A HUGE £100m housing and retail development on the former IBM site spearheaded by Greenock businessmen Sandy and James Easdale has moved one step closer.

A consortium led by the McGill's Buses owners has lodged a formal application with Inverclyde Council planners asking for permission to redevelop the 70-acre Spango Valley.

The proposals are for 450 new homes alongside areas for community use, leisure, retail and industrial units.

The development would cost around £100m and create a total of 430 jobs.

The Easdale brothers jointly own the former IBM site - bought for £1.5m in December 2018 - along with top building firm Advance Construction.

An application for planning permission in principle is now pending with the local authority.

Sandy Easdale said: "We're delighted that the planning application has been submitted as we look to deliver this massive opportunity for the local area. "We believe that these proposals will have a significant positive economic impact across Inverclyde, providing a large mix and number of quality new homes, as well as modern employment, commercial and retail space. "Not only will the development attract new people to the area, but it will be desirable to those already living here."

The planning application follows two public consultation events in October last year at St Andrew's Church hall in Auchmead Road.

Seamus Shields, managing director of Advance Construction, said: "We're pleased to have reached this key milestone on what is such an important project locally. "Delivery of the project would provide a lasting legacy and crucially, provide a significant social and economic boost to the local area. "We're proud to be playing a key role in regenerating this high-profile brownfield site and contributing towards the growth of local businesses and retailers."

The Spango Valley blueprint has been developed in partnership with leading design agency Barton Willmore.

Colin Laverty, the firm's planning director, said: "These proposals are a culmination of a huge amount of positive design and technical work undertaken by our project team, including a full environmental impact assessment. "We're excited to be involved in such a high-profile project which will leave a genuine, lasting legacy on the surrounding area. "Not only will it deliver much needed new homes, but a range of complimentary uses which will transform the site into a high-quality, vibrant, attractive environment to live and work. "We look forward to further positive discussions with Inverclyde Council as we look to progress these proposals towards construction."