THIS week's selection of letters to the Advertiser includes thoughts on parking enforcement, cleaning up the town, Hermitage Park and health services.

If you have an opinion on a burning local issue that you want to get off your chest, email your thoughts to and we'll publish the best in next week's issue. Happy writing!

* * * * * * * * * * *

I have been a visitor to Helensburgh for all of 60 years and have always felt welcomed by all and sundry.

Since family have moved to Helensburgh,and thus I have had the pleasure of visiting more regularly, encouraging other friends to visit and enjoy your delightful town.

Today however, Monday, May 8, I saw another side of your town that is definitely designed to deter visitors all together.

After enjoying a delightful two days, I decided to take my wife, who has mobility problems and dementia, along the promenade for a short visit before departing.

I am very conscious of the inconvenience we drivers can cause, and being in my eighties, always ensure I park responsibly.

I therefore decided to park away from the promenade and parked in a no through road at Colquhoun Street. I checked thoroughly to ensure there was no signage indicating parking restrictions, or any yellow lines marked on the road.

On returning around half an hour later I found a penalty notice, indicating I had parked illegally and was required to pay £30 forthwith.

On speaking to the Parking Attendant (No: AR002) I was informed there was no need for signage or notices to be displayed, as this was clearly indicated on entry to Helensburgh.

Whether or not such notices are displayed on the entry to your town is besides the point, as this would seem to me to be a ruse to delude unsuspecting visitors by imposing a fine without them being aware of such local regulations.

It would be interesting to know if this might be a regular occurrence for most parking fines imposed in the town.

I merely make a plea for common sense to prevail, for no doubt this might be a welcome little earner for the council, it in no way enhances the reputation of your fine town and might very well work contrary to the finances of the town.

I should add that I saw other unsuspecting visitors parking in the same area and receiving a penalty notice.

Is there no one willing or able to influence councillors/ MSP's to remove this iniquitous practice?

Ron R. Hanvey, Kippen Drive, Clarkston, Glasgow

* * * * * * * * * * *

In your most recent edition you describe the various beach cleaning activities around the area.

Along with others I took part in the one on the West Esplanade. This second cleaning, added to the effect of the first a month ago, transformed the appearance of the beach.

There is still a pile of weed beside the pier but the rest of the beach is almost as good as it is likely to get.

I believe that the amount of litter now arriving on the beach is much reduced; people are much less willing to discard material on to a clean beach than a dirty one.

I really hope that we can continue the good work and finally clear the area next to the pier.

That, of course, does not mean that we can then forget about it again as it does not take long to get as bad as ever. There are enough bins along the seafront and if we are able to maintain an acceptable standard it is a credit and an attraction for the town.

Dougie Blackwood, Douglas Drive East, Helensburgh

* * * * * * * * * * *

I refer to the letter sent by John Ashworth last week regarding his astonishment that volunteers were being called upon to weed the beds in Colquhoun Square. Firstly let me say how good it is to see public town comment being expressed in the Advertiser instead of the 'out of town' contributions which seem to prevail at the moment and do not encourage public debate on how we can improve our town.

Secondly, 'headline' projects like the Square and Hermitage Park ought to have had a requirement for a degree of maintenance funding for a limited period built into their budgets until the mechanisms are in place to ensure a robust maintenance procedure is in place for future years.

The Community Council will take this up with the Hermitage Park planning personnel and equally we shall take this point on board when the Pier Head project develops.

Lastly, he raises an interesting point regarding volunteering. It is only recently that financial austerity has wakened us from a dependency culture in which officialdom controlled by diktat made decisions on our behalf without redress.Volunteering in all its shapes and forms is a small forward step in reasserting our self-reliance.

Norman Muir (Convener, Helensburgh Community Council)

* * * * * * * * * * *

Volunteers are the backbone of Helensburgh.

They run committees, they have aims and goals and ideas. They are friends of Helensburgh. They are interested in its townsfolk.

It's really the people who are making the town - clubs, groups who raise funds etc.

It is disappointing to see so many short falls and some have been done for decades.

Residents cut grass verges beside their houses. The council looks after it's own land.

All parties should work together , for the better good of the town.

Lazy dog owners should pick up after their pets, it is not the pets that are the problem.

Karen lsobel Carmichael, Smiddy Court, Garelochhead

* * * * * * * * * * *

The project for the renovation of Hermitage Park was instigated by volunteers in 2010 and volunteers are still vital to its success.

The Friends of Hermitage Park was subsequently set up and currently has 179 members who are kept regularly informed of the progress of the renovation programme in the park.

They also volunteer for gardening 'action days' and actively support fund raising events.

The Trustees of The Friends of Hermitage Park, with Argyll and Bute Council, hold regular meetings with the Hermitage Park Users Group whose members have been closely involved in the plans for the park, ensuring that their needs are incorporated.

Having successfully applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends of Hermitage Park, in partnership with Argyll and Bute Council, have a fund of £3.3 million (not £3.7 million as stated by John Ashworth in his recent letter).

It is important to stress that this Heritage Lottery Fund grant is contingent on the Friends of Hermitage Park donating £80,000 of volunteer time by 2021.

The Friends are always looking for new supporters and/or volunteers and it is free to join!

Alison Holliman (Secretary, Friends of Hermitage Park Association Trustees), Queen Street, Helensburgh

* * * * * * * * * * *

The local Branch of Save the Children would like to thank the people of Helensburgh for their support during its recent collection week.

We raised £1515.11 from the house-house and street collections, a total which would not have been possible without the help of our collectors and the generosity of those who donated.

Our Musical Evening on 31 March raised £1097.20, not £957.20 as was previously reported.

Our next fundraiser is the annual Midsummer Afternoon Tea in Helensburgh Sailing Club on Thursday, June 22 when we will be given an illustrated talk by David Menzies, former curator of the orchid collection at the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow.

Tickets cost £9 and can be purchased from First Class.

Diana McIntosh (Chairman, Helensburgh and District Save the Children committee)

* * * * * * * * * * *

I COULD not quite believe my ears when listening to Nicola Sturgeon on BBC Radio 4’s World at One on May 8.

She criticised the Conservatives’ approach to reducing net immigration as “the pursuit of an ideology”. Surely Ms Sturgeon’s relentless campaigning for Scottish independence, which according to her “ transcends all else”, is also the pursuit of an ideology? What blatant hypocrisy!

Stuart Smith, West Lennox Drive, Helensburgh

* * * * * * * * * * *

This week is Mental Health Week and sadly new regulations are tightening the criteria for claimants of Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

This will see people with mental health and anxiety conditions such as schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder miss out.

Liberal Democrat MPs opposed these cuts.

Tribunal rulings said PIP should increase for the thousands of people unable to go out alone due to severe psychological distress. The UK Government’s response was to rewrite the law to remove entitlements and rush it through parliament with minimal scrutiny.

This shows little understanding of the complex needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, for example those trapped in their homes because they are too anxious to leave without someone by their side.

These people need help to leave their home every bit as much as someone suffering from a physical condition.

In Holyrood last week, the Tories were right to join Liberal Democrats and campaigners in declaring that the SNP Government’s new mental health strategy would fail to deliver the transformation we desperately need to see.

The SNP have failed to deliver improvements on mental health care for the entire 10 years they have been in power.

There seems to be no will to increase the provision of care especially for young people.

If the Scottish Tories are to have any credibility on this issue then Ruth Davidson needs to show that she is willing to take on those in her own party who are set to discriminate against those suffering from mental ill health.

Time and again it has been shown that you can’t trust the Tories with mental health. Important initiatives have been abandoned and cash meant for mental health has been diverted to plug gaps elsewhere.

Now they are looking to make a deplorable attack on some of the most vulnerable people in our society, showing no understanding of the support needs of people such as those trapped in their homes, too anxious to leave.

Ruth Davidson needs to admit this is fundamentally wrong and at least try to do something about it.

So, Scottish Tories and SNP, join with the LibDems and show you care for the most vulnerable in our society.

Ursula Craig, Shore Road, Cove

* * * * * * * * * * *

I, like many of your readers enjoyed watching the TV programmes about our Super Hospital in Glasgow. What wonderful work is going on there.

However, I then read about the number of cancelled operations in Scotland, which were not spoken about.

In March, 620 patients had their operations cancelled for capacity and non-clinical reasons.

That is 20 patients per day having their operations cancelled through no fault of their own, adding to the distress and anxiety of them and their families - not to mention the NHS staff who have to explain the delays and catch up on the work load.

The SNP are in charge of the Scottish NHS but refuse to over-rule the health boards' decisions.

Recently I have spoken to several elderly people locally who are waiting for knee and hip replacements who have had cancellations more than once.

One elderly gent has recently been operated on but doubts if he will ever be able to walk well again since he had to wait so long that his muscles have totally deteriorated and his physiotherapy will last for many months.

A year on from the integration of health and social care, figures for delayed discharge from hospitals remain higher than when the new integrated health and social care boards went live in April 2016.

This March 829 patients were waiting to have care packages put in place before they were allowed home from hospital, an increase of 150 more than last March.

The newly announced Liberal Democrat manifesto pledges to put 1p in the £1 on income tax to put more money into the NHS.

I am sure that very few people can object to this measure to ensure that we fix our ailing NHS. Much better than the pie in the sky pledge from Boris Johnson during the pre-referendum days.

Margaret Horrell, via email