Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On Wave 102 News on Dundee air quality @wave102

I was on Wave 102 News and Radio Tay News yesterday, speaking about air quality issues, specifically highlighting the situation in part of Lochee Road.

You can hear the interview on Wave 102 by clicking 'play' below:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dundee Museum of Transport wins Heritage Lottery Fund support @DMofT

I was delighted to join Dundee Museum of Transport in a photocall to mark the great news that the museum has received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Here's today's news release from the museum :

Today, Dundee Museum of Transport (DMofT) has received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to aid the development and to establish a permanent home for the recently-opened museum in Market Street, Dundee.    Led solely by volunteers from the local community, the organisation focuses on the restoring, preserving and displaying regional transport-related memorabilia and vehicles, including Dundee’s last remaining Horse Drawn Tram which was reclaimed from a garden in Perth earlier this year. However, even prior to opening its temporary premises to the public in April this year, the museum reported that it was already over-capacity. 

The project will be for an external business consultant to undertake a an in-depth business assessment to review and further aid the development of the organisation and how the museum can benefit the local economy, not just as a base for heritage restoration but as a permanent visitor attraction in the city, also. Although based in Dundee, the organisation has the end aim to represent the transport heritage of the east coast and beyond. 

Commenting on the award, the museum’s chairman Jimmy McDonell said,  “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will guide us further in our aim to become not only a home for transport heritage, but a sustainable and well-used visitor attraction.” 

... and a couple of photos from the photocall :
With some of the museum team at the former Maryfield Tram Depot
Jimmy McDonell from the museum interviewed by STV news - to be broadcast in the 6pm news tonight

Getting things done - Ford's Lane

Residents, including members of the Sinderins and Pennycook Courts Residents' Association, have pointed out to me that the foliage from the trees to the sides of Ford's Lane is now very overgrown - see right.

Given this is right above the public footway, the extent of the foliage makes the footpath at this location extremely dark at night.

I have therefore asked the City Council to take steps to have it trimmed back.   

Temporary closure of West District Housing Office tomorrow

From the City Council :

Monday, July 21, 2014

Roseangle flooding tackled - News Release from Scottish Water @ScotWaterNews

News release

For immediate release

21st July 2014


Scottish Water has invested over £780,000 to investigate and resolve historic flooding issues, which have affected around 43 properties in Roseangle, Dundee.

Flooding had affected residents living in the area, largely due to blocked drains, however there had been a few occasions when the flooding occurred during heavy rain, with no blockage found, potentially due to a surcharging of the sewer.

West End Dundee City Councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “I am extremely pleased that this work has been carried out and grateful to Scottish Water for tackling the issue.

“It is very good news indeed for the local community that these flooding issues have been addressed which will hopefully ensure that residents are protected against flooding risk in the future.”

The work to alleviate the flooding was carried out by Gontmij, on behalf of Scottish Water. This involved carrying out a CCTV and manhole survey on the network in the immediate surroundings, to identify the main issues.

Following a series of investigations it was decided to install a new valve which will protect the affected properties by preventing further flooding from occurring.

Scottish Water’s Project Manager, James Weir, said: “The completion of this particular project in Roseangle has been welcomed by local residents, who are delighted with the work we have been able to carry out.

“Scottish Water is working incredibly hard to achieve further reductions in flooding and protect the surrounding environment. We are well aware the consequences of flooding can cause much misery and it’s vital we continue to work with our customers to reduce the number of incidents occurring.

“With over 80% of flooding from sewers caused by inappropriate items being disposed of in toilets and drains, we must encourage everyone to dispose of waste items properly, preventing needless flooding and in return help improve the environment. 

 “Scottish Water is committed to doing everything we can to help communities and customers by playing our part in tackling flooding and dealing with the impact of heavy rainfall. Since 2010 we have removed 260 properties from the internal and external flooding registers.

“Customers wishing to learn more about how they can play their part in protecting the water cycle should visit”

Since forming in 2002, Scottish Water has invested £43.3m in the Dundee area. Scottish Water is continuing this work by investing heavily in Dundee in the 2010-15 investment period to improve water and waste water services across the region.

Getting things done - Hazel Drive

The area at the south end of Hazel Drive is maintained by the council's Environment Department through its rough grass cycle - cut back twice a year.   However, its currently very overgrown - see below :
I have raised this with the Environment Department and have asked that it is cut as soon as possible.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dundee House disabled access - not working again!

Back in May, Dundee City Council promised me to ensure a permanent solution to the broken electronic doors at its headquarters will be implemented by the end of the month.

As I indicated at the time :

“… the electronic doors at Dundee House have been out of action very regularly recently and it’s a real difficulty in particular for elderly people and people with disabilities as the manual doors are quite heavy and not that easy to operate.   It is extremely difficult for someone with a pram or in a mobility scooter or wheelchair to use the manual doors.”

Repairs were duly carried out – but guess what? – I received a concern last Friday that they are again broken!

I contacted the City Council’s Director of City Development, who advised :

"I am advised by maintenance staff that the pneumatic overhead closer has been broken as a consequence of visitors/customers misusing the door - pushing instead of pulling. A replacement part has been ordered.
You will perhaps have noted that, in response to feed-back, we have changed and simplified the signage so that users can more clearly read the push/pull notices. Despite this step we are again at the mercy of mis-use."

I do think the City Council is fast approaching a situation where it considers replacement of the doors or their mechanism as the frequency of breakdown is concerning.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blackness Post Office - an update

I have expressed the hope that a new sub-postmaster will come forward to take over the Blackness Road Post Office as, thus far, Post Office Limited has indicated there has been no formal interest in taking over the post office.  This follows the announcement in May that the current sub-postmaster, Mr Abdul Bhimani, has indicated a wish to retire.

Post Office Limited has indicated to me :

“I have been advised that the Blackness Road branch is currently being advertised as a Post Office Local.    This is because the existing Sub-postmaster has indicated that he wishes to leave the business under our Network Transformation Programme.    The Sub-postmaster has not resigned and will remain in post until the position is filled.     I can also confirm that to date there has currently not been any interest shown in this position.    Unfortunately, I am not in a position to confirm if the service will remain in the Blackness Road premises if changes were to be made.”

I understand that one local property developer had given some thought to taking over the service, possibly from a new location in the area.     I am extremely anxious that a new sub-postmaster is found to ensure that there is still a Blackness Post Office after Mr Bhimani retires.   This is a very well-used post office and an important facility in the Blackness area.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friends of Balgay Summer meeting

The Summer Meeting of the Friends of Balgay will be held on Saturday 26th July at 2pm in the Mills Observatory. 
Guest speaker will be Carly Cooper, Curator of Social History with Dundee City Council, who will give a talk on Mary Slessor.    Please come and feel free to bring a friend.  Entrance is free for members and £1 for visitors. 

Refreshments will be provided - all welcome!

You can access the Friends of Balgay website here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Resurfacing programmes

A number of constituents have queried the quality of the recent road resurfacing in Glamis Road that was "surface dressed" with chippings and have pointed out to me that the finished surface compares unfavourably compared to streets such as Westgrove Avenue, that was resufaced last year using the "thin resurfacing" method.

I queried this with the council's Roads Maintenance Partnership who advised :
I refer to your constituents' queries regarding the resurfacing of Glamis Road and Westgrove Avenue. These two locations were surfaced using different processes.
Glamis Road was surface dressed which is a cost-effective method of re-waterproofing and restoring the skid resistance to the existing carriageway surface and is used where the underlying road profile remains in reasonable condition. It is used on routes with high vehicle numbers as the action of the traffic is required to embed the applied stone chips.
Westgrove Avenue carriageway had a thin surfacing applied which is a proprietary process used on quieter/ residential routes where traffic flow is less and where there may have been some wear of the existing carriageway fabric.
I have made the point that the "surface dressed" chippings method has clear drawbacks and would prefer to see other - superior - methods used where possible.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Band Concert this Sunday at Magdalen Green

This Sunday's band concert on Magdalen Green features the City of Discovery Brass Band.

It starts at 2pm at the bandstand - Sunday 20th July.

Further details available here

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Getting things done - steps in Pentland

I have recently received complaints about the deteriorated state of the steps within the Pentland estate that run between Pentland Avenue to Pentland Crescent and also between Pentland Crescent to Colinton Place.

Responsibility for their maintenance now lies with council's City Development Department and, following my raising the situation with the department, an officer from the department has now updated me as follows :

"I have visited the site and whilst I did not see broken slabs, there are, however, areas where the joints in the slabs require some cement pointing and some of the vertical brick risers require some cement facing.    There is a broken slab at the set of steps to the rear of 48 Pentland Ave, the maintenance of this set of steps still lies with Housing Department.

It is our intention to put together a package for minor repair work at the five sets of step areas we are responsible for in the Pentland area :

the link from 48 Pentland Avenue to opposite 25 Pentland Crescent
the link from 40 Pentland Avenue to opposite 17 Pentland Crescent
the link from 30 Pentland Avenue to opposite 9 Pentland Crescent
the link from 17 Pentland Crescent to opposite 9 Colinton Place
the link from 9 Pentland Crescent to opposite 1 Colinton Place"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Botanic Garden events

Well-known artists and members from local art clubs have come together to give their time and talent donating 10% of sales towards dementia charities.

Exhibition includes paintings and prints by :

Paul Craven
Liz Dulley
Fiona Haldane
Angus McDonald
Joe McIntyre
John Stoa
Ruth Walker

The exhibition is open daily from 11am until 4pm, concluding on Friday 18th July.

Friends of University of Dundee Botanic Garden Event

The Friends are having a visit to the garden at Kellie Castle, near Pittenweem, this Wednesday 16th July.     Contact 350990 for more information.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bag packing fundraising at Tesco Riverside for @RoseanglePark

Over the weekend, a group of us were helping the Roseangle playpark campaign with its bag packing fundraising at Tesco Riverside, with many thanks to Kath Torode and her colleagues at Tesco for all their help and co-operation.    I did a stint this afternoon - see right.  

Over £475 was raised - an excellent result!  A couple of other photographs below:
Alice (left) who did all the organising - with some of the team, including volunteers from Texas!
Yours truly with some of the volunteers!

Temporary Traffic Order - Blackness Road and West Park Road

From the City Council :


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that waiting on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT all vehicular traffic from waiting in :

West Park Road (between Scotswood Terrace and Blackness Road), Dundee

Blackness Road (between numbers 378 to 382 and numbers 325 to 341), Dundee

This notice comes into effect on Wednesday 16 July 2014 for one day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

For further information contact (01382) 433082.

Director of City Development

Dundee City Council

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Morven Terrace and Ancrum Place sheltered housing meeting

Yesterday afternoon, I had an excellent and enjoyable meeting with the tenants of the Ancrum Place and Morven Terrace Sheltered Housing.   

It was a well attended meeting at which we discussed the state of the garden/rosebed areas including the benches, bus services, bin collections and a host of other local issues.

Sinderins - thank you Bonnie Dundee!

In advance of Beautiful Scotland judging on 8th August, Bonnie Dundee has made a lovely job of the planters at Sinderins!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Meeting at Tullideph Sheltered Lounge

This morning, I had a very productive meeting with the Tullideph sheltered housing tenants at the sheltered lounge (see right).   

We discussed numerous local issues including 28/29, 17 and Friendly Bus Services, garden maintenance and warden/sheltered services

I have raised all issues mentioned by tenants with appropriate council officers.

Residents' meeting - Ancrum Drive

Part of Ancrum Drive
Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing a well-attended meeting with the residents of Ancrum Drive - over 20 folk attended on a lovely summer's evening.

I am most grateful to Sharon Bain of Solar Cities Scotland who spoke with residents about home insulation options and PC McKay, who contributed to a discussion we had with residents about the on-going parking issues in the street.

We also spoke about speed limits and bin collection matters.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Adult learning in the West End - an update

Last month, I highlighted my concerns about reductions in adult learning provision that has left the West End without a dedicated adult learning worker.

Earlier today, I had a meeting with the City Council's Adult Learning Manager about the issue.     Whilst being realistic that overturning the SNP administration's cuts in adult learning was not going to be possible, what I did want to see at the very least for the West End is :

+ Named officers that constituents who are looking for adult learning opportunities can contact.

+ Assurances that West End residents can access adult learning opportunities across the city.

+ An assurance that the Adult Learning Team will help support the establishment of a new Harris Education and Recreation Association when Harris Academy returns to the Perth Road on completion of the new school building in August 2016.    I am anxious that the community gets full access to the excellent facilities the new school will offer and that a vibrant programme of evening classes is on offer.

I found our meeting today very helpful.     The three assurances I sought were given and the following follow-up e-mail from the Adult Learning Manager summarises the situation :
In addition to the targeted  geographic areas we have thematic leads :
Literacy/numeracy : Sheila Robertson 
English for Speakers of other  languages : Kirsty Gemmell
Family Learning : Sarah McEwan 
Employability : Liz Allardice 
Therefore, if the question relates to a  thematic area, I would suggest they go to that Senior. If it is a wider issue in relation to Adult Learning provision then to myself.
In addition, we are continuing with our commitment to support Adult Education Associations and Liz Allardice is supporting the Adult Education Associations in Stobswell and Broughty Ferry and we would extend this support to helping set up a new Adult Education Association for Harris.
I have made a note to catch up with you about this next August to start setting this up. 
I would also stress that  although our provision  may not  be geographically based in The Ferry or West End Wards the facilities at Mitchell Street are open to anyone in the city.   Additionally, people from the West End and Broughty Ferry Wards can access our services in other community venues  if there is evidence of need but they won't be based in their localities due to the reduction in our resource.
I can pass on contact details of appropriate adult learning staff to any constituent interested in specific adult learning opportunities and more information is available at   You can also download the Summer 2014 Dundee Adult Learning Newsletter here.

Abbotsford/Corso areas - residents' meeting

Also earlier today, I chaired a well-attended meeting of residents from Corso Street, Abbotsford Street and Abbotsford Place that took place at the Corso Street Sheltered Lounge (see right).

We had a very productive discussion on a number of issues including grass maintenance, security doors on tenement blocks, seagulls, bus services and bin collections.

West End - Invergowrie boundary issues

Earlier today, along with an officer from the council's Environment Department and with a resident who lives in Invergowrie but immediately adjacent to the boundary with Dundee, I had a useful site discussion about environment-related issues in the area insofar as they are the responsibility of Dundee City Council.
See photo (above) - these include fencing and grass maintenance.

Sunday 13th July's Band Concert - Magdalen Green

This Sunday’s band concert on Magdalen Green features the Arbroath Instrumental Band

It starts at 2pm on Sunday 13th July at the bandstand.

Further details available here.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Drop in and Design with V&A Dundee at Blackness Library @VADundee #LivingRoom

Living Room for the City 
Drop in and Design with V&A Dundee

Monday 21st July 2014 :   12 noon to 4pm at Blackness Library

Want to try out some new skills, make some new friends and find out more about V&A Dundee?   We’re bringing fun activities, designers and materials out to your local community centre.   Come along and make some unique handmade lighting to impress your friends and transform your living space.   All materials are supplied along with refreshments.   These workshops are being delivered in partnership with Skill Share Dundee and local designers. 

Free:   Young people and adults (babies in prams welcome too)

Drop in: We're the new kid on the block so we want to meet our new neighbours - young and old!    No need to book - feel free to come along for as short or long a time as you'd like.   Or just come in say hello! 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tombs of the Howff

I was recently contacted by Darren Eyers who has established the Tombs of the Dundee Howff website.

As Darren advises:
I am currently working to update the site having just finished a photographic survey of the Howff with somewhere in the region of 2700 or so pictures of the memorials being sorted for upload at the moment.
The website covers mainly the Howff and its history with sections also covering the some of the other old cemeteries in Dundee.
I am looking to have my Howff section completed before the 450th anniversary in September this year. 
This is an excellent initiative and you can access the website here.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Gowrie Care’s Big Lunch at Tullideph Place!

Earlier today, I was delighted to open a community lunch in Tullideph Place, organised by the staff from Gowrie Care’s Tullideph project and the people they support.    Taking place as part of Big Lunch 2014, the proceeds raised have been donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

It was great to see so many people in the local area take part – a great example of the Tullideph community coming together and also highlighting the great work Gowrie Care does.

Irene Duff, Gowrie Care’s Tullideph project manager, said,    “We decided to host the Big Lunch to meet our neighbours and to get the people we work with involved in the local community

“Gowrie Care support people in Dundee who require help with daily living skills and to access local resources.    It was great to see the people who benefit from our service raising community spirit and helping to organise this event.

“Not only did we provide our lunch guests with a tasty meal but we also had a DJ, a raffle, face painting, a cake and bake stall and we even offered our dining companions the opportunity to wax some of our male staff - all in the name of charity of course!”

Here’s some photographs and a short video from today’s Big Lunch:

School crossing patrollers

I have long campaigned for a permanent school crossing patroller (SCP) at the Kelso Steps on Blackness Road.   I was assured last year that the SCP would be retained here despite Harris Academy being decanted until 2016, given that Blackness Primary School pupils use the crossing point.

However, I have now been advised by the council's Education Department :

"The crossing point at the Kelso Steps has been re-assessed again, and as in previous assessments, it does not meet the criteria for the establishment for a School Crossing Patroller - this is in accordance with nationally recognised guidelines as directed ROSPA (Road Society for the Prevention of Accidents). 

There remains one out of the two crossing point on Lawton Road vacant - however the one SCP on Lawton Road does move to the problem area during the lunchtime shift to provide cover at this busy time.  

As mentioned previously we did have 9 successful SCP candidates following our last round of interviews and they are currently in the process of being recruited.  They should have completed the administrative process by the start of the new term and their training will commence as soon as possible after the schools return.

Once they have been trained and are ready to be deployed (we) will assess which points are vacant and, in priority order, they will be allocated to these slots.  Unfortunately at this stage it is not possible to know which SCP positions will be vacant or what their priority will be at that time."

I have responded as follows :

"I do feel if the new resources allow, Kelso Steps and Lawton Road 2nd point should be considered.   I do accept that the footfall at Kelso Steps has dropped whilst Harris is decanted but there are still primary school pupils crossing there to Blackness PS and I feel primary pupils need the greater help crossing at busy points than older pupils."

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Temporary Traffic Order - Kirsty Semple Way

From the City Council :


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Kirsty Semple Way (between Tom MacDonald Avenue and James Arnott Drive), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Sunday 6 July 2014 for one day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
For further information contact (01382) 433082.

Director of City Development

Dundee City Council

Bandstand Concert tomorrow - Magdalen Green

Tomorrow's band concert on Magdalen Green features the Tayport Instrumental Band.

It starts at 2pm at the bandstand.

Further details available here.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Helping Dundee Foodbank ... at Tesco Riverside

With Jim McGovern MP at the Foodbank collection today
Following a meeting with the Dundee Airport manager and a constituent this morning about helicopter noise concerns, I took part in helping Dundee Foodbank at Tesco Riverside as part of the national foodbank collection currently taking place.   Photos right and below!
At the Foodbank collection at Tesco Riverside

Update - Footbridge at rail line, Magdalen Green

I mentioned recently that residents had complained to me about graffiti on the footbridge over the rail line between the Riverside Pavilion and Magdalen Green.  

I asked the council’s Rapid Response Team to tackle the graffiti and as you can see below, this has been promptly carried out:

City Square - this Sunday!

This Sunday, the City Square is being transformed for 1 day only:

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Getting things done - rail bridge at Riverside Drive

Back in March, I advised that I had approached Community Payback to see if painting the historic rail bridge that crosses the rail line at Riverside Drive, just south of the Botanic Garden (see right) might be a project Community Payback could take on.

The bridge is over 100 years old (built in 1903) but has not been repainted in a very long time.   When I asked the City Engineer in 2010 what the cost of repainting both sides of the bridge would be, he estimated the total cost could be as much as £65 000 (this included substantial Network Rail possession costs/interface costs of approximately £20,000 to ensure both sides of the bridge were painted) and in the current challenging financial climate this has proved a very challenging project to find finance for.

Both the City Engineer's Department and Community Payback agreed to progress my suggestion of Community Payback painting the 'road' side of the bridge;   the City Engineer’s Department providing appropriate paint and Community Payback undertaking the work.   The work has been undertaken this week and as you can see below, the work has been extremely well carried out.  It blends in well with Network Rail’s splendid job repainting the railings adjacent to the bridge some months ago.

Commonwealth Games 2014 - Dundee events

On Radio Tay News - Riverside playing fields

I was interviewed on Radio Tay News yesterday about the situation at the Riverside playing fields.   You can hear the interview by clicking 'play' below:

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Community Spirit Action Group

Earlier this evening, I attended the July 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 Sharon Bain of Solar Cities Scotland on its work in the West End on both community carbon exchange and the sustainable energy promotion scheme – the latter looking at energy saving and insulation for local homes.    There was a very useful discussion about progressing insulation initiatives in the local area.   Sharon is kindly also taking part in a meeting I am holding for Ancrum Drive residents next week, to discuss specific house insulation for residents there - along with other local matters.

You can find out more about the work of Solar Cities Scotland here.

Dundee West Church musical evening

Seabraes ... looking good!

I’ve highlighted in past years the superb job the City Council made of Seabraes planting in the Spring.    And 2014 is no exception - see below - a real credit to the Environment Department:

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

DRIVE Enterprises - bike hire project at the University of Dundee

Late last year, as a trustee of the Dundee University Student Trading and Innovative Enterprise (DUSTIE, now branded as DRIVE) I was very pleased to learn of the project's success in the recent Keep Scotland Beautiful Climate Challenge Fund - Round 16 awards.

Bogdan Handrea, Project Manager, recently updated me as follows : 
- After receiving the first round of funding, it allowed us to buy some supplies for our project, such as bicycles and other office supplies. We currently have 35 bicycles which will be hired out from June onwards.
- We rented a space on the University of Dundee campus, where the Parcel Office used to be, as it was vacant and we secured it until March next year.

- Currently we are undergoing the student recruitment process.   6 students will be Domestic Energy Assessors and will provide energy advice and reports to people and students from the West End, 2 will be Bicycle Mechanics, 1 Marketing Assistant and 1 Project Manager.
Last week, I visited the project at its new offices at 75 Old Hawkhill and was delighted to see the progress with the bike hire project.    The initial focus will be on bicycle hire for staff at the university over the summer but this will expand into the new academic year to both long and short term hires aimed at both students and staff and the wider local population.

You can find out more about the project by calling into the offices at 75 Old Hawkhill.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Riverside playing fields concern

As reported in today's Evening Telegraph, over the weekend, I received residents' concerns at another travellers encampment, just a matter of days after the one in the Technology Park ended.    This time, it is a group of French travellers who have set up camp on the Riverside playing fields, just west of the pavilion.    It may be the same group of French travellers who set up a camp there in June 2013.

Yesterday, I contacted both the City Council and the police regarding this - clearly whilst this encampment is there, the playing fields west of the pavilion are not usable.     As I stressed to the Evening Telegraph, the City Council provides a fully serviced site for the travelling community at Balmuir Wood near Tealing.

Here is a photo of the encampment on Riverside Drive: