A former director of the Glasgow School of Art has said a proposed new development near the world-famous Mackintosh Building would be like "stabbing Mackintosh in the front".

Professor Anthony Jones, who was director of the school (GSA) in the 1980s, said he is "shocked" by the proposed plans to build student flats on Sauchiehall Street, close to the Mackintosh Building.

Developers Urban Pulse want create an 185 bed student housing development, as well as retail units on Sauchiehall Street, on the current site of a nightclub, with the building also rising up Dalhousie Street.

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Urban Pulse say the designs are "sympathetic" to its surroundings and Historic Environment Scotland (HES), a statutory consultant for the plan, is not objecting to the proposal.

The proposal has already elicited opposition from senior figures at the Glasgow School of Art and Mackintosh experts, who believe the development blocks views and light to and from the Mackintosh Building, which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound revamp after the disastrous fire of 2014.

Professor Jones, now the president of the Kansas City Arts Institute in the US and a recognised authority on Mackintosh, said the plans are "very, very obtrusive and damaging to the Mackintosh Building."

He said: "This development would make a great impact on the Mack, nevermind stabbing it in the back, its stabbing Mackintosh in the front."

He added: "I am looking at the plans for the building and its monolithic, it's marching up the street, I think it's very badly scaled and damaging to the Mack and I can't actually believe they are planning to do this."

It not yet known when the plans will go before the planning committee of Glasgow City Council.

In its paper HES says the project "does not raise issues of national significance."

Professor Jones said: "It seems to be extremely obtrusive to me. I think it's almost a dereliction of duty to not object to this.

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"The genius of Mackintosh is that the that the 'back' of the building, facing south, is so undeniably dramatic.

"The south facing facade is so very important and very powerful."

The director of the Glasgow School of Art, Tom Inns has already urged the city council to reject the plans, claiming "the unique setting and architectural character of this building would be very adversely affected".

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh (CRM) Society said a second bid for World Heritage Site Status would be damaged by the plans.

Roger Billcliffe, the gallerist, writer and one of the leading authorities on Mackintosh, said: "This development is entirely inappropriate for the site, encroaching on and obscuring the south elevation of GSA.

"I also believe that the introduction of so many student residences into the ailing Sauchiehall Street will do nothing to revive its commercial heart."

Professor Alan Dunlop, an architect and academic, believes the new building "could not possibly be granted approval because of the unequivocally brutal relationship with Mackintosh's East Elevation."

He added: "It would send a message abroad that the city was intent on destroying the most critically acclaimed building by one of its most famous sons for even more student accommodation.

"I absolutely agree with Tom Inns, it would have a detrimental effect on the school of art, reducing the most admired building of the 20th century to a bookend.

Read more: Glasgow School of Art students to protest against expansion plans

"It's over scaled, pumped up and lacking finesse, in my view. The Holl building, whether you like it or not is Architecture, this is not worthy of such a description at all."

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society has formally opposed the development. It its objection it says: "It will have a detrimental effect on the setting and character of Mackintosh's Building at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA).

"Our view is that this is an over development of the site, which will result in the loss of important views up to the south façade of the Mackintosh Building, reducing daylight into the studios and Museum corridor and will drastically affect views out from the Hen Run and west stairwell.

"The issue of daylight was an important part in the original design by Mackintosh and this proposed development will have adverse impact on the urban context."

It concludes: "We would appeal to Glasgow City Council to refuse this planning application and request the applicant re-submits a design that has empathy with an A-listed building of such world importance."

A spokesman for developers Urban Pulse said: “Our proposals are very much in-line with the aspirations of the city to rejuvenate Sauchiehall Street and re-establish this important city district.

"Our development would be an illustration of those aspirations being delivered which would contribute positively to the Glasgow economy as well as the local and wider communities.

"We’ve invested a huge amount of time to engage with and consider the views of all our neighbours, the local community and relevant bodies. This is a design that has been interpreted through in-depth consultation.

"The current site is in need of regeneration in a manner which is sympathetic to its surroundings and we have altered our initial designs to accommodate valuable feedback from consultees including that of Historic Environment Scotland."