HELENSBURGH central councillor Lorna Douglas responds to a report on the closure of the town's Duchess Wood, provides an update on the activities of the Plastic Free Helensburgh group and gives details of a community buyout bid for an important local facility - all in this week's councillor column.


I WANT to start with the latest information I have on the Duchess Woods, because in my last column in July the woods had been closed and I had fully expected them to have been open at the end of July.

Alas, this has not been the case. A meeting of the Duchess Wood’s local nature reserve committee, held on August 20 and reported in the Advertiser later that week, left many partners in the room unhappy with regard to the lack of communication around the closure.

This resulted in a letter being sent to the head of service for the report on the safety of trees in the wood to be made available for all partners on the committee – including myself.

The report has only just been sent to partners as I write this column – almost three months later – and I have been told that the woods still remain closed until remedial work is carried out.

READ MORE: Report sparks new blast at council over Helensburgh woodland


RECYCLING: Plastic Free Helensburgh held its first official steering group meeting on Saturday, August 31.

Plastic Free Helensburgh, if you haven’t yet heard of it, is a really exciting initiative which aims to promote more awareness about waste recycling and upcycling, and to greatly reduce the use of single use plastics in our community.

This is something that our whole community needs to address, and the group will be working with the council and other groups and businesses to achieve this. Check out their Facebook page – @PlasticFreeHelensburghCommunity – to find out more.

READ MORE: Volunteers sought for Helensburgh's next litter pick


COMMUNITY HUB: A steering group has been set up to lead an initiative for a ‘community hub’ in Helensburgh.

This would involve a community buy out of the Red Cross building in East Princes Street, which is currently providing space for the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank and for the regular book sales by the local Red Cross branch.

It will be a long process but work is underway to bring this initiative forward to benefit all in our community.

One of the challenges is to get a petition under way. We need more than 1,500 signatures from people (on the electoral roll) in the Helensburgh area to build our business case.

A petition to support this exciting project has been launched and petition papers distributed to local groups, shops and the entrance/vestibule of the Helensburgh Parish Church. We have a deadline on the petition of Friday, October 4, and all signatures in support of this initiative will be greatly welcomed.

READ MORE: Community buy-out bid for Red Cross hall in Helensburgh