IMPRESSIVE plans for Greenock's new £15 million cruise ship visitor centre and George Wyllie museum have today been unveiled.

The ambitious Ocean Terminal expansion project has taken a major step forward after a planning application was formally submitted.

The striking building has been designed by award-winning architects, Richard Murphy Associates, and would feature a new visitor centre, restaurant and gallery in tribute to renowned artist George Wyllie, who lived in Gourock for more than 50 years and worked on the Greenock waterfront as a Customs and Excise officer.

The £14.7m project is being led by Inverclyde Council in partnership with port authority Peel Ports as part of the Glasgow Region City Deal scheme funded by the UK and Scottish governments.

The aim is to further boost the booming Greenock cruise ship sector by welcoming 150,000 passengers a year, brining £26m to the Scottish economy through visitor and crew spending.

Council leader Stephen McCabe said: "As a key City Deal project, the new visitor centre at Greenock Ocean Terminal aims to make a significant contribution to economic growth and international tourism across the wider city region area.

"The addition of a restaurant and Wyllie gallery will help to provide a year round attraction for visitors to Greenock and Inverclyde.

"The development at Ocean Terminal over recent years from very small beginnings as, effectively, a side business to the container terminal business is a testimony to the commitment by Peel Ports to growing this market in Scotland.

"The project to deliver new berthing facilities will help to support that growth."

The family of 'Paper Boat' creator, George Wyllie, say they are honoured that the project includes a gallery honouring the work of their father, who died in 2012.

His eldest daughter Louise, who is also a trustee of the art foundation set up in her dad's name, said: "Inverclyde Council's vision in realising this complex project is to be applauded.

"It has always been an ambition of the George Wyllie Foundation to celebrate and mark my father's life and work in Inverclyde; an area which he loved and which was the lifeblood of all his art works.

"Although making and creating art - be it music, plays or sculpture - was always a big part of his life, my father worked as a Customs and Excise officer for many years in this very spot.

"I know he would be thrilled that a world-class art space, designed by award-winning architect, Richard Murphy, was going to be part of a bigger picture which aims to inject new life into this area of Greenock."