YOUR letters to the Advertiser this week include views on the 'no fly drone zone' around Faslane and Coulport, school pupils shopping at Waitrose in Helensburgh, grants to community groups in the Helensburgh and Lomond area, and more.

To have your say on any local issue, just email your views to with 'Letter' in the subject line of your email, or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this site.

Please keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can, and remember to include your name and address.

We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice.

Happy writing!

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I READ this week that someone has been arrested for flying a drone within the exclusion zone of two nautical miles around a point in the middle of Coulport.

This exclusion zone – as outlined in the letter in last week's Advertiser from Commodore Donald Doull, commander of the Clyde naval base – includes the villages of Garelochhead, Rosneath and Ardentinny.

Where does the Ministry of Defence get the two nautical miles exclusion zone? I’m sure somebody could, and probably will, fly a drone across Rhu Narrows when the submarines are transiting; this does not seem to be covered by the exclusion zone.

What about the residents of Garelochhead and Rosneath? Are they not permitted to fly a child’s drone in their garden?

This looks like a knee jerk reaction to the events at Gatwick without any real thought being given to the wider consequences.

I can see the point of prohibiting drones from flying within 50 metres of the boundary fences of Faslane and Coulport, but to draw an arbitrary circle from the middle of one base, big enough to enclose the other and everywhere in between, is unreasonable.

What will CND make of these actions and will it become an unnecessary cause celebre which could have been avoided by use of a little common sense?

Dougie Blackwood, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: May 9, 2019

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Regarding the letter by Archie Westwood (Advertiser Comment, May 9) about Hermitage Academy pupils shopping in Waitrose at lunch times: if these pupils are to learn life lessons for adulthood as he suggests, they certainly won’t learn any from him with his very disrespectful attitude to the anonymous mother who was defending her children.

Though differing, both opinions are valid. Trying to undermine her opposing view by belittling her could be interpreted as bullying.

It may also be that she remained anonymous not only to protect her children, but also herself, since it is common for women who publicly express opinions to be denigrated in this manner.

On a personal note, I often shop in Waitrose at lunchtimes, and encounter the Hermitage pupils, and have never had any trouble with them being there too.

Their behaviour is certainly no worse than the general public and they can be both helpful and amusing.

My expectation is to be served on a 'first come first served' basis, as is customary – otherwise I would choose to shop at another time, or, indeed, elsewhere.

It would seem that Mr Westwood needs lessons which should include: respect for an opposing opinion, learning the difference between subjective and objective argument, and the realisation that unless an elected representative, he can only speak for himself, notwithstanding his enlisting the silent majority to his side!

Linda Wight, 15 Queens Point, Shandon

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: May 2, 2019

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I WRITE with reference to the letter from Pauline Forrest, the secretary of the Helensburgh Savoy Musical Theatre Group ('the Savoy') in last week’s Advertiser.

She was clearly unhappy that I did not support the Savoy grant application when it was considered by the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee last month, and asked on what criteria I based my suggestion that the Savoy “are less deserving recipients than the HSDP (Helensburgh Seafront Development Group)”.

She went on to say that my “statement that a lot of the people in HSDP are volunteers is not a particularly good argument for my case”.

From the comments in her letter, it is clear that Ms Forrest did not attend the area committee meeting and therefore did not hear the full discussion relating to all the grant applications that were being considered at that meeting.

At no time during the area committee meeting did I suggest that any group or organisation was “less deserving” than any other.

Firstly, I should point out that my comments at the area committee relating to volunteers referred to the difference between HSDP (a voluntary group) and an application from Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT).

The latter organisation, which has paid staff, was applying for a total of just short of £10,000 from the four area committees across Argyll and Bute.

My comments relating to volunteers did not refer in any way to the Savoy grant application, and Ms Forrest would have been aware of that if she had been in attendance at the area committee and heard the full discussion.

My concerns on this issue related to large sums of money going to an organisation (ACT) with paid staff, that the council had set up – which, in my view, was depriving local voluntary groups of much needed funding.

Although Helensburgh Savoy has benefitted from council grants in the past towards the cost of staging productions in the Victoria Halls, concerns have been raised about the council tax payer indirectly, or directly, subsidising the cost of the tickets for those who attend such productions.

Over the years, area committee grants have normally been seen as development grants to assist new groups and new projects, and are not normally seen as subsidies towards the cost of running such public events.

Although council officers have a scoring system they use when assessing grant applications, and when making recommendations to councillors on the area committee, the final decisions are taken by councillors. Those councillors, including me, can take into account a wide range of issues and criteria, including local knowledge, when deciding which applications to support or those which they do not wish to support.

Although, as can be seen from the decisions taken by individual councillors this year, all councillors do not agree with me, I have always tried to prioritise local voluntary groups where the option for the public to fund such events is limited.

I hope that this helps to clarify my thinking for Ms Forrest when dealing with grant applications at area committee meetings.

Cllr George Freeman (Independent, Lomond North)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters - April 25, 2019

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Last night I was eating chicken liver pate when suddenly the vision of the SNP jumped into my mind.

Initially I wondered where this had come from; then I realised that I had just read that the SNP government has “indefinitely delayed” the devolution of a major new financial lever which could raise £6 billion VAT for the Scottish economy.

Why chicken pate, you might ask? Well, better to talk about independence than make devolution work.

Recently the SNP government returned social security powers to Westminster which the SNP had demanded and received. Why? Just too difficult to manage. What about all those people hoping for improved social benefits? Tough!

And of course the fact that ScotRail is one of the worst performing operators in the UK, which local people experience daily, seems to be of little concern to the SNP government, which has ultimate control over the franchise currently held by Abellio.

Perhaps the SNP government is too busy talking about independence rather than the needs of local travellers.

In case you haven't heard, we are now in a “climate emergency”, as declared by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. This week, perhaps with that in mind, she dumped a major manifesto commitment to cut air passenger duty.

So much for all the benefits she promised on tourism, industry, inward investment, opportunities to link with arts and cultural organisations in Europe and throughout the world. Airlines have already cancelled their plans to introduce new services.

Why suddenly change policy? Because in the view of the SNP, Scotland must be seen to be leading the way. It’s a pity that when things become a little difficult they chicken out and return the powers they fought for – regardless of the damage caused to travellers, people on benefits, individuals looking for work and community investment.

I suppose now we have a “climate emergency” it would be unwise to book flights from Prestwick Airport, which the SNP government is spending £40 million to keep open. Maybe they will turn it into a chicken farm!

Finlay Craig, Cove

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters - April 18, 2019

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Sturgeon is sending back yet another power to the UK Government, exposing the utter incompetence and hypocrisy of the SNP.

It’s bad enough that she handed back social security powers earlier this year, then suddenly decided she wanted nothing to do with control over air taxes recently.

Now we learn the SNP government can’t cope with the VAT assignment it so furiously demanded previously.

Another example of this incompetence on tax policy is the separatists' hare-brained car park tax that will slam teachers and police officers.

Proposals published recently failed to exempt vital public servants from the regressive £500 a year tax on workers.

The SNP’s car park tax will hit the lowest paid the hardest just for driving to work. Nicola Sturgeon needs to abandon it now.

All these tax issues and more are the hallmark of a grievance-driven, incompetent administration whose time has long been up.

Cllr Alastair Redman (Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)