In the week before I write my Advertiser column, I talk to local businesses, retailers and volunteers to ask for their views on current issues in the town.

The appalling shenanigans of Argyll and Bute councillors is undoubtedly top of this week’s anger and irritation list.

While businesses struggle with daily challenges such as cost of power and staffing issues, moral corruption is alive and well in Kilmory as councillors jockey for position on the extra pay hierarchy.

What local business would have the luxury of sending out a circular in one month, then move the deckchairs, take another decision and spend £80,000 to revoke the original circular Businesses would not survive with that level of commercial incompetence and broken decision-making processes.

The good news is that the rest of us who genuinely work for the betterment of Helensburgh get on with the job, and success stories abound this month.

Congratulations to local businesses The Artist Patisserie (pictured) and Masala Twist and for their recent prestigious awards, and to Wright’s Home Hardware for their 'highly commended' recognition in the 2024 Scottish Independent Retail Awards.

These are terrific achievements for these local teams. We are proud to have you in our town and thank you for all you do to attract people to Helensburgh.

It is also a pleasure to welcome a number of independent retailers to the town, in particular Capercaillie Gifts and Home and North by NorthWest who are now up and running in two prominent sites in Sinclair Street.

We hope that all new ventures enjoy trading in Helensburgh.

On the down side, I'm sure business owners will join me in saying how sorry we are to be losing our local staff from the Royal Bank of Scotland. It's devastating news and a real blow to the town square with a prominent building to refill, but it's also another chance for ambitious independent businesses to join us.

The value of independent retailers in the town centre was highlighted recently in national awards for the best towns to visit. In assessing which places come out on top, independent retailers feature as being of prime importance in creating a lively, supportive high street to attract visitors and much needed footfall to small towns.

Other selection criteria for inclusion on the list were a mature sense of community, eco-friendly and good transport links. Helensburgh can tick all these boxes thanks to our outstanding commercial outlets, supported by a talented and hard working voluntary community, and to the excellent promotion of the town by Destination Helensburgh.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and this month the blossoming trees are a natural headline feature. Thank you for keeping us on the national map and for the benefit this brings to our commercial outlets.