Sunday, May 03, 2015

Path - Lower Pleasance to Polepark Road

Following my receiving residents' complaints about the unkempt state of the pathway that runs from Lower Pleasance to Polepark Road, just south of the Polepark play area (see below), I have asked the City Council's Environment Department to tidy it up:
I have also received an assurance from the Environment Department that the grass in the play park will be tidied regularly over the summer months, following a recent complaint about it being overgrown.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Trip hazard tackled - Cross Lane

I recently received a concern from a resident about a trip hazard on the pavement of Cross Lane, near to the South Tay Street junction - see below:
I urgently took the matter up with the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership who promptly advised :

"The location was inspected and repairs to lift and replace the broken slabs carried out."

Friday, May 01, 2015

Logie walkabout

Yesterday, along with the local Housing Officer and two representatives from the City Council's Environment Department, I took part in a walkabout around the Logie area.

The six-monthly walkabouts take place in a number of areas (Pentland and Blackness are other examples) and are a useful way to look at local issues and problems and ensure these are taken up and resolved.

A number of issues were raised - including the need to have this damaged fence in Glenagnes Street (see above right) repaired.      

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tay Rail Bridge works

Network Rail's Community Relations Manager, Scotland  has recently advised me :

"As part of the major refurbishment of the Tay (Rail) Bridge, our contractors are working over the estuary at present.  

They did not anticipate the noise being heard by residents at that side of the bridge (but) we arranged for letters to be dropped.   When we carry out work, notification letters are delivered to residents living within 100m of the worksite and a copy is sent to the relevant Environmental Health Officer in the council."

The letter referred to, delivered in the Roseangle area, reads as follows :

"IMPROVEMENT WORKS – Tay Bridge

We will shortly commence phase 4 of improvement works to the Tay Bridge. Although this work is essential, I would like to apologise in advance for any disturbance it may cause you.

This work will be ongoing until December 2016 on a 24 hour basis.

This work will involve essential structural repairs at the Tay Bridge. Unfortunately, the equipment we use – in this case heavy plant and machinery including jack hammers - means that some noise is unavoidable but we will do all we can to minimise it.  We have also briefed those working on site to work with consideration for the local community.

Works on the Dundee side of the bridge will start next to Riverside Drive and progressively move further in to the middle of the Estuary. You may notice some noise during the night in the early stage of the work this will gradually decrease with the completion of each span each taking approximately a month to complete

We understand that working by your property overnight is far from ideal, but we are legally obliged to work on the railway at times that cause least disruption to trains.  Unfortunately this means carrying out a lot of our work at weekends or overnight.

I do hope our work doesn’t disturb you too much but if you have any questions or concerns please call our 24-hr helpline on 03457 11 41 41."

Thus far, I have not received any noise complaints, but do please contact me if you have any concerns - many thanks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nethergate - Marketgait to South Tay Street

I recently queried why the promised road resurfacing on Nethergate - Marketgait to South Tay Street - has yet to be carried out.  

The City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership has advised me as follows :

"The section of Nethergate between Marketgait and South Tay St was deferred to 2015/16 due to uncertainty over Scottish Water mains replacement proposals.   

Currently Scottish Water has not provided a detailed programme with timescales as to their proposals therefore I am unable to provide a timescale as to when our resurfacing works will be carried out, other than to follow Scottish Waters works.  
This road is regularly inspected as part of the formal regime ... and monitored for actionable defects which require safety repairs."

Monday, April 27, 2015

City Council committees tonight

At tonight's City Council's committees :

+ At Education Committee, I supported a Labour motion on staff shortages in Dundee schools and commented that this is a real concern (including the national issue about lack of supply teachers) that urgently needs addressed.   It was good to see cross-party agreement on this issue.   I also supported a further Labour motion to develop a proper brief for the Young Mothers' Unit, but the SNP administration voted this down.

+ At Housing Committee, I welcomed a Shelter-sponsored project that will allow for two staff to be attached to the City Council's Housing Department to undertake private sector landlord support projects.   I highlighted the wider issues of the need for improved levels of factoring and improving the condition of many flats' common areas, stair cleaning and ensuring improved condition and repair of much private sector housing.

+ At City Development Committee, I welcomed consultation of proposed waiting restrictions to tackle parking issues near Harris Academy - for example, at several of the junctions within West Park Road.

+ At Policy & Resources Committee, I emphasised the need to consider financial support for a City Centre Hogmanay event this year should the project to achieve an event this year manage to finalise a viable 2015 programme.

Blether Tay-Gither - Storytelling in Dundee

Our April Blether will be on Tuesday - 28th April at 7pm in Madigan's Food Emporium.

This month we are joining with the Dundee-Nablus Twinning Association to be part of their Palestinian Literature Festival :   Olive Trees In Dundee.

The theme is Palestinian stories.

More details about the Festival can be found on the Facebook page.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

City Road road repairs

Following my raising residents' complaints about the poor road condition in City Road towards its south end (near Blyth Street), the City Council has advised me as follows :

"... the Roads Maintenance Partnership inspector for the area has arranged for the potholes on City Road towards its south end (near Blyth Street) to be repaired.  Permanent patching repairs are also planned for this area although there is no timescale available for this at present but they will be done as soon as resources are available and earlier priorities have been dealt with."

I queried the timescale for the permanent patching works and have been further advised :

"The structural patching that has been identified will be carried out as part of a full programme of works in the next financial year."

Friday, April 24, 2015

Lochee Park car park

Good to see the Lochee Park car park being resurfaced given its deteriorated state recently :

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Victoria Park Bowling Green - positive site visit

Further to my update at the end of last month about the future of Victoria Park Bowling Green, last night I took part in a site visit with local schools' and community representatives, Environment Department staff and two of my ward colleagues to look at the green's condition and that of the pavilion.

We had further very useful discussions about future schools and community use of the facility and we clearly now have a positive way forward for the former Bowling Green, which is really good news.

A couple of photos from last night :
The green is in good condition and has much to offer for schools and community use
The pavilion - needs some brightening up but good potential and has toilet facilities

Forest Gardening Workshop


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Riverside Drive - overnight road closures

From the City Council :

Overnight Road Closures for Surfacing Work

You will be aware that Dundee City Council is currently re-developing the Central Waterfront of Dundee.  Another important stage of the project involves the resurfacing at Riverside Drive, eastbound and westbound at the new junction at Discovery Point.

To ensure the safety of the public and workforce while construction is taking place we will unfortunately have to undertake 2 closures over 2 weekends. 

The first closure involves the closure of the eastbound carriageway of Riverside Drive from the mini Roundabout at Tesco Service access to the junction of Yeaman Shore/Greenmarket car park, whilst undertaking night working to allow surfacing and road markings to be put down.  This closure will be in place over 2 nights on Friday (24 April 2015) between 11.00pm and 6.00am and Saturday (25 April 2015) between 11.00pm and 6.00am.  Traffic using Riverside Drive eastbound or to gain access to the Tay Road Bridge will be diverted via the inner ring road.  Controlled access to the Railway Station Lay-by at Riverside Drive will be maintained via Riverside Drive during the closure and the taxi rank will remain operational.

The second closure involves the closure of Tay Road Bridge westbound off Ramp and the closure of the section of carriageway between Customs House at East Dock Street and Riverside Drive mini Roundabout at Tesco Services access, whilst undertaking night working to allow surfacing and road markings to be put down.  This closure will be in place over 2 nights on Friday (8 May 2015) between 7.00pm and 6.00am and Saturday (9 May 2015) between 7.00pm and 6.00am.  Traffic using the Tay Road Bridge westbound ramp and the Riverside Esplanade heading to Perth will be diverted via the inner ring road.  During this closure controlled access and egress to Discovery Point and Premier Inn Dundee from Riverside Drive will be maintained.

To minimise the noise generated by the works, our contractor Sir Robert McAlpine will be undertaking the majority of the noisiest activities at the start of the night closure. During the second closure, the noisiest works to the west of the Apex Hotel, will be curtailed by 11.00pm.  The contractor will be doing everything possible to ensure that noise is kept to a minimum during the night time hours. 

I trust this helps to explain the nature of the project and timescales involved.  It is hoped that the long term benefits will outweigh the inconvenience during construction.  Further information and updates regarding the work will be available via our website www.dundeewaterfront.com.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Co-wheels community car club - new Dundee fleet launch

Earlier today, I took part in the new Dundee fleet launch of the Co-wheels community car club that took place in the City Square.

Co-wheels is a public access car club that is run as a social enterprise and now has a Dundee fleet of 15 vehicles, including low emission, hybrid and electric cars and a vehicle suitable for wheelchair use.

It’s a really exciting initiative that allows local people to use a pay-as-you-go car club where you can get access to a vehicle as and when you need a car.

You can find out more about the scheme at www.co-wheels.org.uk.   Here’s a couple of photos from the launch :


West End Ward Surgeries

With the school holidays over, it is back to West End Ward surgeries tonight.

These are : 

Mitchell Street Centre - Mitchell Street (The Base) - Mondays – 4.20pm (prompt) (except school holidays)

West Park Centre (Old Mansion House Reception Area) - Mondays – 4.50 pm (prompt) (except school holidays)

Blackness Primary School (Staff Room) - Thursdays - 6.15 pm (prompt) (except school holidays)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Friends of Balgay Spring meeting

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Friends of Balgay Spring meeting, held outdoors on a beautiful afternoon on Balgay Hill.

In addition to an informative talk from Jay Grant from the City Council's Environment Department on the subject of improvements in Greater Balgay, there was the unveiling of a new plaque at Balgay Bridge (kindly funded by the Hugh Fraser Foundation) and a memorial plaque and bench in memory of the late Dr Hilda Spear.    Hilda was for many years the Chair of the Friends of Balgay and passed away a year ago.

It was good to see such a good turnout at yesterday's event - some photos below :
Balgay Bridge new plaque
Good turnout yesterday
Bench in memory of Hilda
Plaque in Hilda's memory

Just the Job


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Council Headquarters front entrance doors to be replaced

As reported in yesterday's Courier and Evening Telegraph, after a protracted period of complaining of behalf of constituents about faults to the front entrance doors at the City Council Headquarters, I have received an assurance from the council’s Director of City Development that the council is considering replacing the doors that have been out of action on numerous occasions since the council headquarters in North Lindsay Street opened.

Following the most recent closure in March of some of the doors due to a fault, I wrote to the council’s Director of City Development :

“I have probably contacted you half a dozen times now over the months following constituent complaints about the doors being out of action.    Are we really sure these are fit for purpose given the number of problems that have been encountered?   Given the huge amount of public traffic through them, we really do need doors that can withstand large amounts of public use.    Should we not be looking to replace them?    Have revolving doors been considered?”

In response, the Director of City Development wrote :

“The City Architect and Head of Property are to look at possible alternative doors for the entrance. I shall advise you further in due course.”

I had long since concluded, given the frequent repairs needed to the entrance doors at Dundee House, that better, more robust entrance doors were required, so I am pleased this is now being progressed.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Walkabout - Blackness/Corso/Abbotsford area

Yesterday, along with a representative from the Housing Department and a representative from the Environment Department, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness/Corso/Abbotsford area.
New improved street
lighting being installed
in the area

The six-monthly walkabouts take place in a number of areas (Pentland and Logie are other examples) and are a useful way to look at local issues and problems and ensure these are taken up and resolved. 

Pavement trip hazard at Peddie Street/
Abbotsford Place junction reported
for repair
Here's a couple of photos of matters discussed yesterday, which also including bins/cleansing issues and overgrown trees in the area.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

West End Community Council meeting

Last night, I participated in a very well-attended West End Community Council meeting.

There was a highly informative presentation by Allan Watt, Dundee Waterfront Project Co-ordinator at Dundee City Council, on progress with the Waterfront project.

There was also a useful update from local police and a discussion about other local issues.

You can see more about the community council's work here.

Jericho House Support Group

Jericho House
Yesterday, I attended the latest meeting of the Jericho House support group, a regular meeting at which a number of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this important facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism.

Following the recent great success of the "Drink!  The Musical" starring Jericho House service users and staff, it was good to hear that an invitation has been extended to the play's team to participate in the Edinburgh Fringe.

There was also a very positive report on activities including assistance Jericho House is getting from Enactus Dundee in terms of producing and marketing its planting projects.

Meeting with National Express Dundee

Yesterday, I had a useful and constructive meeting with Elsie Turbyne, the new Managing Director of National Express Dundee (see right).

In particular, I was keen to emphasise the need for low carbon buses particularly on the 28/29 and 17 routes that cover Lochee Road, given the air quality issues on part of the route.

Ms Turbyne indicated that National Express is investing in new fleet this financial year which will bring in significant new/newer buses in the city.   This will ensure all buses the company uses in Dundee are at least Euro 3 compliant.    

This is a good step forward but I would like to see the low carbon vehicles that are already used on Service 5 also being used on other West End services.

Victorian Animation – make your own Zoetrope

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

Saturday 18th April at 3pm
Room T8, Tower Building

Victorian Animation – make your own Zoetrope

Take a step back into the past and discover one of the earliest forms of animation. 

Create your own animated sequence with a zoetrope and learn about the history of these objects in this fun family workshop. 

Suitable for age 8 and over – children must be accompanied by an adult.   The event is free but places are limited so please book via museum@dundee.ac.uk or 384310.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

West End Community Council update for April

I have today launched my update to the April meeting of West End Community Council that takes place tonight at 7pm at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall in Shaftesbury Terrace - all residents welcome.

The update covers the following issues :

Unadopted footways programme - 2015/16 

Norwood Crescent pavements  

Hillside Terrace - road condition  

You can download the update here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillside Terrace - road condition

On behalf of residents, I recently raised the deteriorating condition of Hillside Terrace's roadway with the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership and asked if there could be some immediate patching of the worst-conditioned parts but also if the council could consider full resurfacing of the roadway this financial year.

I am pleased to say I have had the following positive response from the Roads Maintenance Partnership :

"This street is classified as having a maintenance hierarchy 4b carriageway which means it receives a formal safety inspection every 32 weeks, it was inspected in mid January and no actionable potholes were identified.  However, a small area of patching was identified for inclusion in a future patching programme.  I have arranged for this street to be inspected today and one number actionable pothole was identified which will be repaired as a Cat 3 within a target of 28 days.

Hillside Terrace is recommended for inclusion in the 2015 carriageway resurfacing programme which has been prepared and issued for review and comment to Senior Management."



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Unadopted footways programme - 2015/16

I have been advised by the City Engineer that, as part of the Unadopted Footways Upgrade Programme, two further streets’ pavements in the West End area will be brought up to good standard and adopted by the City Council over the next year.

These are Whitefauld Road (south footway) and Middlebank Crescent (north footway).

These improvements are to be welcomed and will see more of the very poor pavements in the West End finally brought up to standard.   Back in 2007, I asked the council to improve funding to tackle this problem of really poor unadopted pavements and this was agreed – an increase from £200 000 per annum to £500 000 per annum.   This has made a huge difference in terms of tackling the issue.

There will be further progress in future years and it is good to see real progress on tackling the outstanding poor-conditioned pavements.

I have queried aspects of this year’s list as I had hoped that further West End streets would be covered this year that now appear in the possible 2016/17 list.    I am anxious to see as many of the remaining unadopted pavements in the West End brought up to standard as soon as possible.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

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 (between McGonagall Square and Tayfield Place), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 20th April 2015 for 5 working days.

The one-way order relating to Paton's Lane will be rescinded for the duration of these works.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

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

For further information contact 433168.

Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Friday, April 10, 2015

Power of Attorney - Start the Conversation

Power of Attorney is a campaign funded by the Scottish Government to raise awareness of the importance of having a Power of Attorney granted to a trusted relative or friend. 

The campaign involves a partnership between NHS Tayside, Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross Councils and local law firms.

Many people are unaware that if they become ill or injured and are unable to make decisions for themselves, no one else can do this on their behalf unless they have legally been given power to do so through a Power of Attorney.

The campaign is encouraging people to talk to trusted family and friends about establishing a Power of Attorney.

Whatever age you are, it is important to think about and make plans for the future. The first step is to have conversations about your wishes, hopes and fears about how you would like to be cared for if you become ill.

If you are in hospital, a care environment or even your own home, no one can act for you to pay bills, manage your welfare or make key decisions unless you have made your plan.

Having a Power of Attorney in place can ensure that your wishes are carried out quickly without prolonged legal negotiations. Your next of kin is powerless without Power of Attorney.

The campaign website: www.mypowerofattorney.org.uk provides valuable help and information.

For further information about the campaign in Tayside download the "With Power of Attorney, the Future is in your hands" booklet.   Hard copies of this booklet can also be obtained by calling 425500.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Logie residents' meeting

Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing a well-attended meeting of residents in the Logie Estate that took place at the Lime Street Sheltered Lounge.

I am most grateful to the Housing Strategy Manager from the Housing Department of the City Council who took part and we updated residents about the issue of improving the railings across Logie (and there’s now a way forward to get them painted, where required) and the lock-ups in Glenagnes Street following the recent council decision about these and other council-owned lock-ups across the city.

We had a good discussion about a number of other issues including bin and recycling collections and speed limits in the area.

Modern Apprencticeships


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Children's clothes recycling scheme

The children's clothes recycling scheme is a Community Payback initiative involving the collection, cleaning and distribution of donated children's clothes is helping families in Dundee.

The scheme involves asking members of the public to donate good quality children's clothes which are not being used or which their own children have grown out of.

Clothes handed into the Criminal Justice Social Work office at Friarfield House, Barrack Street are washed, packaged and distributed to families who need particular types of clothes for young children.

Social workers  identify children who need this additional support and offenders sentenced to undertake work as part of a Community Payback Order wash and package the clothes using a new laundry area which they have developed within the Criminal Justice Social Work office at Friarfield House.

This excellent Community Payback initiative meets the needs many families in Dundee have for good quality children's clothes.   By undertaking  unpaid work, Community Payback offenders are making a positive contribution to supplying much needed clothes to families with young children.

It  provides much needed practical support for children and families who may be vulnerable in Dundee.

There is an opportunity for local businesses to donate unused items of children's clothing or become involved in partial sponsorship of this scheme.

Further information is available on 435001.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Temporary Traffic Order : Blackness Road

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 footway resurfacing works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in an eastbound direction in Blackness Road (from Abbotsford Street to Peddie Street), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 13th April 2015 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Glenagnes Road/Scott Street/Milnbank Road/Rosefield Street.

For further information contact 433168.

Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Monday, April 06, 2015

3D Character Animation presentation

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

As part of the Bodies in Motion exhibition in the Tower Foyer Gallery, University of Dundee -

3D Character Animation

Wednesday 8th April, 3pm in Room G8, Tower Building

Phillip Vaughan will talk about 3D Character Animation, and demonstrate how walk cycles, run cycles and other animations sequences work in relation to Games, Film & TV. 

Phillip is the Course Director of the MSc in Animation & Visualisation at DJCAD and has nearly 20 years’ experience as a 3D Animator and Producer.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

West End Ward surgeries

Now that the school Easter holidays are underway, my usual weekly ward surgeries do not take place, but I can still be contacted on any local issues or concerns through my e-surgery - just e-mail esurgery@frasermacpherson.org.uk.

I can also be contacted at home at any time on 459378 and also during office hours at my Dundee City Council office on 434985.

Surgeries commence again on Monday 20th April – full details of surgery days and times here.

Happy Easter


Saturday, April 04, 2015

Macmillan Walking Groups in the West End

The Macmillan supported Walking Groups advise :

Our walks on Mondays from Roseangle Arts CafĂ© at 11.30am and Wednesdays from Maggies at 1pm aim to support anyone affected by cancer (including people living with and beyond cancer, family, friends and/or carers) to become more active by walking. 

The local, short walks are led by trained volunteers and are suitable for those of any walking ability.   The walks provide a supportive and friendly environment for people to become more active.

We know that physical activity is beneficial to people living with or beyond cancer and can help to reduce the negative side effects of treatment, improve mood, confidence, and enhance quality of life.     Being active in a group can also provide valuable peer support and reduce social isolation to ensure that no one faces cancer alone. 

This has been reflected in feedback from participants who have enjoyed the walks:   ‘The walking really helps my health and I feel the benefits each time but I actually barely notice I’m doing the exercise as I am chatting so much with people.’

If you would like any more information about the walking groups, or know someone who would be interested in getting involved please contact us at Maggies or contact Hazel Ednie on 385177 or email h.c.ednie@dundee.ac.uk.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Pavements in Norwood Crescent

Having had residents' complaints about the poor state of the pavement on the east side of Norwood Crescent, I took this up with the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership.

I have now received a response as follows :

"I ... would advise that the Roads Maintenance Partnership inspector for the area has arranged for several holes to be filled on the grano section from number 1 to Blackness Road."

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum Easter openings

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

The Zoology Museum will re-open to the public over the Easter weekend, showcasing D’Arcy Thompson’s amazing collection of animals from around the world, as well as fascinating models and other teaching aids and striking artworks inspired by D’Arcy’s work.

This Easter we’re aiming to have a particular focus on family visits, so please bring your kids along to see us! The museum has recently been accredited as the University’s first learning destination for the Children’s University – this seeks to "cultivate the imagination of pupils, as well as motivating them and building their self-confidence” by providing children aged between 7 and 14 with the opportunity to take part in voluntary, out-of-school-hours learning.    This leads up to children’s graduations at real universities – including caps and gowns!    The initiative is supported in Dundee by the University of Dundee and Abertay University.

The D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum aims to provide children involved in the scheme with activities during open hours and special events that will help them build up the credits they need to graduate. We’ll have lots of activities this weekend, and we’re also planning to start taking our collections out to schools and offering activities and workshops to those who are unable to visit the museum. 

Find out more about the Children’s University here.

The museum will be open on Good Friday (3rd April) 2pm to 4.30pm and Easter Saturday (4th April) 10am-12.30pm.     Enter by the front door of the Carnelley Building.

Community Spirit Action Group meeting

Earlier this evening, I attended the April meeting of Community Spirit Action Group - the community group for the "north" part of West End Ward, covering Pentland, Tullideph, Ancrum and the Cleghorn area.

We had an excellent update from Sergeant Laura Wilson, our local police community sergeant, about the new community policing arrangements for the West End.   Laura also highlighted the excellent Police Scotland “Beat Doorstep Crime” campaign to stop residents being the victim of bogus callers and rogue traders.

At tonight’s meeting, I highlighted an assurance I have had earlier today about improving the road surface at the City Road/Tullideph Road junction, a litter pick being planned as part of the Dundee Festival of Volunteering 2015 and the resurfacing of the south side of Lochee Road that I highlighted on this site earlier today.