A HELENSBURGH councillor has expressed hope that the town’s Seafront Development Project will reconsider its decision to disband.

Councillor Richard Trail, who represents the area on the Argyll and Bute Harbour Board, said that the group’s work was “essential” towards Helensburgh pier’s future.

As revealed in the Advertiser earlier this month, David Cantello, chair of Helensburgh Seafront Development Project (HSDP), announced the group’s decision to abandon the project, branding further efforts as "futile".

Councillor Trail said: “It is disappointing that the local group who had been working alongside the council to ensure a future for Helensburgh pier have disbanded.

"Without their enthusiasm it will make it harder to convince the council to invest and make the repairs necessary to bring back the Waverley to Helensburgh.

READ MORE: Saving Helensburgh pier branded a 'hopeless cause' as restoration group disbands

“I can understand their frustration with the slow pace at which the council works. But their input will be essential to keep alive the future prospects for the pier. I hope that they will reconsider.

“Across Europe the great rivers are busy with marine traffic, both commercial and leisure. Unfortunately Glasgow has turned its back on the Clyde.

“The Waverley is the last of the fleet of steamers that used to carry thousands on day trips to Rothesay and Dunoon. It would be a shame not to see it returning to Helensburgh.”

Meanwhile, Lomond North Councillor George Freeman stated his surprise at the HSDP’s decision.

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He said: “From memory, there has been very little contact between the group and the area committee over recent years and I had assumed that this project was no longer being pursued.

“It may be that the group has had discussions with individual Helensburgh councillors but if so, I have not been made aware of them.

“As far as I am concerned, the responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the pier rests with the council although I am not aware of any discussion between members of the council’s administration and officers to have funding allocated to try and bring the pier back to an operational condition.”

Announcing HSDP’s decision, Mr Cantello said: “It is with great regret that the trustees of the Helensburgh Seafront Development Project announce that they are going to wind-up their charitable organisation and discontinue their attempts to save the pier and use it as a focus for marine activities to benefit the people and business of the town.

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“The council has continued down its path of allowing the pier to deteriorate to such an extent that it is now unusable by marine traffic and are now fencing it off to allow only its use as a pedestrian walkway.

“Sadly, we have come to the conclusion that we can no longer expend time, effort and people’s money in pursuing what appears to be a hopeless cause.”

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council previously told the Advertiser: “We have met with and actively engaged with HSDP to consider various options for the pier. Officers have provided help and support including technical advices and surveys.

“A number of options were taken to the Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee in June 2019. These options were ruled out due to a combination of practical elements and cost. In addition, officers liaised with Waverley Excursions to try and find an effective and low-cost solution to allow the Waverley to berth. Unfortunately, funding for large-scale infrastructure was not available.

“The council was able to allocate £85,000 to make the pier safe for pedestrian use including installing new hand rails.”

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