Macintosh plans grand baronial home by Loch

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The theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh was yesterday given approval to build a grand baronial home on the site of his former Highland hideaway destroyed by arsonists last year.

Plans submitted to Highland Council for a new house on the side of Loch Ness are a far cry from the humble chalet-style retreat which was wrecked in a suspicious blaze last November.

Although it will occupy the same sized plot as the previous timber-built house, named Torran Albannach – meaning little piece of Scotland – the new home will be much bigger and ostentatious in design.

The proposal is for a modern four-bedroomed Scottish tower-house, including two bathrooms, lounge, large kitchen and dining area.

The new property, designed by the architect Nigel Johnstone of Arsaig, will be built from stone quarried on the estate, which overlooks the waters of Loch Ness to the Knoydart peninsula.

Sir Cameron inherited the original croft from his uncle and aunt, a member of the wealthy Barings banking family, in the 1970s. He extended the tiny wooden cottage to create a larger but modest chalet, complete with an outdoor hot tub and a heli-pad. A few years ago he bought the adjoining 13,000 acre Nevis Estate to create a private idyll set in some of the most awe-inspiring wilderness in Britain.

Although he owns homes in London, Somerset, France and New York, Sir Cameron, whose fortune comes from staging hit musicals such as Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, has always said he regarded Torran Albanach as his favourite.

"If heaven is half as beautiful as this, then there really is something to look forward to," he once said.