Portpatrick arcade gets the nod

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish the current amusement arcade in Portpatrick and replace it with a much larger building - blocking nearby views - have been approved.

Friday, 11th November 2011, 9:54 am

Despite a local outcry councillors at a meeting held in Stranraer on Wednesday agreed following a vote of eight to three to allow Beachcomber Amusements to expand and add two flats above the arcade.

This would mean a large wall blocking views from the Melvin Lodge Guest House behind, with guests and its owners now looking out onto the roofs of the new building instead of out to the open sea.

Craig Currie who owns the guest house said that customers have been visiting the business since it first became a guest house 100 years ago and that the views were one of the main selling points.

He added that his house will now be out of light during much of the day and that his conservatory would be rendered pointless.

The councillors heard from officials that several letters in support of the arcade had been the subject of police investigations after it emerged they had not been sent by those named.

The new building would be six and a half metres high, compared to its current three and a half metres.

The current neighbour of the amusements spoke to express his concern at the development so close to a 200-year old town wall and said he was surprised the council are recommending this development for approval as “previous attempts to build near the wall by others have consistently been thrown out.”

Others spoke of overdevelopment of the seafront, over provision of holiday homes in the village and fears that many people aren’t aware of the intended size of the proposed structure.

Some councillors expressed concern over the plans, with Nithsdale councillor Andrew Wood saying he felt “uncomfortable” with what he’d seen.

Council convenor and Dee ward councillor Patsy Gilroy also voiced her concern over the size and scale of the plans, and receieved the backing of Wigtown West councillor Roberta Tuckfield.

However, Mid Galloway councillor Sandra McDowall said there had been provision made in the new design for a gap between the roofs of the proposed two flats above the arcade which would give a “window” view of the sea and suggested the plans be approved.

A new berthing point for the Lifeboat in Portpatrick Harbour was also approved.

This was granted along with permission for the siting of a portacabin to replace the Harbourmaster’s office until a permanent building is provided.