A Scottish university which laid off dozens of staff has been criticised after spending more than £150,000 sprucing up the new principal's grace-and-favour residence.

Bosses at Stirling University spent around £22,000 on a new kitchen for Gerry McCormac's campus house and over £45,000 on landscaping.

A trades union for lecturers described the spending as "shameful".

In 2009, the university tried to plug a multi-million pound deficit by offering staff voluntary redundancy, a scheme that led to over 100 departures.

However, in May 2010, the month in which McCormac took over, the higher-education body ordered an expensive makeover of 1 Airthrey Castle Yard, the property used by the principal.

Nearly £93,000 was spent on "internal" refurbishment, including £22,070 for the supply of kitchen materials, £12,162 on repairs to wardrobe fitments and underfloor insulation, and £2,393 on tiles and bathroom products.

A washer-dryer, new radiators and a tumble dryer were also purchased as part of the splurge.

In a separate category of spending, £1542 was shelled out on "lighting improvements" and £6789 on "floor coverings".

Months later, university employees staged a strike over plans to make 17 members of staff compulsorily redundant.

It was reported that the job losses were necessary to plug a £1.4 million deficit in one of the University's institutes.

By June 2012, the university had again turned on the spending taps for the principal's residence.

More than £45,000 of work relating to landscaping was ordered, for which the university has not provided a breakdown.

A planning application lodged with Stirling Council last year revealed plans for "replacement paving and planting works" at the address.

One of the supporting documents for the application stated: "The house has two aspects: a private one into the courtyard, and an extrovert one that offers soaring views over a Himalayan crag garden perched above the university parkland campus."

All told, around £150,000 was spent on internal and external works, as well as lighting and flooring.

Another £19,420 was allocated for an entrance ramp for improved access and £6396 for the installation of new alarm and fire systems.

The principal's house was completed in 1969 and is located in the former stable yard of Airthrey Castle.

Mary Senior, the Scottish official at the University and College Union, said: "Spending over £150,000 on the principal's residence after Stirling university was arguing for savings by making staff redundant is shameful.

"This is another example of the failure of the governance at the university in agreeing such a spend, while at the same time union plans to save money were not given a proper hearing.

"This is another example of why we need a strong governance code, not one that is drafted by former managers."

Mark Ruskell, a Green Party councillor for the university campus, said: "Many staff were utterly demoralised by the way cuts were enforced without proper negotiation and consultation in 2011. The university needs to provide strong justification for major spending decisions like this, especially when staff are still sore from the experience of job losses."

A university spokesperson said: "The house forms part of the university's estate portfolio. The principal and vice-chancellor are required as a matter of contract of employment to live on the university's campus. The house provided is also used for events relating to the business of the university.

"Designed by renowned architects Morris and Steedman, the house was listed category A by Historic Scotland in May 2009 in recognition of its architectural merit. Other than routine maintenance, this was the first major refurbishment of the house after a number of years of minimal expenditure."