A plea from the Friends of Hermitage Park, a lament for the old Colquhoun Square, and thoughts on the Conservative and Liberal Democrat leadership elections are among the topics which have prompted you to write in to the Advertiser this week.

To have your say on any local topic, all you need to do is email editorial@helensburghadvertiser.co.uk or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

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

We also require a daytime contact phone number for verification purposes, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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It was disheartening to read the headline ‘Our new look park is a disappointment’ above the letter from Ian and Isabel Bone in last week’s Advertiser.

The project is complex, so answers on a postcard might be difficult, but we will try to answer the technical questions without diverging to the politics we expect are inherent to working on any project with a council.

First of all, the park has been seriously dug up to install all the drains, paths, level the lawns, build the pavilion etc.

Some bits still need to be dug up, and we haven’t started on the planting, except for the sundial flower beds. There is a very long way to go on the horticultural front.

The rejuvenation work has always been divided into two lots - landscape works and the pavilion build.

The landscape contractors, Hawthorn Heights, are the same ones who did all the drains, paths, war memorial restoration, playpark etc, and they are now finishing the landscape works on the car park, dipping pond, entrance, sewer and electrical connections etc, with a completion date of September 2019.

The final completion of the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’ funded work is in 2021. It is a five year programme, and the next two years are for the horticulture.

A formal opening date? Good question. The Friends have planned two so far – October 10, 2018, and May 25, 2019. Now we are of the ‘wait and see’ approach.

We do hope that we will have a ‘Party in the Park’ in spring 2020 – surely all the builders will have left by then, and we will have a winter to start gardening and planting the hundreds of plants we have in nursery conditions off site. We should have been doing this last autumn and winter.

The closing date for running the pavilion cafe was last Friday, July 12, and offers in the region of £18,000 were invited.

The Friends and the park’s project manager, who is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and is employed by the council for the five year duration of the project, are working hard to achieve a ‘demonstrable and sustainable benefit to local communities’.

Quarterly reports are provided to HLF and the project is stringently monitored and evaluated.

We are striving to deliver a sustainable park in all senses, from seeking to establish an endowment fund to delivering the activity and engagement plan that is part of the HLF project.

There is one overriding reason that the park project has been in the doldrums and is running a year late, and that is the eight month delay in delivery of the pavilion build.

The final landscape works could not commence until the pavilion was finally signed off by Hoskins Architects and by Argyll and Bute Council’s building standards and planning officials, and until it secured health and safety approval and obtained Passivhaus accreditation.

This has delayed the activity plan, the gardening, the opening and the whole momentum of the project for the Friends and whole community.

Nobody is more frustrated than the park manager, and the Friends, to have the whole well-planned project so knocked out of kilter by the pavilion build overrun.

We feel the vandalism in the park is worse than it might have been, had we been able to get on with delivering the ‘activity plan’ final phase of the project.

Now it is another issue we need to address by a combination of our CCTV appeal – justgiving.com/friendsofhermitagepark – and by continuing engagement with the young people who congregate in the park.

However, we are where we are, and we are all working hard behind the scenes trying to raise more money and deliver the Park we all hope to have.

We are exactly halfway through the five year HLF project. We knew this was not always going to be easy and restoring Hermitage Park was a mammoth task and not a quick fix.

We greatly appreciate the patience and support of the community in Helensburgh, and we understand why folk are frustrated at how long it is taking.

Please continue to be patient. Things are happening apace again now, after the long hiatus of the pavilion, and we hope disappointment will turn to approval.

Fiona Baker (Chair, Friends of Hermitage Park)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters - July 11, 2019

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Why in God’s name did we ever let the people in power change our beautiful Colquhoun Square?

Our town is now so changed from the place we grew up in and loved. All the shops, pubs and cafes that were part of our lives have all gone, and what we have now is a place full of charity shops coffee houses and God only knows what else.

All I know is that when I walk through the town I don’t get the same feeling of belonging.

Big John’s cafe, where you could go in and sit and wait for the Kirkmichael bus without buying anything.

The Palace Cafe, where you got a Bovril and a water biscuit.

Andrew Watt’s fish and chip shop, for a bag of chips on the way home that you shared and made sure that everybody took only one.

I can’t change progress any more than anybody can; I can regret it, but we can’t stop it.

But we who belong through generations who have lived here have our own feelings and memories of our Helensburgh.

Liz Trueman, via email

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters - July 4, 2019

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It cannot have escaped anyone's notice that there is a political party leadership election taking place.

A party with a small proportion of our 65 million population is about to decide our next Prime Minister.

At the same time another party with a large membership is holding its leadership contest. The main news channels and media in the United Kingdom seem to want to ignore this contest.

The membership of the Liberal Democrats has increased by 26,000 since the European elections, when the electorate woke up to the fact that only one political party was standing on the issue of remaining in the European Union and keeping the United Kingdom together.

The Liberal Democrats have two excellent candidates vying to be their leader – Jo Swinson, the MP for East Dunbartonshire, and Sir Ed Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton. You can hear recordings of their hustings at libdems.org.uk/online-leadership-hustings. Both are very worthy and hard working MPs who put their electorate first and themselves last.

Only the Liberal Democrats will give you, not politicians, the final say on leaving the EU.

Margaret Horrell, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters - June 27, 2019

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As Boris Johnson looks set to romp to victory as new Tory leader and thereby receive the keys to Number 10, he is about to form the most fragile government seen in Britain for almost 50 years.

What’s more, he’ll do so burdened with one huge problem that not even Mrs May had to face – a recession.

The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, recently noted that the UK economy didn’t appear to be growing at all, and is heavily reliant on household spending.

The statistics back him up. The most watched surveys of British businesses, released in the past few days, suggest the private sector is already shrinking.

In the construction sector, which has just had its worst month since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, they now talk of “quicksand”.

Manufacturing has been pole-axed, while out in the much larger service sector things look utterly moribund.

Indeed, the early evidence from some quarters suggests that the UK is already in a recession, and that we’re just waiting for more data to prove it.

This is against the background of a ruling party on its last legs in a political system sapped of nearly all legitimacy.

We live in a country that has spent most of the decade mired in the weakest recovery for 300 years, which is now giving way to recession, while the ruling party continues to pledge tax cuts for the richest.

And we have a political class that still kids itself it can get a better Brexit deal out of the rest of the EU, or even that it will survive a crashing-out with only a few scratches.

The bluff and bluster of Mr Johnson will very quickly be found out, and his tenure as Prime Minister will coincide with a devastating time for the UK economy.

Alex Orr, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters - June 20, 2019

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Are you living with heart disease, or do you care for someone who is? If so, the British Heart Foundation Scotland (BHF) wants to hear from you.

We are at a crossroads in our national approach to heart disease. BHF Scotland believes the time is right to have a conversation about what national priorities for these conditions should be in the future.

BHF Scotland is holding a patient engagement day to gather information, opinions and experiences from people living with heart disease to help shape our ideas about what national priorities should be.

If you are interested in attending our event to find out more and share your experiences then please contact Kylie Strachan, senior policy and public affairs officer with the British Heart Foundation Scotland on barclayk@bhf.org.uk or at The Cube, 43a Leith Street, Edinburgh EH1 3AT.

Liz Monaghan, British Heart Foundation Scotland