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Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Rock star sparks housing row
Ian Brown
Ian Brown was the lead singer of the Stone Roses
Twelve protesters dressed as monkeys have picketed outside the north Wales holiday home of international rock star Ian Brown.

The demonstrators argued Brown, the former lead singer of the Stone Roses, was selling the home for an inflated price - 150,000 - which local people could not afford.


Ian Brown is practically guaranteeing that it will be sold to an outsider

Anonymous protester

The monkey costumes worn by the anonymous protesters - who claimed to be musicians from the area - referred to the name of Brown's recent solo album Unfinished Monkey Business.

The five-bedroom house, in the small village of Llithfaen on the Llyn Peninsula, is being sold by local estate agent Huw Tudor.

"We feel that this is a case where hugely-inflated property prices are squeezing local people out of the local housing market," said picket organiser Dafydd Rhys.

But this accusation was denied by one of the estate agent's partners Stephen Tudor.

"The amount of interest, both local and from elsewhere, indicates 150,000 is a fair price for the house," he said.

"It is a very nicely-situated with spectacular views and nice architectural features," he added.

The home, called Gwen y Wawr, was built by Sir Clough William-Ellis, who also designed the picturesque village of Portmeirion in north Wales, in 1931.

Brown bought it in the early 1990s and put it on the market in August this year. It is unclear how much he paid for it.

'Destructive'

During the demonstration, Brown was also accused of hypocrisy because he supports a homeless charity, Help the Homeless.

The protesters urged him to consider offers from local people, even if they are for less than the asking price.

Portmeirion
The home shares its architect with Portmeirion

One female protester said: "The average house here sells for maybe 50,000 and the average wage is around 12,000.

"By putting this house on the market at such a high price, Ian Brown is practically guaranteeing that it will be sold to an outsider.

"That is destructive to the local community in terms of the Welsh language and culture".

It was also alleged a local person had agreed a 120,000 price with Brown, before the house was valued at 150,000.

Ian Brown was in France on Thursday and unavailable for comment.

A spokesman for the singer said: "This issue is not really about Ian Brown."

"It's a much wider issue that would be better dealt with by the Welsh Assembly."

See also:

08 Aug 02 | Entertainment
06 Mar 02 | Wales
30 Jan 02 | Wales
23 Oct 98 | Entertainment
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