ARGYLL and Bute Council is set to rule out spending significant sums of money to save Helensburgh's crumbling pier, according to a new report.

Papers published on Friday, June 14, by the council's executive director of development and infrastructure, Pippa Milne, reveal that several options to repair the dilapidated structure - which remains closed to all marine traffic - have been considered by authority officials.

Among them are minor repairs to the existing timber pier, costing in the region of £60,000, major repairs to reinstate all damaged sections at an estimated cost of £850,000 and the construction of a new berthing structure adjacent to the pier, priced at around £580,000.

READ MORE: 'No plans' to add pier to Helensburgh waterfront project

However, the report, which goes before the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee on Thursday, June 20, states: "Funding has not been identified for any of the current options under consideration; as such, high cost options will not be pursued."

Ms Milne says in her report: "Council officers and representatives from Helensburgh Seafront Development Project (HSDP) have now met on a number of occasions to exchange information and discuss HSDP’s plans.

"Gerard Lindsay and David Cantello from HSDP have now stated that their objective is to develop the pier to cater for small craft by installing pontoons to the east side and confirmed their understanding that refurbishment of the main pier structure is a matter for the council.

"Discussions have centred on assessing the viability of introducing these pontoons.

"As both planned works could well be inter-dependent i.e. the council’s potential plans to reinstate a safe pedestrian area and/or re-open the berth face, and the HSDP’s plans to introduce pontoons, it is proposed that liaison between both groups continues for the mutual benefit of all interested parties."

The report notes that listed building status may be required for at least some of the proposals being considered for the pier, after it was awarded category C status recently by Historic Environment Scotland.

READ MORE: Helensburgh pier given listed status by Historic Environment Scotland

A desire to see the Waverley paddle steamer return to Helensburgh is also outlined, with the option of dredging to allow the vessel to berth at the west side of the pier among the "most cost effective, and low cost, solutions" being considered.

The report adds: "At this time, it is understood that work to replace Waverley’s boilers is likely to cost in the order of £2 million.

"Although Waverley Excursions are confident that all necessary works will be carried out, it is unlikely that the Waverley will return to Helensburgh pier until the 2020 sailing season.

READ MORE: Paddle steamer Waverley faces £2million bill for new boilers

"A slow accumulation of decay, mechanical and fire damage has resulted in serious degradation of the Helensburgh Pier timber structure.

"Vessel berthing can only be permitted once strengthening works have been completed.

"Officers will continue to consider options, whilst liaising with both the Waverley Trust and HSDP."

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