THE commodore of Cove Sailing Club says he’s looking forward to mending bridges among the club’s membership after controversial plans for a new clubhouse were approved.

Six of the club's own members voiced their opposition to the proposal at a planning hearing in the village.

But in spite of those concerns, Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee unanimously backed the club’s planning application after the hearing in Cove Burgh Hall.

The application attracted 56 objections, several from members of the club.

A total of 69 expressions of support were also received.

The club’s commodore, John McNeilage, told the Advertiser: “Well done to the new build committee for obtaining planning consent at the planning hearing on November 29.

“I would just like to say that we look forward to the exercise of raising the necessary funding for the clubhouse.

“We also look forward to trying to mend bridges and working together with the members and local community to deliver a fantastic new venue.”

Alan DeVenny, chairman of the club’s new build sub-committee, added: “This has come at the end of a ten-year project to bring forward an affordable and deliverable plan to replace the existing clubhouse which is sadly no longer fit for purpose.

“The replacement clubhouse will seek to provide much improved facilities which will greatly benefit sailing club members as well as the wider community.

“It is hoped that a new modern meeting space will prove attractive to other local groups and societies as a regular meeting place which will in turn help to meet the running costs.

“The next steps are to actively raise funds to meet the costs of construction while also engaging with club members and the local community regarding the proposals.

“We have raised approximately £100,000 to date without any grant funding, but now, with planning consent in place, we can start to approach funding bodies to raise the balance as well as continuing with our own fund raising efforts.”

Ken Bradshaw, chairman of Cove Seafront Conservation Group, which comprised concerned members of both the local community and sailing club, said: “We appreciated the opportunity to speak at the hearing and the group presented the committee with a number of issues which were explored further during questions from the councillors.

“The group put a lot of effort into well-researched and relevant information, so the outcome is disappointing.

"We look forward with interest to hearing whether Cove Sailing Club will consider any matters raised by the group as it now turns its attention to continued fund-raising and refining its plans.”