DEVELOPERS have submitted new plans to knock down part of the Oak Mall and build over 100 new flats.

Earlier this year, a proposal was refused by planners due to a lack of certainty surrounding the future use of the prominent gap site that would be created.

Now bosses of the shopping centre have formally submitted a new application to Inverclyde Council which proposes a total of 123 apartments and a new community facility.

A design statement which is part of the proposals says: "It is recognised by both the shopping centre owners and local authority that it is vitally important that these demolition works do not leave a blighted town centre to the east of the road bridge adjacent to Clyde Square.

"This application therefore brings forward mixed use proposals for new residential accommodation on this site providing a total of 123, one and two bedroom apartments and new community hub.

"The residential offer is proposed in two blocks separated by an attractive landscaped park that connects the new Oak Mall entrance and Clyde Square."

The Mall's owners want to knock down the part of the centre that goes beneath the A78 main road, right back along to the existing entrance at Clyde Square, with the existing tenants being offered space within the scaled down centre.

The design statement says: "Several units are unfit for occupation because the fabric of the building is suffering badly from water ingress below the trunk road that spans in a bridge structure above the shopping centre.

"During and following periods of rain, water floods into units from defective joints in the road bridge.

"A large section of the mall below the road is also badly affected by this."

They say that the demolition would allow Transport Scotland to carry out essential repairs to the bridge.

It continues: "To facilitate this major repair programme, the shopping centre needs to be demolished below, and adjacent to, the road structure to

permit Transport Scotland the access they need."

There are also future plans for an integrated urban space which includes a re-designed Clyde Square.

Planning bosses at Inverclyde Council are considering the application, with a decision on it not being made until next year.