Tele column – 20th July 2018

Recently, Inverclyde council has been asking for input regarding the town centre area and in particular the roads to the West of the shopping mall. This is one of a number of such events that have been run in the area. I am always delighted when people engage in the decision making process. The citizens of Inverclyde should be listened to. The fabric of Inverclyde has been eroded with very little consultation. Our coast line has been abused for generations. Land that belongs to us all has seen the wrong buildings erected. Views and shore access has been removed. The very essence of what makes Inverclyde has been sold by the pound and with very little consideration for the greater good. But sometimes we make it easy for this to happen. We don’t engage in the sort of numbers that would concern the decision makers and this allows them to pay lip service to the community. When was the last time a major or even close to a major building project was guided by public opinion. Too often it is just the window dressing. And that’s the way it will always be unless people get motivated, organised and start making their voices heard.

I want to knock down the police station and build the new college on that site. This is something I’ve frequently discussed with West College Scotland. I want to sell the fire station in Port Glasgow to Ferguson Marine. Having met with Fire Scotland to urge they consider selling the land to Ferguson Marine and look at alternative sites in Port Glasgow. I want to build a new combined police, fire and rescue service on the site of Greenock fire station. I want to relocate the cinema and bingo hall into the mall. It was ill-conceived to put these two buildings on our glorious waterfront given they have no need for the views. I want to use Spango Valley for renewable energy technologies. This is something I raised during numerous discussions/meetings with businesses, interested parties and Inverclyde Council. And don’t start me on the old Inverkip power station site. There is the potential to do something magnificent on that site from environmentally friendly and sustainable houses to a complete eco village. Building houses on the Inverkip power station site, Spango valley and the Ravenscraig Hospital site is a recipe for gridlock on the A78. I have pushed many of these ideas towards the council but feel frustrated, at times, with our lack of ambition. It’s time we in Inverclyde started thinking big. If we don’t believe in ourselves why should anyone else?