The upcoming council elections once again take centre stage in this week's Advertiser letters page as the battle for votes hots up ahead of polling day on May 5.

To have your say on any topic of local interest just email your views to, with 'Letter' in the subject line, by 12 noon on Monday.

You can also send your views direct to us via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

Please include 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 printed.

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“Vote for the person, not the party.”

My parents gave me that advice when I first became entitled to vote and I have followed their judgement – sometimes with delight but also with disappointment, particularly when dealing with political bodies.

The upcoming local government elections on Thursday, May 5 will give me another opportunity to exercise my vote - hopefully to the benefit of the community.

Rather than make a decision on the basis of the candidate’s relationship with Holyrood or Westminster, or via a flyer through the letterbox, as a resident of the Helensburgh Central ward I intend to speak with the candidates in person.

I will base my decision on how to vote on their response to the following four vital issues that Helensburgh face in the immediate future and over the next five years.

The Waterfront - Leisure or Retail? This is the most immediate. Once the new leisure centre is open and the old pool demolished what to we want to see on the front? Leisure or retail? Another supermarket or facilities for the families and youth of the town as well as attracting visitors and businesses?

As reported in the Advertiser, the recent Vision for Helensburgh exercise, conducted by Helensburgh Community Council, revealed strong opposition to use of the site for the retail development which is being offered as the only option by Argyll and Bute Council.

The Pier: A long neglected feature and asset of the town. An opportunity ignored and missed in the development of the waterfront.The pier represents a great opportunity for leisure, transport, tourism and business in Helensburgh.

With regard to funding there is some light at the end of the tunnel but will our councillors drive it forward to fruition or let it fall through the cracks in the pier?

In planning issues the views and votes of our Helensburgh councillors can be subsumed by the votes and interests of other Argyll and Bute councillors who have no responsibility to Helensburgh other than as a cash cow for their own areas.

Does Helensburgh get a fair deal from Argyll and Bute Council? Our Helensburgh councillors are elected to Argyll and Bute Council to represent the views and interests of the people and businesses of Helensburgh.

Is Argyll and Bute fair to Helensburgh? Do we get value for money? As the largest population Helensburgh and Lomond contributes a large proportion of the revenue for Argyll and Bute.

However, on a per capita basis, do Helensburgh and Lomond residents receive a proportionate share per head as opposed to the rest of Argyll and Bute? Should we not all receive the same benefit per head?

Trying to drill down and establish the facts is shrouded in smoke and mirrors. Hopefully our new councillors will show the resolve and determination to get an answer. It is time for our councillors to stand up for Helensburgh to ensure a fair share of the pot.

The Environment: Following COP26 this subject should be uppermost in candidates' minds. Time is running out to do something about climate change and its effect on the environment.

What can we do locally to cope with litter, pollution, use of plastic and cleanliness of the town and beaches?

Repair and maintenance of community infrastructure and facilities by Argyll and Bute Council affects us all and reflects on the image of the town as a destination for visitors and tourism as well as residents.

Our Argyll and Bute Council candidates can promise us the world, but once they become councillors they are subject to party affiliations and council politics.

Please vote for the person you feel has the best interests of the town at heart.

Roger Ferdinand, West Princes Street, Helensburgh

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Duchess Wood is a well known and much visited woodland and local nature reserve in the heart of the town.

During the recent pandemic we at the Friends of Duchess Wood saw visitor numbers increase significantly as more people realised the benefits of walking and exercising in the wood to their physical and mental wellbeing.

We are seeking two people to join the Friends’ committee and help with the work we do to support the management, maintenance of and improvements to the wood.

There are four committee meetings a year, held in the evening, at which you can give your ideas and views on our plans and future activities and help shape the future of the Wood. There is also an AGM usually in the autumn.

You don’t need any experience in forestry or woodland management, just a willingness and enthusiasm to get involved with the work we do.

If you would be interest to join us please contact me via the website,, where you can leave a message via the Contacts page on the site and I will get in touch with you

David Lewin (Chair, Friends of Duchess Wood), Queen Street, Helensburgh