Letters to the editor

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Sound of Jura fish farm


In a letter published in the July 21 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser, Alexander Hamilton dismisses, in a very patronising manner, my concerns about the proposal for a fish farm in the Sound of Jura MPA.

For the record, I find the proposals unacceptable and have raised several issues with the relevant government minister. I have met with objectors and I am more than willing to continue to argue the case against the development in question. I would have thought that Mr Hamilton, if his objective is to ensure a united front against this particular plan, would have welcomed that.

I am not, however, going to be part of a wholesale rejection of every aquaculture proposal which is the position of some, like Mr Hamilton, who – as his letter illustrates – often  take an abusive and very partisan approach to anyone who rejects their fundamentalist views.

To describe aquaculture as ‘seabed rape’ as Mr Hamilton does in his letter is extreme, foolish and fundamentally untrue.  Aquaculture, in the right place and managed in the right way in accordance with the strict regulatory framework, provides high quality produce, much needed local employment and – in places like Argyll – helps the perpetual fight against depopulation and economic decline.

Furthermore neither I nor the SNP will be the final arbitrar of any planning or licencing application.  That will be decided by the laws currently in force , as it should and must be.

Michael W Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute

Dangerous drivers or roads?


I write further to the front page news and editorial comment in the July 7 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser, describing the trunk roads authority’s failure to reach agreement with the appointed contractor for improvement of the bad bend on the A83 at Strone Point, just north of Inveraray.

I was informed by a member of the highways administration that as this contract has been ‘unawarded’ there would eventually have to be a re-run of the statutory procedure for third party notification, consultation and agreement on the scope of the road closures and diversions – which would further delay the start of work.

Niall Iain Maclean’s letter in the July 14 edition of the Advertiser was eloquent testimony to the need for improvement of this bend, and I was surprised at Julie Sutton’s suggestion in her letter of July 21 that it be left ‘as is’  and maybe even converted to single track with traffic light control.

Her contention that some people drive too fast is certainly true, and there seems to be more bad driving on the A83 on the Glasgow side of Inveraray than on the Campbeltown side.

But the narrowing of this trunk road at Minard should not be used as a precedent for more of the same. It is only a few years since the tedious singled stretch of the A82 at Pulpit Rock, where the road was threatening to collapse into Loch Lomond, was finally rebuilt after many decades of government inaction.

The improved road at Strone Point will undoubtedly still be a severe bend (albeit with improved width and visibility) and must have adequate warning signs. These signs will hopefully be more prominent than those that currently exist, given the trunk road management’s misplaced enthusiasm for economising on road signage – for example at the narrow stretch past Arrochar Station and at the stretches through bends where there is inadequate width and the added hazard of a kerb on one side, both on the Inveraray side of Arrochar and at Cumlodden south of Furnace.

At these points trucks and buses cannot pass safely at anything like the designated speed limits, yet there’s no warning for the unwary – not everyone is familiar with the road, and after dark the problem is worse.

Robert Wakeham, Lochgilphead

Ardrishaig scheme support needed


The Ardrishaig community is delighted to see something moving in relation to the development of the former Gleaner site, and welcomes Scottish Canals proposals and the planning application made with the support of Argyll and Bute Council. This will make a significant contribution to the regeneration of the Ardrishaig waterfront.

We broadly welcome the proposals, including predominantly workspace, although there is maybe something of the ‘build it and they will come’ hope, rather than confidence that we know where the jobs will come from. We recognise the need for more commercial activity, and opportunities for maritime-related entrepreneurial and leisure activity, but would point out that more support for such developments is needed from local and national government.

The outline design as shown is hard to comment on, except to note that the levels of the building have to be raised to accommodate flood prevention requirements. It is good to see that the waterfront location of the extended original building, and the extension, have plenty of sea-facing windows. I think more detail about materials is needed before a definitive view on the look of the development can be offered.  We certainly welcome the opening up of the Pier Square access – both vehicle from the square itself, and pedestrian directly through to the road.

Such innovation, however, only serves to highlight the work that will be needed to upgrade the public realm in that area, to open up the attractions and help to improve the look and safety for pedestrians and visitors to the area.

Mary MacCallum Sullivan, convener, Ardrishaig Community Council

Strong leadership


The Tories campaigned strongly during the election to vote for Theresa May for strong government.
Within a very few weeks , we find Ruth Davidson exhorting her boss to provide strong leadership.
Obviously a case of deception, failure, or both

David Hay, Minard

Be a stem cell donor


A cross-party parliamentary event on stem cell transplantation, supported by blood cancer charity and stem cell register Anthony Nolan, was held on July 18 to celebrate the number of people who are registered as stem cell donors.

In Argyll and Bute, the number of potential stem cell donors registered with Anthony Nolan is 2,139. Some 42 per cent of these donors are male, and the average age is 34.

I am very proud that Argyll and Bute has 2,139 people who have selflessly volunteered to give someone a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.

Across the UK and out of 650 constituencies, Argyll and Bute ranks 15th, which for an area which is largely rural, is exceptional.

I would like to encourage more people from Argyll and Bute, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant.

I strongly hope even more people from Argyll and Bute will be inspired to sign up and show that together, our communities can provide a cure for blood cancer.

For more information about the all-party parliamentary group for stem cell transplantation, visit www.appg-stemcell.org.uk.
For more information about Anthony Nolan, visit www.anthonynolan.org.

Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute

Roadside verges trimmed


I was very pleased to see Argyll and Bute Council roads department cutting the grass verges across many roads on Islay.

Some of these areas, particularly near the outlying farms, have not had their verges cut in more than five years. I had highlighted this problem to our roads department after many local residents contacted me and I am pleased with the swift response.

I’d like to give my thanks to the local roads department and management for addressing this issue. I have also spoken to many local residents that are happy with the work that has been done.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Isle of Islay