PLANS to knock down the former McPherson Centre in Gourock and replace it with new homes have been given the green light by councillors despite objections.

The proposal from Titan Homes for 22 semi-detached houses in McPherson Drive went before elected members on the planning board.

They decided to give the green light, with the application unanimously approved.

The McPherson Centre was controversially closed down by the council back in 2018 having previously housed a service for adults with learning disabilities.

It has since remained vacant and overgrown, becoming a target for vandals.

The 22 three-bedroom homes will all private front and rear gardens and parking, alongside on-street visitor bays.

In light of objections received that the land had been left to the people of Gourock, deputy council leader Jim Clocherty questioned whether the site was 'common good land' during the debate.

He also demanded assurances from planning bosses that charging points for electric cars would be provided.

Councillor Clocherty said: "We’ve got to make sure there is no common good land involved.

"If it is, it’s a whole different ball game.

"Also, when we are doing new-builds should we not put in that they require charging points for vehicles?

"Should we not be insisting on this?"

Solicitor Jim Kerr told the hearing the site was not common good land and said this had been 'researched a number of times'.

Stuart Jamieson, Inverclyde Council's interim director for environment and economic recovery, said charging points were part of the proposals and this would be added to the approval conditions.

He added this would also be a consideration for future housing applications.

Ten of the new homes will front onto Tower Drive while the remainder will take access from a new road connecting to McPherson Drive.

Those who opposed the development suggested alternative uses for the land should have been considered, while others expressed concern about the removal of trees and pressure on schools, Gourock Health Centre and surrounding roads.

Mr Jamieson stated in his report the trees on the site were not protected and he rejected a last-minute request for a preservation order at the board meeting.

In his summary of the plans, Mr Jamieson said: "The application site is within an existing residential area and the proposed development is acceptable in terms of design, density, access and parking provision, residential amenity, flooding and drainage and ecology.

"Whilst I am mindful of the objections received, there are no material considerations that suggest that planning permission should not be granted, subject to the conclusion of a legal agreement relating to the contribution towards off-site play provision."