ROYAL Gourock Yacht Club have been given permission to create a car park and boat marshalling area.
Councillors on Inverclyde Planning Board approved the development which the club says will help it develop and grow.
The area will be about 32 metres (104 feet) wide and 95 metres (311 feet) long, extending along the foreshore to the west of the club and involves mainly developed ground associated with the club. There will be 30 parking spaces.
The level of the car park will be about two metres below the level of Ashton Road and the club intend to use landscaping to screen it although planners say this will have to be controlled to make sure river views are protected.
The approved development is smaller than a previous application which was amended after the planning department urged refusal as it would be a “detrimental visual intrusion” into the natural environment.” It involved an area 120 metres long with 45 parking spaces.
Dozens of objections were received, most of them opposing both plans. Concerns included the affect on the environment, car parking and traffic and views across the Clyde.
In his report to the board, head of regeneration and planning Stuart Jamieson said: “Compared with the previous, larger, proposal, I am satisfied that the area of undeveloped ground that would be lost…has been significantly reduced.
“It is acknowledged that the introduction of a substantial manmade platform designed for parking of cars and boats represents a change to the local environment but this is now largely concentrated on land that has previously been developed, is situated relatively lower to street level and therefore has less visibility than previously proposed.”
Councillor Terry Loughran said: “This is a controversial application but I think the positives outweigh the negatives and a reasonable compromise has been reached.”
The yacht club said it is trying to build on renewed interest in it as a recreational facility by encouraging sailors of small craft to access the water. The changes will allow major dinghy events to be run from the club. It states it has no facilities to allow this to take place at present and, if local children are to be encouraged into the sport, then such a facility is crucial. The platform will act as a marshalling/start area for such sailing events. At other times it will be used by club members and guests for parking at normal club sailing or social events. It is pointed out that this will help with on-street parking difficulties experienced by local residents. Entry to the car park will not be controlled so it would be available for general parking out-with club member use.
Roads officials did not objected to the plan. The access for cars will cross a National Cycle Route and signs warning drivers leaving the car park that they should give way to cyclists will be put up. An environmental statement indicated that there would be no significant impact on wildlife and there are no protected species affected. Scottish Natural Heritage did not object to the plan.