DEVELOPERS of a delapidated block of derelict ex MoD flats have confirmed there are no plans for demolition.

Instead, Helensburgh-based firm Osborne Interiors is exploring the possibility of refurbishing Jutland Court by using an Argyll and Bute Council grant reserved for freeing up the area's empty homes.

A spokesman for the firm said the 42 ex-Ministry of Defence houses, previously described by a resident last year as the "worst place in town", are solid structures which would benefit greatly from a refurbishment programme.

He said: "As the largest employer of construction workers in the private sector in this area, we have to constantly find work to support the �8k weekly wages bill or lay off.

"There are over 40 people directly employed by Osborne Interiors, with, in excess of 120 dependants. Additionally, there are a significant number of sub contractors and suppliers in the area.

"If these houses are refurbished, this would secure jobs for three years and provide valuable affordable housing stock to feed into a growing housing list." The site and nearby Castle Woods, comprising seven acres, was put on the market recently as a single entity.

Meanwhile, the spokesman denied rumours Jutland Court would be demolished, adding a firm decision on the future of the site would be revealed at the end of discussions.

One of the options for development of the empty properties at Jutland Court is to refurbish the existing buildings, and Osborne Interiors contacted Councillor George Freeman to discuss possible grant funding.

Last month, the council announced a pressing need for affordable housing in Helensburgh and Lomond.would be addressed with a multi-million pound action plan - as it was revealed that 1,000 families are on the housing waiting list.

The local authority will spend �18m on a number of measures, one including bringing vacant houses back into use.

Councillor Freeman said at the time: "It would be unacceptable for us to sit back and ignore these empty properties when there are so many families looking for a home within the Helensburgh and Lomond area." This week, the Lomond councillor and council housing spokesman confirmed Osborne Interiors had requested a meeting. He said: "I have been told a number of options will be presented.

"I am currently discussing this issue with housing and planning officers and hope to agree a date for the proposed meeting in the near future." Meanwhile, Councillor James Robb issued a press release two weeks ago announcing the "demolition" of Jutland Court, which was strenuously denied by Osborne Interiors. Mr Robb later retracted his statement, saying he now had it on "good authority" that the site would not be demolished - but expressed his disappointment with the move.

He told the Advertiser: "Based on the information available at the time, it was the only solution to draw.

"The matter has now been cleared up and what they do with it now is for them. It looked for a moment that this would be a great solution for all affected but it has now taken a different direction.

"Despite previous refurbishments, there have been long-running problems with these flats so neighbours are understandably disappointed the flats will now not be demolished.

"The only interest I had was the interest of the local community in seeing a resolution to the problem." Castle Woods is currently subject to a planning application by Osborne Interiors to build 48 affordable homes and 12 mainstream homes on the Open Space Protected Area (OSPA).

It has drawn a number of objections, particularly from members of Helensburgh Community Woodlands Group (HCWG), who have been campaigning for community ownership of the land.

David Adams, of HCWG, said the group welcomed any plans to redevelop Jutland Court.

He said: "Our view is that a redevelopment would take away the need to undertake development at Castle Woods as it will provide Osborne Interiors with enough work some time whilst meeting the need for affordable housing.

"If the site is sold to another developer we would be looking to work with them with a view to leasing Castle Woods from them for amenity and environmental purposes."