The HSDP action to commission a feasibility study into the possibility of enhancing community
leisure facilities at Helensburgh Pier by installing pontoons was finally realised late in 2019.
The renowned civil engineering consultancy Fairhurst was engaged to produce the report which took
several months of investigation to eventually complete the finished article, an abstract of which is
The proposed project is a new visitor berthing facility on the east side of Helensburgh Pier, in
the space between the infilled car park and the timber pier head. This is shown on the drawing
below. The facility would consist of pontoons and fingers for vessels to berth, with articulated bridges that would allow pedestrian access to those of all abilities including wheelchair users.
Capital dredging would be required to achieve suitable water depths, and this would likely require the design of retaining structures below water to prevent settlement of the dredged slopes.
Unfortunately, the owners of the pier, Argyll and Bute Council (A&BC), will not permit dredging in the immediate vicinity of their pier unless a solution such as sheet piling support, as shown in the drawing, is agreed.
As a consequence of restraints imposed by the present poor condition of A&BC’s pier, in conjunction
with geotechnical challenges, such a project was estimated to cost slightly in excess of £2M.
Justification for such an expenditure would be expected to be borne by a robust business case for
revenue from the presently booming (but not in Helensburgh) marine tourism industry by
encouraging visitors to Helensburgh town to boost the local economy.
Such visitors would be expected to include crew of leisure craft (from kayaks to larger motor and
sailing vessels) and cruise ship passengers.
It is hoped that now Transport Scotland is taking over the Gourock-Kilcreggan ferry route this may herald the possibility of the reinstatement of such a link to Helensburgh but that may also be dependant on A&BC being able or willing to return the pier to a serviceable condition.
It seems a possible wasted opportunity (if the proposed new leisure centre is ever built) not to
provide such additional leisure facilities which would also go a long way to hiding the decaying pier
structure from leisure centre visitors.