Plans to build a range of luxurious flats and townhouses in the grounds of a historic Edinburgh home by a firm linked to a member of former US president Donald Trump’s cabinet have been thrown out by the city’s council for the third time.
The Rockshiel Trust attracted dozens of objections from the local community in Murrayfield when initial proposals for nine apartments and ten townhouses at 9 Kinellan Road went before planners in 2019.
The company – which counts capital-born actor Louise Linton, the wife of former US secretary of the treasury Steve Mnuchin among its beneficiaries – returned with a revised set of blueprints for eight flats and six townhouses surrounding the 19th -century villa, last year.
But City of Edinburgh Council has rejected the plans again amid concerns over flood risks, tree loss and lack of affordable housing provision.
Tony Thomas, director of APT planning and development, a consultancy firm which submitted the application on behalf of the Rockshiel Trust, said they were considering an appeal in the new year.
In a refusal notice, the local authority stated the development would “damage the character of the wider townscape and landscape” in the West Murrayfield Conservation Area.
Archaeologists had also previously aired concerns due to the potential impact on an ornamental pond which may have been designed by renowned architect William Henry Playfair – the man credited with creating the capital’s New Town.
“The residential development’s scale, layout and the resultant tree loss will fail to preserve or enhance the low density, defined character of the West Murrayfield Conservation Area,” the refusal notice stated.
“Additionally, the proposals would result in the substantive loss of protected trees, which would have a detrimental impact on the Tree Preservation Order in place across the site.”
Ms Linton’s role in the Rockshiel Trust was revealed as part of a list of Mnuchin’s financial interests submitted to the US Office of Government Ethics in August 2020.
A US Treasury probe later found the properties were listed by Mnuchin through his wife, but determined he had no financial interest in the trust.
Ms Linton, who has appeared in US TV shows CSI: NY and Cold Case, grew up in the Murrayfield area close to Rockshiel, while her family also owns the historic Melville Castle in Midlothian.
Her most recent role was as director, star and writer of 2021 comedic thriller “Me, You Madness” alongside Ed Westwick in which she portrays a serial killing corporate hedge fund manager.
The film was later ranked as “the worst of the year” by online review site Metacritic.
Mr Thomas said the firm “continued to believe the site was an appropriate and attractive opportunity,” adding they were “considering their position” before continuing with the application.
“We believe that something can be done that would not have any significant negative impacts on neighbouring properties,” he told STV News.
“We have been given assurances in the past over the design and layout so there is some frustration as to where we find ourselves today.
“We shall take the Christmas break to consider the next options which will hopefully have a more successful outcome whatever route we chose.”