A NEW cafe/takeaway coming to Greenock town centre is saying 'cheers' to councillors after being given the green light to sell alcohol.

Owners of the proposed Cathcart Street restaurant and takeaway - to be called the Fisherman's Dock - applied for permission to sell drinks with meals and provide a small off-licence facility.

The licensing board rubber-stamped the application despite three objections, including one from a nearby business which also sells booze.

Paul Loughlin, owner of Key Store, said the off-licence element of the application would harm his business.

In a submission to the board he wrote: "An off-licence in such close proximity would be detrimental to my business, especially in the present climate when businesses are struggling due to Covid."

Resident Mark Wilson meanwhile raised concerns about the sale of alcohol and people loitering outside the premises and in the seated area across the street next to the Ginger the Horse statue, with a risk of littering and drunken behaviour.

He added that the cafe was in the vicinity of 40 houses and argued there would be issues with traffic, noise and parking due to the delivery and takeaway service.

Another objector, David McCaffrey, said that there were already eight off-sales in the area including the Morrisons store.

Peter Lawson, representing the applicants, described the premises as an upmarket fish and chip shop which would be a cafe during the day.

He explained that the premises would primarily run as a cafe and that the application to allow alcohol to be sold was ancillary.

Mr Lawson said it would not be normal takeaway alcohol service and described any objections over it being another off-licence as a 'misconception'.

Mr Lawson said: "It is a sit-in restaurant with a takeaway facility, with full disabled access, there will be a gantry in the restaurant.

"There would be capacity for 18 people sitting in and between six and seven staff, full and part-time."

He added there would be expensive beers, wines and spirits on offer and referred to 'bespoke gins.'

Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld, board chairman, raised a laugh during the debate as he said: "Mr Lawson, those of us of a certain age have some difficulty with the concept of ordering a bespoke gin with our fish suppers."

Mr Lawson, who went on to note that commercial competition questions were not a licensing issue, stressed that the restaurant would be offering a small selection of alcohol at a premium price.

He added that he didn't anticipate any problems over the delivery service, saying: "The delivery service is within policy and within the section 119 of the 2005 Act.

"We do not envisage this will cause any difficulties to the residents.".

The board decided to grant the application.

It is hoped that the new restaurant will open in August.