Under proposals from the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland, there would be two additional elected representatives from 2017 onwards and the creation of a new ward.

It would be called Inverclyde Central, starting at Bogston and taking in the east end of Greenock and areas like Cartsdyke, the Strone, Whinhill, Overton and Drumfrochar.

Commission chiefs say the aim is to address ‘disparities’ in some wards and balance the constituent to councillor ratio.

The proposals have now cleared a major hurdle after the organisation decided to press ahead following the first stage of a consultation process.

But that move comes despite strong cross-party objection from Inverclyde Council.

Local authority leader Stephen McCabe maintains that the cost of two extra councillors — projected to be around £45,000 a year — cannot be justified.

He said: “The commission has rejected cross-party representations from Inverclyde Council against its proposal to increase the number of councillors and is now consulting on proposed new ward boundaries for the 2017 elections.

“The council opposed the increase as we felt that in terms of workload 20 councillors was sufficient and that the extra cost of two additional councillors could not be justified in these times of public expenditure restraint.

“With the commission deciding to proceed with its original proposal it is now consulting on its detailed proposals for individual wards.” The commission is proposing to reduce the number of councillors in ward one — Inverclyde East — from four to three and create three positions for the new Inverclyde Central ward.

A councillors’ briefing will now take place tomorrow to discuss the commission’s plans before a report is put before them at the next full council meeting on 9 April.

Mr McCabe said: “My position and that of the Labour group hasn’t changed — I certainly maintain the view that 20 councillors is sufficient and the extra cost couldn’t be justified in the public purse.

“It clearly seems to be the case they are not listening to us but we can maintain the representations and hear what the Scottish Government has to say.” Scottish ministers will make the final decision on whether the plans should go ahead following a detailed report from the boundary commission.

But Liberal Democrat councillor Ciano Rebecchi, who is an outspoken critic of the plans, has branded them ‘crazy’.

Mr Rebecchi said: “We have enough councillors. We’re not as hard pushed as we used to be. What difference is this going to make?

“That £45,000 a year could be better spent on other things in Inverclyde — look at the groups we could be helping.”