BOSSES from the Royal Bank have performed a dramatic u-turn and decided to keep their Greenock town centre branch open.

The bank has abandoned a controversial plan to relocate the Cathcart Street operation to its mortgage centre base at Cartsburn.

The company had submitted a planning application earlier this year seeking permission to change part of the call centre into a retail bank but customers and local politicians were quick to round on the idea.

Now the proposal has been withdrawn by RBS and the company says the town centre branch will stay where it is.

A Royal Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: “Our preliminary planning application has expired.

"We will continue to listen to our customers on the best location to serve their needs in Greenock and the surrounding areas.

"There will be no change to our current branch.”

The surprise u-turn follows fierce criticism of the planned closure at Cathcart Street.

It is the last-remaining branch in Inverclyde and customers had reacted angrily when management announced they wanted to relocate it to a business park outside the town centre, branding the idea 'disgraceful'.

Local politicians pointed out that this would cause particular problems for elderly and disabled customers.

RBS were also criticised for a lack of consultation about the proposed move and some people threatened to close their accounts.

One customer, who declined to be named, today welcomed the decision by RBS.

They told the Tele: "I am so pleased they are keeping it in the town.

"It would have been very inconvenient if they'd moved it out of the town centre and away over there.

"The bank should be easily accessible to people."