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I AM writing following the recent tragic death of cyclist Colin McCourt on the A814 between Helensburgh and Cardross.

I, and others, wrote to the Advertiser in October 2019 about the importance of completing the Helensburgh-Dumbarton cycle path. At the time I said: “As a keen cyclist who has frequently cycled the A814 route, I would highlight just how narrow the road is over much of the distance between Helensburgh to Dumbarton, with relatively few straights for vehicles to pass cyclists safely. I would say I often feel like a road accident statistic waiting to happen while cycling this road, and as a result now try and limit my use of the A814 by bike as much as possible.”

READ MORE: Renewed calls for cycle path completion after Cardross crash tragedy

The latest programme for the Colgrain-Cardross section of the cycle path shows that this is due for completion by spring 2026, if compulsory purchase orders for land are required, or summer 2023 without. The Cardross to Dumbarton section has a similar duration, but is further delayed by around one year.

This tragic accident highlights the urgent need for completion of this long overdue cycle path. The timeline cannot be allowed to slip any further. Some level of accountability needs to be shown by Argyll and Bute Council and Sustrans for the management and funding of this project.

Jonathan Young


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READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: November 19, 2020

I WOULD like to endorse the remarks by local residents regarding the ‘cycle path debacle’, in last week’s Advertiser.

I have not cycled between Dumbarton and Helensburgh for many years, as I do not consider it safe. I have on several occasions asked Argyll and Bute Council when and if it is going to do something to provide a proper cycle path.

I call this stretch of road ‘the missing link in the triangle.’

Route 7 of the National Cycle Network, promoted by Sustrans, provides a safe and enjoyable traffic-free route between Dumbarton and Balloch. It is possible to cycle safely most of the way between Balloch and Helensburgh (although this is not part of the NCN). But the missing link is between Dumbarton and Helensburgh.

My understanding is that funding could be available for a continuous cycle track which could link with the rest of the National Cycle Network. The problem, as highlighted by Richard Trail, appears to be land ownership.

This route would benefit cyclists and walkers, the village of Cardross, and retailers and cafes in Helensburgh.

With leisure cycling increasing dramatically since the Covid crisis, surely now is the time to make every effort to finally resolve this problem?

Rose Harvie

Bonhill Road, Dumbarton

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READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: November 12, 2020

WE need to be willing to think a little differently to solve the climate crisis. The scale and the urgency of the problem mean we’re all going to have to look at some things in a new way.

A good example is the roof of Cardross Golf Club. As reported in the Advertiser, Argyll and Bute Council’s heritage officer rejected an application to put solar panels on the clubhouse roof, despite there being no objections from any neighbours, nor from Historic Environment Scotland.

Surely what’s needed is a change in priorities. We still care about our built environment being aesthetically pleasing. But the relative importance of the natural environment is now far greater.

And also, perhaps what we consider to be aesthetically pleasing is changing. Beautiful is now green, sustainable, low carbon, renewable, environmentally friendly. Even the 1,000-year-old Gloucester Cathedral has solar panels on its roof.

READ MORE: Cardross Golf Club's 'visually obtrusive' solar panel plans turned down

The local authority is, rightly, rebranding itself as “Climate Friendly Argyll and Bute”. Here’s a great opportunity for the council to show what that means by giving permission to this application.

This is a relatively small project, but perhaps symbolic of the kind of radical changes we need to be willing to make, if we are to get to grips with the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, and turn it around before it’s too late.

Another example is the cycle path from Helensburgh to Dumbarton. There is surely some change in thinking needed now, to push ahead and get it done.

Cardross CAN (Climate Action Network) is a new group set up to support each other in our community to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our care for biodiversity. If you live in Cardross and would like to join us, please email

Heather Munro

Cardross CAN

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READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: November 5, 2020

I HEAR Argyll and Bute Council is spending money to stabilise the dangerous building on East Clyde Street, but does not plan to demolish it.

They wring their hands and lament about the cost. But how many times has the road been closed due to this collapsing building? Another stabilisation effort does not solve the problem.

The only solution is demolition before it totally collapses and maybe destabilises the rest of the block. Regardless of what anybody says, there are signs that this is already happening.

READ MORE: Demolition not a viable option for dangerous Helensburgh building, says council

Is this an example of good money being spent after bad?

Bite the bullet, Argyll and Bute Council, and demolish now. Those responsible have walked away into bankruptcy and will never do anything about it.

Meanwhile the town is disrupted again, with through traffic creeping through the obstructed back streets that were not designed to accommodate it.

Dougie Blackwood


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READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: October 29, 2020

AS an ex-teacher, I would award full marks and a gold star to those who have brightened up this dismal time with the lovely Christmas lights around the town. They make the prospect of a disrupted Christmas less daunting. Well done, and thank you.

But I would award a spell of detention, and a few punishment exercises, to those who thought it appropriate to hold a market in the square in the midst of the Covid problems.

Being next to Level 4 areas, one has to wonder where the traders came from? Did anyone check? And how successful was the social distancing when folk were moving between the stalls and leaning over the counters?

I have heard from several people how surprised they were that there was a market at all, so I am not alone in my opinion.

Catriona Malan


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READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: October 22, 2020

I WOULD like to thank a number of people who have helped restore some cheer in our area during these tough times.

On behalf of the community in Helensburgh, thank you very much to Viv and Tony Dance. This is the 11th year they have given us all the cheer of Christmas lights in the town.

The lights are there through their efforts, and the town now has its Christmas tree in the square for another festive season.

If it was not for them, a generation of children would have grown up without seeing these wonderful decorations.

I also wish to thank the MoD for supplying Christmas trees to Rhu and other villages, ensuring they have something at the heart of its festive celebrations as well.

Lastly, I also wish to say a public thank you to Councillor Gary Mulvaney and his wife Janet, who have organised deliveries of soup to people who have been confined to their homes. On the 75th anniversary of VE Day this year, when we could not have street parties, they brought the party to me, with sausage rolls, meringues and scones.

This has happened over a very long period and I know it is an effort which has been, and is, welcomed by so many people. Many thanks to all.

Billy Petrie


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READ MORE: Naval base staff help bring seasonal sparkle to Helensburgh and Lomond villages

THIS is the time of year when the local branch of Save the Children would normally be inviting its supporters to its annual Christmas auction.

We have been holding this very popular event for around 40 years now and this will be the first time it has been cancelled. Even heavy snow several years ago did not prevent it going ahead, with a last minute change of venue.

In spite of our not being able to raise funds “live” this year, we have been very fortunate to have received several generous donations, for which we are extremely grateful.

At this time more than ever, we are desperately needing support. As a result of Covid-19, more children are living in poverty, going hungry and are unable to learn.

One way in which we are asking people to help us this December is by taking part in Christmas Jumper Day on Friday, December 11, thus supporting some of the most vulnerable children living in the UK and around the world.

By wearing a Christmas jumper or another form of festive decoration and donating £2 (£1 for children) you really will be making the world “better with a sweater”.

You could also donate at the local Tesco store in Sinclair Street, which has very kindly agreed to donate a hamper to be raffled, with the proceeds going towards Christmas Jumper Day.

If you would like to support Save the Children this Christmas, please phone me on 01436 675767.

Diana Macintosh

Chair, Helensburgh and District Save the Children Committee

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