THE regeneration agency criticised over its use of public cash spent in excess of £10 million on land it later emerged was worth less than nothing.

Riverside Inverclyde has so far spent almost £13m on its scheme at the waterfront in Greenock, the vast majority of which was the cost of buying James Watt Dock.

But the report into the seven years of progress of the agency found not only did Riverside Inverclyde pay real estate firm Peel Holdings over the odds for the land but the scale of the contamination on the site left it with a value of minus £6m.

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It also claims many of those consulted as part of the review have felt the agency has lacked rigour in its dealings with Peel.

Meanwhile, it has emerged Riverside Inverclyde will appear before the Scottish Parliament's local government and regeneration committee after the summer recess.

Although the meeting had been scheduled long before it was revealed Riverside Inverclyde had dramatically failed to meet key targets on jobs, homes and investment despite being awarded £60m in public cash, sources insist the findings of the Midterm Review are likely to dominate.

The review of the arm's-length Riverside Inverclyde found it had met only 7% of its 2600 job targets since 2006, working out at a cost per job cost per job of £321,000.

It has built just 5% of the 2285 new homes promised, while also securing just 1% of the private sector investment targeted.

Two leading officials, chief executive Bill Nicol and implementation manager Garry Williamson, have either left or are due to leave. Mr Nicol and Riverside Inverclyde's chairman, journalist and commentator Alf Young, have been consulted on the findings of the Deloitte review.

The report found a survey of the James Watt Dock had been carried out across April and May of this year to check on contamination levels of the site, earmarked as the centrepiece of the regeneration of the upper Clyde, complete with prestigious flats and moorings for boats.

It found the extent of the decontamination and "abnormals" works "would indicate significant liabilities in terms of costs as the site is developed and requires an assessment of Riverside Inverclyde's continuing involvement".

The report also claimed "the net value of the site was a negative land value, not +£10million" as valued in 2008, adding a leading estate agent "identified no profits would be expected in the development proposal and, in the light of the information provided, indicate a residual negative value of -£5,998,035".

It then proposes to "put the project on hold until such time as an agreed exit strategy can be developed".

Elsewhere it recommends it is "important to develop an effective partnership with Peel Holdings, allowing some progress to be made on some sites" but adds some feel Riverside Inverclyde could be more robust in its dealings with Peel to achieve better regeneration outcomes".

Riverside Inverclyde have not returned calls to comment on the reports, while Mr Young said he could not discuss the review as it had not been before the agency's board.

But one former board member took to social media platform twitter to discuss his four years with Riverside Inverclyde. Chris Osborne, a former SNP councillor, said officials from Inverclyde Council, which together with Scottish Enterprise is behind the body, had expressed concerns about the agency's progress as far back as 2010.

He said councillors and local authority officers had noted the body "was slow to downsize staff wise when Government funds were reduced" and there were "rumours of tensions over bonuses and pay awards to the chief executive".

Mr Osborne added: "By and large RI has done much good. More physical regeneration than actual job creation which is obviously disappointing. It must be remembered there was the most severe recession throughout most of it's existence. Lots of regeneration projects have suffered because of that. However, the number of jobs created most definitely is a scandal."