Blow to one of Royal Family's favourite pastimes they've been doing for 175 years after massive change | The SunSeptember 13, 2023
THE Royal Family have been dealt a blow due to a huge change to one of their favourite pastimes which they’ve been doing for nearly 200 years.
King Charles and his family will no longer be allowed to go shooting, hunting or fishing on the estate next to Balmoral, after a Scottish businessman has axed their leasing agreement which had been in place for 175 years.
The boss of the catering company Westbury Street Holdings Alastair Storey bought Abergeldie estate in 2021, following the death of its former owner John Gordon, the Baron of Abergeldie.
Storey forked out £23million for the estate which covers 11,512 acres and lies between Balmoral and Birkhall, Aberdeenshire.
After being in the hands of the Gordon family for five centuries, the estate will now be used for commercial shooting.
In July, planning documents were submitted to Aberdeenshire council proposing new accommodation to be built on the estate “for paying visitors to support the sporting activities on the estate”.
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The documents say: “For the last 175 years the Royal Family have leased the sporting rights at Abergeldie but this has now ceased, and will be actively run by the new laird.
“To facilitate the transformation and to effectively run the estate, new facilities will be required.”
It’s thought there is no animosity between the new owner and the Royal Family over the removal of the rights.
The estate in Royal Deeside had belonged to the Gordon family since James III of Scotland bestowed it upon them in 1482.
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The leasing agreement for the royals’ shooting access was given to Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert when he bought Balmoral.
The leasing fee was increased by John Gordon 25 years ago and the late Queen Elizabeth agree to pay the extra in order to keep access to the grounds for shooting and hunting.
Storey, 70, was named as the “most influential person in the British hospitality industry” in 2012, unseating Jamie Oliver for the title.
He was made an OBE by Queen Elizabeth in 2017.
There are 34 homes, cottage, lodges and farmhouses on the Abergeldie estate, which does not include Abergeldie Castle, where it is though Gordon’s widow, Gillian, still lives.
Under the plans submitted, many of the buildings on the estate, which lies in the Cairgorms National Park, will be repurposed as private accommodation and hunting lodges.
Two residential properties “are intended to be used for staff accommodation for personnel working on the estate” while another existing building will be turned into “a social space for paying visitors”.
The Woodland Trust Scotland has objected to the planning application “due to risk of deterioration of the ecological condition” of the area.
It said that development around the ancient woodland on the property could “lead to long-term changes in species composition, particularly ground flora and sensitive fauna, ie nesting birds, mammals and reptiles”.
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