CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Millport Pier say upcoming repairs are 'good news' - but insist their fight to secure its future is far from over.

The council have announced plans to repair the masonry section of the structure, with eight weeks of work due to start on April 15.

The pressure group says they hoped the council would also repair the wooden section of the pier which they have been petitioning to save for two years.

With plans being drawn up for a new £3m marina the Save Millport Pier group says it hopes the wooden pier will be central to any development.

Campaigner Graham Wallace said: "It is of course good news but unfortunately not the good news we’ve been fighting for.

"I don’t think North Ayrshire Council really had any option but to repair the masonry pier.

"However the other bit of good news is that the landing steps, which are the only steps available to visiting boaters in Millport between the masonry pier and wooden pier, are at last going to be repaired.

"It has been a two-year campaign to get this work done since the council condemned them.

"It appears that there is now recognition by the council that the development of a marina would bring huge benefits to the island. There is strong support for this in Millport.

"If the marina goes ahead, some means of accessing it will be required and it may be that the repaired wooden pier might be the cheapest and most effective way of achieving this.

"If or when the offshore breakwaters are completed then a lot of the destructive force of the sea on the pier will be reduced, but the current concern remains that if repairs are not carried out now the pier will not last to see that day.

"If the pier is badly damaged then it is possible that NAC would have to spend a similar amount of money making the remains safe as the current repairs might cost.

"In a recent economic impact assessment of the pier by NAC, no account was taken of the pier's tourism draw to visitors or of its central role to the town.

"Nor the fact that 10,000 people felt concerned enough about the council neglecting it and closing it to all users, that they took the trouble to sign a petition to that effect and to turn out in their hundreds at parades and protests."

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “An inspection and dive survey of the masonry elements of the pier was carried out last year. From this, a number of defects were discovered which need to be addressed or made safe.

“Particular areas of concern are undercutting and voids in the masonry pier and defects to the sheet piles. In addition, the steel access stairs at the timber pier is in poor condition, with only the top two landings operational and the lower landing currently closed.

“Work is due to commence on April 15 with an expected duration of eight weeks. This duration may increase due to the nature of the works and the prevailing weather and sea conditions at the time which may restrict access.

“In light of the upcoming holiday season, we have requested the contractor to prioritise the repair to the steel staircase and ensure all the works are completed as soon as practicable with minimum disruption to the community.

“The completion of these works will ensure the masonry pier is fit for purpose for many years to come.

“The proposed marina is a long term plan which will not be affected by these works.”