A popular burger van on Arran has won its battle for a three-year stay on the island after defiant councillors went against recommendations by planning officers.

Emma Ferguson, who runs Fergie’s, recently sought planning permission for the siting of the van for a temporary period of three years on an existing car park within the conservation area of Lamlash.

The car park is leased and maintained by North Ayrshire Council, and public complaints over the van were initially reported to planning services earlier this year.

At that point no planning permission had been secured for the van, sparking a probe by NAC officials over the potential for unauthorised use under planning enforcement.

The owners claimed, at that point, that the van was licensed, was only intermittently sited, and had not been at that particular site for more than 28 days and so was not in breach of planning law.

They were advised at that time that the investigation would be closed and that the site monitored for potential future planning breaches.

Advice was given that the owners were free to apply for planning permission for the use if they wished in the meantime.

Their trading hours are 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Saturday.

The planning department recommended refusal, saying that part of the conservation area had been identified as an open space for the community, and proposed an enforcement notice which stated that a snack van should not be there for any more than 28 days in a year.

Officials said that such a development, even for three years, would impact on the green and wider conservation area.

There were nine objections and 10 messages of support with one neutral comment.

It was also stated there would be an impact on parking provision. 

NAC's own active travel and transportation team recommended refusal, saying granting permission would result in the loss of a parking space for general public use, but Arran Community Council had no objections.

The matter was decided by NAC's planning committee, whose vice-chair, Arran Conservative councillor Timothy Billings, said: "Whilst the owners are taking up a parking space effectively, if there were no parking spaces they wouldn’t be able to park there because it wouldn’t be an exclusive right for them to park in that space.

“I do appreciate parking is at a premium, but there are alternative parking spaces further up that track road or on the roadside, so I wouldn’t necessarily think parking is a major issue.

“As far as the conservation area, this is a temporary structure as it would be there from 10am until 4pm and would then be taken away.

“It’s not like it’s there overnight or the space is being used when they are not operating as a food outlet.”

The proposal for a three-year stay for the business was granted - as long as the van was taken away outside of operating hours and the business stuck to those 10am-4pm business hours.

Cllr Billings' motion to grant permission was seconded by Cllr Scott Davidson (SNP, Kilwinning).