RIVAL nightclub owners clashed over the opening of new premises in Greenock town centre.

Bosses from Word Up unsuccessfully tried to block a bid to relaunch the neighbouring former Hangar 18/Viva/204 building.

Both properties are located just metres apart on Dalrymple Street.

Lapwine, the company behind Word Up, objected to an application from Waverley Portfolio - owners of the former Hangar 18 building - for a provisional premises licence to start the process of reopening it as a nightclub.

A tenant is said to be lined up to run the venue - but only if the permit is granted.

There were no other objections.

Word Up chiefs claimed the unknown identity of the prospective tenant poses a 'risk' to the police and licensing officials and that another nightclub locally would lead to 'over-provision'.

Lawyer Seamus Lamb, from Maitlands Solicitors, acting on behalf of Waverley Portfolio, said: "I understand they don't want competition, but the idea that any Tom, Dick or Harry will come in is stretching it a bit.

"My client is under no obligation to reveal who will or will not become a tenant. "This is an application for entertainment premises which are still designated as a club in the local plan and ordnance survey map.

"The only objection is a trade objection.

"There's none from anyone living in this area or the community council.

"It's an identical application to what's been granted by the board on numerous occasions before. "There have been no problems in the past and I don't envisage any in the future - and if there are, members and Police Scotland can deal with them."

Mr Lamb also dismissed concerns raised about some of the directors of Waverley Portfolio, saying his clients co-operated fully with police and licensing checks and that nothing untoward was discovered.

Lapwine, which also owns Harwoods and Fenwick 47, argued that the reopening of the nightclub would have an 'adverse impact' on Word Up and take the level of provision locally 'beyond saturation point' in their refusal letter.

The company's representative, Caroline Loudon, from TLT Solicitors, said: "It is very near to us and we have legitimate concerns about who would operate it and in the way we do with Word Up.

"This creates a risk and commercial risk for us as well."

Following the debate and a private hearing, councillors on the licensing board voted unanimously in favour of granting the provisional licence at a meeting yesterday.