MILLIONAIRE transport tycoons have asked for permission to build three homes on land at the centre of an Inverkip murder trial.

Minaz Rajabali, 57, and business partner Harinder Singh Kohli, 51, who run haulage and recycling firm Slam Transport in Coventry, bought isolated cottage Seacroft for £120,000 in 2017 and have permission to demolish it.

Now a planning application has been submitted to Inverclyde Council from Mr Kohli, to build three 'architecturally designed' houses on the site at the centre of the Margaret Fleming murder trial.

Background papers submitted as part of the application say: "It is essential here to emphasise the very sad recent history of this site.

"It has been/is at the forefront of a murder inquiry and trial and as such has left this beautiful area of land with a melancholy that really needs to be lifted.

"It is in the interests of the area, and of course the nearby neighbours, to bring new life to this land and erase, where possible, the memory left.

"An exciting new modern development will help achieve this."

Eddie Cairney and Avril Jones, who previously lived at the property, are accused by prosecutors of assaulting Margaret Fleming there between December 18 in 1999 and January 5 in 2000, when she was aged 19, by means unknown and murdering her.

The pair are also charged with claiming £182,000 in benefits by fraud by pretending Margaret was alive.

It is alleged that Cairney and Jones abducted Margaret, locked her in a room, assaulted her, cut her hair and bound her arms and wrists with tape on various occasions between November 1 in 1997 and January 5 in 2000.

The pair also face two charges of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by boarding a train to London on October 25 in 2017 with £3,500 in cash and keys to a safe deposit box which contained £27,000 and pretending to social workers, police, and benefits officials between December 18, 1999 and October 26, 2017, that Margaret was alive.

Jones and Cairney deny all of the charges against them.

They are due to go on trial at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday April 23.

Meanwhile, the planning application for the proposed homes at Seacroft is pending consideration by Inverclyde Council.