Argyll and Bute is set to pocket almost £20 million to invest in local communities across the area.

Argyll and Bute is one of four council areas in Scotland to receive levelling up funding announced UK Government Autumn Statement on Wednesday afternoon (November 22).

The investment forms part of the government's Levelling Up Fund, which will see more than £122m being put into improving towns and cities across the whole of Scotland. 

We previously reported that plans to bring Helensburgh Pier back into use as a transport facility did not appear in a council bid for the funding.

The bid for the cash from the Conservative government's Levelling Up Fund, revealed that a proposed bid for £50m for a transport-themed "Connected Argyll and Bute" project will instead be focussed on the Whisky Islands of Islay and Jura and on the North Lorn Economic Growth Zone.

But the report published last year was the first time that the removal of Helensburgh Pier from the proposed bid had been made public.

The pier has been closed to all marine traffic since October 2018 amid concern at the deteriorating state of the wooden section at its southernmost (seaward) end.

A new hydrogen and electric bus service was proposed, as well as a cycletrack linking Helensburgh with Rosneath but it was also not put forward.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The pier has been closed to marine traffic since 2018The pier has been closed to marine traffic since 2018 (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: Helensburgh Pier dropped from council's bid for major UK government funds

Councillor Robin Currie, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: "This is very welcome news.

"Economic success for Argyll and Bute matters for all of us who live and work here, and, also for the wider national economy, given the area’s contribution to key business sectors, such as tourism or food and drink.

"To deliver local and national benefit, Argyll and Bute needs local and national support.

"There had been announcements about levelling up funding the day before the Autumn Statement and it’s fair to say that I was extremely disappointed not to see Argyll and Bute included at that stage.

"We take every opportunity to promote Argyll and Bute’s case for investment and support.

"This included me raising the need for funding for Argyll and Bute as an island authority with Michael Gove, secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities at the UK Islands Forum in October.

"I am very pleased therefore that Argyll and Bute is one of just four Levelling Up Partnerships announced for Scotland in the Autumn Statement.

"We look forward to working with the UK Government in turning this significant investment into economic growth.”

Work will begin on developing potential projects for delivery once further detail about any criteria for using the investment is available, said the council.