THIS week's batch of letters include comment on the Clyde Marine Plan and plastic waste pollution, a public consultation on proposals for a new care home in Helensburgh and more.

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We look forward to hearing from you.


Further to Geoff Riddington’s incisive letter about the Clyde Marine Plan consultation, with particular reference to the issues of fishing and marine litter, I’d like to offer several comments.

On the matter of fishing on the Clyde and associated sea lochs, a report of 2010 referred to the Clyde as being in “ecological meltdown”.

I spoke to someone the other year who spent his life as a professional fisherman, and asked him about the catastrophic decline of species like cod. He pointed the finger at a government decision to relax the ban on inshore trawling in the 1980s, in response to fishing industry pressure. He said that he himself had used the seine-net method of fishing, and never fished the deep water.

With the lifting of the trawling ban (in place since the late 19th century), he said trawlers moved in, and had it good for a few years, but then there was nothing.

The fate of the Grand Banks fishery off Newfoundland serves as an awful warning of what can happen when spineless politicians cave in to industry pressure.

As I understand it, the whole marine ecosystem there has been unbalanced to the extent that fish like cod cannot get going again.

Perhaps only some really tough action on the Clyde might work, and even then, it could be too late. Will the recently designated Marine Protected Areas help?

As reported in the media a few weeks back, it would appear that the unscrupulous are already targetting these very places, working under cover of darkness.

Regarding the matter of marine borne litter, full tribute should be paid to all those volunteers doing sterling beach-cleaning work, with vital support by Argyll and Bute Council and other bodies.

However, all such action is reactive rather than proactive. It is a fact of life that some people will dispose of wrappings, containers etc irresponsibly, no matter the number of campaigns.

My own view is that you would have to target the retail and wrappings industries to address the root problem, and pressurise them to change to more environmentally friendly ways.

Also, how about giving people incentives for recycling/returning containers, as in the old days?

Alistair McIntyre



More than 30 local residents were at the lively, but constructive, meeting called by Helensburgh Community Council (HCC) to listen to their objections to the planning application for a 64-bed Residential Care Home on the site of the redundant Council Depot off Sinclair Street.

The meeting was joined by Jackie Baillie MSP, community councillors and Helensburgh and Lomond Councillor Richard Trail.

Before responding to the application to Argyll and Bute Council, HCC had to hear local residents’ views.

While they were not against a care home on the site, they did object to what was planned for it. There were three main objections.

First: design and landscape. Residents in Prince Albert Terrace, immediately to the north of the site, see themselves suffering the most from the new care home. Some say their homes would be overlooked by the home thus damaging their amenity value, plus diminishing the unique sense of place they all enjoy.

The Terrace is in the Upper Helensburgh Conservation Area and is largely unique in Helensburgh. It is protected in the council’s Local Development Plan - any new development in conservation areas must be of the highest design quality, and respect and enhance the architectural “character or appearance” of its surrounding area.

Residents and other objectors feel the proposed massing and scale of the care home are not fit for a conservation area and will damage its character because it is too big.

As to the building itself, it is seen as bland, featureless and lacking any sense of identity.

It should be smaller and more distinctive. And, it has to hold its head up high against A.N. Paterson’s magnificent war memorial immediately next door.

Second: parking and access arrangements are inadequate. The proposed 25 car parking spaces in the care home are not enough for employees, friends and relatives, health professionals, frequent deliveries, ambulances, refuse trucks etc.

At around five metres wide the access road to/from Sinclair Street appears too narrow for two-way traffic. The sight line looking up Sinclair Street is very restricted and is crossed by a cycle path.

The care home will generate a lot of right turning traffic - entering and exiting - Sinclair Street. Taken together these warrant Argyll and Bute Council holding a traffic impact assessment so that all risks and potential dangers can be evaluated, and made public.

Third: residents in Birch Cottages feel they will be dwarfed and overshadowed by the care home. Their other big worry was the inevitable disruption during construction:

· It will be noisy all day from generators, diggers, trucks etc;

· Noisy construction traffic on the access road;

· Regular delivery of building materials.

There is an existing rough road from the depot to Hermitage Park. Under the existing plans residents feel their direct access to the park will be lost. Also, there are four dedicated parking spaces for the cottages on the access road. Residents feel these will be “hijacked” leaving their care workers and visitors with nowhere to park.

Other concerns were raised. Who owns the land the depot sits on? Is it the council’s to sell?

Jackie Baillie has already asked the Scottish Government to “call-in” the application. Disruption during construction could damage the foundations of Prince Albert Terrace which is built on a sloping site.

HCC said the concerns of the residents would form the basis of its objections to this application. Its first step would say to Argyll and Bute Council that the final decision has to be made in public and not behind closed doors by councillors and their officials.

Helensburgh Community Council


I recently visited my sister-in-law in Rhu and was given recent copies of the Helensburgh Advertiser.

I was shocked to read about the General Optical Council’s treatment of Malcolm Craig.

My late wife and I were patient’s of Mr Craig’s during the 20 years we lived in Helensburgh, during which time we received care of the highest standard, resulting in my wife being advised to seek further investigation for an eye problem which saved the sight in that eye.

Having read the transcript of the GOC hearing I have to agree with your correspondents Jack and Doreen Williams (Advertiser comment February 21) that the GOC’s presenting officer’s comments about supporting testimonials and patients’ perception of their treatment were in the first case nonsense, as how would anybody know this hearing was taking place, and in the second case patronising in the extreme.

The fact that Mr Craig had decided to retire three years before this hearing suggests to me that this is an example of bureaucracy being taken to the extreme.

I hope Mr Craig will find comfort in the knowledge that his patients all appreciated the expert care he provided and the courteous and friendly manner in which he provided that care.

Mike Hutchinson



It was fantastic to catch up with Argyll and Bute’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Barbara Morgan, recently in Kilmory where we discussed her work supporting our brave armed forces personnel who are serving across the world and our heroic veterans.

There is no doubt that we all owe a debt of gratitude to men and women who have volunteered to fight for our county past and present.

Sadly it can sometimes be easy to take for granted the freedoms we all enjoy due to their sacrifice.

So It’s critical that we guarantee our personnel the resources and training necessary to be effective in the military, as well as in civilian life.

Argyll and Bute Council is a partner of the Argyll and Bute Community Covenant Partnership, which it set up to bring local organisations together to share knowledge, experience and expertise and to give active and positive support to the armed forces community.

Argyll and Bute Council, along with NHS Highland and Argyll Voluntary Action, has also shown its support for service personnel and veterans by signing the Argyll and Bute Armed Forces Community Covenant.

It recognises the sacrifice made by members of the Armed Forces, particularly those who have given the most, and makes a commitment to supporting current and former Armed Forces personnel and their families working and living in Argyll and Bute.

Cllr Barbra Morgan, myself and fellow Conservative councillors, MSPs and MPs will continue to do all that we can to keep Argyll and Bute as one of the best places for our servicemen both past and present to live.

Cllr Alastair Redman

Kintyre and Islands


Rhu Amateurs would like to thank all those who bought or sold horses for our recent successful race night, and to those who attended on the night.

We are also grateful to those who sponsored a race, namely: ex-players Tom Griffiths and Tommy Heron, DCF, Scott Leishman Plumbing, Jim Schultz, Roger Scullion, Brown & Cordiner Plumbing, DG Joinery, Riding Sawmill Cardross, Sam Gemmell, Stewartfield Dentistry, Kevin Walker Butchers Kilcreggan, and Cardross Pharmacy. Thanks to all.

Robert Dunn

Rhu Amateurs


Mary Neal and staff at the Oasis CrossReach centre in Garelochhead would like to say a huge thank you to all the people who use the service, their families, carers and our faithful volunteers who supported our spring tea event which was held on Saturday, March 23.

We could not do this without your generous support and donations, it is always much appreciated.

Helen Munro

Senior care worker