CHANGING the position of Helensburgh’s planned new swimming pool would NOT reduce the flood risk to the project, according to newly-published documents.

Argyll and Bute Council’s CHORD project manager, John Gordon, makes the claim in a document published on the authority’s website.

His letter, produced in response to Peter Brown, vice-convener of Helensburgh Community Council (HCC), also says waves cannot reach the building in its current planned location at the pierhead.

Mr Gordon also claims that at that location, the proposed centre will actually be more vulnerable to rain water than to spray coming over the flood defences.

The information in the new letter is based on consultation between Mr Gordon and the project’s design team and expert consultants Darnton 3B, Patrick Parsons, and flood risk expert Dr Yusuf Kaya of Kaya Consulting.

The council’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee decided last month to continue the process for further discussion. The debate is expected to continue at the committee’s next meeting on Wednesday, January 23.

But before that, Dr Brown and other representatives of HCC have been invited to a face-to-face meeting with flood risk assessors Kaya Consulting next week.

Mr Gordon’s letter was produced after the PPSL decided to ask for further information on whether moving the location of the proposed leisure centre away from the sea would reduce the risk of the building being flooded.

Mr Gordon said: “The simple answer to this question would be an unequivocal ‘no’. Moving the building would not reduce the flood risk.

“This is because the flood risk reduction measures that we have proposed in our application are designed to provide enhanced protection to the site in its entirety.

“Waves can’t reach the building, however it would be possible that spray from some waves hitting the sea defences would be capable of overtopping the defence.

“None of that spray is capable of causing any damage to the leisure building. There will be a greater volume of rainwater capable of hitting that side of the building than there will be as a result of any spray that may occur.”

Prior to last month’s meeting, the design of the flood defences was changed to increase their height by 50cm.

Mr Gordon stated that the flood risk reduction was delivered by “a number of factors”, including raising the finished levels across the site, improved sea wall defences and better surface water drainage.

He attributed comments to Dr Kaya which stated there was no justification for moving the building.

Mr Gordon also quoted Dr Kaya as saying: “The calculations being discussed are based on an event with a 200-year return period, which is a highly infrequent event which may not occur at all during the lifetime of the building.

“The design places the building at a distance where no damage is predicted even during this extreme event.”

Mr Gordon then said himself: “As our building has been set back 6.3 metres, we are confident that the leisure building will not be at risk from spray.”

Dr Brown said this week: “We’re delighted that, after many months of discussion in which we have been held at arm’s length by the project team, we have finally been invited to a face-to-face meeting with the council’s flood risk assessment contractor, from Kaya Consulting, next week.

“This will mean that we will be able to discuss and get closure on the flooding details.

“On the technical content, we still contend that there are inaccuracies in the drainage report provided to the PPSL.”

Andrew Nisbet, chairman of Live Argyll, which operates the current pool, said: “The continuing delay in getting the go ahead for this excellent new facility is very frustrating.

“I hope the latest information from the technical experts will quash any concerns that the PPSL committee may have had about the proposed location of the new leisure centre.

“I cannot stress strongly enough how operationally fragile the current facility is and, therefore, how important it is that we move ahead now with its replacement.”

Councillor Ellen Morton has also written to the Advertiser urging supporters of the plans to express their views to the council.