THE mother of tennis star Andy Murray has defended her son against claims he ordered three families to be evicted from their homes to make way for staff lodgings at his new luxury hotel on the outskirts of Dunblane.
Judy Murray spoke out after tenants renting cottages in the grounds of Cromlix House Hotel blamed the Wimbledon champion for giving them two months to find alternative accommodation.
The tenants of The Square, which is 100 yards from the five-star establishment, also pleaded with the tennis player to save them from eviction.
However, Ms Murray said her son had done nothing wrong. She also said the player had no knowledge of the move, adding he had been unfairly dragged into the row.
She said: “I feel this has been manufactured into a story and Andy has been dragged into this when he has no knowledge of any of this.”
She added that they bought the houses on the understanding they would be empty.
“The facts are I agreed to buy the houses in The Square with vacant possession and, with the short-term leases, it was thought there would be no problem. The simple fact is that there is no public transport to the hotel and we felt we had to provide for our staff who could be working late at functions or whatever.
“It was the obvious move to buy The Square and we have gone about it in a professional and caring manner.
“The tenants have always known the situation and I understand that accommodation for them will be found.
“It is quite simple. The hotel was bought and then we entered negotiations to buy The Square.
“It makes a great story to portray Andy as some kind of wicked owner throwing people out on to the street. But there is one problem with that: it is not true.
“It is important for us to put something back in our backyard.
“I accept that there may be cynical comments about making money but we could have bought a hotel anywhere.
“We are conscious that this will bring more than 40 jobs to the local community and will revitalise a local asset.”
Henry and Edward Eden, the previous owners of the hotel, served notice on three tenants living at the cottages, who were all on short-term leases.
But the move sparked a furious response from tenants.
Kathleen Brown, 29, a disabled mother who lives with her nine-year-old daughter Holly at one of the homes, said: “We are being evicted from our homes here at The Square to make way for staff quarters for Andy Murray’s hotel.
“When I read the eviction letter, I was devastated and burst into tears. I hope he can step in to sort this out.”
It is understood Stirling Council is hopeful of finding homes for the tenants.
Murray bought the 14-bedroom hotel for £1.8 million last year.
The Victorian mansion is just a few miles from Dunblane, where the brothers grew up.
Michelin-starred chef Albert Roux has been hired to oversee the restaurant.