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Mone: I do not want students living next door

BRA tycoon Michelle Mone is embroiled in a row with university chiefs over building plans next to her £1 million dream home.

NEW HOME: Michelle Mone welcomed Hello magazine into her townhouse for a photoshoot. Picture: Julie Howden
NEW HOME: Michelle Mone welcomed Hello magazine into her townhouse for a photoshoot. Picture: Julie Howden

The Ultimo boss has objected to Strathclyde University proposals to use a townhouse in Glasgow for accommodation and functions.

The property in the city's Park Circus is next to a luxury home Ms Mone bought last year after splitting from her husband Michael.

She opened the doors of the home for a photoshoot with Hello magazine and described it as her "new beginning".

However, the 42-year-old businesswoman was aghast at the thought of "anti-social" university students becoming her neighbours or attending events at the house and wrote a letter of objection to Glasgow City Council.

The university has previously said the house's living accommodation will mainly be used by its principal Sir Jim McDonald and not by students. However, it will be used to host corporate events and business engagements.

In a strongly-worded letter to planning officials at the city council, Ms Mone said: "I am replying to strongly object to this application.

"Having looked at the plans, I object as, having paid in the region of £1 million for my home, I do not under any circumstances want the adjacent property being used by or for university students.

"I would also like to object on the grounds of potential for anti-social behaviour which, despite the best intentions, cannot be avoided where student accommodation is concerned.

"I believe university students to be unsuitable tenants for this area, and would result in a loss of amenity and could also have an adverse impact on the conservation area."

Ms Mone said the use of the property for functions would impinge on her privacy and cause traffic problems in an area where parking is "virtually impossible".

She added: "I value my privacy and believe that an increased flow of traffic in the area as a result of this dwelling and its outlined function would eliminate this privacy, which is one of the main reasons I purchased a home in this area in the first place.

"Also, with this new dwelling there will be a large increase in the number of people and, therefore, vehicles associated with that. The proposed exit and entrance route to the flats is already overcrowded with vehicles and parking is virtually impossible as it is."

Ms Mone, the only person to have objected to the plans, finished her letter by stating: "I imagine you will receive many similar objections from other residents living nearby and I trust you will refuse this application on the basis that they most definitely are not in keeping with planning regulations in this area."

One senior planning insider cast doubt on the competence of Ms Mone's objections.

The source added: "The reality is that most of this objection has little relevance to planning regulations. The value of property has nothing to do with planning law, neither does not liking your potential neighbours. That's just sheer nimbyism.

"Privacy is and will be dealt with via the proper planning regulations but if you treasure privacy and don't like students perhaps you shouldn't buy a property near a densely populated student area.

"A lawyer could have pulled together a competent objection for a relatively modest fee."

Strathclyde's planning application states it wants to use the building as a "university residence with guest accommodation and associated university function use".

The institution was criticised when it emerged officials had spent about £1m buying the five-storey townhouse last year at a time of public spending restraint.

A spokesman Strathclyde University said: "This is a matter for the planning authority."

The city council is due to decide on the application this month.

In 2010, Ms Mone was at the centre of a row with neighbours over plans to extend her former family home in Thorntonhall, South Lanarkshire.

Five residents objected to her proposals to add a sauna, gym and bar to the six-bedroomed property. One said the development would "completely dwarf" the rest of the street but it was given the go-ahead by planners.

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Education

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