THE latest bumper crop of Advertiser readers' letters includes more views on the future for Helensburgh pier, the US presidential election campaign, the SNP's candidate for next year's Holyrood poll, the threat to Citizens' Advice Bureaux across Scotland, and more.

To have your say on any topic of local interest, just email your opinions to or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this site.

Please remember to include your name and address, and to try and keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can.

We also require a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.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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The demise of Helensburgh Pier, arguably the town’s greatest asset, as reported in the Advertiser over recent months, will sadden the majority of residents and was highlighted by the recent breakup of the Helensburgh Seafront Development Project (HSDP).

Argyll and Bute Council will have many other piers that take financial priority, due to their commercial working use, over ours.

In addition, there are no surplus monies to fund the Helensburgh restoration project.

It is clear that the council must use some lateral thinking if the pier is ever to be restored.

The pierhead site fronts West Clyde Street and there are plans to redevelop the existing car park and swimming pool to create retail space. There is potential to develop up to 40,000 square feet.

I am aware of two retailers that have active requirements for Helensburgh of between 15,000 and 20,000 sq ft each.

The council could secure forward funding – or borrow from central government – for the development with these occupiers signed up to a pre-let agreement. The completed development/property investment could be sold for between £10m and £12m depending on the lease term.

The total development would cost less than £6m to construct. That profit could be used to restore the pier.

My personal view is that there is no point in just repairing what is there so the Waverley can visit a few times a year (as long as they get a new captain!).

It has to benefit the town, with pontoons for visitors on day boats, weekend ferry trips and RIB rides for tourists etc. I am sure the HSDP have covered this.

In terms of maintenance costs, the new retail development would generate £300,000 per annum in business rates. Whilst that money could not be directly allocated for these costs, it would certainly help.

Apologies if I am going over old ground, but I am just writing to highlight that the pier could generate revenue to save itself, benefit the town and provide more income to our local authority.

Malcolm Pearson (Pearson Property Consultancy, Rhu)

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: November 5, 2020

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With reference to Ruth Wishart’s column on campaign spending in the US presidential election (Advertiser, November 5): yes, Ruth, one party did spend far more than the other.

Joe Biden’s Democrats had a war chest of $177 million, Donald Trump’s Republicans $63 million. (My source: New York Times, October 26, 2020.)

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh?

Peter Knox, Rhu

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READ MORE: Readers' letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: October 29, 2020

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Whilst I wish the SNP’s newly-announced Dumbarton constituency candidate, Toni Guigliano, well, I am a little disappointed that the local SNP has chosen a candidate who doesn’t live locally.

There were some excellent local SNP candidates to choose from and it only leaves it open to the accusation that it was necessary to ‘parachute’ in someone who hop scotches around the country, from Edinburgh to Dumbarton, looking for a political career.

We shouldn’t be a stepping stone.

Anthony McLean, Grant Street, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters: October 22, 2020

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Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs) are a familiar name that people regard as part of their daily life and a place to seek help with issues.

Funding cuts mean that a number of offices are now facing reduced budgets or possibly closure.

These offices serve all Scottish citizens, many in the most deprived areas of the country, and are a lifeline to the people in those communities when it comes to matters relating to benefit entitlements including Universal Credit, housing benefit, etc.

The particular difficulties in relation to Universal Credit are around the fact that many of those applying have no means of accessing the online application process.

Some applicants do not have English as their first language and CAB offices have experience in obtaining advice via interpreters.

‘Outreach clinics’, centred in local area Jobcentres, are also a feature of the CAB service and enable Jobcentre staff to refer clients directly to a CAB Advisor based there for a day.

Any cuts will increase the workload on CAB offices exponentially as thousands more may be made redundant, find they have no income of any kind, and turn to CAB for advice.

Cuts will undoubtedly affect the vulnerable in our society immediately, with the consequences extending much more widely soon after. The effects of the Covid19 pandemic are severe enough in themselves.

In cities such as Glasgow, the closure of offices would mean that many claimants from those areas could find it impossible to travel to other parts of the city and, in any case, with an already growing list of applicants, those offices would soon be overwhelmed if they are not already.

Several members of CAB staff have already been made redundant. I believe that more may follow, without funding.

In Glasgow alone, five offices face closure, although it is estimated that in excess of 12,000 people in Glasgow sought advice from these offices in the last year. This is likely to be the case in major cities around Scotland.

A petition has therefore been submitted to the Scottish Parliament, asking the Scottish Government to provide urgent funding for CAB offices in Scotland where budgets are being cut or closure is threatened.

If you feel you can support it, please click on the link below – and please feel free to share it to your friends and/or your family.

The petition is at

Alistair S. Stephen, via email

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READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: October 15, 2020

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Scottish Conservatives have recently revealed that record numbers of Scottish criminals are breaching electronic tagging orders.

A total of 1,136 offenders broke Restriction of Liberty Orders in 2019-20, with figures rising in each of the previous three years. These tagging orders are imposed for attempted murder, serious assault, robbery and rape.

Victims and the wider public need to know that when a criminal is sentenced, their punishment will be fulfilled. The shocking rise in breaches is another appalling betrayal of victims.

The SNP are soft on crime. The Scottish Conservatives will always put victims and public safety first.

Cllr Alastair Redman (Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser readers' letters: October 8, 2020

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With the festive season almost upon us, I’m writing to let your readers know that Santa and his elves are getting ready to give children with vision impairment a Christmas treat in the run up to the big day.

Each year, Santa receives millions of letters from children all over the world. To make sure that every child can read his reply, he has teamed up once again with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to make sure his letters are available in accessible formats including braille, audio and large print.

RNIB’s elves have been spreading festive cheer for over 20 years and last year sent 1,345 of Santa’s letters to blind and partially sighted children across the UK.

If you know a child with a vision impairment who would love to receive a letter from Santa, please send their Christmas letter to Santa Claus, RNIB, Midgate House, Midgate, Peterborough PE1 1TN by Tuesday, December 1.

Alternatively, you can email by Monday, December 21 for an email with a large-print attachment.

Make sure to include the child’s name age, postal address, contact number and which format they need.

David Clarke (Director of Services at RNIB)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters page: October 1, 2020

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The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be exceptionally difficult for all of us, but has also led to crisis levels of ‘pet poverty’ in the UK.

PDSA is a charity that provides free and low cost vet care for those who struggle to pay treatment costs for their sick and injured pets.

Since the first UK lockdown began, we’ve seen an overwhelming number of additional enquiries from pet owners who have hit hard times. In the first three months of lockdown alone, we carried out more than 6,400 operations and 15,000 x-rays for pets in need.

On average, we’re providing 2,300 phone appointments every day to desperate pet owners. We predict there will be as many as 50,000 more pets eligible for our services over the months ahead, as a direct result of the economic hardship caused by the pandemic.

For many sick and injured pets, whose owners are struggling financially, PDSA is their only emergency service.

For more information on PDSA and the pet care crisis and how you can help, please visit

Paul Manktelown (PDSA vet)

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