A MUM-OF-THREE has claimed she is the victim of a ‘witch-hunt’ after her plans to establish a gym in her back garden were thrown out by councillors.

Fitness instructor Caroline Jones hit out after West Dunbartonshire Council’s planning committee rejected her application to use a shed in the garden of her Hardgate home for one-to-one personal training sessions.

Four neighbours objected to her application – but the plans also received 13 expressions of support.

However, councillors on the committee turned down her application, saying a gym would not be “an appropriate form of development at this residential location” – and saying there was no evidence that Caroline could not move to another location.

She said: “This entire process has been a witch hunt against me. Every single action I have taken  has been met with negativity.

“The council’s reasons are making it impossible for me to proceed with a successful application despite the massive support of my plans.”

Objectors raised concerns on the grounds of noise, increased footfall and traffic, off-road parking and the council’s inability to control the number of clients attending the property.

One of the objectors, James Rankin, said in his submission: “I live next door to the lady. I have actually advised her about properties she could rent to run her business.

“There is a shop at the end of the street which is lying empty. I have tried to help her as much as I can but the size of the building at the back is just too big.”

Caroline continued: “The council claimed I had worked from home for months when I did not. This represents me unfairly and makes people think I didn’t care for the rules.

“I worked for five weeks with one person in my back garden at a time and I hadn’t realised I needed permission as we were allowed to meet one other household in your garden.

“There were comments of ‘single mother’ and ‘council tenant’, in a context which has no relevance.

"It’s class discrimination. It’s not on.”

A West Dunbartonshire council spokesperson said: “A planning application for the operation of a personal training business on Gilmour Avenue, Clydebank was refused after consideration by the planning committee due to its incompatibility with the residential location.

“The council is working with the applicant to investigate suitable alternative sites for the business.”