LONDON-Mohammed Al Fayed, owner of the landmark department store Harrods, has threatened to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if controversial agricultural land reform is passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Fayed bought the 65,000-acre Balnagown estate on the shores of the Cromarty Firth in 1972 but new legislation going through parliament could wipe up to 40% off the value of his land. The legislation is intended to put an end to large and mainly historic estates by allowing 2000 tenant farmers, known as crofters, in Scotland to buy their farms whether or not the landowner wants to sell. The price would be at a 40% discount to the open market price because the land will have a sitting tenant on it. But once the tenant buys the land, it would be held in vacant possession and this, valuation experts estimate, would immediately double the value of it.

The option is only available for tenancies which can be passed on down through generations but amendments at the committee stage of the Bill would mean right to buy could be triggered by a passing down of property from father to son where either party wanted to realise some capital or by a divorce settlement. Potentially these amendments could affect 70% of all property transactions in rural areas.

Al Fayed said: “I will take the Scottish Executive to the European Court of Rights if I have to. They can’t do this. It’s totally unjust.”

The Bill has been tagged “communist” by Jamie McGrigor, a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament. He said: “This bill has communist tendencies. I’m afraid I do think it’s like Zimbabwe.”

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Dig Deeper


GlobeSt. Multifamily Fall 2023Event

Join the industry's top owners, investors, developers, brokers & financiers at THE MULTIFAMILY EVENT OF THE YEAR!

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.