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As exclusively revealed by the Argyllshire Advertiser, Inveraray Pier has changed hands.
After the best part of a decade shut off to the public, there is fresh hope the structure may be opened again.
Owners of the Inveraray Inn, the Byrne family, has taken over the pier, and company director Geaspar Byrne is keen to stress a good deal of work will be needed before it can be re-opened – first of all on the stone-built section before looking at the wooden pier.
Mr Byrne is careful not to raise expectations at this very early stage, but he has already made a positive impression on local groups.
Linda Divers, convener of Inveraray Community Council, said: ‘I think it’s going to be really good news for Inveraray because the new owner is more than willing to work with us and let us work with him to get the pier open to the public.
‘I think it’s all very good news for the town.’
‘This is the most positive step forward we have seen in years,’ added Iain MacAskill,’ chairman of community company Inspire Inveraray.
‘It’s been a long time coming and I am delighted that at this early stage they have been willing to talk to us and allow us to talk to them, which wasn’t the case before.
‘We are interested to work with the new owners to get the pier open as soon as possible for the benefit of the town and the benefit of the owners.’
Linda continued: ‘All we have ever asked for is for someone to work with us and get it open.’
Beyond the community organisations, people are pleased at the pier’s change in fortune.
‘It’s going to be brilliant for the town,’ said Inveraray’s Paul Blyth as he sold quality produce from his van at the pier head.
‘It’s been an eyesore, but hopefully the new owners will sort it out.’
‘The pier is as bad as the one where I come from,’ was the view of Dunoon resident Amy, on a tour of Fort William and Inveraray.
‘If it’s improved it has to be a good thing for the whole of Inveraray.’
Derek Stuart-Cole from Manchester was staying at Ardbrecknish, Loch Awe, with daughters Isabel and Olivia and decided to visit Inveraray on a nice sunny Tuesday.
When he last visited a decade ago the pier was open, but this time he was disappointed to see the ugly fencing barring his way. ‘What a difference it would make to have it open to the public. It would be so good to take a walk down the pier. It is such a waste.’