HELENSBURGH pier could be included in plans for the town’s new £19 million waterfront leisure centre after all - following an admission by Argyll and Bute Council that it will have to relaunch the process to find a new contractor for the work.

The authority says that "a number of potential bidders had responded to the local authority’s initial tender" issued earlier this year and the contract for construction was due to be awarded in August.

However, the council revealed on Tuesday afternoon that a discrepancy had been uncovered and bidding will have to be restarted, further delaying the development which is already behind schedule and over budget.

The announcement also opens up the prospect of using the pier, which received listed status by Historic Environment Scotland recently, to deliver the new leisure centre and swimming pool effectively.

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

The council said in a statement: “Complex projects like the waterfront development must follow strict procurement processes and in this instance the council has identified that an inadvertent technical breach occurred in the initial response it received to the tender. Therefore the council will re-launch the tender process.

“Helensburgh pier could play a key part in delivering the town’s waterfront development successfully.

“As well as ensuring legal compliance, this next tender will include the option of using Helensburgh pier to deliver the new leisure centre and swimming pool development effectively.

READ MORE: Argyll and Bute Council 'will not pursue' high-cost Helensburgh pier options

“While progressing the re-tender process will temporarily pause construction of the waterfront development, it will allow the council to focus resources on putting into action the £85,000 investment agreed for Helensburgh’s pier at the council meeting of Thursday, June 27.

“The pier is one of the projects across Argyll and Bute that will benefit from an allocation of £1.2 million from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund.

"The council agreed that £85,000 should be invested in pedestrian access enhancements at the pier.”

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, policy lead for strategic finance and capital regeneration programme, said: “The old chestnut, that no good deed goes unpunished, seems to perfectly illustrate this situation.

READ MORE: Report raises fears over Helensburgh waterfront affordability

“The procurement rules are complex and strict to ensure a fair process for all.

“Having taken legal advice, the lowest risk approach is to re-set the tender process and start again. Not ideal, but better than a challenge later.

"On a positive note, council officers will be able to focus on developing details of the £85,000 investment in the pier.

“We know this matters to local people and look forward to work beginning on it."