OAK Mall manager Claire Jefcoate is leaving the shopping centre.

After over ten years in charge, she will move on at the end of this month.

The announcement follows hot on the heels of news that the centre's owners have asked for permission to demolish a huge part of it.

They have applied for permission to knock down the stretch that runs beneath the A78 main road, right back along to the existing entrance at Clyde Square.

Ms Jefcoate has overseen the shopping centre during turbulent times, with the centre plunging into administration in 2013 and suffering several severe flooding incidents.

During the same period it has also seen the exit of a string of big name tenants as online shopping causes problems for the traditional high street model, with the development of the Port Glasgow Retail Park putting the centre under additional pressure.

Ms Jefcoate - who will not be replaced - says she has enjoyed being at the helm during the challenge of the changing retail climate and overseeing the complete replacement of the Mall's floor, arranging an award-winning wedding there and hosting a succession of Christmas lights switch-on events with XFactor TV show stars.

Ms Jefcoate told the Tele: “I have enjoyed forming many Oak Mall community sponsorship partnerships, including but not exclusively Inverclyde Duke of Edinburgh, CVS Inverclyde, St Andrews Boys' Club, Ardgowan Football Development, Ardentinny Outdoor Centre, Inverclyde Primary Support, Greenock Boxing Club, Inverclyde Sports Awards, Inverclyde Tourist Group and the Greenock Telegraph Community Champions.

"I have learned about and met many amazing and inspiring volunteers and groups in Inverclyde.

"It's been a privilege to work with our Oak Mall charities over the years, Ardgowan Hospice, Guide Dogs Scotland, Calum's Cabin, Glow Gold and the Beatson Cancer Charity.

"I have had fun working with the many tenants, staff and customers both past and present and I will miss them.”

The centre will continue to be managed in a senior operational and duty management role by Stephen McKellar and Laura Cushnaghan assisted by security and cleaning team staff.

Ms Jefcoate's employers LB Property Management Services Ltd have thanked her for her loyal service to the centre and wished her well in her future