OFFICIALS from an historic bowling club hope they are on a roll with a plan to restore the building to its former glory.

The committee at Lady Alice Bowling Club have been without a lease for the building since 2005, which has meant they have been unable to apply to the Big Lottery Fund for a grant to carry put renovations.

The sticking point has been that the club is built on 'inalienable common good land' and as such the council has to go through a long, legal process to grant the lease.

But club bosses say things are finally moving in their favour, with a public consultation being carried out.

Joe Carruthers, secretary, said: "We are virtually squatting in here.

"It was 1978 since we had an arrangement for any lease and that ended in 2006.

"We asked for a lease then but we were told by the council that they couldn't give us a lease at all."

He says he is optimistic now that a legal process is under way so they can get an agreement which would open the door to secure the future of the 103-year-old club.

Mr Carruthers said: "Without a lease we can't apply to the bank or brewers, we cannot plan anything.

"The function suite needs refurbished and this suite is what maintains these greens.

"I feel the people in the council we're dealing with have been supporting us where before I feel a was hitting a brick wall."

Inverclyde Council has launched a public consultation for the renewal and extension of the lease.

If the club can reach an agreement then they hope to press on with a £290,000 refurbishment to reconfigure the building.

The consultation ends on November 28 at 5pm.

Councillor Tommy McVey has been supporting the bowling club since last year.

He said: "I have been working closely with Joe on this issue since just after the 2017 council election and must thank council officers who have played a major role in getting things to this stage.

"At last we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

"I have nothing but admiration for Joe, his committee and the club members who work tremendously hard, year on year, to keep the club going.

"Hopefully, once the lease is in place it will allow the club to flourish for the benefit of future generations of bowlers."