Pier masterplan set for approval

An artist’s impression of how the pier could look

The finalised version of a masterplan for the development of Helensburgh’s pier is set to be approved next week – with confirmation that Asda and Sainsbury’s are still interested in the site.

The initial proposals for the rundown site were revealed nearly 12 months ago, but were revised in August after public comments, with shops being reduced in size and plans for housing dropped.

But there were only 29 comments to the latest version of the plans, a full meeting of Argyll and Bute Council next week will be told.

It features a ‘landmark pool and leisure building, as well as shops, cafe, walkway, skatepark and ‘high quality landscaped amenity space’.

The outline design of the new pool and leisure building

A report says ‘the general sentiment’ of those forms was positive, although a number of people were against any new shops given how many were already empty in the town.

Sainsbury’s own part of the site – the former Mariner’s pub area – and have stressed their access rights as well as ‘reasserting the importance of their site in relation to the delivery of the masterplan, particularly with regard to providing the retail floorspace, addressing flood risk and dealing with traffic and access issues’.

Meanwhile, Asda said that following the approval of the Waitrose plan for an out of town supermarket there was still a ‘pressing requirement’ for a town centre superstore.

“Consequently, Asda stated that the masterplan must allow for the provision of new retail floorspace in the form of a superstore of a size that will compete with the approved Waitrose store at Cardross Road and would welcome the opportunity to work with the council to demonstrate what was possible to deliver this on the site in a sensitive manner,” adds the report.

Helensburgh Community Council  made several suggestions:

  • Make the leisure pool facility a little larger to include a heritage and visitor centre giving Helensburgh an indoor, year round public attraction.
  • The public toilets should also be within the building so they are less likely to be misused.
  • A restaurant with a separate entrance from the rest of the building – “It would have a great view over the Clyde and would be along the lines of the restaurant at Lomond Shores”
  • They also liked Gareth Hoskins’ original design for the building where the roof is used as a public open space and viewing gallery.

The report by Sandy Mactaggart, the council’s executive director of development and infrastructure, states that not further changes to the masterplan are needed and the council should approve it ‘as supplementary guidance to help guide future development on this site’.

He adds: “Once finally approved it is intended that the masterplan will help inform a marketing brief for the site and the implementation of the council’s capital programme with regard to Helensburgh.”

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