THIS week's letters to the Advertiser include your views on litter in the town, delays to work on Hermitage Park and the town's waterfront development and more.

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

Please remember to supply us with your name and address, and try to keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can.

We also need a daytime contact phone number for verification purposes, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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During a particularly lovely day last week, I noticed that a family with a young baby had enjoyed a picnic on the beach at the bottom of Maitland Street.

After they left, they failed to remove their rubbish, and I had to pick up and bin the usual discarded cans, bottles and crisp bags.

More unusually, I also picked up what looked like a brand new Baby-Grow, a baby vest, and two disposable nappies, covered in poo. Ugh!

So I was delighted to read in last week's Advertiser about the volunteer group, Plastic Free Helensburgh, who are determined to try and keep Helensburgh litter-free.

Good for them – not everyone is so uncaring as the family who left their horrible rubbish for others to pick up!

Maura McNally, Maitland Street, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – July 18

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Fiona Baker’s letter (Advertiser Comment, July 18) on the delays to the regeneration of Hermitage Park really can’t go unchallenged.

Her assertion that the overriding eight-month delay in delivery of the pavilion building is the root cause of overall completion being behind programme is incorrect and erroneous.

The pavilion, contrary to Ms Baker’s view, has not been signed off by the council's building control officials for the simple reason that the drainage system within the building is not yet connected to the main sewer.

Quite why the drainage facility is not in place after two years is unclear and contrary to any recognised building procedure.

The corollary to the foregoing being that even if the contract to lease the pavilion had been signed, beneficial use would have been prohibited.

We do not propose at this juncture to air the many causes of delay to this project but would expect Fiona Baker to avail herself of some basic facts before committing to print.

James D. Shields (Managing director, Stewart & Shields Ltd)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – July 11

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It is with utter amazement that I and many members of the public view the progress, or lack of progress, relating to the proposed new leisure facility and swimming pool on the pier car park site in Helensburgh.

With further damning information appearing in the public domain on almost a weekly basis, questions are being asked about the competence of those senior councillors within Argyll and Bute's ruling administration to manage such a project.

Although we saw lengthy delays in progressing planning permission for this facility, senior councillors appeared to point the finger of blame at Helensburgh Community Council for submitting significant and well researched objections – even though theirs was just one of 115 objections against this planning application.

The finger of blame for securing planning permission can only be pointed at the council, as they are the developer who failed to submit a planning application that was acceptable to the planning authority.

We have seen recent reports that thecouncil may have to cut back on the project via “value engineering options” (cuts to you and me) because of rising costs linked to the delays in progressing this project due to the delays in securing planning approval.

Again, it needs to be pointed out that the costs of the project would not be a problem if the council's ruling administration, including a number of local councillors, had not agreed to transfer the £5 million secured from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for this project to the Dunoon pier project – which, until now, appeared to be the only project to benefit from the £5 million MoD contribution.

Amazingly, we now discover that a planning application has had to be submitted by the council for listed building consent because of the impact that the leisure facility will have on the pier, which is a category C listed structure.

Given that the council only approved the C listing of the pier this year, it is amazing that a listed building planning application has only now been submitted.

Although I cannot comment on the pros and cons of the listed building application at this time, due to the requirements of the councillors' code of conduct, the question must be asked as to what added further delays this could introduce into the delivery of this project.

To make matters even worse, we now read that, although councillors in the administration agreed to transfer £5 million from the Helensburgh leisure facility to the Dunoon pier project, the renovation of Dunoon pier was delayed indefinitely after cash set aside for that project was used on the refurbishment of the Queen’s Hall in Dunoon.

Given this information, questions must now be asked where the £5 million donated by the MoD to the leisure facility eventually ended up. Has it, either directly or indirectly, ended up funding the refurbishment of the Queen’s Hall in Dunoon?

And if not, where is the £5 million now – and is the council complying fully with the terms attached to the £5 million grant from the MoD?

Cllr George Freeman (Independent, Lomond North)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – July 4

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MANY people are critical of our politicians, with good reason, but the underlying causes of their poor performance are not clear.

One possibility is that the political approach to decision-making is derived from the legal system. Unfortunately, the practice of deciding outcomes by persuasive argument is not always fot for purpose outside the courtroom.

Global warming will dominate life on earth for the foreseeable future, and no amount of discussion of debate will change this. Yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer insists on pointing out the costs are very high, with the implication we should continue burning coal, oil and gas.

Of course the costs are high, but the alternatives, even in the medium term, are much worse.

Brexit is a classic example of a decision that should be made following a determined and honest attempt to establish the facts and to make those facts public. Instead we have groups of people who think they can win an argument based purely on rhetoric.

Even if many of the outcomes are uncertain, there should be a process of evaluation that is not based on 'winning' or 'losing'.

A second possible reason for Westminster politicians to be so incompetent is that many are very poorly educated. To go from an expensive private school to Oxford, where 24 weeks a year for three years may be spent studying a subject of little or no practical relevance to life on this planet, is not a useful preparation for decision-making in a technically complex world.

This is exacerbated by going straight into politics, buoyed by a high level of self-confidence and not the smallest notion of what life is like for those who have to earn a living.

Perhaps the worst aspect of this career path is that the ones who end up leading the pack are those with the most confidence, not the clearest thinkers.

A third possible reason is that Oxford graduates tend to go back to their professors for advice. If those professors are purely theoretical in their analyses, they will be unable to reflect the realities of life, and all the real world uncertainties that affect the outcomes of policy decisions.

A fourth potential reason is that life in politics is very stressful. This seems to lead to a kind of febrile state in which the politician loses all contact with reality; life becomes a merry-go-round, based on lies and pretence, with the object to become famous rather than to serve.

These observations are not specific to one party or another. Whichever way you look at it, the Westminster system needs to be reformed.

Roger Waigh, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – June 27

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I AM writing to urge shops and businesses in Helensburgh to help make our community more autism-friendly by holding Autism Hours throughout the second week of October (5-12).

The National Autistic Society Scotland’s Autism Hour sees shops and services across Scotland and the rest of the UK dim their lights, turn down music and share information about autism with staff and customers.

Being autistic means seeing, hearing and feeling the world in a different, often more intense way to other people. Many of us take a trip to the shops for granted but for autistic people it can be an overwhelming, difficult and daunting experience.

Our research reveals that 64 per cent of autistic people avoid the shops and 28 per cent have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated with their autism.

Since we launched Autism Hour in 2017, nearly 17,000 shops and businesses have taken part and there have been over 40,000 hours with some stores committing to regular quiet hours all year long.

The National Autistic Society Scotland wants a world that works for autistic people. By signing-up to Autism Hour, businesses in Helensburgh and beyond can help to open up the high street for the 58,000 autistic people and their families in Scotland.

I encourage local shops and business to get involved and find out more by visiting

Nick Ward (Director, National Autistic Society Scotland)