THIS week's selection of Advertiser letters includes your views on a Business Improvement District in Helensburgh, on Helensburgh Community Council, a recruitment campaign from the Sea Cadets, and an appeal from Poppy Scotland.

To see your views featured in the next edition of the Advertiser, just email with 'Letter' in the subject line. Please remember to include your name and address, and to keep your contributions as berief and to-the-point as you can.

We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

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The Helensburgh and Lomond area committee – the ‘gang of ten’ – inflicted CHORD years ago on the businesses of the town. Helensburgh was torn apart for two years while £8 million of Chinese granite was installed on the pavements.

This was supposed to bring hordes of visitors to see the wonder of it all. No such horde.

The reality is that the council can’t maintain the flower beds in Colquhoun Square and during the current icy weather, there is no money to put grit on the very slippery granite surfaces.

The latest brainwave is a Business Improvement District (BID) (Making BIDs for a better Helensburgh, Lorna Douglas, Advertiser, February 1).

This is a stealth tax on business and is an abdication of the role of the council and the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee in the affairs of Helensburgh.

What do the area’s ten councillors think they are paid to do in their palatial new digs? Stare at the view down the Clyde all day?

A vision for Helensburgh should come from the citizens elected to represent Helensburgh. If they can’t do the job, or are embarrassed at taking their wages, they should resign.

A Business Improvement District is another bureaucratic organization paid for by a levy on businesses. It is formed by a vote of the qualified businesses, but if the Co-op, Boots and Tesco vote in favour, small business owners who vote against will have no option but to pay the levy. It is an undemocratic process.

Suppose a Helensburgh BID is formed. What will be the message to the world? Come visit Helensburgh, the Charity Shop Capital of Scotland?

It is a measure of the wealth in the town that we can support so many charity shops. These shops are occupying designated commercial retail space within the town.

They are neither commercial nor retail yet they are given tax advantages not offered to commercial outlets. Some are violating their charity status and competing directly with retailers.

If the council is serious about bringing more visitors to the town, there are some simple measures they can adopt now.

First, remove the parking charges for buses in the pierhead car park.

Second, repair the pier and work with SPT and Clyde Marine to get a small catamaran service operating from Helensburgh to Kilcreggan and Gourock.

Third, work with the cruise ship companies to pick up their clients when the ships are berthed at Greenock and bring them by boat to Helensburgh pier.

All of this can be done on an ad-hoc basis. We don’t need another level of government to do it.

In the meantime, the council is embarking on the latest debacle, the £18 million pound pierhead project, without a proper analysis of the CHORD project which was mismanaged by our local councillors from start to finish.

The new leisure centre should have been in Hermitage Park. The Park is being redeveloped and, when opened, will depend on £112,000 per annum of volunteer labour from the Friends of Hermitage Park.

It is time for the ‘gang of ten’ to put up or shut up.

John Black, Woodhollow House, Helensburgh

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I WAS considering not standing again as a Helensburgh community councillor due to the lack of concern by members of HCC on matters that I raise on behalf of the people I meet and speak to that care about our town.

I have found it is easier and quicker to just raise relevant points with the councillors that care for our town directly to get repairs or concerns raised fixed, as things like the state of the CHORD pavements and drains are in my opinion not taken seriously by HCC.

So now one person has had a fall, I am pleased that HCC members now want to take action.

But would it not have been much better to take action when I first brought this problem up? Then perhaps he would not have a head injury or the many other people from our town who have had falls.

I only bring up problems that are brought to me, but I am very disappointed in the response’s I get from some other HCC members.

Points raised include pavements, parking, the locking of the door between Helensburgh Central station and the Co-op car park being locked at 7pm, trains skipping stations, bins on the front not being fit for use, street signs missing, aggressive parking wardens, the lack of free parking, charging for parking at weekends, people being booked for parking on invisible studs in the road, booking people in the free parking area, street lights out, the disastrous new traffic lights at Victoria Halls and the very unclear road markings in the square that are a fatal accident just waiting to happen.

I realise the above points are not as grand as big planning or special projects or committees, but they mean a lot to me and the people I meet and speak to in our town.

That is why I joined HCC, and it’s why I have decided to stand again. If elected I will continue to bring up the small but very important points that people ask me to try and get fixed, as I strongly believe that HCC should have someone who is willing to bring up the points that I raise.

If that means being described as a prophet of doom then I am happy to be that person, in the hope that by brining concerns to light it may save another person from a very nasty injury.

David Allan, Helensburgh Community Council member

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This February, the Sea Cadets – a national youth charity with 400 units across the country – is calling on young people aged between 10 and 17 to come on board to see how being a cadet can make a difference to their lives.

We offer water-based and land-based adventure at a heavily-subsidised cost, opening up countless opportunities to all young people, regardless of their background. Throughout February, our #NeverOrdinary campaign aims to raise awareness of what the charity has to offer.

With us, you can enjoy sailing, kayaking, rowing and power-boating, as well as life-changing offshore voyages on one of our five vessels. But did you know we also offer so much more, including first-aid training, rock-climbing, five-a-side football, band practice, physical training and marine engineering, as well as an International Exchange Programme and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award?

We are always looking for volunteers to help, too. You don’t need any qualifications; all you need is commitment and enthusiasm. We will provide the training.

In a recent survey by Sea Cadets, 79 per cent of our cadets said they get useful qualifications with us, while 94 per cent of parents said they felt their child’s self-confidence, motivation and team work had “greatly improved” at Sea Cadets. To find out how you can benefit, visit

Captain Phil Russell RN (Captain, Sea Cadets)

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There are few of us young or old who are not at least vaguely familiar with the famous recruitment poster from 1914, in which a demonstrative and glaring Lord Kitchener points right at us and proclaims that he and our country “needs you”.

It is one of the most iconic and enduring images of the First World War and serves as a reminder that military service back then – and during the second global conflict that followed 21 years later – was all-encompassing rather than the situation today where each and every one of us has a choice as to whether we wish to serve our country in this most important of ways.

It is the unspoken hope that our world will never suffer war on this scale ever again, but it is a stark fact of modern life that, as I write, there are countless conflicts taking place across the globe; many of which involving our brave servicemen and servicewomen.

We here at Poppyscotland are committed to providing life-changing support to the Armed Forces community.

Many of your readers will be most familiar with us through the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal. The money raised from the Appeal allows us to provide tailored funding and assistance, and we also fund services in advice, employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite.

This year, though, as we mark 100 years since the signing of the Armistice that heralded the beginning of the end of the First World War, it is Poppyscotland’s turn to say: “Your country needs you!”

We have launched the 1918 Poppy Pledge; a fundraising quest that is inspiring groups, schools, businesses, clubs and organisations around the country to take on the challenge of raising £1,918 – or more – in 2018.

The Poppy Pledge – which can take any fundraising form the participants see fit – will be a lasting tribute to those who fell in the First World War, but, importantly, it will also allow us to make a step change in the scale of support Poppyscotland is able to provide those in the Armed Forces community who rely on our support today.

Your brave troops and their families need you. Will you take The Pledge? For more information, visit

Gordon Michie (Head of Fundraising at Poppyscotland)