Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Stephen Nolan's Fantasy Island

Controversial radio star planning his very own luxury island pile

By Ciaran McGuigan

This is the island hideaway that BBC radio star Stephen Nolan is planning to build. The motormouth DJ refused to discuss his “pad” or give away any details of the salary or expenses he is paid out of the television licence fee while he was grilling politicians on their expenses last week.

The Sunday Life revealed the luxury beauty spot retreat that Nolan is having built for himself, thanks to the army of listeners he has built up from his Beeb radio shows.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell issued an ‘I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours’ challenge to Nolan, offering to host the larger-than-life presenter at his London flat in return |for the chance to see Nolan’s pad.

But this will be the first glimpse Mr Campbell, or anyone else, has of the £1m-plus pile that Nolan is building in Strangford Lough.

When it’s complete, Nolan’s Mahee Island pad will have:

  • an outdoor swimming pool;
  • a garden hot tub;
  • a private jetty and boathouse;
  • a games room with full size snooker table; and
  • a huge “Media Room”.

Plans for the house were passed at the end of April by Newtownards Borough Council.

Land registry reports show that Nolan bought the existing house from the estate of the late Patrick William Stewart Carruthers in June 2006.

The house — which is to be knocked down and Nolan’s house built in its place — was bought, along with two adjoining parcels of land, for a total of £600,000.

The papers show that there is an Allied Irish Bank mortgage against the property, but do not indicate the size of the mortgage.

On top of the £600K, he’ll have to fork out extra to cover the cost of building the plush new home, pushing the overall price towards the £1m mark.

Nolan, who hosts his own shows on Radio Ulster and BBC1 Northern Ireland and hosts a late-night phone in show on Radio Five Live, refused to discuss EITHER his salary or BBC expenses when repeatedly challenged to do so by Mr Campbell during an exchange last week.

He was grilling the DUP politician over his own expenses claim — which included a £700 television for his London apartment — and on his party leader First Minister Peter Robinson and wife Iris’s £30,000 allowances for food claimed over four years.

But the East Londonderry MP and MLA tried to turn the tables on Nolan, demanding he tell his listeners how much he is paid out of the public purse.

Mr Campbell told Nolan: “The public mood is for belt tightening all round. That’s what everybody is faced with and nobody should be excluded from that, either MPs or presenters who get paid out of the public purse.”

Nolan, who has a clause in his contact with the BBC that they do not disclose his earnings, steadfastly refused to answer the same questions he was asking of the Sports and Culture Minister.

“I am not in any way shape or form going to tell you how much I earn,” said Nolan on his show last week.

Mr Campbell last night told Sunday Life that he would enjoy waiting for the phone call from Nolan’s producer later today to invite him back onto tomorrow’s programme to discuss the plans for his luxury new home and the scale of his BBC salary and expenses.

Mr Campbell said: “Obviously Stephen’s acquisitions and intention to build a luxurious pad are his own affairs.

“But I do think there’s quite a large number of people in Northern Ireland who will take interest in the fact that a public service presenter steadfastly refuses to discuss the money he receives from the public purse and yet questions others who are paid from the public purse.

“They will be asking questions about the extent of his earnings if he is able to afford to build a mansion that could cost up to £1m.”

The BBC has resisted requests, made under the Freedom of Information Act, for details of how much they pay their biggest stars for ‘commercial reasons’.

However, Sunday Life has studied the brief financial statements for Stephen Nolan Broadcasting Ltd — the vehicle through which he is paid for his media work — and has revealed that in February last year, the time of the last accounts, the company was worth £432,853.

That figure had taken a substantial jump from the previous year’s sum of £246,788.

Belfast Telegraph

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