YOUR letters to the Advertiser this week include views on the closure of the Duchess Wood, Helensburgh's waterfront, modern slavery in the UK, and much more.

To have your say on any local issue, or any story you've read in the Advertiser, just email your views to or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

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

We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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The Friends of Duchess Wood (FODW) would like to thank all those people who, after recent incidences of vandalism, have removed glass from broken bottles from the Pony Field.

We would also like to thank the local police for repeatedly attending the wood when informed of unacceptable behaviour. On behalf of all users of the wood, thank you.

The recent closure of the wood by Argyll and Bute Council came as a complete surprise to us. We were not consulted or informed prior to the closure.

We did not, as suggested by one Facebook commenter in the 'On the Wire' section of last week’s Advertiser, allow this to happen.

The Friends do not manage the wood, and we have made it clear to the council that we have no aspirations to do so. The council, through the management agreement in place with Luss Estates, currently manages the wood and is entitled, if it perceives a risk to users, to close the wood.

The Friends have requested an urgent meeting with the council so that, on behalf of the community, we understand the specific reasons why the decision to close the wood was taken, the timescale of the plan to address safety issues, and a timetable for when the wood will be reopened to the public.

We will keep users informed of developments through our website and Facebook pages, but we want to reassure the community we will do all we can to get the wood reopened as soon as possible.

Matt Offord (Chair, Friends of Duchess Wood)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – June 27, 2019

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I find the idea of spending millions of pounds on Helensburgh's waterfront quite laughable.

What has happened to our 'make do and mend' culture? Building on what we have and improving, focusing and directing funding to priorities first, before extravaganza? If I may mention our pier and the Waverley and the little ferry to connect to Kilcreggan? We have a naturally beautiful seafront with facilities we could improve, at a lesser cost than whatever is coming that has cost a vast amount of money just in the planning.

I refrained myself from writing, as the man-made tidal wave of tsunami proportions ripped through our beautiful traditional landmark square. It had grass to play on, hanging baskets, benches by the bus stop - it could just have been pedestranised, had a bandstand in the centre, added more seating – at substantially less cost and less stress.

What prompted me to write this time was the one and only toilet block for our visitors, the frontline of the town's vision that visitors will have a lasting impression of.

I am unsure who is responsible for its upkeep, but whoever it is needs to take responsibility and pride in presenting a relaxing rest room for all.

We do not need palace-standard toilets, just straightforward cleanliness and functionality - first the person cleaning surely can take pride in making sure it smells sweet, provide soap, paper towels, a nice bin, even mirrors.

Surely that is not too much to ask for? Or even loo brushes, to enable people to leave it, as they find it? This is every person's responsibility.

I was born and bred in Helensburgh and remember when we had a huge shelter and toilets at the east esplanade, shelters with seats dotted along the seafront, and a very solid, but old, block of toilets at Kidston, which was always clean and well presented.

We had donkey rides and sandcastle competitions by the pier, an outdoor pool with coloured lights, outdoor changing cubicles and midnight swims – we are a hearty bunch us true Scots!

So whoever is responsible for this vision of Helensburgh, please take note: it starts with basic needs, namely a pleasant, and memorable, visit when answering the call of nature.

Elma Chapman, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – June 20, 2019

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The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has found that exploitative employers had a feeling of impunity across Europe, but that legislative gaps in Britain were raised as one of its particular concerns.

The report noted that in the UK domestic workers were excluded from legislation capping the number of hours an employer can ask them to work.

It also raised the issue of visas for domestic workers from third countries being tied to a specific employer, leaving “domestic workers to endure exploitative working conditions in order to keep the job which allows them to legally reside in the country of work”.

Thousands of foreign domestic workers are being enslaved behind closed doors in some of Britain’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, by Arab families from the Gulf.

The new EU labour authority, which is due to begin work later this year coordinating the member states, could help people trapped in servitude.

Brexit could mean a huge boost to employers exploiting workers and domestic servants as the exploited would lose the only support they get to alleviate their conditions.

In London alone anti slavery charities have seen a 30 per cent rise in calls for help.

NHS gloves have been linked to Malaysian slavery. Churches in England have been asked to look out for car wash slaves etc. The 'Modern Slavery App' is a useful tool in the fight against slavery. It's hard to believe that in 2019 slavery is such an issue in the UK.

B. McKenna, Overtoun Avenue, Dumbarton

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – June 13, 2019

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A recent piece of news which largely passed under the radar, so is the UK’s Brexit obsession, was the fact that the EU and South American economic bloc Mercosur have clinched a huge trade deal after 20 years of negotiations.

It is the EU's biggest deal to date, and aims to cut or remove trade tariffs, making imported products cheaper for consumers while also boosting exports for companies on both sides.

The agreement is set to create a market for goods and services covering nearly 800 million consumers, making it the largest in the world in terms of population. It should be noted that the EU is already Mercosur's biggest trade and investment partner.

A matter of days later, adding to the irony, the EU and Vietnam signed a long-awaited free trade deal that will slash duties on almost all goods.

Both these deals neatly highlight that the EU is one of the world’s great global trading powers, and follow recently concluded trade deals with Japan, South Korea and Canada.

As an EU member state the UK automatically benefits from 40 trade agreements the EU has in place with more than 70 countries. These are trade agreements that on leaving the EU the UK will have to renegotiate, in a world that is becoming increasingly protectionist.

So, while Brexiteers talk of a ‘global Britain’ that will trade freely with the rest of the world, they will soon find out, to the detriment of us all, that not only will this take a considerable amount of time, but any terms agreed will not come close to being a match when compared with the benefits we currently enjoy as members of the EU.

Alex Orr, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – June 6, 2019

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The SNP have failed to deliver on a multitude of NHS targets. ISD Scotland figures reveal that nearly one in five people urgently referred on suspicion of having cancer are waiting more than 62 days to begin treatment.

The SNP’s target to have 95 per cent of cases seen on time is lagging at 81.4 per cent. This is the joint-lowest on record.

The separatists have been in sole charge of our health service for almost 12 years – this is what happens when they forget the day job.

Cllr Alastair Redman (Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)