A public hearing could take place to decide the fate of a boat hut built to take disabled people sailing at a Scottish beauty spot.
Oban businessman Graham MacQueen has apologised “unreservedly” for building the hut without planning permission on the site of former slate quarry at Clachan Seil near the famous Bridge Over the Atlantic.
The founder of the charitable MacQueen Bros Trust uses the building to take his wife Morven, who suffers from MS and uses a wheelchair, on day trips with a specially adapted boat.
He also takes other disabled family members and friends to the scenic site.
Now Mr MacQueen has applied to Argyll and Bute Council for retrospective permission.
The planning committee met yesterday, when officers had recommended that permission be refused, saying the hut has an adverse impact on a scenic area.
Planner Tim Williams said there had been a request by Mr MacQueen’s agent to continue consideration until the next meeting to allow them to respond to the planners and enable the submission of further details.
Angus Gilmour, head of planninng, said: “We have had a representation in relation to this application which raises legal issues about disability regulation. Continuing this to the December meeting gives us time to take further legal advice and advice from social workers.
“We discovered late in the day, which should have been part of the planning application, there are some access ways and engineering works. We are giving the applicant time to deal with these late items.”
Before a final decision is taken, planners advised that a local hearing should take place, due to the high level of interest.
A total of 116 people have written in support of the hut, with 17 objecting.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr MacQueen said he took incorrect advice from a local builder, and had wrongly believed the hut did not require planning consent.
He said: “I unreservedly apologise to the planning department for not following proper process.
“I have lived my life trying to help others rather than trying to offend people. It would be my greatest ambition not to offend anyone. I will endeavour in any way possible to use all my resources and energy to ensure I do not offend anyone. That is not my way of living.
“What we really are facing here is an issue between disabled access to the countryside – whether that should be the preserve of the able-bodied – or whether people like my wife and other family members who have disability issues should have access to the countryside.”