This week the Advertiser's letters page makes a welcome return with views on the state of Argyll and Bute's roads, the SNP-Green agreement at Holyrood, the 'Summer in the Square' event in Helensburgh on Saturday, and much more.

To have your say on any hot local topic, just email your views to with Letter in the subject line of your email.

Please include your name and address for publication. We also require a daytime phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice. Thanks – and happy writing!

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I WRITE not just to readers of the Advertiser but to ‘Mr and Mrs Green’ – who I ask to reflect on how lacking we are in roads infrastructure, not just in Argyll and Bute but throughout Scotland.

More than 50 years ago my girlfriend, later my fiancee and now my wife, travelled regularly on the A814 and the A82/A83 on our way to and from Inveraray. Never, to my memory, were we ever held up on either road for any reason.

Saturday was a bit different. I went from home to go to Luss to collect my granddaughter after her shift as a waitress. There were obviously problems looming when a car marked ‘FIRE’ fought its way through stationary traffic on the A82.

Managing to take the Haul Road, and then through Glen Douglas, with a little difficulty at Luss I picked up my granddaughter, heading home by the same route in reverse.

Oh, the joys of Loch Long and the A814. To put it mildly, the traffic thereon was stationary – and, I understand, was still stationary all the way to/from Arrochar.

A set of traffic lights at Glen Mallan was to blame on the A814, compounded by the world of tourism and its tour buses and camper vans. Neither of the latter could comfortably allow other vehicles to pass.

The road, apart from new tarmac in places, has had nothing done to it to allow modern vehicles to safely use it. The infrastructure is years out of date. A 22-mile journey from Helensburgh to Luss and back, which should have taken just under an hour, took three and a half hours and more than 53 miles. The congestion did little to reduce CO2.

The ongoing situation at the A83 is beyond comment.

Perhaps you should discuss this, for Scotland in general, with your mother-in-law before the bed linen is changed and you get on to a fresh mattress.

Yes, your mother-in-law – who, as the health minister in the late 2000s, wrote to me defending a decision of her acolytes to refuse me a life-saving operation. I had it in London, and, as a continuing tax payer, I am still around to prove the decision wrong.

There is a lot of work requiring to be done to solve Scotland’s infrastructure problems. The A83, the A9, the A96, facilities on the North Coast 500 and many more routes for tourists and residents, to name but a few.

Your partners and those who decided to change the names or add names to cities, stations, ambulances and police cars for what? Spending taxpayers’ hard-earned cash on something with a positive result would have done so much more for the population than something that can be read and not understood. And as for a couple of new ferries...

Consider this. Without decent infrastructure, you have nothing. Get the basics right, and alternative spending can then be considered on the back of an increased tax take.

More and more tourists welcomed to the country would help not only local residents, and the local economy, but would also help in saving the planet.

J. Cairns, East Rossdhu Drive, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Opinion: There are better ways of measuring primary schools' success than crude league tables

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Saturday markets in Colquhoun Square are now a popular feature of life in Helensburgh.

Last Saturday, August 28, this was taken to new level with Summer in the Square.

Put together by Helensburgh Community Council (HCC), Helensburgh & Lomond Chamber of Commerce, Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary Club along with the Saturday market’s organisers, SHS Events, Summer in the Square was a truly memorable event enjoyed by large numbers of residents and visitors. The Square has rarely been so busy.

HCC has long wanted to host live musical entertainment in the square to showcase Helensburgh’s rich vein of artistic talent of all ages. Summer in the Square was the natural opportunity for this.

Alongside its partners HCC put together a highly entertaining programme of music and dance for the Day. HCC is enormously grateful to the many musicians and artists giving their time and efforts, free of charge, to perform on the day.

It kicked off at 11am with a selection of popular melodies from all over Scotland performed by the Ceilidh Band led by Alan Mortimer of Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary. They were followed by ‘Matinee at the Musicals’, a group of beautiful singers led by Donna Hicks, bringing to life popular music from the stage and screen from years gone by and the present day.

Next, we were enthralled by the EQ Dance Company where Dave West and his partner went through a dazzling variety of athletic and gravity defying dance routines.

They were followed by Tartan Harmony -a stylish capella chorus who just love to perform in public. Harmonious in music and in dress, ably conducted by stylish Sian Winstanley, their well-modulated and melodious voices - without accompaniment - enchanted us all.

Sian remained on stage with the renowned Helensburtgh Dorian Choir who entertained with their immaculate singing and perfect synchrony with songs from Mamma Mia and other all- time favourites.

The HMS Neptune Volunteer Band came on next. In immaculate naval uniform the Band is a remarkable group of experienced and highly talented musicians who play an impressive array of instruments. Led by its band master, Warrant Officer Chris Randall, the band brought the square to its feet with a selection of popular melodies and marching tunes.

The HCI Dancers ranging in age from four to eight years old then won our hearts. Under the direction of local Argyll and Bute councillor Gemma Penfold they stole the show with their selection of modern dances.

Toe-pointing, hip swinging and twirling, their dance routines were met with resounding applause from mums and dads and everyone else watching.

The finale for the live music began with lone piper Mark setting the scene with a selection of our popular favourites. He was followed by the sound of a bell rung by Robert Aitken of the Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary Club, who choreographed the finale with the Clan Colquhoun Pipe Band.

The bell was a coded signal for the rest of the Band to join Mark and the Pipe Major on stage to play Beethoven’s famous 1824 symphony ‘Ode to Joy’ – one of the world’s greatest’ pieces of music. What a fitting way it was to bring the event to a close.

Community councillor Roger Ferdinand was instrumental in getting local restaurants – the Sugar Boat, Humbles and The Terrace – to provide vouchers for tea/coffee for all the performers, while Michael Curley of the Deli in the Square generously donated goody bags for the performers from HCI Dancers. We are indeed grateful to them all for their participation and their generosity.

Events such as these cannot take place without the help and aid of several organisations and individuals.

Jordan and Lauren of SHS Events printed posters, circulated these throughout the town and set up the stage for the performances.

Tony Dance provided the electrical connections. Community councillor Roger Clarke set up the PA system and oversaw the technical arrangements throughout the day. And Roger Ferdinand was an admirable MC.

All in all, Summer in the Square was an unmitigated success. Colquhoun Square was full of people for three hours of varied and superb entertainment. Young and old, they all enjoyed the entertainment which was performed with professional elan. And the weather was glorious too.

Most of the performers brought along collection buckets for a range of worthy causes and it was heartening to note that many hundreds of pounds were raised through donations from local residents and visitors alike. A big thank you all round.

Tariq S. Durrani and Nigel Millar, Helensburgh Community Council

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READ MORE: Opinion: Proposed Scottish laws on short-term letting are 'like going after a fly with a bazooka'

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Throughout September, for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the Young Lives vs Cancer charity will be helping children with cancer have their voices heard.

Having cancer when you’re a child is scary, lonely, relentless and painful. Over the past year our children have missed out on so much. But for many children with cancer they are still swapping classrooms for chemotherapy, still waving at family members through windows and watching friends blow out birthday candles via phone screens.

This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month we want everyone to see children with cancer for who they are and who they want to be. Because they are more than their cancer. We would love to see people in Helensburgh come together to help young people with cancer, and there are lots of ways to get involved.

We have bucket collections planned at Morrisons stores across the country. We have our Challenge60 fund-raising programme. We have our Young Lives vs Cancer gold ribbon pin badges, available at Morrisons stores and online. And we have lots more. You can find out details of them all at

Carol Jones (fundraising and engagement manager for south and west Scotland, Young Lives vs Cancer)