BOSSES of a popular bar and restaurant have been given the green light to serve drinks in a pavement cafe in front of the premises.

The Cafe Continental in Gourock will be able to serve drinks until 9pm in a kerbside extension seating up to 24 people.

Permission was granted at a special hearing of the licensing board despite objections from Police Scotland.

Car parking spaces will be used on Kempock Street to give extra space and additional barriers will be erected.

Chief Superintendent Alan Murray had written to the licensing board raising reservations about the pavement tables.

He was represented at the meeting by Chief Inspector Paul Cameron, who said the main objections were on the grounds of road safety, a lack of signage to warn drivers and the safety of barriers in protecting diners, and the general public

He said: "My concerns are that this is a safety risk, and that the area [must be] made clear to motorists, and signage made a bit clearer.

"The concerns we have over the barriers is if a child climbs over and falls onto the middle of the road.

"I don't know what risk assessment has been done."

Mr Robin Morton, representing the Cafe Continental, said the premises would be well supervised.

He said: "This application is in relation to a dining area and where children and young people would be accompanied and supervised by adults.

"There are two CCTV cameras and the area is visible from the servery and serving staff will be passing through the premises from the premises.

"I don't feel there is any risk to the safety of children and young people."

The quality and safety of barriers was also highlighted by police chiefs.

Board members heard that the owners of the premises had liaised with road safety officers at Inverclyde Council who consulted experts over the correct barriers to use.

Gail MacFarlane, the council's head of shared services, said that the Scottish Government had given permission for public spaces to be used for this purpose and that the type of barriers were used throughout the country to protect pedestrians.

But Chief Inspector Cameron continued to express fears over the set-up.

He said: "People will be sitting at fixed posts with nowhere to move if someone's foot slipped off the clutch and hit the barrier."

The board went in to private session and after deliberating on the application, chair Ronnie Ahlfeld put forward a motion to grant the licence, with conditions attached.

He said: "That is that within seven days, police and roads safety people and the supreme authority on roads, Shared Services group, all agree and the safety aspects and address these."

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Ahlfeld told the Telegraph: "The board has been encouraged by the Scottish Government to look very sympathetically at applications of this nature to help local authorities, and local traders who have lost business to use shared space.

"It is the first application we have had to address in Inverclyde.

"There are others in Inverclyde who have outside catering but don't go out to the extremes of the road."