THE countdown is on as Gourock's Kempock Street goes for glory at a major awards ceremony after being named as one of the best town centre locations in the UK.

The bustling street was shortlisted for a prize at the 2019 Great British High Street Awards - and is in the running to win up to £15,000 towards a local project.

Kempock Street is up for the 'rising star' gong - one of 28 locations across the UK and just seven in Scotland competing for the honour.

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Edinburgh next Thursday.

Heather McCulloch and Nick Summers, who co-own The Pirate and Bluebelle, a gallery and gift shop in Gourock, say they are keeping their fingers crossed.

Heather said: "We were delighted to hear that Kempock Street had been shortlisted for the Rising Star Category of the award and have our fingers crossed that we win on the 23rd.

"It's a great street to have a business on, with a unique selection of shops and places to eat and drink.

"Winning would be fantastic.

"It would really raise the profile of our town and hopefully let more people discover all that it has to offer."

Kempock Street was put forward for the prize by Inverclyde Council, which funded a £5 million redevelopment of the town centre four years ago, featuring a new one-way traffic system, car park and improved public areas.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, deputy leader of the council, said: "It is very exciting that Kempock Street is in the running for this prestigious national award.

"Gourock has recently benefited from a £5.2m investment programme and also sits on a stunning location on the Clyde.

"Credit is also due to the local business people who work hard to make Gourock an attractive and welcoming place for customers and visitors.

"I’m confident that Kempock Street is a strong contender."

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan encouraged local traders to get involved and attended the site visit by a judging panel last year.

He said: “Kempock Street is a success story where many local businesses are owned and run by local people.

"I hope all their hard work pays off and they receive the recognition they fully deserve."