Various opportunities have cropped up recently that have sparked local residents, including myself, to voice their opinions, from potholes, to dog mess, littering, and parking.

However, comments on recent online surveys focused minds on the High Street, which has long been a hot topic – and it’s no surprise that it is again.

Amongst the suggestions have been calls for the existing High Street’s complete demolition, and turning the entire High Street around to face the river – or even the building of a new parallel High Street facing the waterfront.

There are a few practical considerations, notwithstanding the financing, that I see that would make these suggestions difficult to accomplish.

Firstly, most of the buildings on our High Street are in private ownership.

It is also a conservation area, containing a (publicly owned) Grade A listed building.

A new High Street could, in theory, be built facing the water, but the only public land we have available is the existing car park and its waterfront walkway.

Dumbarton would then need a new car park which would be away from the High Street. That said, I share and understand the frustrations being expressed about the current state of affairs.

Dumbarton’s High Street is not alone.

The Scottish Government has recently published a Town Centre Action Plan Review – A New Future for Scotland’s Town Centres (available online at gov.scot).

We do need government support to help tackle our problems, but there are things we can do, and have been slowly doing, for ourselves.

The hope is that when the West Dunbartonshire Council’s workers return to their Church Street building after the pandemic, and when the new housing being built at the Quay is complete, the influx of people working and living in the town centre will at least help our local businesses to survive in the existing High Street.

But to bring people into the town from outside, we need to improve the town, stop the littering and fly-tipping, and pick up the dog mess – and that means all of us, not just the council.

We need to finish the Castle to Quay walkway, linking to the wonderful Levengrove Park, too – and the new six-lane all weather sports ground and gym which is being built at Posties Park.

To attract more visitors to Dumbarton, we need to re- illuminate the Castle and, if possible, bring a museum and library to the High Street in Glencairn House, with space to exhibit items from the town’s historic collections.

I want to see them, and visitors will too.

We need to improve the public transport links with the town, and with the findings of the ConnectingDumbarton.com project, improve the town centre’s links with Dumbarton Central railway station, working together with Sustrans to encourage what are now mostly passing walkers and cyclists on the National Cycle Network’s Route 7 to stop and explore what our town has to offer.

During lockdown, more locals have explored their own area for themselves.

They have shared walks and photographs that have perhaps made us realise that while we already have a lot to offer visitors in Dumbarton, we could, and should, be offering so much more.