Community control could be the future for Inveraray Pier

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A year after making the warmly-received move to buy Inveraray Pier, the owner has offered community groups the chance to take it on.

The pier – consisting of an original stone section and later wooden structure – was bought in 2019 by Geaspar Byrne, whose family has operated the Inveraray Inn for the past five years.

News that the pier had changed hands was welcomed by the people of Inveraray, delighted at the prospect of a much-loved landmark being restored and re-opened after decades of neglect.

Since the purchase, Mr Byrne has commissioned surveys which concluded any restoration would prioritise the stone pier first, at an estimated cost of £100,000, before moving on to the wooden section.

Mr Byrne last week contacted Inveraray Community Council and community development company Inspire Inveraray to offer control of the pier and harbour, either by lease or purchase.

He emphasised, however, he does not want to see the pier pass into private hands again and wants assurances it would be operated in a ‘sensible way’ and for the good of the community.

In his letter, Mr Byrne wrote: ‘Public money is believed to be available to finance step one [stone pier restoration] and step two if the pier is owned or at least controlled by the community.’

Mr Byrne said he was ‘saddened to see the pier lying idle over these last several years’ adding ‘I decided to go ahead and buy it in the hope at some point I and/or the community could get it re-opened.’

He continues: ‘A re-opening of the stone pier and harbour would immediately enable folk to walk on the structure again, tie up their boats, launch dinghies, paddle boards or kayaks and land crew and passengers from larger boats.

‘In time, a solution could be found to repair or replace the wooden pier, perhaps with pontoons, allowing more activity still, including serving the significant Clyde motorboat and yachting community.’

Inveraray Community Council convener Linda Divers said: ‘The community council is going to do its best to work with Geaspar and other parties to get the pier up to a standard to allow it to be re-opened to the community.’

She added: ‘It is great to have a owner who is willing to work with us to achieve this.’