THIS week's Councillor Column is written by Lorna Douglas, SNP councillor for Helensburgh Central.

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Helensburgh Community Hall (HCH): Exciting times for the community initiative to buy the Red Cross Hall in East Princes Street, Helensburgh.

The Helensburgh Community Hall Ltd group has been successful in its stage one application to the Scottish Land Fund - a fantastic achievement.

This funding will now allow a business plan to be developed by Community Enterprise on behalf of the Helensburgh Community Hall Ltd group.

READ MORE: Buy-out bid lodged for Helensburgh's Red Cross hall

Community Enterprise will be conducting surveys, contacting local groups and organisations and holding an open day some time in March.

Last autumn a petition to keep this hall as a key community resource for local groups, organisations and people managed to collect an incredible 2,500 signatures of support in just 10 days.

The building has great potential to be a thriving community hub for the people of Helensburgh and the HCH steering group are looking forward to working with Community Enterprise and seeing this initiative through to stage two funding of the Scottish Land Fund later this year.

READ MORE: Helensburgh group thanks community for Red Cross hall support

You can follow the latest from the group at its page on Facebook.

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Duchess Wood: I had a great walk through Duchess Woods this morning in sun, rain and hail and was delighted to see that substantial maintenance work has been carried out at long last.

The road approaching the car park has been extended with tarmac and the potholes have been filled in.

This is most welcome as the car park had become a pothole obstacle course driving in and out.

READ MORE: Duchess Wood reopens after eight-month safety closure

Fences have been renewed or repaired throughout the woods and the Thurgood bridge at the top and middle bridge have also been repaired with heavy-duty decking put down.

The car park has also been cleared of overhanging branches and bushes so much so that I noticed some daffodils in full yellow bloom.

The trees and shrubs around the paths have also been cleared which seems to open up the woods, even though it is winter and the trees are bare.

READ MORE: 'Safety issues' spark closure of popular Helensburgh woodland

There is still some maintenance work to be carried out by the council team but what a difference.

Between this work and the relentless tender loving care work of the Friends of Duchess Wood, the wood should be in good shape for spring.

I can’t wait to see green leaves return on the trees and the sunshine illuminating them.

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READ MORE: Check out all the latest news from across Helensburgh and Lomond here