The election is over and the country has decided overwhelmingly to put their trust in the SNP for the next five years.

I am delighted that the people of Clydebank embraced the positive vision in the SNP campaign and elected Gil Paterson to represent them at Holyrood.

Gil is a man of integrity and humility and I know that he will work hard for Clydebank.

I look forward to working with him in the coming years to improve the lives of Bankies young and old.

Community spirit Last Wednesday morning, I was invited to speak at the monthly meeting of the Clydebank Seniors' Forum.

As council leader, I get invitations to attend various groups throughout West Dunbartonshire; I also attended an event in the Barclay Church in Dalmuir on the same day to discuss the very serious issue of alcohol and drug misuse.

I was heartened by the very high attendance at both these meetings.

Around 200 people on a Wednesday morning shows me that the people of Clydebank really do care about and want to have their say on the services in their communities.

I would like to thank all those who either spoke to me personally, or asked me questions.

It helps me as leader of the council, to hear first-hand what you think of the services the council provide and where you think we can do better.

So thank you all for an interesting and informative day.

Town centres Last week, councillors received a briefing on the Clyde Valley Strategic Plan.

This plan will set out how the Clyde Valley will be taken forward, both environmentally and economically.

One worrying aspect of this draft plan is the suggestion that the Braehead Shopping Centre should be classified as a 'Town Centre' rather than a 'Commercial Centre'.

If this happens, it will have a disastrous effect on Dumbarton, Alexandria and Clydebank as Braehead would be eligible to compete with us for money from Town Centre Regeneration funds.

It will also allow the expansion of Braehead attracting businesses away from our town centres. It is clear to me that this will create a very uneven playing field across Scotland, so I am looking for all West Dunbartonshire councillors to support me in opposing this recommendation.

An improving council Later this month, Audit Scotland will publish its annual report to councillors on the council's Assurance and Improvement Plan. Given the negative reports the council has received for a number of years, it is vital that West Dunbartonshire Council is seen to be moving forward positively.

I was interviewed by Audit Scotland last month, and I am pleased to say that they seemed genuinely impressed with the progress we have made over the last year.

I wait expectantly for the report to be issued.