MEMBERS of the historic Greenock Art Club are set for a long-awaited return home - nearly three years after a fire ripped through the building.

Artists have has been out of their Gourock Park studio since July 2015 when a blaze it, destroying around 30 paintings which took thousands of hours to complete.

Regulars of the 141-year-old club had grown frustrated at the length of time taken by owners Inverclyde Council to repair the building, just off Broomberry Drive.

They have had to cancel numerous events, and lost members as a result.

Now the local authority has confirmed that the Stables Studio will reopen on April 16.

President Grace Donnelly said: "People were feeling so disheartened because nothing was happening.

"We've been desperate for this news for so long and now we're ecstatic.

"We will get the club open as soon as possible."

The organisation, which was established in 1877, had been relocated to Kempock Place but officials say this temporary base was cold, damp and unsuitable, which put many people off.

Treasurer Maureen Armstrong said: "We have lost members because there's nowhere for people to go and paint - there's not been for a while - and they were reluctant to pay their fees when there was nowhere to go.

"Thankfull it's all finished now and just waiting to be signed off."

Council bosses have confirmed that the studio is ready pending final safety approvals, which are due by the end of this week.

A spokesman said: "The refurbishment is now complete and we are waiting for a building warrant certificate which is needed before anyone can move in."

Art club officials expect to be back in the studio in time for their agm on Wednesday April 25 at 7pm.

Plans are also being drawn up for an event to celebrate the reopening, which will be open to everyone.