A watersports company in Tiree is making a last-ditch attempt to stop a beach hut, used regularly by around 30 surfing enthusiasts, from being knocked down.
Blackhouse Watersports, run by husband and wife team Martin and Iona Larg, built the hut on the island’s Balevuillin Beach without permission.
Although an application for retrospective planning consent was lodged by the couple, Argyll and Bute Council recommended this be refused. In his report to the council, senior planner Richard Kerr stated: “Although the development is small scale in nature, its very presence on an otherwise undeveloped beach poses a serious issue, as its open and unspoiled character forms a vital part of the area’s local distinctiveness.”
Now Mr and Mrs Larg have taken their case to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division which will decide the matter with a site inspection.
Mr Larg said: “This is pretty much a final attempt to keep the hut at the beach. If it goes, it will be a real shame as the kids in the surf club are really enthusiastic and change in the hut. They also store their surf boards there.
“Before we built it, we operated from the back of a trailer which wasn’t very satisfactory.
“We have recently won awards for the business from Sportscotland and through an environmental competition and we are using these to buy new surfboards and wetsuits.
“Tiree is called the ‘Hawaii of the North’ because the surfing is so good here but without the club a lot of local youngsters wouldn’t get the chance to try out the sport.”
The couple’s son, Ben, 11, is Scotland’s under-14 surfing champion.
Mr Larg added: “The children take part in surfing competitions and most of them are showing real potential. A lot of people in the community support us so hopefully the appeal will be successful and we can keep going.”
As well as the hut on Balevuillin Beach, a hut was also erected on Gott beach, but to meet Argyll and Bute Council halfway, the company decided to remove it.
A petition with 135 names was submitted in support of the Balevullin hut, while the council received 39 objections and 100 expressions of support.