INVERCLYDE'S largest social housing landlord has come under fire for failing to set out its plans for a massive £155 million fund to improve its crumbling housing stock - 14 months after the money was secured.

River Clyde Homes (RCH) had promised to use the investment to upgrade their 6,000 properties in order to reduce bills for tenants and make homes more energy efficient.

Now leading housing campaigner, Councillor Colin Jackson, says he is deeply concerned that despite writing repeatedly to directors and now the chief executive RCH have not identified 'a single project'.

He hit out at the lack of action and criticised RCH for 'lacking accountability' as concerns grow about repairs.

Councillor Colin Jackson has joined forces with fellow Greenock east end ward councillor Michael McCormick to highlight the desperate need for investment in places like Gabriel Street - where windows and heating have not been upgraded for nearly 30 years.

Asked by the Telegraph about plans for the fund, RCH said that investment and asset budgets have still to be approved by the board.

Councillor Jackson said: "It is hugely disappointing and worrying that 14 months on from receiving the £155 million, not a single penny has been identified as being spent on their housing stock.

"Despite the numerous requests RCH still can't tell me on what or where they intend to spend this money.

"Almost every day you pick up the Greenock Telegraph and there are families appealing for help, living in cold, damp accommodation while RCH are sitting on a huge pot of money that should be invested to help improve the quality of life of their tenants.

"And where are the RCH board? Why aren't they demanding answers? It seems that Inverclyde's largest social landlord are answerable to no-one."

RCH announced a new refinancing package of £117 million with Royal Bank of Scotland in December 2022.

This was quickly followed by a second package with Nationwide. Both included restructuring and new loan facilities.

At the time RCH executive group services director John Wright said: "This funding will help raise living standards for tenants through modernising and future-proofing existing homes with a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency.”

But Councillor Jackson says he understands that so far there is an energy strategy being compiled which will form the basis for improvements. 

He added: "We were told the sole purpose of this borrowing was to invest in their current housing stock, much of which is in desperate need of repair.

"We have written to directors several times and the CEO of RCH, asking how and where this £155 million will be used, and not a single project has been identified. 

"Since securing this money over a year ago, no work seems to have been done, and no planning applications have been submitted to Inverclyde Council. 

"This is incredibly frustrating. Every week we receive complaints from families living in damp, cold, and draughty homes and from tenants waiting months, even years, for repair work to be done in their homes. 

"There are areas in our own ward in the east end of Greenock that are in desperate need of investment. We know this is the same in different areas of Inverclyde.

"RCH need to provide an immediate update on how and where they intend to spend this money and give assurances that the full £155 million will be invested in their current housing stock.”

One area in particular that the councillors had hoped would be top of the list is Gabriel Street.

Councillor McCormick said: "There are tenants in Gabriel Street who desperately need new windows and heating. The windows haven't been replaced for 26 years and they still use old storage heaters.

"We would like to see investment in these houses and we would like to know when this will happen."

An RCH spokesperson said: "We are currently finalising our asset and investment budgets for the next financial year. The budgets are set in accordance with monies available through our funding arrangements and will be presented to our board for approval.

"Once budgets have been approved we will engage with stakeholders and advise accordingly."