On 27 November, the case for Mrs Gloag, the pursuer, was concluded by evidence from Mr David McCleary, Mrs Gloag’s husband. Mr McCleary had a full day in the witness box, beginning with a long examination-in-chief, during which he was led through the history and circumstances of the family’s ownership of its other main homes and the reasons for the purchase of Kinfauns, and its renovation. He explained the role of Kinfauns as an office for Mrs Gloag’s charitable ventures; as a venue for events and entertaining public figures and celebrities, much of which links with these charities; and much was made of its role in hosting both his and Mrs Gloag’s extended families, who live in the Perth area. He made statements on the family fears for the safety of their children, on concerns about theft of valuables, the privacy of their guests, and intrusion by the public and press.
Much was made of present use of and plans for the wooded area to the southwest of the area within the security fence, notably as play area and barbecue site, this being the core area where it is argued by those opposing the application that access rights should apply. Mr McCleary asserted that the whole 11 acres within the fence should be regarded as garden to the house. In cross-examination, counsel for Perth and Kinross Council and Ramblers Scotland probed (inter alia) at the role of the family in launching the case; the effectiveness of the advice taken by the family on security and their understanding of the new legislation; and the expectations of privacy on acquisition, given that Kinfauns is a prominent property. There were challenges to the utility and levels of use of the facilities recently established in the southwest of the property; and on whether the area over which access rights should be asserted is not policy woodland rather than garden.
The case continues on 3 and 4 January, with an expectation by the counsel for both Perth and Kinross, and Ramblers Scotland that their witnesses could be heard within a day for each party. It was also agreed that closing submissions would only be in writing, subject to a short hearing were the Sheriff to have any points for clarification.