A GROUP working to restore Helensburgh’s crumbling pier says it fears that the iconic paddle steamer Waverley may not be able to return to the town “for the foreseeable future”.

Helensburgh Seafront Development Project [HSDP] is also considering its next move towards its efforts to help bring the pier back into use.

The Advertiser reported last week that repairs to the pier could cost up to £250,000 a year, with Argyll and Bute Council unsure where the money might come from.

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A spokesperson for the project said: “Members of HSDP met recently with Argyll and Bute Council’s marine operations manager, Stewart Clark, who gave an update on the situation with Helensburgh pier.

“We are disappointed that the council has not committed more funding to the pier and, as a result of this, PS Waverley is unlikely to call at Helensburgh for the foreseeable future.

“This is very sad for Helensburgh and its aspirations as a day-tripper tourist destination, more so as we hear news that the Scottish Government has committed £1 million towards PS Waverley’s fund-raising target of £2.3m which will enable the ship to sail again in 2020.

“The HSDP has received the final draft of its feasibility study and we are now considering our next move. We would hope to make further comment within the coming weeks.”

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An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “We are investing £85,000 of Town Centre Funding to ensure the pier remains safe for pedestrian access.

“As stated previously, we are as keen as everyone else to have the Waverley calling at Helensburgh again. However, all of the repair options identified as possible routes for the pier to safely reopen to vessels come with significant costs, for which there is currently no available budget.”