A BID to rescue a £1,500 grant for Helensburgh Seafront Development Project as part of work on the town’s pier has failed by a single vote among councillors.

Lomond North Councillor George Freeman tried to have a £2,500 grant for Helensburgh Savoy Theatre Company distributed elsewhere as part of the Supporting Communities Fund.

His proposal, which also included £1,000 being given to Cove and Kilcreggan Youth Café, was backed by SNP councillors Iain S. Paterson, Richard Trail and Lorna Douglas.

But the other five councillors in attendance at a meeting of Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee on Wednesday, April 24 voted to approve the theatre company’s recommended grant.

READ MORE: D-day looms for Helensburgh and Lomond groups' funding bids

Community development officer Kirsty Moyes confirmed that the engineering study which the Seafront Development Project (HSDP) sought the grant for was understood to involve the pier.

However, some changes were made to other recommended grants – including that a recommended grant of £2,054.70 to Civil Rights First was amended to no award.

Instead, £1,554.70 will go to Cove and Kilcreggan Lunch Club, with the other £500 going to Garelochhead Senior Citizens. Neither were recommended to receive any award.

Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust was also given its recommended £2,500 grant, but only after a vote which it won by five to four.

Councillor Douglas said of the HSDP recommendation: “Why no award? There has been quite a lot around this.

“I know it has gone through changes as to who is in charge, but the group has been about for a while and did not ask for money in 2018/19. There is quite a lot of interest.”

Ms Moyes replied: “The application was for a grant towards an engineering study. Other projects might be able to evidence a greater community impact.

“We must assess the application by itself, and there was not enough impact around targeted inclusion groups.”

When Councillor Douglas stated that the study could be community-focused in the future, Ms Moyes added: “Part of the reason is the scoring matrix, which is based on community impact. That was why it did not score as well as others.”

Area committee chair Councillor Ellen Morton asked for confirmation that the study was on the pier, with Ms Moyes saying: “I understand it was on the pier area.”

READ MORE: Helensburgh backs its pier as 1,200 sign Waverley petition

Councillor Freeman said: “This is something I have a lot of sympathy for because a lot of the people [in HSDP] are volunteers.

“We keep referring to engineering work, but can you confirm that all of the other projects clearly meet the criteria?”

Ms Moyes confirmed that other projects did meet the criteria and HSDP’s application had not scored as highly.

Meanwhile, the Civil Rights First grant application was turned down after depute council leader Councillor Gary Mulvaney expressed concerns.

The group was defined in a report for the meeting as “a new organisation seeking funding to provide justice and money advice as well as authorised lay representation. They aim to work in partnership with existing service providers for referrals.”

Councillor Mulvaney said: “In the papers for Bute and Cowal’s Supporting Communities Fund, it was rejected on the basis that the grant was towards the cost of travel and adverts for service.

“Clearly in Bute there is some degree of over-provision in terms of advice. Here, we have the Citizens Advice delivering in different forms.

“There doesn’t seem that much difference but it was knocked back there. There seem to be two different views.”

Ms Moyes said: “They are scored separately, but questions are led by one officer. It is a very valid point.”

Councillor Freeman added: “When I saw they wanted money to give out justice and money advice, that to me duplicated services that the council currently provides.”

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