This week's Advertiser letters page includes views on plans for new houses at the east end of Helensburgh, the SNP's economic policies, and the new 'sugar tax' on fizzy drinks.

To have your say on any local topic, just email your views to with 'Letter' in the subject line of your message.

Please include your name and address, and also a daytime phone number in case we need to contact you to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On March 27, the residents of 1-13 Redgauntlet Road received a notification from Argyll and Bute Council that they had a planning application submitted from Taylor Wimpey to now put four more houses in our little cul-de-sac and that we had 21 days to lodge our objections.

This, in my opinion, is a deliberate and underhand act for the letters to be delivered shortly before the Easter weekend and thus the objectors would lose seven days of the 21 days objection period.

One resident did phone to object immediately on receipt of the letter, but was told by the council’s planning department that no case worker had been appointed to this proposed plan.

So although we have to strictly comply with a 21 day ruling to get our objections to the council in any way, the council doesn’t have to allocate any responsibility for any objections to one of their employees.

This latest development comes after all the stress, anger and concern we have suffered with the development of a car park for Helensburgh Athletics Club and the subsequent increase in traffic, dog walkers, speeders and intervention by the police.

We were told by the council’s planning department that residents’ safety, including our children’s welfare, traffic congestion, speeding, inconsiderate parking and blocking the street and our driveways, are not taken into consideration at planning.

The residents of the street already have 14 cars between them. The proposed development of four houses allocates 12 cars, so with all that added to the numbers of vehicles using the Athletics Club, I can see a major congestion problem – not to mention the possibility of hostility and conflict over who parks where.

Taylor Wimpey also propose creating a two metre wide pavement to replace our grass verge, with the subsequent narrowing of the road even further.

I cannot see how they are even going to get out of their driveways without going across this new two-metre pavement.

I believe the proposed driveways have a 1:20 incline so that should light our bedroom windows up with the headlights of cars exiting the properties.

The street is too narrow to accommodate cars parking opposite each other with no room left for any emergency vehicle, or even a bin lorry, to get comfortably past.

Are the council and Taylor Wimpey seriously proposing that ambulances and fire engines should just park at the top of the street and make their way down the street?

How do elderly or disabled residents evacuate the street in a major incident, or get evacuated if the street is chock full of cars? What about myself as a disabled blue badge holder – should I park somewhere else and get a taxi to and from my house?

The council are also neglecting the fact that the grass verge opposite, shown and described in our title deeds, belongs to the residents.

When it comes to selling their properties I hope Taylor Wimpey tell their prospective buyers that there may be an ongoing legal issue about ownership of their driveways in these properties.

Out of all the streets in this part of Helensburgh disrupted by housing and building developments I think our little cul-de-sac has had more than its share of disruption.

No other existing homes in our immediate area are being subjected to this mass development and complete change of environment.

Most of the residents who bought their houses down this street did so because of the privacy, the safety, the security and the outlook that we enjoyed.

This has or will be destroyed for nothing less than corporate greed and an uncaring, non-concerned council that seems to be bending over backwards to accommodate Taylor Wimpey and completely ignores the pleas and objections of its residents.

What have we done to deserve this upheaval and disruption in our lives?

We intend to show to the people of Argyll and Bute and further afield of yet another example of the despicable way Argyll and Bute Council treats their residents when it comes to forcing them to accept decisions they have made without having any representation to challenge these decisions.

John Scullion

Chair, Redgauntlet Road Residents’ Association

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On March 27, the Fraser of Allander Institute published their quarterly economic commentary which criticised Nicola Sturgeon’s scatter-gun approach to growing Scotland’s economy.

This is yet another sign that the SNP have had ten years to grow Scotland’s economy and they’ve failed.

Economic experts are clear that the separatist’s chaotic range of policies has harmed Scotland’s high streets and small businesses.

Sturgeon is responsible for higher taxes, the worst productivity in eight years and the weakest projected growth of any country in the EU and OECD.

Lower growth means less cash for schools and hospitals. While other parties in Scotland seem to back the high tax agenda of the SNP at every turn, we in the Scottish Conservatives are challenging the SNP to focus on the day job and go for growth.

Councillor Alastair Redman

(Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s deeply disheartening that a 10-year-old girl is afraid to go outside, just because of her faith.

The impact of rising bigotry in our country is heart-breaking. It’s important that we all send love to Muslim friends and fellow citizens today.

The idea of a ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, as promoted by certain far-right groups and reported in the press recently, is abhorrent.

Yet in spite of this communities have shown huge strength in their response to such hatred and in their support for one another.

Now the Scottish and UK Governments must ensure that the people behind such appalling behaviour are tracked down and feel the full force of the law.

Jo Swinson MP

Deputy leader, Liberal Democrats

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The introduction of the sugar tax on April 6 is undoubtedly a positive move to help reduce the excessive quantities of sugar in everyday foods and drinks.

However, for those who live with or care for young children with type 1 diabetes, quick access to a fizzy drink or sugary food can be a life-saver, and the change is likely to create a new challenge.

People with type 1 diabetes must regularly monitor their blood glucose levels.

If levels drop dangerously low, they will experience hypoglycaemia (or hypo) and need sugar.

For many, instantly reaching for a favourite fizzy drink can be what it takes to stop them going into a coma.

They know the exact sugar content and exactly how much they need to drink.

All this changes as drinks manufacturers bring in new recipes and new cans of the same fizzy drink appear on the supermarket shelf alongside the old cans.

The certainty of what they are taking is lost.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition which affects more than 30,000 Scottish adults and children. It cannot be prevented, and is not linked to lifestyle.

Awareness of the challenges associated with type 1 diabetes is increasing and the impact on them of the new sugar tax needs to be acknowledged and tackled both with understanding and good communication.

Catriona Morrice

Development Manager, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Breast Cancer Now recently welcomed the news that Scotland is leading the UK in unlocking access to cheap off-patent drugs that can help save lives from breast cancer.

Bisphosphonates are low-cost, widely-available drugs used to strengthen the bone in osteoporosis and other conditions – which research shows can also be used to reduce the risk of breast cancer spreading to other parts of the body, where it becomes incurable.

It is a great first step that breast cancer patients in Scotland who are identified as at high risk of recurrence will now be able to access these drugs.

However, we think even more women could benefit.

If all post-menopausal women diagnosed with primary breast cancer were given these drugs, one in ten breast cancer deaths could be prevented – and the NHS would also save money in the long-term.

In the West of Scotland Cancer Network alone, if all post-menopausal patients with primary breast cancer were offered bisphosphonates we estimate that 50 deaths from breast cancer could be prevented, and around £290,000 could be saved by the NHS, per annual cohort of patients.

We hope that the Scottish Government will consider offering bisphosphonates to all women who could benefit – to make the most of this opportunity to stop more women dying from breast cancer.

Lawrence Cowan

Scotland Manager for Breast Cancer Now