THIS week's Advertiser letters page is dominated by your reaction to two articles published over the last week: our report on complaints of anti-social behaviour at a 10-bedroom Airbnb mansion in Rhu, and our interview with Argyll and Bute Council's new chief executive, Pippa Milne.

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As the local community councillor, and a resident of Rhu living near Invergare, I write to comment on the response from the Invergare owner, in your article last week, to the complaints from the residents affected by excessive noise and anti social behaviour at the house.

Mr Gardner states that the reaction by the residents is overstated. We would comment that excessive disruption on every occasion for at least 90 days/nights per year is hardly a matter for overstatement.

Our contention is that far from being a “normal” Airbnb property, the current use of Invergare is a commercial enterprise and should be subject to constraints on timing of outdoor activities, such as alcohol consumption and loud music, via a curfew at, say, 10pm.

Parties of more than 20 people at these events are surely beyond the remit for Airbnb. These views are currently being reviewed by Argyll and Bute Council, who are taking the anti-social behaviour and noise complaints seriously.

It is also clear that the owners are advertising the house on social media as an ‘events’ centre, for example for mini-festivals.

The comment by Mr Gardner that police are not concerned with the situation is false. The police have been called on 12 occasions to control the noise etc, and are taking the issue seriously given the frequency of calls from residents.We await feedback from the council on the enforcement notice currently under review.

Meanwhile, a more positive reaction from Mr Gardner would be appreciated - particularly as on phone calls and face to face contact with residents, he promised to impose limits on noise and music volumes, especially after 10pm.

Derek R. Hall (Member of Rhu and Shandon Community Council, on behalf of affected residents)

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: January 16, 2020

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I WRITE in response to the landlord’s comments in your ‘Neighbours hit out at Airbnb ‘party pad’ article last week.

As an adjacent resident to Invergare I can advise that music noise can be easily heard from inside my house. It sounds at times like we have a nightclub next door.

Another neighbour described the music one late afternoon as “listening to a rock concert”. This is clearly encouraged by the landlord’s installation of a substantial outdoor sound system, together with a roof top barbecue area.

The police have attended the property on numerous occasions to address the matter, but their interventions seem to go unheeded.

Further, the loud voices that can be heard in the small hours are somewhat intimidating, given the numbers of people that are allowed occupy the house. I have also had to approach the local authority to install noise monitoring equipment in my garden.

With regard to the suggestion by the landlord that the local area supports his venture, this could not be further from the truth. The majority of adjacent residents are really concerned at this development and have made formal representations to the council on this matter.

I also cannot believe that local hotels are in favour of unlicensed accommodation, taking potential customers away from them.

I am pleased that the local authorities have this matter in hand and I hope that appropriate early action will be taken to preserve the peace and tranquility of Rhu Conservation village.

Albert Barclay, Torwoodhill Road, Rhu

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters: January 9, 2020

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I READ the article in last week’s Advertiser on the benefits from the Clyde submarine base, as described by Pippa Milne, with some incredulity.

Maybe she has been listening to Jackie Baillie, but there is little to link her vision of the benefits of the base to reality. She seems to imply that Argyll and Bute will see a bonanza of inward investment and a growing population. Nothing is further from the truth.

Some years ago a great deal of money was spent on refurbishing the Navy’s housing stock in Helensburgh’s Upper Churchill. This was, and still is, proclaimed as being in readiness for an expected huge influx of naval personnel and their families coming to the town to man the growing fleet of submarines, and to change the dynamic of our rapidly ageing and declining working population.

Walk round that area and it is like a ghost town. Some of the houses are occupied, but the majority lie empty. Will we ever see the promised benefit to Argyll? I suspect not.

So far there are three of the seven promised new Astute class submarines in service. The fourth, HMS Audacious, has problems, and final handover has been delayed by at least 17 months.

The crews live mainly in the ever-expanding town that is the Faslane naval base. Within the fence there is a ferment of construction; almost everything that is needed by those inside the wire is provided, and the amount of business that is done in the local area is minimal.

Most sailors are drafted in, leaving any family elsewhere. They live in the accommodation blocks and go home at the weekend. When their time in the Navy is up, they go home.

Stories coming out of the base suggest that all is not well with our submarines. It is hinted that not all of the seven Astute class vessels will be built.

The few that remain of the old Trafalgar class, which they are supposed to replace, are on their last legs; they have had their lives extended to cover the continuing and increasing problems of the new Astute boats.

The UK hangs on to its nuclear deterrent as the only way to keep a seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and has announced plans to replace the Vanguard class boats as soon as possible.

These nuclear weapon platforms need the protection of the hunter-killer subs to continue their 24/7 patrols, but it is increasingly difficult to keep the show on the road.

The cost is prohibitive, and most reasoning people see through the jingoism put out by the MoD and our political masters.

One day in the not too distant future I believe they will have to admit defeat and scrap the “independent” nuclear weapon charade.

Where does this all leave Argyll and Bute? We are, and will remain, a backwater within Scotland, with grossly overpaid officials telling councillors what we cannot have, cutting staff and employing contractors, at huge cost, on vanity projects we cannot afford.

An example is the recently completed work in Hermitage Park; contractors Hawthorn Heights have gone, after three years, leaving lots to be done, and we do not have the manpower to quickly make a good job of what is necessary.

Dougie Blackwood, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: December 19, 2019

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I AM intrigued that Pippa Milne, Argyll and Bute Council’s new chief executive, is claiming that the “Faslane naval base growth is vital to Argyll and Bute’s future” (Advertiser, January 16).

I am sure Ms Milne would not utter such a comment without evidence based research. So to give the people and businesses of Helensburgh and Lomond confidence for the future, and reverse the depopulation which has plagued this area for so long, I should be grateful if she would answer the following questions on the Maritime Change Programme announced in 2007.

1. What are the most up-to-date estimates the MoD/Royal Navy have given the council of the number of service personnel who will relocate to this area, and when was this update provided?

2. How many dependent school age children will be relocated?

3. How many extra teachers is it estimated the council will require to recruit to meet this increase in children numbers? What is the estimated net cost to the council of educating these additional children?

4. What additional council tax receipts does the council estimate if the current estimated increase in personnel in question 1 above is realised?

5. How many naval families have been surveyed to establish if they intend to relocate to this area, and what percentage total of those surveyed are proposing to relocate?

6. How many businesses headquartered in the G and PA postcodes have received work from the base in connection with the current programme, and what is the estimated value of this work and its percentage of the total amount paid to all contractors?

7. Why put so much store in this programme to reverse depopulation when the history of the last twenty years is year-on-year depopulation in this area? What has the council failed to do to prevent depopulation during this period?

8. What research has the council undertaken to understand the causes of depopulation in this area? is it faster or slower than other coastal towns on the Clyde and in Ayrshire, and other European towns which host naval bases? If faster, why is it?

9. What other investment did the research suggest could make a meaningful contribution to increase population in this area?

10. How much would such investment cost and is the council considering?

Graeme McCormick, Redhouse Cottage, Arden

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