THE Helensburgh community group hoping to breathe new life into the town's pier is set to see its bid for funding from Argyll and Bute Council turned down.

The Helensburgh Seafront Development Project (HSDP) has applied to the council's Supporting Communities Fund for a grant of £2,500 towards an engineering study.

But a newly-published report recommends that HSDP should not be awarded a penny from the fund.

HSDP is in talks with the council over the pier's future after the facility was shut to marine traffic last year on safety grounds – causing the operators of the paddle steamer Waverley to announce that the famous ship would not call at Helensburgh at all this summer.

Since then the council has admitted that it has no budget to repair the pier; that the cost of making it fit for use could be close to £1m; and that the repairs, if money can be found to carry them out, might not be complete in time for the Waverley to call, not just in 2019 but in 2020 too.

READ MORE: Pier may not be fixed until 2020 – and repair costs could near £1m

According to documents prepared for a meeting of the council's Helensburgh and Lomond area committee next week, the HSDP bid is one of four recommended for refusal.

The others are from the Cove and Kilcreggan Lunch Club, the Cove and Kilcreggan Youth Cafe, and Garelochhead Senior Citizens, which had applied for sums of between £500 and £2,000.

A total of 20 Helensburgh and Lomond groups have applied for financial help from the fund, with 16 of them recommended to receive some or all of the amount they have requested.

A final decision on who gets what will be made when the area committee meets in Helensburgh on Wednesday, April 24.

The report prepared for next week's meeting does not state why any of the applications have been recommended for approval or refusal.

HSDP vice-chairman Gerard Lindsay said it would not be appropriate for the group to comment until the committee decides on which projects should be funded.

Community-based projects are able to apply for grants of up to £2,500 from the Supporting Communities Fund, with allocations decided once a year in all four geographical sub-divisions of Argyll and Bute.

Meanwhile, HSDP members will be present at Helensburgh pier this weekend, at a 'Wave for the Waverley' demonstration aimed at displaying support for the paddle steamer's return to Helensburgh.

READ MORE: Helensburgh pier to host 'demo' in support of Waverley this weekend

Campaigners – including HSDP representatives – will be present at the pier at 11am on Saturday, April 20.

HSDP received £2,000 in 2016 from the council's Third Sector Grants fund – the predecessor to the Supporting Communities Fund – towards the cost of a feasibility study for its plans to regenerate the pier and West Bay, but returned the money, unspent, the following year after it was unable to secure match funding from other sources for the study.

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