Ritual of planning permission could burn up plans for holiday resort on ‘Wicker Man island’

The island of Tanera Mor inspired cult classic The Wicker Man, the tale of an outsider from the mainland falling foul of local pagan customs.

Now the Scottish island’s new millionaire owner could fall foul of local planning regulations, which may hinder his plans for a “world class” resort.

Hedge fund manager Ian Wace, the husband of model Saffron Aldridge, bought Tanera Mor for £1,695,000 in 2017, and set about transforming the barely inhabited outpost into a holiday destination with new cottages, a private chapel, and a floating cinema.

But Highland Council planning officials have now raised concerns with building work on the remote island, after construction was started prior to seeking permission.

The planning intervention may frustrate plans drawn up by Mr Wace to establish a booming holiday community on Tanera Mor, which is the largest island of the Summer Isles archipelago off Scotland’s west coast.

The island is believed to be the inspiration for Summerisle, the setting for the 1973 horror film The Wicker Man, in which a policeman from the mainland falls victim to the islanders’ sacrificial rites.

The real-life island was a centre for herring fishing, but became depopulated as the industry declined, with only a handful of residents remaining after 1931.

The island has been in private hands since being bought in the 1960s, and until recently has been so inundated and wild that TV adventurer and crofter Ben Fogle has spent time there.