This week's Advertiser letters page includes more of your thoughts on the controversial housing plans for Portincaple near Loch Long, the UK government's attempts to help the country's economy recover from coronavirus, and a plea from Helensburgh Community Council for new members.

To have your say 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We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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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Again we are subjected (Advertiser Comment, July 9) to John Urquhart’s lonesome support for the building of houses in Portincaple in what would be a travesty for the people and environment of the area.

Why is this one single supporter, apart from the developer and his agents, being given so much print space? This isn’t reflective of the huge weight of opinion against the devastation of this unique hamlet.

Thus it is of great surprise your newspaper hasn’t given the proportionate space and time to the people of Portincaple and those further afield who recognise the huge damage both environmentally and to the community this proposal would wreak, if it was to happen.

In my view this developer is dancing around current planning policies and guidance and is effectively trying to formulate a building project around those. I don’t believe he cares at all for the people who live in Portincaple, the woodlands, or the irreparable damage his plans will do in this unique place.

I believe he only wants to build and make money.

Why should this hamlet be destroyed for his ambitions and profit for distant shareholders? The tourism angle is, in my opinion, a smokescreen.

And as for utilising Portincaple as a link into the Three Lochs Way, I do know that Mr Urquhart refused to do this with Garelochhead. He was on the body that made this decision, and he campaigned against that walk being linked to Garelochhead. So why is this his view now, when Portincaple is much less accessible to that walk than Garelochhead is? I find it hard to discern Mr Urquhart’s motives.

Before Portincaple is damaged beyond recovery, and another part of the remaining one per cent of registered Ancient Scottish Woodland is lost forever, people like Mr Urquhart and Mr Olive need taking to task.

It just shouldn’t happen. Why does a government register and create an Inventory of Ancient Scottish Woodlands if the same government then doesn’t protect them for us now and future generations?

I, too, have loads of lovely photographs of Portincaple. They all show a beautiful quiet bay, verged by the ancient woodland, and not just rhododendrons, but oaks, birch, elder, pine, plane and fir trees among others.

They also capture local wildlife, from deer, to otters, to eider ducks, dippers, gannets, cormorants and kingfishers.

All are reliant on this landscape to survive. Yes, take away the rhodendrons, but don’t replace them with concrete and tarmac: from that this environment will never recover.

Debbie Carr, Braeside Cottage, Portincaple

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

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Helensburgh Community Council is making a request for volunteers to come forward to fill our current vacancies.

Elections have been put off until next year at the earliest and this allows us to co-opt members without election.

We have currently three vacancies which we would like to fill. The following information may be helpful in making a decision.

First, and most importantly, community councils are strictly non-political establishments. The charter for community councils is laid down in statute in the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1973.

The non-political context means that we have no ulterior agenda. Our overriding aim is to benefit the community from the work we do.

The community council in Helensburgh numbers 20 folk from within the town boundaries. Our backgrounds are varied and we are all volunteers. We meet formally once a month and have regular briefings from the police and local community groups.

Our representative aims are:

- To bring down the age demographic to relate more to the community and to maintain an energy and originality in all the work we undertake. In an ideal world, a mix of young professionals and experienced retired folk would work well.

- To never to lose sight of the value of our local shops and commerce activity. They are a great asset to the town. We are therefore getting retailers on board as councillors to provide guidance.

- To encourage naval family participation in the work of HCC. The enlargement of the Faslane base inevitably means an increase in naval personnel and their families to the area; this is something we welcome, and we are keen to reflect this in our membership.

- To remain engaged in communication with the youth of the town. We instituted a co-opted Youth Forum member on the community council a couple of years ago and it is working well.

What about our work?

We are statutory consultees on licensing applications in the town.

We look at all aspects of planning for the present and the future and represent the interests of the community through formal representations to the AB Council.

We cover all aspects of town improvement, clean streets and pavements, efficient rubbish disposal and well-maintained town infrastructure.

We also enlist community volunteers to conduct monthly beach cleans and the maintenance of the shrub beds in Colquhoun Square.

We support the various groups in the town with special interests such as the Friends of Duchess Wood and the Friends of Hermitage Park.

Recent initiatives undertaken by the community council include:

- A successful seminar on women in business;

- A Helensburgh retailers’ conference to examine our retail scene and what could be improved.

- An exhibition of work by students on the Masters design degree course at the Glasgow School of Art.

- The introduction of a Food Festival involving 20 of the eating establishments in town which was a resounding success.

- We have been pursuing the establishment of a John Logie Baird Innovation Centre in the town library.

We will be delighted to hear from anyone interested in becoming a member of HCC. To find out more information, get in touch with us via the Feedback section of our website ( or contact me by email on

Norman Muir (Convener, Helensburgh Community Council)

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: July 9, 2020

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The Chancellor’s pledge of an additional £30 billion of measures to support the economy is of course to be welcomed and brings the direct cost of Covid-19 interventions to over £311 billion.

While a seemingly large sum, when one looks at the potential economic collapse coming down the line, this is unfortunately akin to using a pea shooter against an elephant.

With the OECD predicting four million unemployed, bringing the unemployment rate to 11 per cent, what the Chancellor has done is temporarily protect jobs and livelihoods, rather than providing the stimulus needed to guarantee these jobs in the long-term and get the economy moving again.

We have seen VAT reduced to five per cent for the hospitality sector, but this is a fraction of the across-the-board cut that was made in response to the 2008 global financial crisis.

What we need is major investment to rebuild the economy – and yet we have had the paltry amount of less than £10 billion being used for housing decarbonisation and green homes.

There is an immense amount of capital at very low prices for the Government to borrow and invest, and this will not always be there.

The economy was already stuttering in the first quarter and has now fallen off a cliff, with the OECD predicting the UK economy will take the biggest hit in the industrialised world this year. And that is before we fully exit the EU single market and the inevitable economic challenges that creates.

We need a genuine New Deal, with billions pumped into the economy through additional borrowing if we are not to leave an economic and social wasteland for both this and future generations.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: July 2, 2020

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We want to start a national conversation about heart disease – but we need your readers’ help to make it happen.

At BHF Scotland, we’re developing new recommendations that we want to see the Scottish Government take forward over the next five years to improve care for people in Scotland who are living with heart disease.

We’ve been listening to healthcare professionals and people living with heart disease to help us identify the key issues and work out a series of priorities and actions, and now we’re opening a wider consultation to shape our final proposals.

If you are living with heart disease, or you are a clinician working in this area, we’d like to hear from you.

You can share your thoughts and ideas at or by contacting me at or on 07471 902521 before September 4, 2020.

Have your say to help us develop an ambitious and innovative plan with patients at its heart.

Kylie Barclay (Policy and Public Affairs Manager, British Heart Foundation Scotland)

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