THE consultant behind proposals for a new hotel, family pub and office space in Helensburgh says the development could create "several hundred jobs" in the area.

Rhu-based Malcolm Pearson is representing the firm behind the outline proposals for the site at Iona Stables, east of the town’s Waitrose supermarket.

No planning application has yet been submitted to Argyll and Bute Council, but a proposal of application notice (PAN) was published on the authority’s website last week.

Mr Pearson told the Advertiser there was "very strong support" for all three aspects of the proposal.

He also said that, if a formal planning application is submitted and permission is granted, the development could be open by the end of next year.

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People will be able to find out more at a consultation event at the Commodore Hotel on Thursday, February 13, from 2-7pm.

Mr Pearson said: “At the moment it is early days, but we are promoting the site for three uses.

“One is a hotel, potentially a 60-bed hotel. There would also be a family pub and restaurant, and a business park which would provide office pavilions.

“We are right at the start of the development process. There is a lot of technical work that we have to do before we know what the capacity of the site is.

“We need to speak to planning authorities and take it through the whole system, but we have identified there is very strong demand for all three uses.

“I am from Rhu and I know there is a shortage of accommodation for contractors at the [Royal Navy] base. There are not a lot of hotel rooms available within Helensburgh.

“In terms of a family pub, it is a very good location for it.

“I am also dealing with the [Sawmill Field] site across the road, on behalf of the owners selling to Bellway Homes, who have an application in for 145 homes, so this side of Helensburgh should benefit greatly from a new development, not only from new homes.

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“I also dealt with the sale, on behalf of the council, to Taylor Wimpey on the old Hermitage Academy site.

“Between that site, Dunbritton Housing Association, and the proposed Bellway site, there are probably about 300 new homes in that area.”

Mr Pearson is a director of Pearson Property Promotions, who are representing the applicant, Iceni Projects Ltd.

He added: “In terms of employment, Iona Stables could end up with several hundred jobs being created. A family pub and restaurant would do very well there.

“Once this starts to crystallise I will be looking to identify the potential demand for the business park.

"Realistically, we would be talking towards the end of 2021 before the entire process would be complete – it would take about two years to get permission and build.”

While feedback can currently be submitted to Iceni Projects, no feedback can be given to Argyll and Bute Council until a formal planning application has been submitted, which cannot happen before March 11.

Until then pepole can rite to Iceni Properties at 177 West George Street, Glasgow G2 2LB and/or email by Thursday, February 27 at the latest.

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The PAN took effect on December 18, and in a letter to Iceni Projects, Sandra Davies from the council’s major applications team, which is dealing with the proposal, states that “as such no formal planning application relative to the above proposal can be made before March 11, 2020”.

In a separate letter to the company, Ms Davies has asked for confirmation that Helensburgh Community Council has been consulted and provided with a copy of the PAN notice.

The site is earmarked for potential use for business, hotel and “garages selling or displaying motor vehicles” in the current Argyll and Bute local development plan, and for “business, hotel and ancillary employment related uses” in the authority’s new Local Development Plan 2 (LDP2).

A consultation on the LDP2 proposals runs until January 23.

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