PROVOST Martin Brennan has written to parents and carers of children at an Inverclyde school over fears that it could be shut if a new housing development does not go ahead.

It follows comments made by Gladman Developments, who want to build 125 ‘affordable’ homes on greenbelt land in Kilmacolm.

Gladman said in the Tele that an independent report conducted for them showed that the future of Kilmacolm Primary could be in doubt without new housing.

This led to rumours circulating that the school could be closed.

Provost Brennan was so alarmed by the speculation that he has now sent a letter in his capacity as vice-convener of the education and communities committee.

It said: “I am taking the very unusual step of writing directly to you.

“I want to confirm to you in writing on behalf of Inverclyde Council that Kilmacolm Primary School is under no threat of closure at all.

“These rumours appear to be based on a press release issued on behalf of a house developer.

“The press release highlights a range of capacity figures for the school and appears to suggest that, without their development, Kilmacolm Primary would not survive.

“I can assure you that this is not the case.”

There is strong opposition in Kilmacolm to the proposals, which would see houses being built on land running up to the loch at the Knapps and at nearby North Denniston, to the south of the village.

Around 600 people attended a protest meeting organised by newly-formed Kilmacolm Greenbelt Alliance, which includes Kilmacolm Civic Trust and Kilmacolm Residents’ Association.

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan was at the meeting, and said he was impressed by the number of people attending and their commitment to opposing the new housing.

He said: “This was a magnificent public meeting.When 600 people turn out, it’s clear they mean business. They were well informed and extremely eloquent in putting forward their case.”

The MP added: “I have been in contact with Gladman to seek clarity. Historically, Gladman purchase land and sell it on to property developers.

“My primary purpose in attending the public meeting was to listen and acknowledge the mood of the room.

"I am sympathetic to many of the concerns that were raised, and I have offered my support on an ongoing basis so that the residents are kept informed and represented.

“Kilmacolm is ready for the fight ahead.”

Gladman say their proposal is in line with Scottish Government advice.

They said: “New and affordable housing for families would support growth and enable a younger population to live in the area.”

And in response to the Provost’s letter, they said: “The independent report conducted by Lichfields, which was commissioned by Gladman, raised concerns over the future viability of the school should there be no new housing in the area.”