This week's Advertiser letters page includes your thoughts on petrol prices, access rights, Trident, the NHS, care home provision, and more.

To have your say in the Advertiser on any topic of local interest, just email your thoughts to or get in touch with us via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

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

We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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WE all knew that Waitrose was to shut, and we all knew that the petrol station would go too.

It is never good to see anything go, and during its time the Waitrose petrol station has been good for the town, and always a low price.

Now I fully understand that everything has a price, and there is supply and demand. But it was blatantly obvious that once it closed this would have an effect on the other petrol station in the town.

Regular petrol at Waitrose at time of closing was 99.9 pence per litre (ppl), and the price at the Esso station at Tesco Express in East Clyde Street was 104.9ppl. The day after Waitrose closed, Tesco/Esso put the price up to 107.9ppl.

As the world oil price is going down this is nothing more than a disgrace to the people of Helensburgh. We need another station in the town, otherwise they will continue to overcharge us.

Dave Tipple (via email)

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: April 30, 2020

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WE are fortunate that, during this lockdown period, the footpaths and forest tracks that surround Helensburgh, Rhu and Cardross, allow access for exercise by foot or mountain bike to some beautiful locations overlooking Loch Lomond and the Clyde.

Unfortunately for those living at the east end of the town, the link between Helensburgh and Cardross is severed by a double height gate and double height fencing at the Red Road.

This letter is about removing that blockage.

It is clearly an offence under Section 3 of the Land Reform Act to lock gates on a route without providing alternative pedestrian access.

It was first reported to Argyll and Bute Council seven years ago. It is the responsibility of the council to take legal action and, five years ago, the official Access Committee recommended such action.

Attempts to mediate came to nothing but in the interim, owing to acute financial pressures, the council had withdrawn the budget for access and nothing has subsequently occurred.

‘Direct action’ to force access has a long and illustrious history, and removing an obstruction that blocks legal passage is not criminal provided any damage caused is minimised.

In contrast to England, the Scottish law on vandalism states that damage to property is only a criminal offence if there is no good reason.

Given that the council is currently unable to act for financial reasons, I would ask people in Helensburgh to consider, as a minimum, writing to the council’s access officer (, reporting the blockage and asking for it to be removed.

Dr Geoff Riddington, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: April 23, 2020

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In making a case for the NHS over nuclear deterrence (Advertiser Comment, April 23), the Rev Ian Miller belittled Scotland and the UK, recycled class-based prejudices, and threw reality to the wind.

The fact is we have both the NHS, free at the point of delivery, and a defence policy to ensure our freedom.

In 2018-2019 the UK spent £152 billion on the NHS, of which £13 billion was spent in Scotland. The Trident nuclear programme cost £2.3 billion.

NHS funding and management in Scotland is entirely the responsibility of Holyrood. If the SNP wants to spend more money on the NHS, they can, and do.

Ian Miller calls for a vote to choose between the NHS and Trident. Politics is not that simple.

Perhaps he could subject himself to the vote at the next election? Or, perhaps better, he should stick to sharing the Good News as a Christian cleric.

Peter Page, Gartocharn

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READ MORE: Readers' letters to the Advertiser: April 16, 2020

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Things are changing – or are they?

The grey heron which, for the last ten years, would shriek its arrival at our garden pond, catch something and immediately take off, has had a sudden change in behaviour.

Astonishingly, it decided to relax among our heathers and conifers. I have begun to wonder if there is a ‘lockdown’ at the herons’ elevated nesting area. I only hope that the water quality along the shore where it normally feeds has not deteriorated.

We know that the bathing water in the Clyde Estuary nowhere meets the standard required to gain Blue Flag Beach status. Hence the reason that many people will be hoping that later in the year they can travel to the Mediterranean to enjoy the golden sands and sparkling waters.

Perhaps Scottish Water should change its focus and investment in sewage treatment and disposal to help create an enhanced environment.

What has not changed is the behaviour of leading politicians. For example, the First Minister daily announces that her government is providing additional facilities, without giving recognition and thanks to local government staff who ultimately have to implement her promises.

Be it social services, food supply, child care, relief of council charges, financial support to small and medium size businesses, or the supply of PPE – delivery all comes down to the dedicated, over stretched, essential council personnel.

Also, would Nicola Sturgeon please stop making misleading and fake news? On April 3, she said that 10,000 daily Covid-19 tests would be carried out by April 30. All that was achieved was the ‘capacity’ to undertake around 4,000 tests.

While the habits of our wild birds may be changing, our leaders are regrettably sticking to their old ways.

Finlay Craig, Cove

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: April 9, 2020

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IT is time that the care-home coronavirus crisis was put into the correct context.

The huge proliferation of care homes, residential homes and sheltered housing is mainly a result of UK government decisions in the 1970s to take old age care out of the NHS.

Most of the sector now is owned by multi-millionaires (many of them with huge cash deposits offshore) and huge, prosperous companies.

The workers in these facilities, however, see little real benefit from the huge costs paid by the residents.

If they are inadequately provided with the resources to do their jobs properly or inadequately provided with protection, the immediate responsibility to provide such lies with the proprietors.

It is obvious to all that this sector will inevitably see the highest number of fatalities of this pandemic.

But we see a UK government, which is suspected of trying to conceal the number of deaths in this sector, and the Scottish Government, which is honestly reporting them, both being attacked for failings in this area over which they have less than adequate control.

This is not the time to play politics, but surely, when we have got out of this crisis, it will be time to look seriously again at how we provide old-age care.

Dave McEwan Hill, Argyll

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: April 2, 2020

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CAN I ask your readers to please consider supporting the Royal Voluntary Service’s emergency appeal?

As the charity which runs the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme, we need to raise £5 million in order to continue to support the thousands of older and vulnerable people who benefit from our help, and the large numbers of people contacting the charity seeking support.

We inspire and enable 18,000 volunteers to give their skills, experience, energy and time to help people in need in hospitals, at home and in the community.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we have rapidly adapted our frontline services across Great Britain to support those most in need; through companionship calls, helping people to access food and essential medication, providing transport to medical appointments and helping patients return home from hospital safely, and offering social activities online.

Our work supports people to stay well at home, enables them to access healthcare and ultimately reduces pressure on the NHS front line.

We urgently need funding to support this new way of working and also to help offset daily losses in our regular income. We are needed now more than ever before.

We know that most of the people we help live alone and struggle with loneliness. These people are now having to stay at home, as they are all either over 70 or have health issues. The contact they previously had with our volunteers was often the only chance they had to speak to someone for any length of time.

To overcome this, we’ve arranged regular phone calls so that people can still have a chance to chat, as well as make requests for supplies – and to raise the alarm if needs be.

To find out more about our work in the community and how you could support the emergency appeal, visit or contact me on or by phone on 07393 802215.

Anna Foley (Regional Partnerships Manager, Royal Voluntary Service)

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