RESIDENTS in Gourock have reacted angrily after the area's MSP questioned the town's new heritage and arts hub.

Stuart McMillan has come under fire after making a series of enquiries about the centre, which is based in the refurbished Municipal Buildings, in a letter which was sent to both the council and urban regeneration company Riverside Inverclyde and seen by the Telegraph.

In his letter, Mr McMillan posed a series of questions about the structure of the hub committee, whether it had been formally constituted and asked about its business plan and funding.

The MSP also demands answers about the organisation's possible takeover of the former Gourock Police Station next door and what happens to that if the group 'ceases operating'.

Gourock councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld, who has played a key role getting the hub up and running over the last two years, today expressed his 'astonishment' at Mr McMillan's conduct.

Mr Ahlfeld said: "The level of support for this project locally is unprecedented so it really is very annoying when our local MSP is questioning everything about it.

"You wouldn't expect your MSP to be so negative about something that so many people are supportive of - you couldn't make it up.

"I don't know what his motives are not to support this project.

"It's absolutely astonishing that we don't have his support."

But Mr McMillan says he stands by his line of questioning, insisting he was simply doing his job.

He said: "Unfortunately, this has been a storm in a teacup which has been manufactured and which I'm really disappointed about.

"This has been blown out of all proportion and I think it's very sad.

"Somebody came to me and asked assistance to get information and I wrote a letter to the council, that's normal practice for an MSP or any elected member.

"Any time there's public money being invested in a project there has to be transparency about the investment going in.

"I would be failing in my duty as an MSP if I didn't contact the council about it.

"In no way does it detract from my support of the Gourock Heritage and Arts Hub and in no way does that change my opinion that this is a fabulous opportunity for Gourock.

"I'm absolutely supportive of what's trying to be achieved."

Mr Ahlfeld says he now wants to draw a line under the matter.

He told the Tele: "The progress of development plans for the centre is regularly reported to both community councils and is a consistent agenda item at Gourock Regeneration Forum.

"All minutes are in the public domain and always have been.

"I am pleased that our MSP has now publicly supported the project.

"Hopefully we can move on and work to try to bring this to fruition without any annoying distractions."