Dozens of residents in a scenic Moray village are preparing to campaign for the creation of a cafe in their community.
Developer Brigid Aitken wants to transform the historic Gollachy Ice House on the coast near Portgordon into a coffee shop.
Moray Council officials had recommended the plans, which also include a flat, be thrown out due to them being deemed too big for the coast.
But yesterday members of the authority’s planning committee rejected that advice, instead choosing to hold a public hearing.
Now Lennox Community Council chairwoman Maureen Burrows is hoping residents from the village turn out in force to push for the new attraction.
She said: “I’m disappointed the council didn’t have the courage to approve it straight away.
“We’re already planning what we are going to do for the hearing. We can’t just let it go.
“I can’t remember anyone being interested in that building in the past. When people come in with their own money we should be welcoming them.”
Ms Aitken added: “I am heartened by all the local support. I appreciate people have different opinions and the hearing will allow councillors to weigh up all the factors.”
Art exhibitions, yoga classes and pilates sessions have been proposed for the building, which is on the Speyside Way
Council planners recommended against the development despite 48 letters of support being received alongside seven objections.
Local Fochabers Lhanbryde councillors David Bremner and Marc Macrae proposed a hearing to reconcile the differences between residents and officials.
Mr Macrae said: “There is a clear importance within Moray Council to support economic development.
“That building has been unused for five decades. It has had considerable support throughout from the community.
“Sometimes communities know better what is best for their area as opposed to the council.”
Ms Aitken and those who wrote in support and against the cafe proposals will get the chance to make their case to the committee at the hearing, which is yet to be scheduled.
Keith and Cullen councillor Donald Gatt proposed the plans be refused yesterday and believed the mood of the community was not unanimous.
He said: “In this application some of the objections come from people who don’t even live in Moray so I would discount their views. Given the actual numbers, I don’t think it’s particularly clear from the community.”