At last Thursday's meeting of the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee one of the agenda items was the proposed Helensburgh Waterfront Development Project (HWDP).

There have been significant developments in this latest council vanity project.

The scope of the leisure centre has been significantly reduced. The competition pool and the 250-seater spectator area have been removed and there are questions about kiddie areas.

Apparently, the design and materials used in the new leisure centre will render the existing masonry roadway leading to the pier itself and the toilet block at the pierhead blights on the new landscape.

One of the options under consideration is to demolish the newly built toilet block and rebuild it a style compatible with the new leisure centre.

The leisure centre is being rotated through 90 degrees for aesthetic reasons and the entrance will now be at the south side of the building

Before a penny of the cash set aside for this multi-million-pound project is spent, it might be a good idea to establish who owns the land.

Older readers will remember plans for supermarkets at the Helensburgh pierhead in 1993/4 and 2002. Considerable money was spent developing plans for the site and the new supermarket which was to be located there.

Eventually somebody did ask the question: who owns the pierhead? The answer was a surprise.

The land and pier were donated to the townspeople of Helensburgh by Sir James Colquhoun. Sir James bought the small fishing village of Millig from a Greenock businessman. He renamed the village Helensburgh, after his wife Helen Sutherland.

His initial plan for a village of weavers came to naught but he was able to cash in with the arrival of the railways. He sold plots of land to wealthy Glasgow businessmen who built the majestic villas we see today.

Sir James and his descendants through Luss Estates did very well from the land sales and the feu duties. The feudal system has since been discontinued, however there are portions of the grass verges of upper Helensburgh which are still owned by Luss Estates and cause headaches for the neighbouring home owners who have to cut Luss Estates’ grass.

The pertinent clause in the contract between Sir James and the people of Helensburgh was that in the event of any building being erected on the pierhead, the contract was null and void and ownership reverted to Luss Estates. So all of the song and angst about pierhead supermarkets was a bogey.

Is it worth asking the question now? Who owns the site where the council are about to spend such large amounts of taxpayers’ money?

As far as I know, nobody has ever asked the people of Helensburgh who were the beneficiaries of Sir James Colquhoun’s generosity.

In 1973, Helensburgh was a seaside town with views of the Clyde to the west and east of the pier. A local contractor had a surplus of rubble and a deal was done with the local councillors that saw the rubble dumped on the foreshore to the east of the pier to create a new car park.

This was sold to local businesses as a major source of new revenue, and they funded the reclamation work.

There was never any public consultation. A backroom deal removed the sea view to the east of the pier.

The reclamation of the foreshore raised another ownership issue. The foreshore, or inter-tidal land, is managed by the Crown Estate. Are they managing the pierhead car park on behalf of the people of Helensburgh?

Now we have a major project which will destroy any remnants of a sea view. To offer some protection from winter storms, the existing car park will have to be raised by two metres.

Place two storey buildings on top and any view of the water and Port Glasgow and Greenock will be history.

The current swimming pool should have been located elsewhere in the town.

To use the pierhead car park for the HWDP is folly. The money will be blown to the four winds by the first decent named storm to blow up the Clyde.

Save the money. Build elsewhere.

John Black, 6 Woodhollow House, Helensburgh

On behalf of all of us at Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us this year.

Every single one of the bakers, runners, walkers and swimmers, the daredevils, the rafflers, shoppers, volunteers and fancy dressers and everyone else who took the time to think of us and all the people across Scotland we support.

Because of you, we’ve been able to support thousands of people throughout Scotland who have been affected by chest, heart and stroke related conditions.

Thanks to advances in treatment, and changes in lifestyle, many more people survive heart attacks and strokes than ever before which is fantastic news for Scotland’s health.

However, this means that many more people, and their families, are living with the long-term impact of these conditions and huge numbers of people need help to cope after they leave hospital.

We are here to help people to live the life they want and can lead, not just survive.

We want to say a special thanks to everyone who has volunteered their time to support us in 2017.

None of the work that we do would be possible without the invaluable contribution that each of our volunteers have given.

Their work is absolutely vital in our local support services, charity shops and other activities.

We very much appreciate the commitment, enthusiasm and care they bring to the charity and to their local community so that people with the conditions we represent can live longer and better lives

With continuing grateful thanks, and best wishes for 2018

Jane-Claire Judson (Chief executive, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland)