Bute Community Council have agreed that they would support the proposal to build a new 163-room hotel with spa facilities and a new sailing club on Rothesay’s West Bay, ‘in principle’.
Community councillors discussed the proposal, which is currently the subject of a pre-application consultation (PAC) by Ward Design and Elevate Planning, at its meeting last Wednesday night.
Ronnie Falconer presented his planning report to fellow councillors, and began a discussion on whether the council should submit any feedback before the consultation closes at the end of September.
Martin Catlin was enthusiastic about the proposal, saying: “I think it’s a really positive development.
“It could be a real turning point for the economy of the island, and I think it’s quite exciting.”
Mr Catlin compared the proposal to the successful Auchrannie luxury resort on Arran, saying a new leisure facility could provide a similar boost to Bute.
He went on: “We don’t currently have spa facilities on Bute and it could go a way to stimulating local economy again.
“It will have to have appropriate parking space but that will all be in the application when it happens.”
Other councillors agreed that without sufficient car parking space the hotel could run into problems.
Frank Baxter said: “People will inevitably bring their cars over to stay, there is even less space for parked cars at Wemyss Bay for example than there is in Rothesay.”
Ronnie Falconer said: “They could not rely on people not bringing their cars so they will probably have to prepare to provide parking for the number of rooms they have.”
Don Williams expressed his support for the proposal: “Millions of people spend money at the marina in Portavadie, if Bute could get even a fraction of that business it would be a huge boost.”
In summing up councillors agreed to support the proposal in principle, with a show of hands yielding seven votes of support and one against.
Members of the public who attended the meeting also had their say on the proposal.
Johanna Schofield said: “The development would have a considerable impact on the access to and the views from Skeoch Wood opposite.”
Mark Lingard said: “It would be a great thing for the island to have 163 new rooms but if there’s no parking space there it’s going to impact on the infrastructure.”