OUR selection of reader's letters this week includes comments on a proposed major development in a tiny Garelochhead hamlet, parking charges across Argyll and Bute and even mention of a hot tub...


I, AND most of the residents of Portincaple are shocked and dismayed to learn that Argyll and Bute Council do not think an Environmental Impact Assessment is required for the proposed large scale development of 36 two and three storey terraced houses and a 22-bed hotel/restaurant, plus slipway and 100 parking spaces etc, since, they state, it will have “minimal impact”.

Notwithstanding the huge disruption caused during construction, if this development is allowed to go ahead it will impact on every aspect of our lives in the quiet rural hamlet that is Portincaple.

Feuins Road (our main road) which includes two very old bridges, is not capable of coping with the increased amount of traffic during construction and after.

It is only marginally wider than a single track road.

We have already lost our wonderful display of traditional bluebells, due to “woodland management” previously carried out by this developer.

At present our children have the freedom to roam, play and explore a natural playground on their doorstep (there are few green spaces left that offer that choice); residents take pleasure in walking and playing with their children and dogs on the shoreline.

Portincaple is home to deer, otters, bats and other wildlife, all of which could disappear with the increased population and properties.

I could go on, but there wouldn’t be enough room in your newspaper, so I ask all your readers who love the pure green space to help us prevent this monstrous development from going ahead by objecting to it in the strongest possible way (see Argyll and Bute Council’s website).

As one reader of another paper so succinctly put it, “if it requires camouflaging, it shouldn’t be there”.

Catherine Naylor

Woodstock, Portincaple


Following on from the increase in parking charges at the foot of the Cobbler in Arrochar I hear that there are proposals to introduce similar charges on Mull and Iona.

This has caused an outcry in these small communities and I understand that they are seeking help to mount a legal challenge.

Like many others, I am concerned as I would like to visit but these charges would be a large deterrent.

I wrote and asked the four councillors who represent the area whether they supported the proposal. Councillor Mary-Jean Devon replied that she was totally against the proposal, I have not heard from Councillor Sir Jamie McGrigor or Councillor Roderick McCuish.

I got this reply from SNP Councillor Jim Lynch: “I am one of the ward four Councillors for Oban South and the Isles covering this area.

“I did not support these parking proposals.

“At the Area Committee meeting where the vote was taken to parking on Mull I submitted an amendment rejecting the proposal in its entirety.

“l also called for a full Island Community Impact Assessment as outlined in the Island Act to be carried out before any further proposals were considered.

“On the day my amendment fell and the motion to introduce charges was passed by four votes to three.”

I then asked where the proposal had come from and who had voted for it. Again Councillor Lynch kindly provided the answers, copied below.

“The proposal was made as part of the Traffic Regulation Order process prepared by council officers.

“The recommendations were then made to the Area Committee and a vote was taken.

“The four Councillors who supported the proposals were Cllr Sir Jamie McGrigor (Ward four), Cllr Kieron Green, Cllr Elaine Robertson, Cllr Andrew Vennard (all Ward five Oban North and Lorn).”

In my view these proposals are a disgrace.

They are bully boy tactics aimed at small communities where the there is unlikely to be much of an electoral backlash.

Can you imagine what would happen if an attempt was made to introduce £9 a day parking on the seafront in Helensburgh?

Our councillor leading lights within the council would soon have it explained to them what the consequences might be.

The plan to increase charges on the islands should be abandoned and those in Arrochar should be reversed.

Dougie Blackwood



I would like to share with the community the hard work the residents have done with the flowers and the vegetable growing at Morar Lodge, especially with ‘oor HEID Gardner Arthur Burns’.

The produce has become overwhelming, we have had strawberries, tomatoes, lettuces, cabbages and loads of other organic goodies.

Arthur works hard to maintain the garden crops and it has become part of his daily routine which has also promoted his own health and wellbeing.

He loves the ‘Good life’ scenario and after the toil of the garden is the spoil of the hot tub at the end of the day.

Thank you Arthur for all your hard work and achievements for us in the future to maybe become self-sufficient.

We cannot wait for the Xmas tatties!

Sandra Sallie

Morar Lodge Care Home


The SNP need to get their story straight on indyref2 as the SNP’s deputy recently insisted he had never claimed the independence referendum was a once in a generation vote.

However, it has emerged that ahead of the 2014 vote he claimed the referendum was a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’.

Instead of pretending to have selective memories, the separatists should take the threat of indyref2 off the table completely.

This latest talk of staging yet another referendum comes as the number of Scottish businesses on the brink of collapse is soaring under the SNP.

Figures show an 18 per cent rise in the number of companies in serious ‘distress’ compared to the same period of 2018.

The rate of businesses in severe financial trouble is growing at more than three times the rest of the UK.

This increase of firms on the brink of collapse should be a sharp wake-up call for the separatists.

We said no to breaking up our United Kingdom and we meant it, the SNP need to and get back to the day job of improving our economy, schools and NHS.

Only Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives have the ideas and determination to protect our union, support Scottish businesses and grow the economy.

Cllr Alastair Redman

Kintyre and Islands


Many people across Scotland are struggling with consumer debt – everything from store cards to bank overdrafts.

In fact, according to a recent survey by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), household debt in the UK is now at a record high of £15,385 per household.

This is a figure that excludes mortgage debts, but includes consumer debt items such as credit cards, bank overdrafts, payday loans and store cards.

We are fortunate in Scotland to have a way out of such difficulties in the form of a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), which is one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets. It’s available from charitable organisations such as StepChange and from commercial debt advisers such as TC Debt Solutions too. It is a Scottish Government scheme that is legally binding and prevents creditors from taking further action against people who owe money.

Set up back in 2004 by the Scottish Government, the scheme allows people to freeze interest and charges on their debts and pay their debts off interest-free over a longer period of time.

This brings payments down to levels that people can afford and gives people the chance to get their lives back on track.

Interest and charges are simply written off.

Apart from reducing debt, one of the best things about the DAS scheme is that it protects people from their creditors but is not a form of insolvency: people get to pay back their debt in an affordable way.

Lenders like the scheme because they know they will eventually get their money back – and borrowers like it because they don’t have to pay interest charges and they get longer to pay their debts off.

It’s a case of everyone wins.

There’s plenty of information about the Debt Arrangement Scheme online at aib.gov.uk/debt-arrangement-scheme.

Thousands of people have used the scheme, but so many more could get this help – whether through financial charities or commercial organisations.

Richard Gardiner

TC Debt Solutions, Dunfermline