ANGRY Greenock residents have hit out after their external insulation scheme hit a brick wall.

Householders previously invited to take part in energy efficiency improvement works in Cowdenknowes have had their deposits refunded following an alleged 'miscommunication' between the organisations involved.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the scheme is being delivered over three phases by Inverclyde Council and the Wise Group along with contractor Everwarm and social housing landlord River Clyde Homes.

But nine private households, earmarked for the work in phase two and three of the project, say they have been let down.

Bosses at The Wise Group say the residents were refunded because River Clyde Homes took a decision not to carry out the works on their own properties in phase two and three.

Norman McNeil, who is the treasurer of the Cowdenknowes Residents' Association, today described the situation as a 'shambles'.

He said: "River Clyde Homes committed to phase one but they're not committing to phase two or phase three.

"It's having an impact on the residents who stay in quarter villas, as some of them are homeowners who want it done - but the other properties are River Clyde Homes.

"They should never have said they were going to do it if they were not going to do the whole lot."

Inverclyde councillors Tommy McVey and John Crowther have taken up the issue on behalf of the residents.

Cllr McVey said: "RCH and the Wise Group need to understand that this is people they are dealing with here, and not just numbers on a spreadsheet.

"I sincerely hope that RCH commit funding to phases two and three of this project as soon as possible.

"This will be of benefit to both tenants and homeowners."

Councillor Crowther believes there has been a major 'miscommunication' between the organisations involved.

He said: "I suspect there has been either a misunderstanding or a miscommunication between the groups.

"But my worry is that a number of residents under phase two/three who have been promised that this work will be done are now finding that their houses will no longer be part of this programme.

"This is very disappointing and I hope that RCH will reconsider their decision in the next financial year."

A spokesperson from River Clyde Homes rejected claims they had committed to phases two and three of the project.

They said: "All of the properties in the area managed by River Clyde Homes already meet the Scottish Government’s energy efficiency standards.

"We have been clear all along, and this has been acknowledged by all the parties involved, that we cannot commit to any further phases of work until we settle our budgets for the next financial year."

A spokesperson at the Wise Group said: "Phase one of our funded external wall insulation programme to private residents in the Cowdenknowes area began in January 2019.

"To date, 98 homes are more energy-efficient through this programme alone and over 2,100 homes have been made more efficient in Inverclyde as a whole.

"Following initial contact by the Wise Group with residents identified for phases two and three of the programme, River Clyde Homes took the decision not to carry out works on their properties in these areas as they already meet energy efficiency standards for social housing.

"As a result, nine private households previously invited to take part in energy efficiency improvement works have been impacted.

"They have been notified and deposits refunded.

“The Wise Group has an excellent working relationship with River Clyde Homes.

"We have worked together to deliver significant energy efficiency programmes to date and we will continue this in the years to come."

A spokesperson for Inverclyde Council said the insulation work is not straightforward due to the complexities of properties where there are a mix of homeowners and social housing tenants.

They said: "The insulation work hasn’t stalled.

"Work is continuing well and is onsite.

"The first phase of the work in the area involved 106 homes.

"Phases two and three involves us contacting the owners of a further 228 homes to see if they want to take part in the scheme.

“With schemes like these there can be problems with flats and semi-detached properties with more than one owner.

"It isn’t possible to do the work on ‘half a house’ or part of a tenement so all the owners need to agree before the work can go ahead on specific properties.

"There a number of properties where we are working with the owners to resolve issues like this.”