PLANNED new signs welcoming visitors to Helensburgh could make mention of the town’s French ‘twin’ after all.

The admission comes after the Helensburgh-Thouars Twinning Association reacted angrily to news that the new signs, on the A814 at the eastern and western ends of the town and on the A818 at the top of Sinclair Street, would not include mention of the link between the two communities, which was established 40 years ago.

But members of Helensburgh Community Council (HCC) have heard that there’s still a chance that the new signs may not be needed at all.

The plan to install new signs in place of the existing boards, which have suffered from a lack of maintenance over recent years, sparked criticism from some social media users after the Advertiser revealed community councillors’ preference for the new designs.

HCC convener Norman Muir told the organisation’s March meeting that Heron Brothers, the construction firm building the new leisure centre on the town’s waterfront, had offered to examine the existing signs in a meeting with community councillors to see whether repainting and “re-maintaining” them might still be a realistic prospect.

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Community councillor Tariq Durrani said: “There was some concern that there was no mention of Helensburgh’s ‘twin town’ on the sign, so we may include an additional plaque beneath the new signs.”

But there was some sharp criticism of those who took to Facebook to complain about the new signs after the designs were published in our March 4 edition and online.

Community councillor David Allan said: “Community councillors and businesses have taken it upon themselves to do something.

“If Heron Brothers can repair or ‘re-do’ the existing signs, that’s fine.

“But I don’t think we should be willing to accept criticism from people who haven’t stepped forward to do anything.”

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HCC member Irina Agostinelli replied: “I think one main reason for the criticism was surprise that this had been decided so suddenly.

“The main thing was that people didn’t know, and they think of the signs as their signs because this is their town.

“Maybe some people just didn’t want a sign that looks like those in other towns.”

Community councillor Roger Ferdinand, who has worked on the new designs with John Macpherson from Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary Club, said: “Some of the criticism was to be expected. When you want to change anything it’s bound to attract some comment.

“To the few people who decided to comment on it in a vitriolic way, I would say we still have a long way to go on this and decisions have yet to be taken.”

The proposed new signs, if and when they become a reality, will not be funded from council tax revenues or other public funds.

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