A SENIOR councillor says he is worried contaminated water could flow from the taps of new social homes set for the toxic former Ravenscraig Hospital site - and that the project should never have been approved.

Chris McEleny says he has a major concern about the purity of drinking water once 198 houses are built and available for rent to families.

The councillor — who is bidding to be Inverclyde's next MSP — has also issued a rallying call for people to support Branchton residents in their opposition to the development.

He said: "One of my big fears is, when do we sample the tap water that people drink after the whole entire project has been built?

"If water samples are not favourable, is the whole project going to be dismantled?

"No, of course not.

"We're going to get to a situation where there's going to have to be a nobble done and that really concerns me."

Mr McEleny praised the people of Branchton for turning out in force at the weekend protest held against the development, describing it as a 'good example' of a community coming together.

But he added: "Unfortunately it's only really coming to prominence after the decision's been made.

"People in Branchton might have lost the battle because the decision may well not be overturned.

"But I think the people of Inverclyde need to support the people of Branchton so that we win the war.

"For too long social housing has been seen as housing we can just build on contaminated land.

"One of the residents at the protest mentioned Kilmacolm, which is a place with massive amounts of land that are protected because they say people up there deserve green space.

"But they could build quality social housing there, whereas people in Branchton and Greenock are always left with a situation that their green space has always got to be the social housing.

"Going forward it just can't be acceptable anymore that social housing is seen as something you just put on land that no-one would want to buy a house on.

"As the residents have highlighted, why do private housing developers never build on contaminated land?

"It's because they know they'll never sell but yet we expect people who are in social housing to go and live on contaminated land.

"I think this project should never have went ahead."

Councillor David Wilson, a former director of Ravenscraig developer Link Group Ltd, last week declared that the campaign against social housing there had been orchestrated by a handful of people he branded 'nimbys'.

An online petition against the development on the Change.org website has so far been signed by 277 people.

Cllr McEleny said: "There's many other issues, never mind the contaminated land, such as road safety, the amount of traffic that's already on that A78 as we see today.

"It's almost standstill and we're going to add another several thousand car journeys a week to this road.

"It's not sustainable."

A Police Scotland Economic Crime Unit investigation into land issues at the Ravenscraig site is ongoing.

Link Group last month decided not to respond to any further queries from the Telegraph.