I COULD not agree more with Sally Page, whose letter (Advertiser Comment, December 10) condemns the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority for its shameful decision to authorise development next to Ross Priory on the hitherto-unspoiled southern shore of Loch Lomond.

The governing authority of Scotland’s first national park, as Ms Page reminds us, should be bound by the Sandford Principle: where a conflict of interests exists, nature takes precedence over Mammon.

Alas, Mammon clearly rules at the park authority. This is not the first such decision to be taken with scant regard for founding principles, nor is it the first to have had more than a whiff of the rubber stamp about it.

READ MORE: Unanimous backing for Hunter Foundation's Loch Lomond development plans

Quite apart from the visual blight of this development on the world-famous scenery of Loch Lomond, and leaving aside the woeful disregard for environmental impact assessments, site visits and comprehensive evaluation of the likely effects on wildlife, I am left wondering why it is that the Tom Hunter Foundation feels – and the planners clearly agree – that only this particular location will do for a Global Leadership Centre?

Surely it can’t be anything to do with the world-class views, the potential for water sports on the doorstep, the exclusive nature of the location?

There are many brownfield sites in and around Glasgow that could benefit from an economic kick-start on the back of such a venture – why not choose one of those?

The Tom Hunter Foundation should look to its philanthropic credentials and move its Global Leadership Centre elsewhere.

Jane Meek, via email

READ MORE: Your letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: December 10, 2020

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AS part of its £1 billion Glasgow city centre campus transformation, the University of Strathclyde is constructing a new teaching and learning centre and student union which will overlook the Rottenrow Gardens.

The gardens and surrounding area have to be improved to create an enhanced and accessible campus for students.

Surely it would make more sense for Sir Tom Hunter to take advantage of this facility for a leadership centre rather than disturb the wildlife and biodiversity of one of the most beautiful spots in Scotland.

Anita Anderson, Gartocharn

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OF course it is “wonderful” for care home patients to get the vaccine first, as they themselves say.

But the appalling death toll in Scotland’s care homes was reported to be due to cross-contamination of staff working in several homes and to the NHS deliberately transferring hospital patients into them, without first testing them.

Both of these matters followed from the public health authorities’ jealous insistence on limiting testing to their own laboratories and excluding the offers from private, academic and charity labs until far too late.

The effect is that younger generations have to wait. But the probable consequences of that are a slower economic recovery and rather more younger people dying well before their time.

We need to return our economy to normal, and to generate the wealth and taxes for our health and other public services from January onwards.

However sad it is for those of us over 75, we are not “needed” to anything like the same extent; and most of us can take the right actions for ourselves and for society’s benefit.

Surely the immediate priority should be health and care workers, school teachers, the military and emergency services, plus essential and certain other workers in private industry.

John Birkett, via email

READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: December 3, 2020

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THE other night I was on a Zoom call with around 20 doctors and nurses of all generations and a mix of specialties in NHS Scotland, and each one expressed their deep concern over the undue pressures they and their colleagues are under at this present time.

Shortage of staff due to sickness or self-isolation is resulting in certain services being shut down, and the remaining staff are anxious because of the workload. In addition, the increased number of very sick Covid patients together with the complexity of the precautions essential to diminish cross-infection, all contribute to the anxiety levels within our NHS.

A discouraging atmosphere pervades, with members of the public who heartily clapped and lauded the NHS, and other essential workers, in the spring now complaining and making life even more difficult for those who are seeking to serve under severe constraints.

The working staff are on the receiving end of verbal abuse because of things not in their control.

Our NHS and other workers are under huge pressures; they are tired and see that the reality is of many months yet to come of these pressures, with perhaps years of catching up on missed treatments and operations.

They are doing their very best to encourage each other, and to support their colleagues through the effects of this pandemic.

So please remember our NHS staff, police, carers, social workers, counsellors, refuse collectors, school teachers, postmen/women, and all those who work under great stress so that we, the public, can live well in our wonderful country.

Spare a thought for each one, quit complaining, and share a smile and a warm greeting with those who serve you.

Alasdair Fyfe, via email

READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: November 26, 2020

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AS we approach the end of a year that has been unlike any other, I’m sure some of your readers, like myself, will be thinking of those we hold dear who are unable to join the family Christmas meal this year.

I’d like to suggest a simple, last-minute gift that will help connect people in Argyll and Bute with their loved ones and feed hungry children around the world.

Mary’s Meals, a charity reaching more than 1.6 million children every day in some of the world’s poorest countries, is hosting a virtual Christmas dinner.

For just £15.90 - enough to feed a child every day for an entire school year - your readers can set a place at our table for their friends and family.

Their name will appear online and we’ll provide a digital placemat to pass on as a present.

This year your gifts will go twice as far, with each place set now feeding two children with Mary’s Meals for an entire school year.

Give until January 31, 2021 and public donations will be doubled by the UK Government, up to £2 million - meaning we can reach even more hungry children in Liberia with life-changing school meals.

Please visit marysmeals.org.uk/Christmas to set your place. 

Daniel Adams, executive director, Mary’s Meals UK

READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: November 19, 2020

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AS a difficult year for everyone comes to a close, at the national pet charity Blue Cross we understand that people will be wanting to celebrate new hope for 2021 this winter.

For some, that might include letting off their own fireworks in back gardens.

However, we are asking people to think about our pets this New Year’s Eve and resist the temptation to set off loud fireworks, which terrify our four-legged friends.

Blue Cross has asked the questions and this is what the British public has told us.

Most people (70 per cent) think fireworks should be banned in the UK – except for at organised or licensed events.

More than two thirds (70 per cent) of dog or cat owners are concerned about their pet’s welfare this firework season.

And worryingly, nearly half (43 per cent) of people noticed an increase in garden fireworks on Bonfire Night and the surrounding days this year.

These results have laid bare the extent of suffering so many of the nation’s pets go through for days and weeks at a time every single year.

That’s why we are pleading with people in Helensburgh to think about their own actions when 2020 turns to 2021, and to consider ditching any plans for the setting off of loud fireworks, which leave many pets literally shaking in fear, for other celebrations and other times.

We are also calling on the public to spread the word to others, and to display posters in their windows or local community boards, encouraging people not to use fireworks this winter.

These can be found and printed off from our website – bluecross.org.uk– where there is also a full list of top tips and advice for all pet owners to help keep their furry friends safe and well this New Year.

Let’s make this suffering a thing of the past.

Chris Burghes, chief executive, Blue Cross

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