A CARAVAN park has been granted permission to extend - thanks to Brexit.

Firth View in Millport had applied to North Ayrshire Council for permission to add 18 berths and used a report that showed less people are travelling abroad because of the wrangle over leaving the European Union to back their case.

Owner Stuart Mellor made an original application earlier this year but the move had been refused under delegated powers.

However, Mr Mellor's appeal was upheld by the planning review body when it recalled recently.

Firth View Caravan Park - which opens from March 1 to January 6 - at present offers 40 pitches for caravan holiday homes but will now be able to home almost 60 privately-owned berths after the victory.

Mr Mellor said: "We are thrilled that we have got our extension after a long wait - I am chuffed to bits."

The independent economic report submitted by the Millport business said: "Holiday parks in the area, including Firth View itself, report high levels of interest from prospective new caravan owners. Factors such as the weaker pound and ‘Brexit’ are encouraging more stay-at-home holidays, and caravan tourism is proving to be something of a boom sector for the Ayrshire economy."

The business was also keen to highlight the economic spin-off for the island.

Mr Mellor's agents said: "The very fragile nature of the economy of Millport is far more significant than almost anywhere else in North Ayrshire, with the island relying solely on tourism. The council should support any sensible and reasonable development which further bolsters this activity.

"My client has been the single largest investor in tourism there and this current proposal will further increase this investment to the benefit of not only his business but to the wider business community on the island whilst also providing employment."

Cllr. Tom Marshall, who is chair of the planning committee, said: "The planning policy of the council to treat the whole of Cumbrae as a special landscape area. That was the reason it was initially refused.

"I didn't really want to see any more caravans at such a prominent site. I feel there are sufficient caravan sites in Cumbrae and it would be much better if there was some form of hotel accommodation.

"I have been told that a number of people who own flats in Millport are intending to sell them and move into caravans. That will make the problem of empty properties in Millport even worse."

Mr Mellor hit out at Cllr Marshall's comments.

Mr Mellor said: "Of course there will be all round benefits to the islands, and I am pleased that all the councillors on the planning committee have seen sense - apart from Tom Marshall."

"He said that the last thing that Millport needs is more caravans and would rather see a hotel. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"It's the caravanning experience that draw people to Millport and he should be supporting that."