AMBITIOUS proposals are being put forward which would transform Greenock town centre with a new civic square, high street revamp and an urban park through its heart.

The bold proposals are contained in a report by regeneration body Riverside Inverclyde and have been drawn up as part of a masterplan to breathe new life into the town.

Deputy council leader Jim Clocherty, who is chair of the town’s regeneration forum, says the extent of the facelift will all depend on how much money is available but money is already in place to push forward with a facelift for West Blackhall Street.

Councillor Clocherty said: “I’m delighted we have £1.9 million for Greenock town centre to make it a more attractive place for local people and visitors.

“West Blackhall Street is a priority.

“It is our main shopping centre, and we want to spend our investment in a way that will get the most benefit for our economy.

“This will be done through consultation with the public and traders.”

The blueprint puts forward a vision for the creation of a ‘Maritime Square’ which would run from the river up towards William Street.

It states: “Given its waterfront location at the end of one of one of the principal north-south routes — William Street — linking the town centre to the waterfront, this space should be enhanced to encourage increased activity.

“In tandem with improvements to William Street to improve connections, Maritime Square could have new uses to create a destination to encourage people to stop and spend time.”

Improved pedestrian access is being proposed for West Stewart Street, between the bus station and Oak Mall.

This could involve the replacement of the pedestrian underpass, but regeneration bosses add that “the scope and ambition of work will depend on the extent of remodelling of buildings in the area”.

The masterplan also looks at George Square and says it has the potential to be one of Greenock’s best urban spaces.

It states: “There are options to re-provide parking in the vicinity to create a people-friendly urban square.

“Removal of intrusive car parking and signage would enable the re-design of the public space with high quality, natural stone paving, street trees and attractive, well situated street furniture.”

Meanwhile, an urban park running south from the bus station is described as a ‘big move’.

The masterplan says: “It could be delivered in phases over a period of time.

“There is scope to create a series of terraced park spaces in the valley space between the A78 and Nicolson Street.

“Re-location of retail sheds, adjusted road network layout and revised traffic management would enable new landscaping and help to reduce pedestrian severance, specially east-west.

“The creation of a park in this location would also enable the provision of a sustainable urban drainage system, and could involve the de-culverting of the West Burn to mitigate flood risk and create a focus to a new green space in Greenock.”

Riverside Inverclyde say the ideas come from the Greenock town centre charrette process back in 2016 and the outcomes of the masterplan were shared with the Greenock Town Centre Regeneration Forum.

A spokesman said: “In June 2017, the forum gave a clear steer towards improving West Blackhall Street as a priority and as a result this is the lead project.

“The forum is keen to develop better connections between the historic, leisure, arts and retail quarters, Cathcart Square and Greenock Ocean Terminal, where feasibility work is underway separately as part of the Glasgow city region deal to expand the terminal.”

He added: “Early schematic proposals for West Blackhall Street have been developed by Riverside Inverclyde and Inverclyde Council.

“The other areas highlighted in the masterplan are still in scope and are being reviewed regularly.”