A potential bid for UK Government funding could see marine traffic able to berth at Helensburgh Pier again, a report has revealed.
Argyll and Bute Council has published details of a possible bid to the Levelling Up fund, which aims to support smaller transport projects, town centre and high street regeneration, and cultural and heritage assets.
And a project which has the working title ‘Connected Helensburgh’ forms part of a possible bid for £50m of funding for projects across Argyll and Bute.
The proposed initiative includes the installation of “a modern berthing facility” at the pier, which has been unable to accommodate marine traffic since October 2018.
Planned cycle routes linking Dumbarton with Rosneath, a hydrogen/electric bus service potentially linking to Glasgow Airport, and a railway station at Garelochhead, also feature in the plans should any bid be successful.
Council officials are currently working towards submitting the bid, and a further bid for £20m of funding for regeneration in other parts of Argyll and Bute, by the end of the 2021/22 financial year in the spring.
The report detailing what each bid would involve will go before the full council at its virtual meeting on Thursday. It acknowledges that the bidding process is “highly competitive.”
Executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “Helensburgh is home to HMNB Clyde which continues to expand through the Maritime Change project.
“To assist the continued integration of the base with the wider community, it is considered a further substantial investment is required in terms of transport connectivity.
“This project will include the completion of the Dumbarton to Rosneath cycle way depending on the ready availability of land.
“[It will also include] the development of a hydrogen/electric bus service and the purchase of buses to serve the community and the workers at the base and Colgrain with a possible link to Glasgow Airport together with the development of an additional rail halt at Garelochead which is currently subject to feasibility work.
“In addition, it is intended to repair the structural integrity of Helensburgh wooden pier together with the installation of a modern berthing facility helping to complete the investment in Helensburgh Waterfront and create a new facility that enables marine connectivity to re-establish itself to Helensburgh town centre.”
Should the potential £50m transport bid be successful, the Helensburgh projects would share the pot with projects to improve infrastructure on Islay and Jura, and to boost the Lorn Economic Growth Zone, in and around Oban.
Ms Flanagan added: “It should be noted that the council has been successful with the delivery of numerous capital projects of various sizes in recent years with many local priorities already delivered.
“That said, a number of priorities for capital investment remain which we have been unable to implement due to a lack of resource to either develop the bid and/or do the actual works.
“The Levelling Up fund presents an opportunity to take forward a number of these projects but it also has to be recognised that it has also become increasingly important given current funding models to have a future pipeline of projects developed to take full advantage of future external capital funding opportunities.
“For this reason council officers are also working on developing a number of options to help boost the capacity of the council to develop and deliver new capital projects that meet the aims of the council and represent member priorities going forward.”
By local democracy reporter Andrew Galloway