Significant progress on Argyll and Bute Council’s ambitious project to bring Dunoon Pier back to life

exclamation icon
This page contains archived news material that may no longer be accurate. Please bear this in mind when referring to this page or using any information on it to access council services. Read our current news.

Published Date: 

29 Sep 2015 - 14:52

Argyll and Bute Council’s £2.83million* structural repair and refurbishment of Dunoon’s iconic Victorian-era wooden pier is going very well, with notable changes there for all to see.

The works to the buildings and structure are now expected to be complete by the end of November.

Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Dunoon-based Councillor Dick Walsh, welcomed the significant progress, saying: ‘’It is really pleasing to see this project moving forward, with the changes there for all to see. As probably the best remaining example of a Victorian-era wooden pier in the country, the refurbishment of Dunoon Pier is a flagship project for the council which will have real benefits to local people.

‘’Beyond this work, we are eager to lobby for further funding at national level to fulfil our long-term ambitions for both the pier and its buildings – bringing all the pier buildings back in to viable economic use and securing the pier head. We are fully committed to exploring any and all opportunities to preserve this iconic structure for future generations

‘’As a council our whole strategy is based on creating jobs and I’m sure that, by bringing the buildings on the pier back into use, we’ll do just that.’’

Phase 1A – the pier itself

The council’s contractor for Phase 1A, the structural repairs, respected civil engineering firm George Leslie Ltd, has all but completed repairs to the pedestrian access route (the southern arm of the pier) and is now focussing on the area of the pier head directly in front of and underneath the old waiting room building.

To help future-proof the decking repair work a three-part paint system is being applied to the timbers which will protect them from the elements, provide an anti-slip surface for pedestrians and complement the pier’s original character and style**.

Phase 1B – the buildings

On the Phase 1B building repair element of the project, the contractor, WH Kirkwood Ltd, has had to tackle a number of unforeseen problems which only became apparent as the buildings were opened up.

Due to the poor condition of the buildings more work has had to be carried out than was originally forecast, however, this work is essential to guarantee the long-term viability of the structures and the cost is being met through the contingency element of the budget.

The old waiting room

The old waiting room has been surrounded by scaffolding over the last few weeks while essential work has been carried out. This has included:

·         The replacement of the vast majority of the shingles, cills and lower panels at the western end of the building

·         The replacement of 19 window frames and associated glazing, again at the western end

·         Repairs to the waiting room roof including replacing roof tiles; lead gulleys; repairs to the clock tower including a refurbishment of the clock faces and the installation of new control mechanisms and repairs to rotten rafters and cills.

·         Redecoration of all external surfaces

The harbourmaster’s office

Significant rot in the gables and soffits has been uncovered, all of which is being removed and repaired. At the same time the cast iron gutters are being replaced. Unfortunately they were in such a deteriorated state that the initial proposal to refurbish them was not achievable. A specialist contractor has been commissioned to make replacement gutters to the original designs, but using powdered coated aluminium. This will mean that the gutters will last longer and be more resistant to the elements.

Over the next few weeks the works to repair the roof will be completed and the external surfaces of the building will be decorated to match those of the other pier buildings.


A local contractor has been appointed to design and build new gates at the public access on to the pier, which will combine elements of the Victorian heritage of the pier along with modern materials to give a final design which acknowledges Dunoon’s heritage but also looks to the future.



The works to restore the pier buildings are being co-funded by the Scottish Government through its Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. £300,000 was awarded in 2014/2015 and a further £50,000 has been awarded for 2015/2016.

**Technical note

There are three major benefits to the paint system:

1)      The first coat, which is a clear coat, seals and protects the decking timbers, especially around those areas where the galvanised steel spikes are used to fix the decking boards to the underlying structure. These areas have previously seen significant deterioration caused by the seawater corroding the metal spikes, which in turn led to water damage to the decking timbers. By sealing the timbers they are protected which should result in less damage and reduced maintenance and repair costs.

2)      The second coat has a coloured finish in keeping with the existing structure and buildings.

To this coat is added a sprinkling of small particles of quartz, typically 0.7mm to 1.2mm in size. This provides an anti-slip element across the full length and width of the decking timbers, which will make pedestrian much safer at times of poor weather.

3)      The system is more cost effective than a standard sealant solution, is more cost effective and is robust and hard wearing, with maintenance inspections recommended at 2 years and 7 years.