This week's crop of letters to the Advertiser features thoughts on the future of Hermitage Park, the SNP's position on Brexit - and a heartening encounter with a group of young people in Helensburgh

To share your views on any local issue, email - we'll publish the best in our next print edition!

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IN the early afternoon of January 6, five youths accompanied by two girls ran along Argyle Street tipping over three glass bottle bins and their contents onto the pavement.

I shouted at the youths about their disgraceful conduct in the hope that they would return and clear up the mess. Needless to say they ran off.

Meanwhile, the girls who had not taken an active part in overturning the bins had detached themselves from the youths and were walking along the pavement. I spoke to them about the hazards of being associated with anti-social and bad behaviour and continued on my way, late for an appointment. I intended to inform the affected residents on my return.

After I had gone a short distance I happened to turn round to see the two girls picking up the contents of the last bin to be overturned. I returned to the scene to thank them for their public-spirited action and to congratulate them on making amends for their friends. By the time I returned all three bins had been placed upright and the contents replaced.

It was an illuminating experience in emphasising that a group of teenagers are individual and have quite different values and behaviour from one another. It also reminds me of an American saying,

“It’s better to walk alone, than with a crowd going in the wrong direction”.

Norman Muir

Convener, Helensburgh Community Council

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I ENJOYED the tour of Hermitage Park on Saturday and I believe the improvement plans will probably make a great difference.

Almost all of the trees earmarked for removal are sensible choices and have good reason for the action. I hope the replacements do as well as some of those coming to their end in this very necessary weeding exercise. There was discussion about the Tulip tree coming out but I think there are others of that type, and that one is misshapen and will never get much better.

Let me throw in one caveat. The yew tree outside the play area is probably just about the oldest tree in the park; it grows much more slowly than the others and may well be more than 100 years old. It could do without the present traffic over its roots but otherwise I believe it is healthy enough to be worthy of salvation.

I understand the need for wider paths and access into the present play area for future development and maintenance but I think there is probably another way rather than taking out the yew.

On the other side of the present path into the play area, a large conifer is to be taken out and behind that there is a nut and bolt assembled fence. Let me suggest that, as mentioned as a possibility in the tour, the alignment of the path and the gate into the proposed orchard and garden is moved a few yards west. This would allow the yew tree to remain and have a little remedial work done around its roots.

Dougie Blackwood,


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ON behalf of the Helensburgh Branch of Save the Children I should like to thank the United Reformed Church for choosing Save the Children to be one of the beneficiaries, along with Motor Neurone Disease Scotland, of its Christmas Tree Festival.

Each of the charities benefitted to the tune of £1,100 – an appropriate way to describe the donations in view of the huge variety of musical entertainment provided throughout the week.

It is a wonderful event with which to be associated and is enjoyed so much by the people of Helensburgh and beyond.

We have all been made so aware over the past year of the places throughout the world where the work of Save the Children in desperately needed. The money raised at the Christmas Tree Festival will be put to the best possible use in helping displaced, homeless, hungry and sick children throughout the world as well as families in the UK who benefit from projects set up by the charity.

Very many thanks to the United Reformed Church, to all those who contributed to the festival in so many ways and to all who donated so generously.

Diana Macintosh,


Helensburgh Save the Children

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THE First Minister, will, at some point in the future, make the announcement that the people of Scotland demand a second referendum on Scottish independence from the UK.

She will say that the UK government refused to include any of the suggestions or positions put forward by the Scottish government for the Brexit negotiations and thereby the UK is creating a direct threat to the Scottish economy. What she will not say is that both the UK and SNP governments both know full well that even if the UK embraced every single Scottish suggestion to secure a special deal for Scotland, EU members would never allow this to happen. Firstly, there are at least two member states who have an interest in preventing this scenario, as they have regional problems of there own and secondly, there are no such EU regulations which would allow Scotland into this position in the first place. It is about time politicians started being truthful and stopped treating the electorate like idiots.

Making an offer you can’t accept is the oldest trick in the book. All I can see from the referendums is a divided nation (on both occasions), financial uncertainty and instability. The more divided we become, the more difficult to succeed. The present SNP government seems to be stoking the referendum fire once more and doing little to unite our country.

C Gallagher,


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I AM told that some visitors come to Helensburgh for two reasons, firstly to admire the architectural gems of Leiper, Paterson and Rennie Macintosh and secondly to gaze in wonderment at Scotland’s ugliest face, to be found on the facade of the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre.

Some of your readers will be happy to know that I have made a new year’s resolution not to mention that ugly face ever again...mind you, sometimes resolutions can be broken.

Ian Plenderleath,

Via email