Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Joseph Lee, War Poet - Book Launch at the Literary Festival @literarydundee

As a member of the Black Watch's 4th Battalion during the Great War, Joseph Johnston Lee spent time not only living and fighting in the trenches, but also as a German prisoner of war in 1917.

Incredibly, the Dundonian channelled the experience into his literary and artistic passions, writing poems and drawing sketches of the wretched time to send home.

He is often referred to as Scotland's forgotten poet, but in his day he was widely regarded as one of the best in the world.

Tomorrow evening sees the launch of a new edition of Lee's poems.    Held as part of the Dundee Literary Festival, the evening will include a biographical and critical introduction and readings of his poetry.

The event starts at 7.30pm tomorrow in the Bonar Hall and is free but ticketed - get your tickets by following the links here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tayside Medical History Museum free public lecture

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :

Rachel Anderton   :   “Mad Dundee” 1900-1920: Understanding Changing Attitudes to Mental Illness

Tuesday 21 October at 6pm  :   Gannochy Trust Lecture Theatre, School of Medicine, Ninewells Hospital

This free public lecture, co-organised by the Tayside Medical History Museum and the Abertay Historical Society, allows us to look at the history of the stigma of mental illness, and assess how attitudes towards it changed in Dundee in the early 20th century. 

For the first time, people began to understand the relationship between mental health and poverty, though not to the same degree that we understand it today. 

Rachel, who recently graduated in History from the University of Dundee, will look at the changes that were underway in society, literature and policy at that time, and discuss how attitudes towards mental health changed as a result, with a particular focus on Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum (later Liff Hospital) allowing a local insight into issues which still face us in society today.

Free admission – no need to book.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Launch of Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust @DundeeBotanics

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust, part of a great day of well-supported activities at the Botanic Garden.     
You can find out more about the Endowment Trust by contacting the Botanic Garden - contact details here.

Some photos from yesterday's activities :
Lady Dalhousie welcomes guests
Forfar and District Pipe Band
Dr Hugh Ingram gives an official welcome
Gardeners' Question time with Nicola McNee, Lady Catherine Erskine,
Jim McColl and John Stoa

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Last couple of days ...

On Thursday, I took part in a walkabout with council officers round the Pentland area, similar to the one last Tuesday in Blackness, at which we identified and take action on local issues.

In Pentland, the following were taken up - amongst other issues :
Repairs to steps at various locations in Pentland are being undertaken
Overgrown bushes in Pentand Avenue are to be trimmed
and trees requiring trimming also reported
I have reported paint vandalism to a utility box at
Colinton Street/Saggar Street to British Telecom

Later on Thursday, I chaired the latest meeting of the West End Christmas Fortnight committee, at Blackness Library.    

We are very pleased with progress with this year's events and it will be the biggest and best Christmas Fortnight yet!   

Christmas Fortnight runs from Saturday 22nd November to Saturday 6th December.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Rev David Gray, new Minister at Logie and St John's (Cross) Church at the church's Community Cafe.    

I look forward to working with him in the coming years and wish him every success in his new role.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friends of Wighton - latest update

With thanks to Sheena Wellington, here's the latest update from Friends of Wighton :


Wighton Heritage Centre, Central Library :   Cappuccino Concert: Saturday 18th October

Doors open at 10.30am, concert starts 11am, tickets £5 at door, coffee and biscuits available (£1 donation suggested)

Katherine Liley, Fiddle & Martin MacDonald Guitar

With an upbringing steeped in Highland piping tradition, Martin started playing guitar for local ceilidh bands in his early teens. This is where he developed his unique accompaniment style.   He still prefers playing a West Highland, pipe-tune based repertoire as reflected in the duos he has formed with fiddlers Carol Anderson and Katherine Liley. He has also appeared regularly with such folk luminaries as Dave Swarbrick and Cathal McConnell.  As well as accompanying, he plays solo guitar arrangements of traditional tunes. Martin does not like folk-pop.

Katherine is from Claigan on the Isle Of Skye but now teaches strings in Angus, and runs the county youth folk group.   She also presents 'Celtic Celebrations' on Heartland FM.   An honours graduate from Strathclyde University's BA Applied Music, she studied and performed with some of Scotland's best known musicians.    She toured widely in the past with Skelpaig and 2014 has included performances at Belladrum and Hebridean Celtic Festival.  Her latest project involves tunes from Gow's and other great Scottish Collections, along with her own compositions and a large helping of Gaelic and pipe tunes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Further update on Riverside Drive/Riverside Approach

I had a concern raised about the quality of the finished road surface on Riverside Drive and have had the following update from the Roads Maintenance Partnership Manager at Tayside Contracts, which also updates on the re-opening of the right turn from Riverside drive (heading west) into Riverside Approach and the removal of traffic management :

"I'm not aware of there being any surfacing issues however, a final inspection of the works will be carried out next week and I'll provide feedback following this.

With regards completion of the works and previous correspondence. The traffic management will not be completely removed until Wednesday next week however, as of this Friday all vehicular restrictions will be lifted i.e. Riverside Approach will be open to right turn movements in a westbound direction.   The outstanding works will be the completion of the footways and other minor works which require traffic management to be left in place for H&S reasons."

Tuesday meetings

Yesterday morning, along with the area Housing Officer and a representative of the council's City Development Department's Roads Team, I took part in a walkabout round the Corso Street, Abbotsford Street and Place, Blackness Road and Peddie Street areas, to look at local issues and ensure any problems are resolved.

Here are some of the matters we tackled yesterday :
Pavement repair required - corner of Peddie Street and Abbotsford Place - now reported for repair
Litter removal required - communal area - Peddie Street
Tree branches across pavement - Abbotsford Place - reported for trimming
Drain cover Blackness Road - reported for repair
Last night, I attended the October meeting of West End Community Council, at which there was an interesting address by Derrick Lang, the Dundee Airport Manager.   

My Update to the Community Council for October covered both West End Christmas Fortnight plans and also pavement improvements locally.   You can download the Update here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday meetings @WEndChristmas

Yesterday, I participated in a very useful meeting with Dundee Museum of Transport, who are kindly undertaking a vintage car cavalcade in the West End as part of the opening events of West End Christmas Fortnight on Saturday 22nd November.   The photo - right - was taken at the museum yesterday - it is well worth a visit!

Last night, I also participated a productive meeting at Dundee Contemporary Arts at which the excellent Discovery Walk proposal was discussed in detail.     The project is making good progress and will be an excellent addition to the city's waterfront.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Update on Riverside Approach access

Further to my update on 29th September about the Riverside Drive works, I have just received the following update from Tayside Contracts :

"Due to issues with weather at the beginning of last week and some other operational issues. It will be the end of the week before all traffic management will be removed from the works. 

Riverside Approach is now open to traffic, the only restriction is the right turn manoeuvre to Riverside Approach in the westbound direction."

Farington Street - HGVs problems to be hopefully resolved

A constituent recently contacted me regarding an HGVs issue in Farington Street as follows:

"For some years now we have had problems with larger HGVs using Farington Street to get from Perth Road to Blackness Road.    Drivers unfamiliar with the area do not realise that, after the street rounds the corner to the right, it then joins Westgrove Avenue which is considerably narrower and on a very tight corner.  The problem seems to have been exacerbated recently by the use of sat navs which are directing HGV drivers up Farington Street, these devices not taking into account the physical layout of the junction at the top.

It came to a head (recently) when a driver became completely stuck on the corner with his articulated lorry and trailer.  He ended up blocking the road for around half-an-hour as he carefully manoeuvred the large trailer using his fork-lift truck to align it so that he could then continue north on to Blackness Road."

See photo of the stuck vehicle - right.

I contacted the City Council's Head of Transportation who has responded positively, saying, "We've looked at this previously and I feel that these pictures really illustrate perfectly the situation HGV drivers could inadvertently find themselves. Some advisory signage at the foot of Farington Street seems appropriate."

The Team Leader in the council's Network Management Team has since advised that:

"I have arranged for a site inspection for Farington Street and from the inspection I will arrange for 'Unsuitable for HGVs' sign to be placed at the bottom of Farington Street/Perth Road junction and at the top and bottom of West Grove Avenue. The sign at the top of West Grove Avenue will catch HGVs from accessing Farington Street from the northerly direction.

The Minor Works budget which would provide funds for this type of works is committed for this years budget 2014/15 with the projected expenditure as per budget availability. 

If additional funds become available I will arrange for the signs to be placed this financial year. However if no additional funds are available the signs will be included in 2015/16 Minor Works Programme for works to be carried out in the first quarter."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Road safety at Pinegrove - an update

Earlier this year, I mentioned that residents had highlighted to me a road safety concern at the south exit from Pinegrove that exits onto Shepherd's Loan.

The part of Shepherd's Loan that the slip road exists onto is the one-way only (northwards) at the north end of Shepherd's Loan, but there was no 'one-way only' sign on exit.    Vehicles had been noted by residents exiting south onto Shepherd's Loan in error.

At the time of my last update, I reported that the Pinegrove factors (Graham & Sibbald) had kindly agreed to a site visit with City Council officers to see if a “one way” sign could be placed within the curtilage of Pinegrove given the difficulty of placing it on the very narrow public footpath in Shepherd’s Loan.  

This has since taken place and the sign is now in place – see right.   My grateful thanks to Graham & Sibbald for their assistance with getting this issue successfully resolved.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Temporary Traffic Order : Step Row

From the City Council :

THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984   :   SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of gas service connection works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Step Row (from Provost McGowan Place to Magdalen Yard Road), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 13 October 2014 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles will be available via Perth Road / Windsor Street / Magdalen Yard Road.

For further information contact 433082.

Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Local TV for Dundee?

I have long campaigned for local TV for Dundee and, now that, for example, STV Glasgow is up and running and STV Edinburgh scheduled to launch on 5 January 2015, I am pleased to note that the local TV licence for Dundee is now being advertised.

Ofcom advises that "The closing date for applications for the Scottish areas of Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee, Forth Valley and Inverness, and the English areas of Carlisle and Stoke on Trent, is 23 October 2014."

I am hoping there will be real interest in the local TV licence for Dundee.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting

Last night, I took part in the latest Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting.    

We had a progress report on the Roseangle playpark campaign and also discussed the 2014 Friends of Magdalen Green Christmas Cards – more details to follow!

The Friends are running another Soup and Pudding lunch at Dundee West Church, following on from the great success of last year’s.    It will take place on Saturday 15th November at Dundee West Church between 11.30am and 1.30pm – with stalls including home baking, crafts, books and a tombola.

Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden event @DundeeBotanics

On Wednesday 15th October, the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden are holding another event as part of the Dundee Afternoon Lecture Series.

Dr Andy Taylor of the James Hutton Institute will talk on ‘Exploring Scotland’s Forgotten Kingdom’. 

He will highlight new and exciting research on the fungi in Scotland, including how they respond strongly to our climate and how they may tell us about past glacial events. 

The talk will be in the D’Arcy Thomson lecture theatre in the University Tower Building at 2.15pm and admission is £2.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Happy Birthday Pine Court!

Earlier this afternoon, I was delighted to attend the start of today's celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the opening of Pine Court in Logie Gardens.

As Karen Wolstencroft, Home Scotland's Customer Services Manager, said in her address to the large group of residents, family members and guests present, Pine Court has been a great success over the past twenty years in providing a quality sheltered housing community for both the Chinese and Scottish folk who live there.

Here's some photos from today's celebrations:
Colourful entertainment at the Pine Court celebrations!
Karen Wolstencroft opens the day's celebrations
Mrs Wong, at 91, has lived at Pine Court since it opened back in 1994.
She did the honours in cutting the Anniversary Celebration Cake!

Temporary Traffic Order - City Road

From the City Council :

Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating gas main renewal works.  The Order is expected to be in force for three weeks from 13 October 2014.  Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all southbound vehicular traffic in City Road from Logie Street to Tullideph Place.

Pedestrian thoroughfare and vehicular access to premises will be maintained where possible. The right hand turn from City Road into Logie Street will be prohibited for the duration of the works.

An alternative route will be available via Logie Street, Lochee Road and Tullideph Road.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, City Development Department, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee  DD1 1LS, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date.  If you have any queries please contact 433082.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Post Office memorial shrine time capsule opened to the public

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :

This Thursday the Great War Dundee partnership will be giving the public the first chance to explore the contents of a unique WW1 time capsule.

Many of you will have seen the media coverage when we opened the time capsule created by Post Office workers in Dundee at the end of the Great War. The creators of the shrine had instructed that it should be opened by the Postmaster in the presence of the Lord Provost on 4 August 2014.    The event took place in City Chambers in front of an invited audience including Post Office and Royal Mail staff and relatives of postal workers of the time, and since then a selection of its contents have been on display at The McManus: Dundee’s Museum & Art Gallery.

Two public sessions have now been organised as part of the Great War Dundee partnership’s programme of events, allowing a detailed look at some of the letters, photographs and documents contained in the shrine. Invited guests will be reading extracts from the letters, which include letters sent home by soldiers at the front, a letter from the Lord Provost of 1921 to his 2014 successor, and the fascinating glimpse of life at the end of the war provided by telegraphist Annie K Lamont. University museum curator Matthew Jarron will be introducing the contents, and historians Billy Kenefick and Derek Patrick will also be on hand to explain the historical context and answer questions.

The two sessions will take place at the McManus Collections Unit in Barrack Street on Thursday 9th October and Thursday 16th October between 10-12pm. The sessions are free but booking is essential. Call McManus Reception on 01382 307200 to book. 

The Great War Dundee partnership includes community leaders, academics, historians, museum curators, archivists, librarians, artists, media representatives, education specialists and members of the public. Among the institutions and groups represented are Dundee City Council (including its Archives Service and Education department), Leisure & Culture Dundee (which includes Dundee Library and Information Service and The McManus), the University of Dundee (including its archives, museums, School of Humanities, Botanic Garden and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design), the Unicorn Preservation Society, Dundee Heritage Trust, DC Thomson & Co Ltd, The Black Watch Museum & Castle and the Western Front Association (Tayside Branch).

Getting things done - West End road and pavement improvements

Earlier today, I had site visits with an officer from the City Council’s Roads Maintenance Partnership to both Perth Road and Lime Street, following residents’ concerns about the poor state of the pavement.

With regard to Perth Road, the concern is the pavement on the north side between Pennycook Lane and the Sinderins junction, where we discussed the footpath’s condition with a local resident who had unfortunately had a bad fall on the pavement some time ago.

The major problem with this stretch of footpath is that it is both heavily used, being in the Perth Road shopping area, but it has also been subject to repeated utility company repairs given the amount of servicing and cabling beneath.     

Localised repairs were agreed to today by the Roads Maintenance Partnership representative but I have now written to the City Engineer seeking his consideration of full resurfacing in a future programme.
With regard to Lime Street (see above) the east pavement is very worn, causing many puddles and the pavement is immediately adjacent to the local sheltered housing lounge and therefore well-used by elderly residents.

I have now been advised :

"Further to our meeting this morning I agree that the surfacing on this footway is heavily oxidised and worn and would benefit from resurfacing.  
This footway was condition scored as a 5 out of 6 in 2013 but I feel that it has further deteriorated since then and I will be recommending it is considered for inclusion in the updated 3 year programme that is to be issued in April 2015."

This is a very good result as the pavement is really in need of resurfacing.

During our site visits today, I again mentioned (at residents’ requests) the poor road surface in Hillside Terrace.   It has had pothole repairs over the summer following my request, but the road is in need of resurfacing.    I have now been advised the good news that :

“Further to our meeting this morning I can confirm that the carriageway in Hillside Terrace is currently proposed for a thin surfacing treatment in year 2 of the current 3 year programme, ie 2015/16.”

West End Ward Surgeries

Because today is a public holiday, my usual ward surgeries at the West Park Centre and the Mitchell Street Centre do not take place.   However, my Thursday ward surgery at Blackness Primary School (6.15pm in the staff room on the ground floor) will take place as usual.

From next week (13th October) onwards, due to the school Autumn holidays, my surgeries do not take place and resume on Monday 27th October when the new school term starts.

I can be contacted, however, at any time  at home on 459378 or via my e-surgery at esurgery@frasermacpherson.org.uk.

School Crossing Patrollers - Harris Academy

I have, over a considerable period, pressed the City Council to provide a second School Crossing patroller in Lawton Road at the Harris Academy decant site, given the very large footfall (1000+ pupils) in the morning, lunchtime and at the end of the school day.

I recently raised this (again) at the Harris Academy Project Board and have since been given the following update from the Head of Education (Secondary and Additional Support Needs):

"Lawton Road should have two crossing patrols.   One is currently redeployed to Craigowl PS.    We are hoping to have this post filled shortly.

Recruitment and Management of Crossing Patrollers   :      You will be aware that we have ongoing difficulties recruiting staff and this is one of the reasons for the transfer to Tayside Contracts (TC) to provide a more flexible and robust shared service across Dundee Angus and Perth. 

Our most recent recruitment (prior to TC transfer) brought 3 new crossing patrollers, one of whom is just finishing training and will be deployed shortly. TC has advertised within their establishment for more staff to provide some core and importantly supply cover for the entire service.

We will be working closely with TC to ensure that we have the correct level of staff in place.

I would be hopeful that the missing crossing patroller at Lawton Road will be in place in the very near future."

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Temporary Traffic Order : Paton's Lane

From the City Council :

THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984   :   SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of gas service connection works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Paton's Lane (from Provost McGowan Place to Magdalen Yard Road), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 6 October 2014 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles will be available via Perth Road / Step Row / Magdalen Yard Road.

For further information contact 433082.

Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

DUSA Marathon Radio Show @dusa_theunion

I was delighted to take part earlier this morning in the DUSA Marathon Radio Show - see below:
Last year DUSA raised nearly £2500 in one weekend by hosting a 55-hour marathon radio show with the same team staying up for the duration.

This year, the show lasts for 60 hours, raising money and awareness for Dundee Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre. 

You can donate here.    I wish the team all the best for the remaining hours - the show runs until midnight tonight!

Getting things done - Strawberrybank

Residents have drawn to my attention a trip hazard at the north end of Strawberrybank - see right.

I have asked the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership to make necessary repairs.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Ancrum Road Primary School visit

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Ancrum Road Primary School to speak with the P6/7 pupils about the role of councillors and Dundee City Council.

It was a really enjoyable visit and the pupils asked lots of interesting questions, showing a lot of knowledge about the services the council runs.

Getting things done - Lime Street

Parts of the Lime Street pavement on the north side of the Logie Estate, which is the sheltered housing side, with many elderly residents, are in poor condition - see right.

The Roads Maintenance Partnership recently advised me :
The Road Maintenance Partnership Inspector has visited Lime Street and Elm Street footways and has advised that there are currently no actionable defects at either location. 
He has noted that there are areas of wear on the Lime Street footways and that these are rough in places however they are not actionable and he is not proposing any further action.
I am unhappy about this response.   The photo above shows clear defects on the pavement that is very close to the Lime Street Sheltered Lounge.    I have therefore requested to meet the inspector on-site to discuss the pavement condition and this will take place in the next few days.

Friday, October 03, 2014

West End Curling Group

I mentioned recently that the West End "ice free indoor curling group" has resumed its meetings at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall on Thursday afternoons.   It is run by Reshaping Care for Older People and open to all aged over 50.

I had the pleasure of calling by yesterday – and as you can see – everyone was having a great time!    New members always welcome!



Art Exhibition at the Botanic Garden


Thursday, October 02, 2014

www.dundeewestend.scot!

Now that Scotland has its own internet domain - .scot - you can now access this site at www.dundeewestend.scot.   The original www.dundeewestend.com still works and the blog's mirror site is still accessible at www.westendblog.org.uk.

The Dundee Liberal Democrat website is now also available via www.dundeelibdems.scot - again its original www.dundeelibdems.org.uk still works too! 

Tay Road Bridge - an update

Further to the concerns I raised on behalf of constituents earlier this week about tailbacks on the Tay Road Bridge (and reported in last night's Evening Telegraph), I have just received this update from the Roads Maintenance Partnership Manager at Dundee City Council/Tayside Contracts :

"To minimise disruption to traffic, these advance works were planned to be carried out over 3 days with the traffic management only in place outwith the peak periods of 7.30am to 9.30am and 3.30pm to 6.30pm. 

On that day, demolition works were being carried out to the splitter island at the south end of the bridge and works did not progress as planned such that it was considered safer to leave the traffic management in place whilst works continued. 

In hindsight, when it was clear that the works were not progressing as planned, a decision should have been taken earlier to stop work at a safe point, and the traffic management measures removed as planned at 3.30pm.

Please note that other advance works were planned and carried out overnight that night further down the A92 removing barriers to enable the future contraflow measures required for the main surfacing works to be implemented over the coming 3 weekends starting 10 October 2014 (Friday 7.30pm to Monday 6.00am). 

Please note that the remaining advance works will be carried out with the traffic management only in place outwith the peak periods of 7.30am to 9.30am and 3.30pm to 6.30pm."

I am pleased at the reassurance that further works will be carried out with the traffic management only in place outwith the peak periods and I hope that will ensure less disruption to traffic than happened earlier this week.

West End Christmas Fortnight - book lantern making workshop now! @WEndChristmas

This children’s craft event as part of Christmas Fortnight, taking place on launch day – Saturday 22nd November 2014.

Make your own Christmas Lantern to use at the Christmas Concert and Lights On event on the 26th November at Dundee West Church and Seabraes.

We're thrilled to be joined by Lisa Earle of Create - Kids Creative Craft Workshops - who will be guiding everyone through making their own design of Christmas lantern using willow, paper, glue and paint. 

We have space for 50 children (recommend over 4 years) - 25 starting at the earlier time of 10am and the remaining 25 at 11am.  Children are to be accompanied by parents or carers throughout the workshop.  Adults do not need to book a space for themselves, only the children making lanterns.    All materials will be provided.  

There are now limited places left – please book here.