Caravan site on idyllic Scots island allowed to expand - due to Brexit

Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae
Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae
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A caravan site on an idyllic Scots island will be allowed to expand - due to Brexit.

Plans to expand the Firth View Caravan Park in Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae, North Ayrshire, provoked controversy and were initially refused.

Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae

Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae

But the prospect of holidaymakers opting for 'staycations' in the wake of Brexit swung the decision in the applicants' favour.

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Firth View, which opens from 1 March to 6 January, offers 40 pitches for caravan holiday homes.

Owner Stuart Mellor applied to North Ayrshire Council for permission to add another 18 berths, which was nodded through on appeal.

An independent economic report submitted by the Millport businessman read: "Holiday parks in the area, including Firth View itself, report high levels of interest from prospective new caravan owners.

"Factors such as the weaker pound and 'Brexit' are encouraging more stay-at-home holidays and caravan tourism is proving to be something of a boom sector for the Ayrshire economy."

It added: "The very fragile nature of the economy of Millport is far more significant than almost anywhere else in North Ayrshire, with the island relying solely on tourism.

"The council should support any sensible and reasonable development which further bolsters this activity.

"My client has been the single largest investor in tourism there and this current proposal will further increase this investment to the benefit of not only his business community on the island whilst also providing employment."

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Mr Mellor made an initial application earlier this year, but the move had been refused under delegated powers.

However, his appeal was upheld by the planning review body when it recalled recently.

But despite the plans being given the go-ahead, objections still remained.

Councillor Tom Marshall, who is chair of the planning committee, said: "The planning policy of the council to treat the whole of Cumbrae as a special landscape area.

"That was the reason it was initially refused.

"I didn't really want to see any more caravans at such a prominent site.

"I feel there are sufficient caravan sites in Cumbrae and it would be much better if there was some form of hotel accommodation.

"I have been told that a number of people who own flats in Millport are intending to sell them and move into caravans.

"That will make the problem of empty properties in Millport even worse."

Mr Mellor said: "We are thrilled that we have got our extension after a long wait.

"I am chuffed to bits."