HELENSBURGH’S pier has been designated as a category C listed structure by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

The pier, which has been closed to all marine traffic since last October on safety grounds, was found to meet the criteria for listing “mainly for its rarity as a largely surviving 19th century stone and timber former steamer pier, and for its historical relationship with the town and Henry Bell”.

A decision was taken in April to award the pier listed status after inspectors commended its historical significance.

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A report on the decision states: “The pier stands as the visual and historic maritime link between Helensburgh and Greenock, Gourock and also Dunoon, the other main towns on the tourism and industrial routes of the Clyde estuary.

“The position of the pier at the centre of the seafront makes it a key element of the seafront setting and it represents both the history of paddlesteamer tourism and the importance of Bell in developing this type of transport.”

The report says that the condition of the pier, which was first built in 1816, “has deteriorated and it has lost some of its fabric” but “the quality of its design can still be seen”.

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A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland said: “Helensburgh pier was proposed to us by an interested party in October 2018.

“Anyone can propose a site or place for designation and our role is to assess these proposals for listing.

“We consulted Argyll and Bute Council both as owners and as the planning authority.”

Jackie Baillie MSP said the decision underlines the importance of the town’s asset.

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She said: “This is encouraging news and I believe this strengthens the case for investment.

“I have consistently supported the refurbishment of the pier as it is part of our tourism offer and central to the local economy of Helensburgh.

“I hope that once the Waverley paddle steamer is repaired it will be able to return to a beautifully refurbished pier. Category C designation helps make the case.”