A MAJOR £3m plan to help 'save Greenock town centre' has been given the go-ahead.

Councillors have voted in favour of a radical redesign of West Blackhall Street which will see a one-way system from the Oak Mall to Grey Place with ‘mini plazas’ created at each end.

It also involved a cut in the number of on street parking spaces from 65 to 36, with a new car park at the top of Jamica Street to help compensate.

Council bosses have purchased the site of the former Greenock Free Church on Jamaica Street, which was destroyed in a blaze late last year, and plan to provide 20 spaces there.

Speaking at a meeting of the environment and regeneration committee, Councillor Jim Clocherty said: "This is a leap in the dark - I know that.

"But if we do nothing West Blackhall Street is going to die.

"We know it's dying now.

"I think this gives us the best option."

The re-design also involves a two-metre wide cycle lane and wider pavements on both sides of the street.

Council leader Stephen McCabe admitted the project was risky but said there was a need for urgent action.

He said: "I think there has to be radical surgery in West Blackhall Street.

"It's absolutely risky, but so is carrying on as 'business as usual'."

But Tory councillor Graeme Brooks disagreed and unsuccessfully called for the committee to back a previous 2018 plan which would retain parking on both sides of the streets.

The council has set aside £1.5m for the work and a further £1.5million grant may be provided by active travel organisation Sustrans.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport could also potentially provide cash.

It's not known when work will start on the project.