TALKS are underway about the possibility of bringing a piece of shipbuilding history on the Clyde back into use.

Ferguson Marine Engineering has lodged a statutory notice with the city council about using the former Govan Graving Docks for ship repair and maintenance.

Future phases of the development could include shops, food and drink, business uses, general industry, residential, leisure, live/work units, a pub, hot food takeaway and outdoor recreation spaces.

The Graving Docks were built between 1869 and 1898 for the Clyde Navigation Trust and were used extensively for winter ship overhauls and refits of Clyde steamers.

They closed almost 30 years ago and have been lying derelict and un-used ever since.

The Ferguson Marine plan means the city council now has two development proposals for the Graving Docks site – one from New City Vision and one from Ferguson Marine.

Jim McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers which is the parent company of Ferguson Marine, said: "We have put a lot of investment into the Port Glasgow facility to build new vessels. What we want to do next is invest in repair and maintenance service.

"The Govan Graving Docks are fantastic docks, they are solid granite so they are in good conditions, you’d have to repair the gates and pumps and so on, but the actual structure of the docks is rock solid. "It would be a great facility for repair and maintenance work, and there is plenty of that about. There is a market for it. In Scotland we don’t really have a great capability for that."

He said the site would require initial investment of around £10 million to £12m and would create 50 to 60 jobs initially, before “growing substantially”.

“It has a lot of potential,” he added.

Ferguson Marine is located in Port Glasgow and is the last remaining shipbuilder on the lower Clyde and the only builder of merchant ships on the river.

New City Vision has owned the Graving Docks site for many years but only recently submitted an application to redevelop it.

Their scheme involves a mixed use development including housing, a museum/heritage centre, restaurant, retail, offices and hotel with public realm improvements.

A council spokesman said: “While we do not comment on individual planning applications, we welcome any proposal that could continue the regeneration of the Clyde and bring new jobs and facilities that the people of Govan and indeed the whole of Glasgow could benefit from.”