CONCERNED councillors are calling for an end to what they have branded the 'downgrading' of West College Scotland's Greenock campus.

Independent local members led by Councillor Tommy McVey say they are worried about the falling number of students and courses at the local campus.

They have today urged college bosses to keep courses in Inverclyde rather than forcing students to travel and putting them at a disadvantage.

The independents have now challenged leaders from all parties, including Inverclyde's MP and MSP, to back them and oppose cuts at the college.

Speaking on behalf of the independents, Councillor McVey said: "Collectively the independent councillors are deeply concerned about what appears to be the ongoing downgrading of the West College Scotland in Greenock.

"A strong vibrant college is one of the key factors in stabilising and perhaps growing the population of Inverclyde.

"We would therefore urge the senior management of WCS to put on appropriate courses, at convenient times, to enable the residents of Inverclyde to study locally rather than travelling to Paisley or Clydebank.

"This would be of particular help to those who are unable to travel outwith Inverclyde, due to financial difficulties, or who have caring responsibilities."

Councillor McVey and Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld are backing the Save Our College campaign being run by EIS union representative Mark Gillan.

The group has called for invetsment in the building and they want bosses to bring back the James Watt name.

Council leader Stephen McCabe has asked his officials to monitor the situation at the college.

Cllr McVey added: "The downgrading of the college, allied to the ongoing reduction in services at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and the possible reduction in fire service coverage, are issues which affect not only the wards we represent but the whole of Inverclyde.

"We would hope that other councillors, our MP and MSPs, prospective MPs and MSPs will not only join us in supporting the campaign to reinstate the James Watt name but will also publicly oppose the continued downgrading of our local college."