THE owner of one of Inverclyde’s most popular bar-restaurants has hit out after being refused permission for an outside seating area.

Cafe Continental boss Gregg McLeod slammed Inverclyde Council for blocking moves to use part of the pavement outside his Kempock Street venue.

He says he only asked for permission because a cafe directly across the street has a similar set-up.

Permission was granted for a seating area outside 43 Kempock Street when Stepwell opened its Fresh Cafe in the former Greggs premises.

The refusal row comes as Cafe Continental finalises plans for a £150,000 refurbishment early next year as part of an ambitious expansion.

Owner Mr McLeod, pictured, said: “I only asked for planning permission because the business across the road had it granted to put tables and chairs outside their premises.

“I accept there may be reasons why they wouldn’t grant permission to us, but my problem is that there is another place a few hundred yards away with permission. 

“I spent money putting the application in on that basis and now I am out of pocket.

“I wonder if the council will reimburse me? I will be looking into that.

“I spoke with the planning officials and they said the application was refused on the grounds that the roads department objected to it, but the proposal would have been the same width as the pavement across the road.

“I think this is another example of the council’s incompetence.”

The bar restaurant owner boss plans to open a rooftop terrace as part of his renovation plan to increase dining capacity.

He added: “We are looking at doing this in January next year because we would have to close for a spell to let the work take place.”

A council spokesman said: “Every planning application is considered on an individual basis.

“In this case the application was refused because the pavement is too narrow.”