Plans to turn Raven’s Ait into a sailing centre have been delayed after Conservative councillors decided to examine why the council agreed a lease worth less than other offers for the island.

Last month the council’s executive committee gave Stewart Marine a 50-year lease to create a water sports centre, including use for the local community, after a previous deal with Antoinette Hotel fell through.

Conservative leader Councillor Howard Jones referred the decision to the scrutiny committee on the basis that “the executive papers provided were lacking in sufficient detail on which to base such an important decision concerning an asset owned by the residents of [Kingston] and it is essential in the interest of transparency to ensure best value is achieved”.

The committee cannot overturn the decision at its March 23 meeting, but if it disagrees with the decision the lease cannot be signed until the executive have reconsidered the issue on March 31.

Ossie Stewart, who runs Stewart Marine, said he was still positive despite the delay, but he would not be able to move on to the island on April 1 to start work as originally planned.