West Blackhall Street regeneration

It’s great to see work starting on the regeneration of West Blackhall Street.

There is no denying that Greenock’s traditional high street has seen better times and something had to be done to revive its fortunes.

A £3.2 million investment is now in place thanks to funding from the council, active travel organisation Sustrans Scotland and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT).

The aim is to make West Blackhall Street more attractive and accessible for residents, visitors and businesses.

This major redevelopment will include a new one-way system from Westburn Street straight through to Grey Place to simplify access and parking down one side of the street only.

The street will be opened up to encourage more active travel, such as walking, cycling and wheeling, and there will be new public realm spaces with seating and trees to make the area a more desirable place to visit.

Yes, there will be disruption between now and the anticipated early autumn completion and this will include phased road closures.

The aim of the project is to attract more shoppers and businesses back to West Blackhall Street, so hopefully the disruption will be worth it.

Following on from the completion of the cruise ship visitor centre last year and with two £20m Levelling Up projects in the pipeline, these are exciting times for Greenock town centre.

Community Council elections

Could you make a difference to your community?

Now is your chance because nominations are being accepted to join one of our 11 community councils and become a community councillor.

A minimum of five people are needed to legally form each community council and there can be as many as eight and 11 on each, depending on the area and size of the population. If there are any more than the maximum quota elections will be held.

Community councils are the third tier of government, bridging the gap between communities, council and national governments and they really do play such an important role.

Unfortunately, in the past in some areas the level of support required has not been there meaning community councils were not formed.

Your community needs your support now more than ever.

Our 11 community councils are: Gourock; Greenock Central; Greenock East; Greenock South West; Greenock West and Cardwell Bay; Holefarm and Cowdenknowes; Inverkip and Wemyss Bay; Kilmacolm and Quarrier's Village; Larkfield, Braeside and Branchton; Port Glasgow East; and Port Glasgow West.

You can sign up now on the council website at www.inverclyde.gov.uk/ccelection before 4pm on February 7.

It’s an honour

Inverclyde was well-represented in the King’s New Year Honours List.

Congratulations to council chief executive Louise Long on being awarded an MBE.

Louise has been an excellent ambassador for Inverclyde since joining the council, initially as chief officer of the health and social care partnership (HSCP) in 2017, before becoming the first female chief executive in 2021.

Well done also to Elizabeth Ovens of the famous McCaskie’s Butchers in Wemyss Bay on her MBE, to Girlguiding president Margaret Douglas Rae, from Kilmacolm, on receiving a British Empire Medal (BEM), and to Beacon Arts Centre chairman Alex Reedijk on his OBE.

All are worthy of the recognition for their work and for flying the flag for Inverclyde.