Saturday, November 22, 2014

Utility Box - Colinton Place/Saggar Street

Last month I mentioned that, following the walkabout round the Pentland area with council officers, I had reported paint vandalism to a utility box at Colinton Place/Saggar Street to British Telecom - see right.

I am pleased to now report that BT has confirmed it will have this issue resolved.

Christmas Fortnight starts!

West End Christmas Fortnight will be launched this morning with a super Children’s Lantern Making event at Blackness Library, starting at 10am.   

At 1pm, there will be a vintage motor cavalcade in the West End shopping areas, in conjunction with Dundee Museum of Transport.    Kindly sponsored by Barnetts Motor Group, the cavalcade of vintage vehicles will proceed along Perth Road, Nethergate, West Port and Blackness Road.

Also :

* Dundee West Church’s Christmas Coffee Morning takes place in the church – 10am to 12 noon – enter from 132 Perth Road.

* Carols from the staff and service users from Jericho House and other local groups in the Perth Road shopping area from 12.45pm.   There will also be street decorations to add to the atmosphere.

* Many West End Shops are participating in West End Christmas Fortnight’s Shoppers’ Saturday – lots of great offers in our local shopping areas – Blackness Road, Perth Road, West Port and Nethergate.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Roseangle pillar box damaged

The Royal Mail postbox in Roseangle has been damaged by a vehicle - see right.

I have reported this to Royal Mail to request repair.

West End Christmas Fortnight starts tomorrow!

Tomorrow - Saturday 22nd November - sees the start of the West End Christmas Fortnight, which will be launched with a Children’s Lantern Making event at Blackness Library, starting at 10am.   

At 1pm, there will be a vintage motor cavalcade in the West End shopping areas, in conjunction with Dundee Museum of Transport.    Kindly sponsored by Barnetts Motor Group, the cavalcade of vintage vehicles will proceed along Perth Road, Nethergate, West Port and Blackness Road.

Also on Saturday  :    Dundee West Church’s Christmas Coffee Morning takes place in the church – 10am to 12 noon – enter from 132 Perth Road.     Carols from the staff and service users from Jericho House and other local groups in the Perth Road shopping area from 12.45pm.   There will also be street decorations to add to the atmosphere.

Many West End Shops are participating in West End Christmas Fortnight’s Shoppers’ Saturday – lots of great offers in our local shopping areas – Blackness Road, Perth Road, West Port and Nethergate.

West End Christmas Fortnight is packed with events and we hope that, as in the past 14 years, the local community will take part.      We are extremely grateful to all the local businesses for their support of the Christmas Fortnight, without which the events would not be possible.

You can download the full brochure for the Fortnight's events here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday activities

This afternoon, I took part in the latest West End Community Planning Partnership (LCPP) meeting at Blackness Library.

The LCPP meeting is a good opportunity for representatives from different council departments, councillors and representatives from other organisations like police, fire and rescue and the NHS to discuss local issues and matters of concern and also let local residents raise issues, ask questions and have their say.

This was the first afternoon meeting of the LCPP (the quarterly meetings have, until now, been in the evenings - we are now trying a mix of afternoon and evening meetings each year) and we had a very informative presentation on West End census profile data.   We also discussed a number of other local matters including housing condition and management and community asset transfer.

This evening, I had my ward surgery at Blackness Primary School and several constituent visits - I also spoke on Wave 102 news about the campaign to get free wi-fi for Dundee City Centre.   You can listen to the interview by clicking 'play' below :


Continuing to campaign for free public wi-fi for Dundee

A recent government announcement that 1000 buildings in UK cities are to get free public wi-fi, again highlighted to me the need for Dundee to have free public wi-fi in the City Centre.

As residents are aware, earlier this year, I mentioned the need for Dundee to progress this issue and - as I said at the time - many cities are discovering free wi-fi is a good way to attract more visitors.   Already local businesses from coffee shops, hotels and restaurants, churches and bars are among the locations discovering the value of offering free wireless but a city centre wide wi-fi facility would be a boon for our city.

I have had an update from the City Council's Head of Information Technology as follows :

"There has been no recent funding bid that we have lost out on.    Edinburgh won a UK DCMS Urban Broadband fund bid for large cities in 2011. Perth and Aberdeen won a similar UK DCMS Urban Broadband fund bid for medium cities in 2012. Dundee bid in 2012 and lost out. The main reason for the fund was to distribute monies to assist in improving fixed broadband provision in cities.

Cities also had to commit to providing some form of wifi provision as part of the bid.

This announcement is basically counting up the number of buildings that will have in-building wifi provided.   Only a very small part of the £150m is being spent on wifi. The money is mainly being paid (via Local Authorities) to improve broadband (in the ground) capacity for areas of cities that have poor coverage. 

We were unsuccessful because we actually have very few areas of poor fixed broadband capacity. 

It should be stressed that in Dundee we already have extensive wifi provision in our Libraries, community centres and some civic buildings. This is currently being enhanced."

I have had an assurance, however, that the City Council is working with the Scottish Cities Alliance to explore ways of potentially collaborating with cities of a similar size to increase the city's chances of attracting providers to deliver a free-wifi offering for Dundee City Centre.

West End Children’s Window Spotting Competition

As part of West End Christmas Fortnight, there is a Children’s Window Spotting Competition.   Entry forms have been given to every pupil at our four local primary schools - Ancrum Road, St Joseph's Victoria Park and Blackness.

The prize is a year’s Family Membership of Dundee Botanic Garden (with thanks to the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden) plus a gift voucher for £20.  

You can download the entry form here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bin collection changes - consultation update

Further to my article earlier today about bin collection changes, the City Council's Environment Director has sent the following useful update to give reassurance about consultation with residents:

"I ... would confirm the following actions being undertaken with regard to consultation as we roll out the new recycling collection systems which hopefully clarifies matters and allays your concerns. 

Our staff have undertaken a survey of every single tenemental and flatted property across the city to establish what we believe is the most effective "design" which will enable us to provide the new services. In certain cases this is relatively straightforward and requires little change to existing systems e.g. where existing Eurobins taking exclusively residual waste are to be replaced with Eurobins which will take the new range of commodities. However in other areas where a more significant change is required, or where it appears difficult to accommodate the new systems due to space difficulties, we are carrying out an initial consultation exercise with affected residents, to take on board their views prior to developing the "design".

Once we have developed the "design", we then have a team of staff who are undertaking a door knocking exercise in advance of the roll out. Their role is to explain the proposed new systems, explain how it will work, timings etc and to answer any questions that residents may have. At the same time if there were a strong body of opinion against what is being proposed in a specific location and a viable alternative were proposed, then this feedback would be taken on board and the "design" reconsidered. I would emphasise that every single property in the city will be visited as we roll out the phased implementation. If there is no one at home when we call, then we will leave explanatory information and contact details. A revisit can be arranged if requested or alternatively we are hosting a number of local drop-in sessions for anyone to come along to in advance of the roll out, to have their questions answered. 

The above approach is being followed in the two phase 1 areas and to date we have had a lot of very positive feedback and engagement. Clearly we will keep this under review and if required will introduce changes as the roll out progresses to ensure the most effective use of the resources available to the project."

Bin collection changes - consultation concerns

Earlier this year, I opposed the SNP administration's policy of scrapping weekly general waste bin collections.   Although supportive of improved recycling opportunities for residents, I am concerned at the possible adverse effects of the move to fortnightly-only general waste collections - particularly in flats and multiple-occupied properties.

A large part of the West End, largely west of Peddie Street, is in Phase 1 of the new arrangements that will be mainly introduced next March.

The Environment Director last week updated councillors as follows :

"At present we are on-course to introduce these new services to our Phase 1 areas in March 2015, with affected residents due to receive full information on the changes early in the new year. This will include the delivery of leaflets and collection calendars, as well as visits from staff to offer information and advice, plus ongoing engagement activities at local residents groups, community organisations and tenants associations. Staff within the department have been busy attending many of these group meetings throughout the last few months, advising residents of the planned changes and answering any questions they may have. Consultation with residents of some flatted properties has also been undertaken during the last few months and the feedback we have had has informed our decisions regarding they type and location of bins at these properties.

Ahead of the March rollout, we will be introducing these new recycling services to a small number of flatted properties in both of the Phase 1 areas during November 2014. The flats have already undergone a full assessment and where required detailed consultation with residents has taken lace. and so are ready for implementation of these new services now. This small scale early action within these flatted properties in November will enable us to test our methodologies ahead of the main rollout in March, as well as providing further scope for engagement and consultation with residents."

I asked for details of the early (November 2014) Phase 1 West End households and was further updated follows :

"Please now see below for full details of the flatted properties in your ward which will receive their waste & recycling service changes this month, ahead of the full Phase 1 introduction in March of next year.

- Pasteur Lane (no's 1-30)
- Clayhills Drive (no's 48-56, 60-72, 74-82 - even)

These properties will receive a number of communal containers, stored in central locations, for the collection of residual waste and the recycling of food waste, mixed recyclate (paper, card, metals, plastics), and mixed glass. In addition, an internal kitchen caddy for the collection of food waste will be provided to every householder - as well as a supply of compostable liners. All residents will receive a full information leaflet, advising on the use of the new service - this will be hand-delivered by a member of staff who will make every effort to meet residents face-to-face to offer information and advice as well as answering any questions they may have. 

Containers will be delivered during w/c 24th November, with first collections taking place during w/c 1st December.    Staff within the department will be undertaking engagement activities specific to these particular properties in the run up to the introduction of their new services, and will thereafter be monitoring the performance of the new services, promoting and encouraging their use amongst residents were necessary.

At present no formal consultation with residents has taken place with regard to the forthcoming changes in November. However, the (council's) Business Process Team Leader ... has discussed the changes to Pasteur Lane in detail with  the NHS property management representative responsible for this area, who advised of the new location for the communal eurobins.

The intention is not to consult with the affected residents in these areas on this occasion as the changes are considered relatively straight forward with minimal disruption to waste/recycling presentation aspect of the service, but rather to inform and engage with residents on how the new services will affect them, how to use them and where to get further information. To that end, the team and I will be engaging with residents on a 1-to-1 basis by visiting each property which is set to receive these new services in November and advise of the forthcoming changes, answer any queries & provide further information via the delivery of a detailed service information leaflet. Noting your earlier point regarding the difficulty of making contact with residents in Pasteur Lane, I can confirm that our staff will be undertaking their doorstep engagement activities at a variety of days & times in order to ensure that as many residents as possible are reached, regardless of their availability or working pattern. 

Going forward, the requirement for formal consultation will be assessed on a property by property basis and will only be required where input from residents is required to assist in the selection of the appropriate service methodology. 

Finally, to answer your query regarding Simpson Avenue & Lister Place, these were not included in the November rollout as we deliberately selected small-scale, discrete areas from both the West End & Broughty Ferry which could be accommodated within the existing route framework, hence the inclusion of additional streets will not be logistically possible at this time."

I have some concerns about the lack of consultation and have replied to the Environment Department as follows :

"Whilst I welcome the efforts to make contact with residents in Pasteur Lane, I would comment (that) the crystal-clear commitment given at committee and by the Director to me was that there would be full consultation with affected residents as changes to services are rolled-out.   The suggestion that consultation “only be required where input from residents is required” falls very much short of that and is a rather worrying retrenchment.   Who decides which residents are consulted and which are not?   You do.    

Can I please have an explanation for this?   The suggestion that consultation “only be required where input from residents is required” was absolutely NOT the commitment given to Environment Committee."

Dundee West Church Guild Christmas Fayre

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Launch of West End Christmas Fortnight Brochure

Today sees the launch of the West End Christmas Fortnight Brochure - with West End Christmas Fortnight starting this coming Saturday!

Christmas Fortnight is packed with events and you can download the full brochure here.

Here's some highlights :

Saturday 22nd November   :    Christmas Fortnight starts!

West End Christmas Fortnight will be launched with a super Children’s Lantern Making event at Blackness Library, starting at 10am.   

At 1pm, there will be a vintage motor cavalcade in the West End shopping areas, in conjunction with Dundee Museum of Transport.    Kindly sponsored by Barnetts Motor Group, the cavalcade of vintage vehicles will proceed along Perth Road, Nethergate, West Port and Blackness Road.

Also on Saturday 22nd November :    Dundee West Church’s Christmas Coffee Morning takes place in the church – 10am to 12 noon – enter from 132 Perth Road.     Carols from the staff and service users from Jericho House and other local groups in the Perth Road shopping area from 12.45pm.   There will also be street decorations to add to the atmosphere!

Many West End Shops are participating in West End Christmas Fortnight’s Shoppers’ Saturday – lots of great offers in our local shopping areas – Blackness Road, Perth Road, West Port and Nethergate.

Tuesday 25th November at 7pm     :    West End Free Public Lecture on the Life and Work of Mary Slessor 

Speaker is Carly Cooper, Social History Curator at McManus Galleries.    Taking place at Dundee West Church, 132 Perth Road, this event is kindly sponsored by Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden and Friends of Riverside Nature Park.   All welcome!  

Wednesday 26th November at 6.15pm   :   Lights On for the West End!    …  and a spectacular fireworks extravaganza!

This year’s West End Christmas Concert takes place at Dundee West Church at 6.15pm.   Everyone is very welcome to attend.   

There will be musical contributions from all local primary and secondary schools.    The Concert will be hosted by Rev Andrew Greaves.    Local band “Rockdee” will also perform.  Mains of Fintry Pipe Band will pipe everyone from the church to Seabraes for the Christmas Lights Switch-On!

At 7pm, the West End Christmas Lights will be switched on at Seabraes by Evening Telegraph editor Richard Prest, ably assisted by Santa and his sleigh.   

There will again be a spectacular fireworks display after the lights switch-on and we are also delighted to advise that Horne’s Carnivals will be providing carnival rides at the Duncan of Jordanstone car park.

Read the full details here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Art of Ancient Life - free talk by palaeo-artist Jon Hoad

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

The Art of Ancient Life - D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum
Tuesday 18th November at 6pm

Perth-based artist Jon Hoad is currently showing some of his striking images of prehistoric life in Gallery Q as part of Dundee Science Festival. Next Tuesday he will give a free talk about his work in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum.

Commencing his career as an Archaeological Illustrator, Jon's artistic journey has always been concerned with faithfully representing the past and for twenty years he has worked exclusively in the field of palaeontological reconstruction, producing scientifically accurate representations of prehistoric animals, plants and environments. 

He has produced work for The Dinosaur Society UK and Prehistoric Times magazine. Originals and prints of his work have also been on display in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia. He is recognised internationally for his contribution to the field of reconstructing prehistoric life and has recently been invited to take part in a dig in Montana in 2015 for the purpose of producing illustrations. 

Jon will talk about the purpose and validity of reconstructing images of prehistoric life, animals, plants and environments. He will discuss the research and skills required as well as the background to his career.

Refreshments will be served after the talk. All are welcome and there is no need to book. Please enter by the main front door of the Carnelley Building.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Friends of Magdalen Green Soup and Pudding Lunch

Yesterday, I enjoyed taking part in the Friends of Magdalen Green Soup and Pudding Lunch that took place at Dundee West Church.   When I say 'taking part' - I was on doing the dishes!

It was an extremely-well attended event, with great stalls as well as a lovely lunch provided by the highly talented Alison Cruickshank.

A couple of photos from yesterday:
Setting-up for the lunch
Soup and Pudding Lunch in full swing!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Event tonight : A Night at the Museum

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

The D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum will be open to the public tonight from 9pm to 10pm as part of Dundee’s Christmas Light Night

As well as showing off D’Arcy’s amazing collection of animals from around the world, this year we’ll also be providing a musical interpretation of D’Arcy’s work by playing a recording of The Road in its Unfoldings, a meta-passacaglia for wind symphony composed in 1996-7 by Joseph Klein, Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of North Texas College of Music. 

The piece is modelled on the ideas of transformation through mathematical growth patterns presented by D’Arcy Thompson in On Growth and Form. In Klein’s words, “it explores the transformation of its subject from its fragmented, murky origins, coalescing into a direct thematic statement, then becoming increasingly removed from the prototypical structure as it undergoes further development.”

We have also redisplayed in the museum a selection of the artworks acquired through our recent Art Funded project, including paintings, drawings and prints by Henry Moore, William Turnbull, Victor Pasmore, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Gemma Anderson and others, plus a selection from the D’Arcy Thompson Print Folio, created by artists at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. We will also be projecting Daniel Brown’s digital art piece Flowers throughout the opening.

The D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum is in the Carnelley Building, Park Place, University of Dundee. Please enter by the main front door of the building and you will be directed to the museum.

(The full Christmas Night Light programme for today is available here).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday meetings

Yesterday, I attended the latest meeting of the Sinderins and Pennycook Courts' Residents Association - on this occasion, an open meeting of all tenants.    We had a discussion about a number of issues - including garden maintenance, scheme management support, noise issues and I updated everyone about the forthcoming West End Christmas Fortnight events. 

We were also advised that the independence debate event at Sinderins Court I participated in back in August features in the latest edition of Home Group's national homelife magazine.

Later yesterday, I also attended the latest West End Community Council meeting.   

This included a useful update from PC Bob Forrester, one of our local community police officers about local policing issues.   Bob highlighted several bicycle thefts in the West End recently and mentioned the importance of chaining your bike and keeping it secure.    
Bob has been a community officer in the West End for some nine years and is soon to move to a new role in Police Scotland.   He has been an excellent, approachable police officer in our local area and he'll be missed - I wish him every success in his new role.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Great progress at the new-build Harris Academy

Yesterday, I also had the pleasure of touring the Harris Academy site with the Project Manager of Robertson Construction Tayside.

Progress on-site is very impressive and the project is well on track.    Here are some photographs of the building progress :
New school frontage is starting to take shape
Internal walls and corridors beginning to take shape
The south of the building - the building design will ensure maximum exposure to the great views to the Tay 
Structure looking west

Back from holiday!

Janet and I are just back from a great - but all too short - holiday and, as per tradition, I bore you with a few photographs below!    

I was back in time to cover my ward surgeries yesterday at the West Park Centre and the Mitchell Street Centre.   Many thanks to colleagues who covered my surgeries when I was away.   Please note that there is no weekly surgery this Thursday at Blackness Primary School as the school is closed due to it being an in-service day.

I also attended last night's City Council committee meetings at which I queried - at Policy and Resources Committee, the low actual spend of capital expenditure as of 30th September compared to projected out-turn.
Janet and Fraser selfie at Venice's Bridge of Sighs
Janet - at Kotor, Montenegro
Mykonos - a lovely Greek Island
Impressive entertainment by Vicky and the Holding Company

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Remembrance Sunday

Tree planting event

Friends of Riverside Nature Park is organising a tree planting event on Sunday 30th November from 1pm to 3pm.

The Friends would like as many volunteers as possible to help with this. 

If you are interested please contact Janice Coates at

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Temporary Traffic Order - Shaftesbury 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 carriageway reconstruction works.  The Order is expected to be in force for fifteen days from 17 November 2014.  Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Shaftesbury Road between the junctions with Hyndford Street and Grosvenor Road.

Access to Grosvenor Road from Perth Road will be maintained.  Rockfield Street is not affected by the works

An alternative route will be available via Hyndford Street, Perth Road, Rockfield Street and reverse.

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 call 433082.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Botanic Garden forthcoming event @DundeeBotanics

Dr Connolly
On Sunday 23rd November at 2pm in the Education Centre at the Botanic Garden, Dr Chris Connolly of the Division of Neuroscience at the Medical Research Institute at Ninewells Hospital will talk about the potential effects of pesticides on bee learning and health. 

All welcome - Friends of the Botanic Garden free; visitors £2.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Getting things done - Glenagnes Road

I have received residents' concerns about the area of ground in Glenagnes Road to the immediate north of the West End Schools' Campus site - see right.   

It has lain empty for years but during the campus construction, the site was used for storage of materials.   To access it, the fence that runs down the pavement side was largely removed and it has not been reinstated.  

I have asked the City Council to have the area tidied and the fence replaced.   

The Education Department has responded helpfully as follows :

"This piece of ground (a bit of no-man's land) now falls within the responsibility of the Environment Department. I have now contacted them and they are to visit the site and determine a suitable remedy."

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Perth Road - an update

Back in August, I mentioned the concerns residents had raised with me about the state of the pavement on Perth Road outside Duncan of Jordanstone - broken slabs and an obvious trip hazard.

At the time, the City Council assured me that an Order for the re-setting of the loose slabs had been made.   I have since been informed that :

“The Road Maintenance Partnership inspector has advised that four slabs have been fixed on this section of footway and that there were no actionable defects noted when he inspected it on 16-10-14 following your email.”

However, many of the slabs remain cracked – see right.   I have again highlighted this with the City Council and asked that the poor pavement here is given significant improvement in the future – including broken slab replacement.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Strawberrybank - an update

I recently highlighted the poor condition of the north end of Strawberrybank's road surface (also used by pedestrians on this very narrow street) - see right.

Having raised this on behalf of residents with Dundee City Council, I have been given the following feedback :

"The Roads Maintenance Partnership inspector for the area advises that this area will be kept in a safe condition over the winter and grano work will be carried out in the next financial year."

Monday, November 03, 2014

Logie Gardens - an update

Back in July, I reported that residents in Logie Gardens had complained to me about the state of part of the ground on the street's south side adjacent to Pine Court's car park.

It was overgrown and unsightly, but there was some doubt as to ownership.    After checking ownership records, the City Council was able to advise me that the parcel of overgrown ground was sold to the former Cleghorn Housing Association in 1991.   

I therefore asked Home Scotland (who took over from Cleghorn some years ago) if the area could be tidied and this has now been carried out – see below :

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Area around Glamis Road/Drive/Blackness Road roundabout - south side

In August, I reported that the council had, following my request on behalf of residents, provided a central refuge island and drop kerbs to help folk get across the road in the area around the Glamis Road/Drive/Blackness Road roundabout.    See photo – right.

This was provided north of the roundabout and I have since had requests from residents for similar provision on the south part of Glamis Road – south of the roundabout – again a busy stretch of road.    I therefore raised this with Dundee City Council.

The City Council’s Network Management Team’s Team Leader has since advised me :

“I will arrange for the section south of the roundabout to be inspected for consideration within a future minor works programme.

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

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Balgay Parish Church Christmas Fayre and Craft Sale

The Balgay Parish Church Christmas Fayre and Craft Sale is on Saturday 8th November from 10am to 12 noon.

All welcome!    

Tickets, (including tea/coffee) are £2, with children's tickets at £1.

You can pay on the day at the door.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Food Train Friends in the West End @FoodTrainScot

From the excellent Dundee Food Train service :

"We have been successful in securing funding from the Dundee Partnership small grants and Reshaping care for Older People to pilot a befriending service in the West End of Dundee for six month.   The project aims to offer short trips to older people over 65 to visit a supermarket in Dundee with support on a 1:1 basis with a volunteer. 

One of the outcomes from our annual survey of customers using our grocery delivery service was the desire to have an occasional visit to a supermarket.    The intention being that these customers otherwise housebound or having poor mobility would be able to see first-hand new products and special offers available in store and have a better idea of what groceries they might try when ordering through Food Train. 

Food Train Friends in the West End of Dundee will hopefully reduce the social isolation and loneliness experienced by some older people in the community.    This will be by offering the opportunity to visit the supermarket (possibly Morrisons as it has a cafĂ© in store), meet other people and through the social element reduce people’s dependency on family and neighbours. Experience of other Food Train Friends services show that this would give older people a sense of being less reliant on these people. 

In an evaluation of Food Train Friends running in Dumfries customers commented on the difference the befriending service made.   The responses showed that without the service customers would have a limited amount of social contact with peers and volunteers, and a limited amount of enjoyment in their lives (things to look forward to and memories to treasure when back home). 

The cost will be £3 which will include the cost for the tea/coffee and snack, participants who are not members of Food Train will have to pay £1 to join. We plan is to offer this service to six older people per month, for six months running to March 2015. Thereafter an evaluation will be carried out and further funding will be sourced to hopefully roll out the service across Dundee."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Temporary Traffic Order : Cleghorn Street

Having raised with the council on a number of occasions in the past, on behalf of local residents, the poor condition of the road surface in Cleghorn Street, I am pleased to see this Traffic Order coming forward that will see the street resurfaced.

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 carriageway resurfacing works.  The Order is expected to be in force for fifteen days from 3 November 2014.  Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Cleghorn Street from Lochee Road to City Road.

Limited access will be maintained to properties on Cleghorn Street.

An alternative route will be available via Lochee Road, Tullideph Road and City Road for northbound traffic and via Lochee Road, Polepark Road and Milnbank Road for southbound traffic.

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.  If you have any queries please call 433082.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Changes to 333 hospital link bus service

From Monday 24th November 2014, Service X7 (Dundee - Montrose - Aberdeen) will extend beyond Dundee to serve Perth Royal Infirmary.    After Dundee Bus Station, the stops of this service will be Dundee Rail Station, West Port, Sinderins, Royal Victoria Hospital, then via the current stops of Service 333.

This will run every hour Monday to Saturday, with as two-hourly Perth service on Sundays (the original Aberdeen – Dundee route remains hourly).

This will be a much-enhanced replacement for Hospital Link Service 333 (Royal Victoria Hospital/Ninewells Hospital/Perth Royal Infirmary), which will no longer operate after Friday 21st November 2014.

Many thanks to Suzy Scott from for this update.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Friends of Balgay AGM

The 2014 Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Balgay will take place on Saturday 1st November at 2pm at the Mills Observatory.

Guest speaker is Jim Crumley, who will give a talk on eagles - both golden and sea - and the evolving relationship between them.

Refreshments will be provided and all are welcome!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Riverside Drive resurfacing works - a further update

From the Roads Maintenance Partnership Manager from Dundee City Council/Tayside Contracts earlier today in response to my request for information on the promised road surface quality inspection:

"The works are not fully complete therefore I have not carried out a final inspection yet.  I have however carried out an interim inspection of the carriageway surface.    In general the surface matrix is good, well bound, appropriately chipped etc.    I anticipate however that the enquiry relates to the vertical profile of the road on the westbound carriageway between the Tesco roundabout and the Tay Rail Bridge.    Due to the flatness of the existing road and previous drainage issues in the area, the new road surface has been profiled to ensure positive drainage to the existing drainage channels on the south side.   This means that, as expected, there is slow rise and fall effect on the surface.   During my inspection however I noted a a couple of transverse joints in the surfacing that are out of tolerance and these accentuate the effect.   Repair works will be carried out to these joints in due course, however, as we do in most cases with road surfacing works, we will leave the newly opened road in service for a period of time and monitor the performance of the whole surface before undertaking these identified repairs. 

I'm also aware that I advised the traffic management would be removed by the middle of last week. Unfortunately we have been delayed further due to resource issues and weather.   The surfacing on the westbound cycleway/footway will be completed today which will allow the majority of the TM to be removed, this will leave a small section of footway at the Tesco end to be completed.   This will be carried out following the alteration to a couple of street lighting columns    The pedestrian crossings will not be fully commissioned for a number of weeks due to other commitments with the signals contractor."

I am anxious to see a full inspection of the road undertaken as soon as possible as I have had a number of constituents raise issues about it with me.    I'm also anxious to see the remainder of the traffic management cones etc removed ASAP so the road can get back to a degree of normality.

City Council Committees

A lengthy set of City Council committee meetings tonight at which :

* At Education Committee, I welcomed a report on extending language learning in primary schools (Blackness PS is in the pilot of this) and asked questions about choice of languages.

* At Environment Committee, I paid tribute to the Friends of Magdalen Green (and in particular Sharon Dickie and Alice La Rooy) for their huge efforts with the Roseangle playpark campaign, which reached fruition tonight as committee approved the go-ahead for the improvement works.   I also welcomed improvements to the Ancrum Road allotments and queried progress with the review of the council's vehicle fleet.

* At Housing Committee, I supported a Labour amendment to allow for an additional (and lower) possible rent increase option to be included in the proposed consultation with tenants on 2015/16 rent levels (this was defeated by the SNP administration).   In a debate on the review of council housing allocations policy, I emphasised the need for a facility to allow people to apply to the waiting list on-line and asked a question about progress towards the Common Housing Register, bringing together allocations/waiting lists of all major social landlords in Dundee.

* At City Development Committee, I welcomed use of Vacant and Derelict Land Fund monies to produce a feasibility study to support redevelopment of Queen Victoria and Regent Works and queried the suggested siting of an electric vehicle charging point on Perth Road west of Shepherd's Loan.

* At Policy & Resources Committee, I supported Bailie Derek Scott's proposal that the council make no submission to the Smith Commission on the basis that no submission could adequately summarise the views of all four political parties on the council.    Unsurprisingly, the motion from the SNP administration was simply a re-hash of the SNP government's submission and adds nothing to the debate whatsoever.   It is better that parties seek common ground, in my view.

On the issue of the council's draft Gaelic Action Plan, I successfully moved an amendment that allows the draft to go forward as a basis for consultation on the Plan (this is a legal requirement), but with no commitment on the part of the City Council to implement all or any of the recommendations in the draft.   I am totally against significant expenditure on new signage, translation services, etc in a city with such a small Gaelic-speaking population.

Adult Learning Newsletter - Autumn 2014 edition

The Autumn 2014 City Council Adult Learning Newsletter has been published, highlighting adult learning opportunities across the city.   

You can download the full newsletter here.    

Courses include “Just the Job”, a course starting at the Mitchell Street Centre on 30th October.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Good news on Harris Academy second School Crossing Patroller

As I mentioned earlier this month, 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 have raised this at the Harris Academy Project Board and was given assurances that steps were being taken to recruit additional school crossing patrollers.

I have now been advised by the City Council's Head of Education (Secondary and Additional Support Needs) as follows :

"As far as I am aware, Tayside Contracts are confident that two SCPs will be in Lawton Road area when schools go back. 

They have now also filled all vacant posts depending on successful PVG checks.

With these posts now filled I understand they are now looking to establish a reasonable sized supply pool and are to be advertising again shortly."

I am pleased that, with the schools going back tomorrow, a further crossing patroller will be provided hopefully this coming week - it is needed at such a busy location given the large school roll at Harris Academy.