PEOPLE living in Arrochar have been urged to become more involved in tackling marine litter in the village alongside other bodies.

At a meeting of Helensburgh and Lomond Community Planning Group on Thursday, February 7, Samantha Somers confirmed that Marine Scotland had plans to tackle the issue.

But the meeting was told that the community in Arrochar needs to become involved in those efforts and help ensure it moves forward.

The objective was listed as not being on track in a report prior to the meeting, but group secretary Samantha Somers said she was more upbeat.

Ms Somers said: “We have received confirmation that Marine Scotland will be taking this action on board and they will be invited to a future meeting of this group.

“They have a plan in place to do studies, but there is a community element as well – what can we as partners do to help?

“I am happy to move this objective to being ‘in progress’.”

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Stuart McLean, chair of the CPG and a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service official, replied: “My feeling on moving this to ‘in progress’ was based on having a plan in place, but it is up to us as a group to ensure it moves forward.

“There are small things that Scottish Fire and Rescue could do. We have a day out for exercises which is something along those lines, but we need to have a discussion on the expectation of the Arrochar community.

“We need some focus on what can be achieved.”

At the meeting, Samantha also addressed two other issues which were listed in the report as not being on track.

They were to work with local communities to increase confidence regarding the retail and local business offering in Helensburgh, and establishment of a visitor destination group in Arrochar.

She said: “The fact that some aims are not on track is not a cause for concern. It is a three-year plan and there is plenty of time, but this plan belongs to all of us.

“It was agreed by all partners in the room.

“With regards to the first objective, this is not settled, but the Making Places work that is happening in Helensburgh has taken precedence.

“We are having discussions with [Argyll and Bute Council] economic development officials and Scottish Enterprise to see how we can take this back to working with local communities to have that confidence with the businesses.

“I think there will be a further update on this to ensure we have the clearance.”

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Sephton MacQuire, of Dunbritton Housing Association, said: “We need to get a timescale on that. I have attended a couple of meetings on this and one was a lively debate.”

It was agreed that a timescale would be produced at the group’s next meeting, which is currently scheduled for Thursday, May 9.

On the second objective of establishing a visitor destination group in Arrochar, Samantha said: “This once is red just because I don’t know who the organisation is on this, and therefore have been unable to find out what progress is being made.”

Duncan McLachlan, of the Arrochar and Tarbet Community Development Trust, said: “The trust has had aspirational visions for a visitor centre in place of a community cafe.

“It is not quite fit for purpose and we have had architects draw up a vision, along with the development of a disused football pitch.

“Ourselves and the Argyll and the Isles Coastal Community Trust are looking a vacant areas of ground that the council has ownership of at present for a long stay car park and toilets.

"Things are not progressing as envisaged, but we are active on the car parking development.”