PRELIMINARY work to create almost 100 new homes on the former Hermitage Academy site started this week after the land was sold to a major housing developer.

A range of two, three and four bedroom Taylor Wimpey family homes are set to be built on the site, which had planning permission for 95 properties granted by Argyll and Bute Council.

The local authority announced this week that the sale of the site to Taylor Wimpey had been completed - though when asked how much it had been sold for, a spokesman said he could not say as the matter had been dealt with in private by councillors.

Preliminary ground clearance work has already got under way at the site off Campbell Drive.

Helensburgh councillor Gary Mulvaney, the council’s policy lead for strategic finance and capital regeneration programme, welcomed the completion of the sale of the land.

He said: “There are already over 50 houses and flats on another part of the site and when construction of the new homes by Taylor Wimpey West Scotland gets underway there will be a significantly increased supply of houses made available for local people and, others hoping to move to this area.

“As a council we are committed to working with Taylor Wimpey West Scotland to support our local economy and community by creating and supporting local jobs and apprenticeships.

“The funds from the sale will benefit our communities by going directly to providing services they tell us are important to them.

“I would also express my thanks to the council team who worked so hard to make this sale happen.”

Stephen Andrew, technical director for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, said this is the companies first development in Helensburgh.

He said: “We hope to begin pre-construction works within the next few weeks and naturally we will keep the local community informed of our planned site start that will mark the first milestone of this exciting development.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing forward a development that offers buyers a great choice of new family homes in range of sizes and styles to appeal to a broad range of buyers.”

“Securing this development marks our ongoing commitment, investment and strong track record of delivering excellent quality developments of family homes right across the west of Scotland.”

Also welcoming news of the sale and the arrival of machinery on the site was Helensburgh community councillor Nigel Millar.

He said: “It is over a year since planning permission was granted, so the community council is delighted work is about to start on bringing much needed new homes to Helensburgh.”