INCHGREEN Drydock will not benefit from almost £1 billion worth of Royal Navy contracts awarded to its owners.

Peel Ports have confirmed that the Greenock facility will not share in any of the lucrative contracts awarded to its Cammell Laird and A&P Falmouth yards down south.

The bodyblow comes as Inverclyde Council chiefs all but rule out any public takeover of the site, following pressure from the Campaign to Save Inchgreen group, who want the asset to be revitalised to create jobs.

There was hope that the site would be utilised for some of the Ministry of Defence work, but the owners insist that was never going to be the case.

The lion's share of the £1bn deal announced by the UK Government will go to Peel to refit, service and maintain a variety of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxilliary vessels over the next decade.

A company spokesperson said: "These contracts were won via a retender and are essentially a continuation of work that Cammell Laird and A&P Group Ltd have delivered highly effectively to the MoD for a number of years. "We have never stated or implied that these contracts would be delivered via Inchgreen. "We have a very specific plan for Inchgreen, and that plan has not changed."

Meanwhile, Inverclyde Council officials have published a report into Peel's ownership of industrial land and assets locally and say the chances are very slim for any local authority, Scottish Government or public takeover of Inchgreen.

Officers concluded that it is possible under current legislation to force the firm to sell up, but say that a 'compelling' case would have to be made and any sale would incur 'significant costs'.

The document was produced in response to a 3,500-strong petition submitted to the council by campaigners calling for more to be done to breathe new life into the site.

Former shipyard worker Robert Buirds, who founded the Save Inchgreen group, says he is undeterred by the setbacks as he fights to reinvigorate the UK's largest mainland drydock.

Mr Buirds, from Port Glasgow, said: "Peel Group have total control of 90 per cent of coastal industrial land, which is strangling industrial investment in our area while looking after their investments on Merseyside.

"However, when we started this campaign we knew we were challenging a multi-national company with all their resources and a difficult legal path trying to remove ownership of Inchgreen from the Peel Group under current legislation.

"We are undaunted with this task and will keep expanding support and increasing the pressure on the Peel Group."

The report will go before councillors on the environment and regeneration committee on Thursday. The meeting starts at 3pm and is open to the public.