary found against him last summer and appeal judges upheld that decision.

Mr Barr, whose family wealth is estimated at £125m, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

He spent 31 years as the chairman of the company, which was founded by his great-grandfather Robert Barr in 1875 with Irn-Bru first made in 1901.

When he retired, he said he would continue to make a monthly trip to Barr's Cumbernauld factory to mix a batch of the formula of 32 ingredients needed to make the drink.

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Food and drink

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