Dubai’s billionaire ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum accused of kidnapping his daughter on British soil has been given the green light to expand his sprawling Highland estate once again.
The sheikh, who was a friend of the late Queen and has an estimated £14billion fortune, has been given permission to extend a 17-bedroom house on Inverinate Estate for visiting family members and other guests.
Sheikh Mohammed bought the 63,000-acre estate in Wester Ross more than 20 years ago – though it is reported that the billionaire only visits the property for a few weeks each year.
The Highland retreat already boasts helipads, two large homes, a hunting lodge, a pool and a gym.
However, a planning application was submitted to Highland Council for extensions at one of the properties, called Lochview House. The plans include adding two more bedrooms, erecting a larger kitchen and laundry room and additional storage areas. The application has now been granted approval after no objections were received.
Sheikh Mohammed was engulfed in controversy following allegations that his daughter Princess Latifa, who claims to be living freely in Paris, was being detained against her will.
The 74-year-old (pictured) has an estimated £14 billion fortune and bought the 63,000-acre estate in Wester Ross more than 20 years ago
The application has now been granted approval after no objections were received. Pictured, illustrations of the plans
The Highland retreat already boasts helipads, two large homes, a hunting lodge, a pool and a gym
A design statement submitted by the sheikh’s representatives reads: ‘The visitors of Inverinate Estate typically travel in large groups of immediate and extended family and friends.
‘In recent years their travel to Inverinate has been limited by lack of accommodation. Lochview House was completed in 2017 to create infrastructure that would support greater use of the estate by the occupier and this new application seeks to enhance that accommodation by extending the kitchen, laundry and bedroom accommodation.
‘The proposed design has sought to sensitively extend the building to provide the required accommodation with minimal impact on the environment and least disruption to ongoing activities.
‘The proposal expands on the existing building form utilising the same materials and gable massing which steps with the landscape. The resulting building sits comfortably against the backdrop and has minimal impact on the setting and landscape.’
In a written report, local authority planning officials said: ‘The extensions will correspond with the existing house design by following its form and gable massing.
‘The property is well screened and secluded, with no immediate neighbours. No issues of amenity impacts are expected from the development.
There are several lodges at the billionaire’s ‘hideaway’ Scottish estate
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum only visits the Inverinate retreat in Wester Ross a few weeks of the year
Princess Latifa (left) was allegedly kidnapped by the Sheikh. Previously she has also appealed to UK police to re-investigate the kidnap of her older sister Princess Shamsa (right)
‘Given the nature of the proposed householder development, the proposal is acceptable in regard to the requirements of the relevant policies.’
In 2020, the sheikh won a planning battle to build a six-bedroom lodge at the estate after the Scottish Government overruled a council vote to block it.
Locals claimed it would spoil the natural beauty of the area at Loch Duich and be too close to a neighbouring bungalow.
Government planning officials said they saw no reason not to allow the building as long as the sheikh pays for affordable housing in the area.
Last year he was given the go-ahead to build a luxury ‘garden room’ on the estate overlooking Loch Duich.
In December 2021 a judge in London ordered the sheikh to pay his former wife £554 million in Britain’s biggest divorce settlement. He was told to pay Princess Haya bint al-Hussein an initial lump sum of £251.5million within three months for her and their two children’s security.
As well as claims of kidnapping Princess Latifa, his daughter also called on police to re-investigate the disappearance of her older sister Princess Shamsa, who hasn’t been seen since she was taken off the streets of Cambridge in 2000 by men working for her father and flown back to Dubai on a private jet.