HELENSBURGH'S £18 million waterfront development plans once again take centre stage in this week's Advertiser letters page, with the town's community council warning that now is the "final throw of the dice" for the public to lobby their local councillors on the future of the site.

To have your say on this or any other local issue, just email editorial@helensburghadvertiser.co.uk, with your name and address, and add 'Letter' in the subject line of your message.

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require a daytime contact telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Please also try and keep your letters as short and to the point as you can.

Happy writing!

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Helensburgh Community Council gave a new submission to the planning committee last week – another in the long-running saga of the town’s waterfront development proposals.

Our main purpose was to confirm the committee’s query that if the applicant moved the building back from the sea wall, then it would be better protected.

The planning discussion so far has been almost entirely about whether the building will be damaged by the waves at the seafront. That is a major worry, but the details that are important for the community – what’s in the leisure centre, whether there will be enough parking, and whether shops will be built at the front – have been overlooked by the planning process.

We’ve made many submissions on this subject to Argyll and Bute Council since May last year. In each one, and arising from our community survey last year, we have made positive suggestions about what should be on the pierhead site.

We have promoted a concrete skate park, an indoor sports hall, a climbing wall, swimming pool slides and a café servery among many others. To date, the council have said that there is no money for anything apart from the café servery.

Therefore our most recent proposal was to minimise costs while maximising the use of the pierhead for leisure – to ensure a skatepark is there, with an adult ‘trim trail’/gym for exercise, crazy golf (with slight tongue in cheek) and, if funds allow in the future, space for an outdoor lido.

It’s been great to see that this has sparked a positive discussion on the Advertiser’s Facebook page. Be aware, though, that the planning committee meets on Wednesday, January 23 to either approve or reject the council’s own plan and, by default, this will mean that there will be none of these additional features on the site.

In addition, the council will then attempt to sell off the land beside West Clyde Street for retail units – we have heard that Tesco have already been contacted.

This is the final throw of the dice. Argyll and Bute’s councillors are in control of the planning application as well as the funding of the project.

If you want better leisure facilities then write to your local councillor – they are a member of the Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee and they decide what gets funded as part of this proposal.

The Community Council has pushed as hard as we can, but now only direct input by you to your councillor might have an effect.

Dr Peter Brown (vice-convener, Helensburgh Community Council)

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The pierhead project and the new leisure centre went badly wrong somewhere along the way.

£720,000 of public money has been spent on consultants’ fees. The public’s voice has been lacking throughout. The current proposal is for the wrong building in the wrong place. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

We do need a new swimming pool. Nobody has argued against this. However, we have moved from a 2009/2012 masterplan, which included a long wish list, to a like-for-like replacement of the existing pool.

The south-west corner location has apparently been dictated by the architects’ need for ‘sight lines’ from Colquhoun Square, the centrepiece of the CHORD makeover.

Car parking spaces were lost to CHORD. The new leisure centre will take away more, with no solution in evidence. Parking buses at Craigendoran is not a realistic option.

There has been no joined-up thinking in any of this.

The new leisure centre should have been in Hermitage Park. Sensible development would have extended Montrose Street east and provided a by-pass to the town centre. That opportunity has been lost.

We have an out-of-town supermarket which is a drain on the town’s economy.

The space from East Clyde Street north to the Maitland Street car park is low value.

A multi-storey car park with retail on the ground floor would provide car parking in the town centre. Waitrose could move from the outskirts to the town

centre. The Arnold Clark car dealership could take over the vacant Waitrose space with Helensburgh Toyota.

The buildings between the Tower Place flats and the Civic Centre to the south of East Clyde Street are also low value. This space is ideal for a luxury hotel/conference centre/leisure centre.

With the essential needs of a flourishing town economy accommodated in a regenerated town centre, the eye-sore that is the current south pierhead car park could be removed to restore the shore and the views over the Clyde to Greenock and Port Glasgow.

We must move on from the spat between the project director John Gordon and Dr Peter Brown, vice-convener of Helensburgh Community Council, on the difference between sea spray and wave overtopping in a force 10 gale.

Plan B does not expose £20 million of public money to the uncertain world of flood prediction.

A building with a projected life span of 40 years has a one in five chance of being flooded from the updated risk numbers.

Common sense should dictate a different location for this valuable public resource.

John Black, 6 Woodhollow House, Helensburgh

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May I make two points on the letter Councillor Ellen Morton wrote about the waterfront project (Advertiser Comment, January 10)?

The first is that any Helensburgh Community Council member, writing in an official capacity concerning the town, has the backing of the community council.

The community council has been addressing the shortcomings of this project since the consultation stages started in February 2018.

As a collective body, we gave a great deal of thought and discussion to the project and consulted widely within the town community, achieving consensus. I should also say that the Chamber of Commerce is in broad agreement with us.

However, we were not taken seriously until the public hearing on November 19, at which our long-standing concern that the proposed sea defences would not protect the building for its lifespan was validated.

The second point concerns the two major issues of concern under discussion in the planning process; the risk of flooding and the location of the building, subject to storm damage, in its exposed location on the pierhead.

The building was moved from its original siting on planning documents to the extremity of the pierhead, as a result of a somewhat arbitrary decision by the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee, of which Cllr Morton is chair, in December 2017.

This was despite the imminent public consultation between February-May 2018 when the matter could have been more fully examined by the community.

We are now dealing with the consequences of that decision.

Norman Muir (convener, Helensburgh Community Council)

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On behalf of the members of the Choir of Helensburgh Parish Church, can I please extend grateful thanks to all who attended the various events they organised over the Christmas period in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support?

These culminated in a very successful ‘Come and Sing’ evening on December 23, which on its own raised more than £2,000.

When the proceeds from the other events, together with Gift Aid contributions, are added together, the total sum raised for this very worthwhile cause comes to £3,705.26.

The generosity of all who contributed to this magnificent total is very much appreciated.

Derek Clark (Director of Music, Helensburgh Parish Church)

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Not made any resolutions yet? Here are some painless swaps to make your year a bit less plasticky!

Swap from shower gel/liquid hand soap back to bars – they are much cheaper, last longer and use far less packaging.

Get yourself a decent reusable coffee cup with a screwtop lid, priced from £3 – places like Greggs now give a discount each time you bring your own.

Keep lightweight re-usable cutlery in your car glovebox/bag and avoid those naff plastic forks.

Use Tupperware-style containers for lunches, or failing that, use foil rather than cling-film as foil can go into your blue bin after use (wipe it first).

Where produce, such as eggs, can be bought in cardboard or plastic boxes, choose the cardboard, and avoid produce in unnecessary plastic trays. Or you can re-use your egg-boxes when buying local eggs.

Finally, save old fruit and bread bags to use instead of freezer bags – another saving for your purse, and more room left in your bins. A win-win New Year all round.

Plastic-Free West Dunbartonshire, via email