THE housing firm set to receive £15m of public money to build nearly 200 homes on toxic land in Greenock had NO PLAN to make the ground safe when councillors approved the proposal.

Link Group Ltd, who bought the poisoned former Ravenscraig Hospital site for £1, didn't start work on a 'remediation strategy report' until July — four months after their social housing application was given the green light.

But Link's bosses had been in possession of a report they themselves had commissioned — detailing 'multiple exceedances' of dangerous and cancer-causing chemicals in the ground — since November in 2017.

Work on the remediation plan, which must satisfy Inverclyde Council's contaminated land officer before any construction work can proceed, got under way after concerned MSP Stuart McMillan called for the 'utmost clarity' from Link in June.

The firm — affiliated with Larkfield Housing Association — bought the contaminated 83-acre site 17 months ago in a 'back-to-back' transaction involving former owner, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and the Scottish Government.

Inverclyde Planning Board passed the housing application by just one vote in March this year after chief officer Stuart Jamieson said that he was 'satisfied' with a series of conditions his department imposed on Link.

But Mr Jamieson admitted during the meeting: "We don't know what the levels of contamination are on the site."

Despite work only beginning last month on the remediation strategy report, Link insisted yesterday that they have been preparing to make the ground safe for several months.

A spokesman said: "Work started on the Remediation Strategy Report in July 2019.

"But the strategy has been developed throughout the ground investigation and interpretative report stages associated with the pre-demolition and post-demolition works completed in late 2017 and late 2018/early 2019."

Asked why there was no remediation plan when councillors approved their proposal to build homes on the toxic site, the spokesman said: "Remediation strategies are normally a pre-start planning condition (required prior to the start of construction works onsite), not a pre-planning requirement, given they can only be completed once detailed ground investigation including any post-demolition investigations are complete."

Link has appointed structural and civil engineering consultants Fairhurst to compile the remediation strategy document — the same firm whose 2017 report warned of the 'multiple exceedances' of toxins and urged 'vigilance' in case of 'additional sources of gross contamination'.

The Telegraph told last November how the grounds have been polluted for nearly 150 years because they were twice used as industrial scale town dumps in the 1870s and 1880s for industries such as tanneries, bone yards and chemical works.

Link's remediation strategy is expected to be submitted to the council for approval at the end of this month.

Asked if its full contents will be made public, their spokesman said: "It will be issued to Inverclyde Council and it is our understanding that this can then be provided to the public."

In response to a question as to whether remediation work will clear the soil completely of the contaminants identified, he said: "The proposed remediation work is designed to break all pollutant linkages identified to mitigate risks to identified receptors including human end users i.e. residents and/or visitors/members of the public without removing the soil from the site."