A GROUP of councillors fighting to 'save' West College Scotland's Greenock campus have called on colleagues to join forces with them to ensure its long-term future.

Independents in the chamber have pledged their support for the ' Save Our College' group, set up by concerned campaigners who fear for the future of the local further education establishment.

They have called on college bosses to boost student numbers, increase the number of courses based in Greenock and bring back the James Watt link to the campus.

The SNP group on the local authority recently came out in support of plans proposed by management for a £100m new campus in East India Harbour.

But the four independents - Tommy McVey, Lynne Quinn, Ronnie Ahlfeld and Drew McKenzie - are sceptical about whether the idea will ever to come to fruition.

In a statement they said: "Over the last six months we have listened to the views and concerns from the college management, college staff, students, unions as well as the wider community.

"It has been particularly disappointing that not all councillors have taken up the chance to do likewise.

"Instead, they have chosen to only rely upon information from college management and only taken until now to show any form of support for securing local college provision."

The independents have been supported in their college campaign by Labour's Colin Jackson and LibDem Ciano Rebecchi but want to have all their colleagues in the Municipal Buildings on board.

They believe this will give the best chance of actually seeing a new facility delivered for students, with funding just one of the major hurdles to be cleared.

The group of four said: "After several requests, we are delighted that the local SNP councillors have now come out in support of the James Watt College building a new campus at the East India harbour.

"We are sure that the ‘Save Our College’ campaign will also welcome this.

"For the avoidance of doubt none of us, or indeed the ’Save Our College’ campaign, are opposed to a new campus being built.

"The question has always been what steps have been taken to make this happen and what is the timescale for the new building?"

College chiefs face a number of obstacles to turn their plans a reality, including securing the necessary funding, planning permission from Inverclyde Council and a change of use for the plot, which is currently earmarked for housing.

Independent councillors have met with staff and campaigners who would like to see more investment in the current Greenock campus and more courses on offer locally.