Chamber Blog

Community Column September 2019

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Our article this week will make a determined effort to lead on good news as business owners express their concerns about negative reporting that constantly talks the town down.

Congratulations to the Scottish Government for responding to the Waverley appeal and ensuring the future of this iconic vessel with their contribution of £1million.  The target to upgrade the vessel is now well within sight and that is welcome news for businesses along the Clyde who derive tremendous benefit from the steamer.

The vessel should return next season and our pier must be ready so our town can benefit in the same way that Dunoon does.  The council should revisit its decision on the pier and find the investment required, Helensburgh deserves this support.  

   On Thursday, the council will no doubt approve the designation of part of the town as a Conservation Area.   7 people who will be affected by this designation were in favour of the plans.  The Chamber recognises that this designation will have cost implications for town businesses, but the reality is that millions of pounds were promised from heritage-led regeneration funding and that investment will be very welcome.  We look forward to taking part in the discussions on its allocation once those funds are secured for the retail area of the town.

     In the Chamber’s last column our recently commissioned independent Town Audit was highlighted, an upbeat review of the town confirming that Helensburgh is indeed a vibrant, diverse and attractive town with a good range of facilities and a strong and active voluntary sector.

No journalist or council officer has asked to see that independent report, yet the council is spending more of their resources on yet another consultation about “Our Place”, the last one cost £30,000 and has still not been actioned in any meaningful way.  Perhaps this type of repetitive work would be one way to save revenue funding for the pier.

Chamber members would really welcome support with positive reporting on our great wee town.  Of course, shops will close, it has always been the case, retail habits change and businesses must adapt or go, but Helensburgh attracts new business and progresses, for example we now have Specsavers on our high street.   “Doom and gloom” reporting is not helpful to local businesses, they merit our support.