THIS week's letters to the Advertiser include comment on parking fines in Helensburgh and the latest update on Peckham's plans to open a new restaurant in the town, as reported in last week's paper.

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I GOT my first parking ticket while delivering a donation to Oxfam in Helensburgh – four large bags.

I was only away from the car a few minutes. I had seen the traffic warden at the bottom of the road, and he had seen me; so I left the amber flashing lights on to say I wouldn’t be long.

To no avail. Like a Ninja assassin, he’d written the ticket and disappeared before I got back to the car.

I tried to appeal against the £30 fine using the council process, hoping for some sort of understanding. No such luck.

It’s a simple case of an offence being committed; traffic wardens are all trained in customer relations and how to deal with the public, I was told.

So I wondered whether anybody else in Helensburgh, or anywhere else in Argyll and Bute, had ever successfully appealed against issue of a parking ticket.

I asked that very question of Argyll and Bute Council. They told me that from March 1, 2018 until February 28, 2019, 1,602 tickets were issued in Helensburgh - that’s £48,060 to the council if everybody paid up within the first allowed period.

The council couldn’t tell me the percentage of fines appealed or whether any appeals were successful – according to the reply I was given, they don’t keep those numbers.

Strange, I thought, so I looked on the council web site. The last time the council’s homework was marked by the Accounts Commission for Scotland, which operates independently of local and central government to check how well Scotland’s councils perform, the report summary said (amongst other things): “Members and senior officers need to consolidate [...] progress by continuing to improve the council’s openness, transparency and how it involves its communities in decision-making and scrutiny, in order to build the trust and confidence of service users and the public.”

Not having any trust or confidence myself, I was interested to see that the report also said: “The Commission notes with disquiet the dysfunctional relationships which persist between a number of individuals. The Commission is firmly of the view that the interests of the public are best served by a shared commitment by all parties to maintaining constructive relationships and high standards of conduct.”

So, from my experience, from the Freedom of Information response I obtained, and from reading their own website, I conclude that Argyll and Bute Council is still dysfunctional, and is probably interested only in making money from the public.

That is why they don’t keep records of appeals against parking tickets and (probably) have never allowed an appeal.

Even if somebody on the council staff did care, they (probably) spend any spare time fighting other officials.

John Humphreys

Via email

READ MORE: Advertiser letters, March 21.


Further to the article on Peckham’s plans for the former municipal buildings in Helensburgh (Advertiser, March 21), in the past few months, I did make efforts to find out the facts about the former police and fire station on Sinclair Street, the site of considerable remedial work over that time.

I was given to understand that the building had been bought by some financial incarnation of Peckham’s, unrelated to the defunct shops in Glasgow. I was told that they were funding the work.

Now we learn from the top brass in Kilmory that the truth is somewhat different. We are paying the bills for the work which is more extensive than first thought.

When the work is completed, missives might be signed if Peckham’s is in good financial standing at the time.

I did seek clarification from the Argyll and Bute communications team, based in the Civic Centre. My email inquiry was acknowledged. I have yet to hear further.

The open and transparent goal of Argyll and Bute Council remains a paper aspiration unrelated to the facts.

Repair work on Helensburgh pier may or may not happen. The condition of the pier is the result of decades of neglect of this local asset by Argyll and Bute Council.

The necessary repair work will allow the Waverley to call again. However the Waverley is a special case. The work will not restore the Maritime Certificate necessary for commercial traffic to berth. Without this, the pier cannot generate revenue.

The council have been dragging their feet over the siting of a Second World War mine by a local group determined to rescue the pier from its fate. The mine will be a giant piggy bank for restoration funds.

Like their national counterparts, our local politicians suffer from #ME syndrome, and lack any vision for our town and country.

John Black

Beau Vallon, The Seychelles


On the referendum vote, the majority of the people in our country made the decision to leave. Since then the establishment has continually been on the side of remain, with the result the EU did not need to make a case as to why we should stay.

Every past and present big political figure who can present a case for remain, has been presented to us by the media. Yet, the main architect of us voting to leave, Nigel Farage, seems to have gone missing!

Despite all the bad press Teresa May has been given, I sincerely believe if given a chance to vote again, the majority of the people in our country would vote for her before all the rest of our politicians.

John Connor


READ MORE: Advertiser letters, March 14.


New research by Rotary Great Britain and Ireland shows that almost half of adults in Britain say that they are lonely and two out of five say that they feel most lonely in the evenings when they get home from work.

The average Brit sits alone in front of the box for three hours and 30 minutes every day, compared to just two hours spending time with friends or family. People aged between 25-45 on average socialise for an average of three hours and 20 minutes.

A quarter of the respondents polled would like to socialise more, two thirds (66 per cent) are happy with the amount they do, and only four per cent said they would like to socialise less in a typical day. Women are more likely to want to socialise more with 27 per cent, compared to 22 per cent of men.

On average, British people have five close friends whom they feel close enough to discuss personal issues. Those aged between 25-34 have an average of seven. Almost a fifth of older people say they have no close friends or just the one if that.

Evenings are the time when the most people feel lonely. Forty-one per cent of people in our survey said that this feeling descends when they are alone in the evening; 14 per cent of those surveyed have gone to the shops for the sake of getting out and having a conversation with someone, six per cent have gone to the GP for the same reason, and six per cent have ordered post just to chat to the postman!

How sad it is that loneliness is so prevalent in these modern times. No one should have to spend so much time alone in front of the TV or feel they need to chat to Alexa or Siri for company.

People seem to be losing the art of socialising with each other and relying on technology instead.

That’s why we’re encouraging people to seek out new groups or volunteering opportunities as a way to meet new people and have the opportunity to socialise within their local community.

Amanda Watkin

General secretary, Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland


With the expectation of spring on the way, many of us will be going for walks and working in the garden.

People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are no exception to this and these are both excellent ways to be more active and take better control of blood sugar levels.

However, people with diabetes do need to take a little more care and unfortunately, we have found that some people with diabetes are not aware that they need to take the extra care of their feet.

Around 130 diabetes-related amputations take place every week in this country alone, mainly as a result of foot ulcers but 80 per cent of these are avoidable with proper foot care.

So people with diabetes should have their feet checked at least annually by a trained healthcare professional and should also be taught how to look after their feet themselves.

To try to reduce the risks of foot damage and amputations, the InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) has published a free booklet called ‘Diabetes – Looking After Your Feet’.

This is designed to help people to know how to look after their feet, what to look for and when to seek treatment to keep their feet healthy and avoid foot ulcers. If foot ulcers are left untreated they can eventually lead to amputation, which drastically changes a person’s quality of life.

A more active life in the spring can also mean a change in eating habits, so our booklet, ‘Diabetes – Everyday Eating’, which contains 28 days of menus of everyday, affordable meals and much more, is also useful to help people manage their diabetes.

You can obtain a copy of our free booklets by calling us on 01604 622837 or emailing

Jenny Hirst

Co-Chair, InDependent Diabetes Trust