AN ambitious blueprint for future development in Inverclyde has been given the go-ahead.

Councillors backed plans to aimed to attract people people to the area by building new homes and regenerating of key sites.

Local authority leader Stephen McCabe says the Local Development Plan is 'crucial' in shaping the future of the area.

He told the Telegraph: "It is mapping out for the next five to 10 years some key planning priorities, particularly around regeneration, employment, building new houses and supporting wider regeneration."

Top of the agenda is the City Deal development of Greenock Ocean Terminal, set for a major quayside expansion and new visitor centre.

This will enable 100 cruise ships to visit each year, bringing 150,000 tourists.

The former Inverkip Power Station brownfield site is also earmarked for development with the potential for 600 houses and 6,000 square metres of retail space.

At the other end of the district Inchgreen Drydock will be developed to offer a on-shore marine hub.

The local plan also includes a hitlist of priority places for development, which include the former IBM site at Spango Valley, Woodhall, Clune Park, The Harbours in Greenock and James Watt Dock/Garvel Island.

Councillor McCabe said: "James Watt Dock Marina has turned out to be very successful and this area will be further developed

"River Clyde Homes has a programme of social rented housing and there has been some interest in the sugar sheds.

"The Harbours in Greenock are also being developed and there are hopes that there will be interest from developers in the next few years."

Port Glasgow Industrial Estate is listed for demolition, with plans to create housing and a smaller industrial estate in its place.

Councillor McCabe said: "A number of the units have been unoccupied and empty with no prospect of them being used for manufacturing or commercial purposes.

"The proposal is to demolish units and make land available for housing.

"There are key opportunities to sustain a smaller industrial estate."

He said the recent council budget offered grants as an incentive to current business to agree to the demolition.

Under the plan there is also a change of approach for Greenock Town Centre - with 'change of use' measures set to allow 25 per cent of ground floor shop frontages to be used for non-retail businesses.

Cllr McCabe said the future of Greenock town centre would rest on mix of retail and non-retail units.

He said: "This will breathe some life back into the area and bring support to retailers as well.

"It is worth exploring that opportunity.

"Redeveloping Greenock town centre long term will be a balance of retail and non-retail.

"There is a major challenge."

The Telegraph specifically asked about the future of Spango Valley and Clune Park but was told there are no specific timescales in place for them.

Mr McCabe said: "The Local Development Plan sets the planning framework for development by the owners of the sites.

"Obviously Spango Valley is in private ownership so it will be for the owners to bring forward proposals in due course.

"With regards to Clune Park the council is obviously going through a process of seeking to acquire and demolish the tenement stock in the area.

"Separately a masterplan is being developed for what would be put on the site after the tenements are demolished.

"Again there are no definitive timescales given the long drawn out process we have to go through to acquire and demolish the existing properties."

Having been agreed by the council, the Local Development Plan will now go out to public consultation.