THE community group behind plans to breathe new life into Helensburgh's pier says it's "extremely disappointed" to learn that the paddle steamer Waverley won't be visiting the town in 2019.

The Helensburgh Seafront Development Project (HSDP) issued a statement after the historic ship's operators, Waverley Excursions, announced on Thursday that the vessel would not call at Helensburgh during its summer cruising season on the Clyde in June, July and August.

The announcement was made amid ongoing concerns over the integrity of the wooden framework at the end of the pier, which is owned by Argyll and Bute Council, and has been closed to all marine traffic on safety grounds under a Notice to Mariners issued last October.

Instead the Waverley's owners will lay on a bus to take pre-booked Helensburgh passengers to and from Kilcreggan, where the steamer will make additional calls this summer.

READ MORE: Waverley won't visit Helensburgh at all in 2019, say ship's operators

HSDP, whose trustees have been in talks with the council over the pier's future, said in their statement: "Helensburgh Seafront Development Project trustees and members are extremely disappointed to learn that that PS Waverley will not be calling at Helensburgh pier during 2019.

"We had very much hoped that Argyll and Bute Council would have formulated a contingency plan to – at the very least – carry out initial and practical repairs to lift the temporary Notice to Mariners that is currently in place.

"We understand the frustration and anger that will be felt by all on hearing this news that Helensburgh has lost one of its best known tourist attractions.

"In light of this discouraging news HSDP will continue to liaise with council officials to bring about the required remedial actions.

"We ask that the public show its support for our endeavours by any suitable means.

"We sincerely believe that, through our combined efforts, we can bring about the repair and regeneration of Helensburgh’s iconic pier for the benefit of the community."

A report commissioned by the council on the condition of the pier was due to be published in March following a structural analysis, but its findings have yet to be made public – though an authority official told Helensburgh and Lomond councillors last month that the council was "hedging its bets" over the scale of the required repairs.

READ MORE: Council admits uncertainty over Helensburgh pier repairs

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “A full structural analysis of the pier by our design services team is ongoing.

"Updates will be provided once more detailed information is available.”

For further information, please visit the Helensburgh Seafront Development Project Facebook page.