A MASTERPLAN to transform Greenock town centre will be demanded by SNP councillors in next month’s local authority budget.

Cllr Christopher Curley, the group’s regeneration spokesman, says they will be asking for cash to be set aside to create a future vision which builds on ideas developed by the Greenock town centre charette consultation two years ago.

Removing the A78 from the town centre and identifying a new site for West College Scotland are two of the ideas Cllr Curley insists could make Greenock thrive.

Cllr Curley said: “We need to focus on making Greenock more people-friendly.

"If you drive through it at the moment, it does not appear to be nice place.

“The first thing I would do is get rid of the A78 going through the town centre, by perhaps creating a bypass round the town centre.

“I also think a new college site needs to be identified so it is closer to the town centre.

"We need to bring the students into the town centre and we can then develop the town centre economy to meet that demand.

“There’s so many opportunities in Greenock.

"We should be thriving and at the moment we’re not.

"We are proposing as a group that officers consider developing a masterplan for the town centre and money is put into doing that in the upcoming budget.”

Cllr Curley added he believes the time has come to fix mistakes made in the 1970s, which he believes have led to Greenock falling behind today.

The Inverclyde East representative added: “I think things which happened back in the 1970s have had a real effect.

"Everything was geared towards cars, so you have lots of underpasses and the train stations are quite far from the town centre.

“We need to make it less car-centric and more people-focused.”

The council budget will be set on March 11.

Council leader Stephen McCabe said last week his call for investment in core council budgets had been 'ignored' when the Scottish Government delivered its budget on Thursday.

The Labour man insisted there were 'hidden cuts' despite claims the budget will deliver an increase to councils.