THE site of a new female prison in Glasgow was earmarked for "desperately needed" social housing for the elderly.

Maryhill Housing submitted a bid last year for the site of the area's former health centre and it was rejected.

The Chief Executive, Bryony Willett, has said she was "disappointed" that it had not acquired the site owned by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The health board said another housing association had been the preferred bidder but "regrettably" the sale had not been concluded. .

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) acquired the site in the past few weeks, It is understood that Maryhill Housing was not aware that the site had come back onto the market.

The Community Custody Unit (CCU) will be based on the site of the former Maryhill Health Centre and will provide facilities for around 20 women. It is due to be open by the end of 2020.

It is one of two to be opened in Scotland, with the Maryhill site managing "lower-risk female prisoners" who will stay in the venue.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the sale to SPS was backed by Glasgow City Council. Residents claim they have been kept in the dark about plans for the CCU.

Bryony Willett, Chief Executive of Maryhill Housing, said: "We submitted a bid for in 2016 for housing for the elderly but we were outbid.

"Of course we were disappointed. If the site had come back on the market we would have submitted another bid.

"We do not have a clear view (on the CCU) but we are trying to find out more.

"We will be doing our best for the tenants of Greater Maryhill."

William Carroll, a Wyndford resident, and a board member for Cube Housing, said: "I think it's disgraceful. Social housing is desperately needed.

"I think it's just convenient. I don't think the Justice Minister really thought about it. They have identified a site in Maryhill and thought, that will do."

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison service said: "We acquired the site quite recently. We had been looking for a site in Glasgow for two years.

"We had extensive discussions with Glasgow City Council to identify a suitable site.

"We can understand if people are disappointed if the site isn't being used for what they wanted it to be used for.

"However, we are confident that the unit will be of positive benefit to the Greater Glasgow area."

Avril Jordan, a pensioner, who also lives in the Wyndford area said: "They (SPS) have said they were ? for the community but no one knew this was happening.

"We found out on the evening news and next day's papers."

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: "There are national regulations governing the disposal of NHS sites to ensure that property is bought, sold and leased at a price and on other conditions which are the best that can be obtained in the public interest.

"As part of these regulations, property being disposed of must be offered to other public bodies before being sold on the open market.

"When the site was initially identified for disposal, there were no public bodies interested in acquiring it.

"It was therefore launched on the open market and the preferred bidder was another housing association.

"Regrettably, the sale was not concluded, and the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) identified this site as an option for their future plans.

"Advice was sought from Scottish Government (SG) and it was agreed that SPS could acquire the property via the internal SG transfer process."

A government spokesman said: "We will continue to work closely with housing associations, community groups and others to further our ambitions for housing. That includes planning system that works for everyone, and places a high priority on the delivery of good quality housing that contributes to successful and sustainable communities."