HELENSBURGH Community Council could end up being unfairly blamed if plans for the town’s £18 million waterfront redevelopment suffer any delays.

That’s the view of two members of the community council after the group discussed the plans for the first time since Argyll and Bute officials said the plans should be approved.

The community council is the only statutory consultee to have lodged an objection, citing concerns over car parking, unsatisfactory facilities, the location of the building, the lack of a firm commitment to a new skate park, and inadequate flood risk measures.

Speaking at the community council’s October meeting last week, Nigel Millar, who chairs HCC’s planning group, warned: “Speaking to one or two potential users of the new facility, they say ‘cut out the debate, this is a badly needed facility’. They want the new pool up and running as soon as possible.

“What worries me is that we’re going to be tarred with the brush of blame for holding it up.

“The brush should properly be applied to Argyll and Bute Council, but I’m worried that HCC and other objectors are going to be blamed for this not being built.”

And fellow HCC member John Tacchi added: “We have to be very, very careful. If it’s delayed or it doesn’t happen, someone must get the blame, and you can bet your boots it’s not going to be anybody at Argyll and Bute Council.

“I think the best thing we can do is to say ‘here’s our submission, we have nothing further to add to it’.”

But Mr Millar replied: “I don’t think we should turn the other cheek. We have a very good case.”

Vice-convener Dr Peter Brown said he shared that concern – but insisted HCC had to represent the views of the Helensburgh public, more than half of whom said in an HCC opinion survey this year that they were not satisfied with the overall proposal.

He said: “We have to represent the views of the community, and that is what we’re doing.

“We support the desire for a new swimming pool. That has not changed. The existing building is beyond the end of its life.

“But we don’t think the current proposal in its detail is sufficient and is what the council could get for its £18.4 million.

“We’re putting forward the views of the community to make sure we’re getting the best for the community.”