This week's letters include thoughts on the local reaction to last week's extreme weather, the Helensburgh waterfront consultation, and Britain's exit from the EU.

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Walking around the centre of Helensburgh on Saturday, I was very disappointed with the lack of effort that our local businesses had made to clear the snow from in front of their premises.

West Princes Street was particularly bad for this and I watched people gingerly negotiate the pavements and taking to the road to try and find better footing – hardly the safest of options.

This snow had lain for a couple of days, but was not hard-packed. It would not have taken a great effort, perhaps 10-15 minutes with a shovel and/or a stiff yard-brush and a small amount of salt.

I’m not sure whether this was an example of our society sitting back and expecting our council to do absolutely everything for us, or just a disregard for customers.

What I do know is that over this period, the council workers were working flat out to try and keep our roads open.

A little thought from our shops, pubs, cafes and offices for the people who ventured out to visit them on Saturday would have been nice.

After all, you are trying to attract people to shop locally, aren’t you?

There were quite a few exceptions to the above and I would like to single-out Tesco in Sinclair Street. Well done for creating a slip-free zone in front of your store.

Iain Doig, via email

I would just like a mention for a fantastic Helensburgh family.

We live in Havelock Place in Helensburgh, a little 21-house community.

Most people who live here are retired and when this exceptional wintry weather hit us, I know that we couldn’t get out and were cut off from driving our cars.

And when the snow was at its deepest on Friday, it was impossible to go to the town on foot.

I received a text from a family who had a four wheel drive vehicle, and said they had managed to get their car out.

Their younger son went round all the neighbours and asked if they needed anything as they were now mobile.

Aaron took the lists, including mine for much needed pills from the chemist, and delivered the shopping that was required.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was, as I needed my pills and the thought of walking down to the town on those treacherous surfaces was really quite scary.

I’m sure all the rest of our neighbours were relieved too.

I feel Aaron, his wife Donna, and their kids deserve a mention. They are a truly unique team.

Dawn Midson, Havelock Place, Helensburgh

Last Thursday, March 1, was probably one of the worst days of the winter and, needless to say, the much publicised new Co-op supermarket in Cardross was closed all day.

However the local independent shops managed to open – a member of staff at one of them having walked from Helensburgh – and the post office shop in the village apparently had its busiest day for a long time.

Perhaps shoppers in the village would, in future, support our local traders and remember how they helped us when, once again, we were let down by the Co-op.

Patricia Readman, Cardross

I READ with interest your report ‘Helensburgh waterfront consultation under fire’ in last week’s edition.

In particular, a comment by Helensburgh Community Council that “You would have thought there would be some sort of design panel or user group...” caught my eye.

As the future operator of this facility, LiveArgyll is closely involved with the design process for the development.

I am surprised that the Community Council seems to be unaware of the consultation with users and user groups that has already taken place in bringing the proposals to their current stage.

The recent series of focus groups, referred to by Cllr Mulvaney in your report, was one example of the involvement of user groups.

These focus groups and drop in sessions included representatives from LiveArgyll gym and studio users, special needs groups, the Chamber of Commerce, the Swimming Club, the Kayak Club, the Helensburgh Seafront Development Project, Rhu and Shandon Community Council, and Helensburgh Community Council (all eight community councils in Helensburgh and Lomond were invited).

Architecture and Design Helensburgh was also invited, but did not attend.

The next stage of consultation has now started and I would encourage all interested residents to attend one of the drop in sessions at the Victoria Halls between 11 am and 7pm on Monday, March 26, Monday, April 30 and Wednesday, May 14.

The consultation material is also on display in the Helensburgh Library, Victoria Halls and at Helensburgh Swimming Pool for the full 12 week duration and online at

As the organisation charged with running leisure and library services across Argyll and Bute, we are very aware that we need to understand what our existing customers and potential customers want.

We, therefore, fully supported the recent consultation and believe the participants provided an extremely constructive input to the design process.

As the consultation progresses, we will work with the council and its project team to ensure that our customers’ needs are reflected in this exciting new facility.

We are very aware, also, that we have to work within budgets and that, inevitably, we will not be able to meet all the aspirations of all our users.

Andrew Nisbet (Chair, LiveArgyll)

What a brilliant idea it would be to have no EU/Irish border controls.

Why? Two reasons.

First, people traffickers could ship emigrants up from Calais up to the Northern Irish border where they could cross unchecked into the UK.

And second, the Calais emigrant problem would be resolved.

Russell Mackie, Helensburgh

It was intriguing to note both the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, touring radio and TV studios last week to herald the increases in trade the UK has experienced with countries outwith the European Union.

This included the likes of Japan and South Korea.

What was surprisingly not mentioned by these gentlemen was that this increase is largely due to the very fact that we are members of the EU, which has trade arrangements with these nations.

There is, for example, a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, provisionally applied since 2011.

Indeed, the EU has around 80 trade agreements either in place or partly in place, including with the likes of South Africa and Russia and 18 being negotiated, including with China, Brazil and India.

Many of these have taken years to be concluded, and that is with an EU market of 500 million people representing the world’s second largest economy.

By the UK tearing itself out of the EU it means not only are we removing ourselves from the largest single market in the world, with the economic impacts this brings, but we also have to begin lengthy negotiations to strike trade deals with those very same countries.

Alex Orr, via email

There is a lot to be proud of since the British Heart Foundation was established in 1961.

Seven in ten people now survive a heart attack; the idea of heart transplants is now a reality and the majority of babies born with congenital heart conditions now live on to adulthood.

We want to say thank you to everyone who has donated to the BHF over the years. Your money has helped to make these breakthroughs and save millions of lives; we simply wouldn’t have come so far if it wasn’t for your generosity.

But unfortunately, heart disease and circulatory disease isn’t a done deal. In Scotland alone, an estimated 685,000 people are living with cardiovascular disease, and every year around 15,300 people die from these conditions. Heart and circulatory disease still devastates thousands of families every year and is the cause of more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Our fight isn’t over yet.

Up and down the nation, thousands of scientists are making it their mission to keep more families together.

As you read this letter, we are one step closer to finding a cure for heart failure, pioneering new methods of diagnosing inherited heart conditions and improving surgical procedures.

But these projects will cease to exist without donations, as they aren’t government funded.

By donating to the BHF, you will be helping around 1,000 research projects in more than 50 locations to unlock the key to beating heart disease for good.

To be a part of this exciting prospect, please visit

Simon Gillespie (chief executive, British Heart Foundation)