HELENSBURGH’S only cinema is set to extend its premises after council chiefs gave its plans the green light.

An entrance foyer, bar, auditorium and four function suites are all on the agenda for the two-storey addition at The Tower, on the corner of West King Street and Sinclair Street.

Plans for an outdoor area on the second floor were scrapped due to concerns from neighbours about smokers and a lack of privacy.

But Argyll and Bute Council gave planning permission on Wednesday for the proposals, put together by chartered architects Honeyman, Jack and Robertson.

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A report by council planning officer Frazer MacLeod said that the extension would contribute positively to tourism and recreation in Helensburgh town centre.

Mr MacLeod added: “This regeneration development will also be beneficial to The Tower business and other local businesses in the town centre.

“The former church building is currently being used by The Tower as a venue for live events, drama, dance, theatre, cinema, music tuition, film making, photography, digital media as well as being a venue for conferences, small meetings and functions.

“The lesser hall is used as a museum for an X-51 submarine as its centrepiece.

“The extension is a modern modular addition comprising large areas of glazing, flat roofs, glass balustrades and will be viewed from behind both church and lesser hall.

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“The new spaces create an entrance foyer, bar, auditorium, four function suites, teaching workshops and toilets.

“External materials are contemporary by using zinc cladding and large areas of frameless glazing creating glass walls on public elevations, render finish is proposed on private areas.”

Two objections were lodged with the council during the planning process, one raising concerns at a lack of privacy resulting from the proposed second floor outdoor area. The other focused on potential lack of parking for residents.

Mr MacLeod said on the first of those concerns: “These matters were considered material and were put to the applicant who responded by deleting this outside area from the proposal.

“Further to this an additional consultation was made to environmental health, who advise imposing a safeguarding condition regarding noise from any externally mounted plant or equipment which could cause nuisance to neighbouring residential properties.”

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On the parking matter, Mr MacLeod added: “The area roads manager advises that the location of this site is at the edge of the designated town centre, therefore is not part of the ‘zero parking’ provisions permitted for certain types of development within the town centre zone.

“Within the development boundaries the site has two parking spaces and little opportunity to create any significant parking provision.

“It would not be unreasonable to conclude that the three existing car parks immediately to the south, and in particular the major parking provision at the pier (less than 400 metres from site), are suitable alternative parking provision to support this proposal.”

The Tower opened in 2016, replacing the former St Columba Church. It is a registered charity run by volunteers.