Friday, February 12, 2016

Friends of Riverside Nature Park

Last night, I attended the latest meeting of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park committee that took place at the Mitchell Street Centre.   

There were useful discussions on a whole host of issues, including environmental issues (including park drainage, fencing, etc), park management during the bird nesting season and forthcoming park events.

There’s a useful Friends of Riverside Nature Park Facebook page you can access here.

Be a Good Neighbour Campaign

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a "Be a Good Neighbour Campaign" event at Dundee University Students' Association.

DUSA invited relevant organisations to come along to the event to give information and advice in order to encourage a better community spirit between residents and students.   Those invited included Dundee City Council (including Environment, Landlord Registration and Anti-Social Behaviour teams) as well as Shelter Scotland and others.

It was a great, well-attended event and here's a photo from it below :

Thursday, February 11, 2016

No ward surgery tonight

As today is an in-service day at local schools, my usual ward surgery at Blackness Primary School does not take place but I can be contacted at any time at home on 459378 or by e-mail at surgery@frasermacpherson.org.uk

My surgeries resume again next Thursday (Monday is a school holiday - mid-term).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

West End Community Council meeting

Last night, I attended the February meeting of West End Community Council.    

The well-attended meeting heard an interesting presentation on consultation on the Dundee Local Development Plan.  You can read more about this here.

There were discussions on a number of local issues including the on-going parking problems in parts of the West End.   I updated the Community Council on recent correspondence I had from the City Council on the matter and my view that this is an issue that must be revisiting by Dundee City Council.   

The Community Council is intending to discuss the parking issue further and this is to be welcomed.  

Another excellent Community Council initiative is a feedback form that will be available locally - such as in Blackness Library - to allow residents to give their feedback on local issues.  

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

West End Community Council Update

I have today launched my February 2016 Update to West End Community Council.    

Subjects covered include:

Perth Road Branch TSB closure 
West End road safety improvements   
Glamis Road area - pedestrian safety  

The Community Council meets tonight at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall at 7pm - all residents welcome.      

You can download my Update here.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Union Place car park

As residents know all too well, getting parked in the Union Place car park car be a challenge (as can parking on-street nearby or in the Pennycook Lane car park) given the large demand for parking in the area.    

A resident contacted me recently to suggest the possible removal of the unattractive flower beds (see right) in the car park to create more parking spaces.

I asked the parking team at the council about the viability of this and have received the following response.

"I refer to your email to look into the possibility of removing the large and rather ugly flower bed in the Union Place car park - the quote for this work has now been received from Tayside Contracts and the price is £11,257.

Unfortunately there is no budget available for this 'project' in the current financial year and it is unlikely that this would be deemed a priority for future year spends.

I'll place it on file should budget funding be made available in future years."

Sunday, February 07, 2016

West End road safety improvements

The City Council agreed to two road safety improvements in the West End some months ago - at the Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue junction and at the Perth Road/Riverside Drive junction.

I recently asked for an update on what was being proposed and the City Development Department has advised as follows :

"Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue Junction  :   Existing give way lines at Blackness Avenue to be removed and replaced further north towards Blackness Road.   This will improve sightlines with any parked cars along Blackness Road.   A requisition has been submitted for pricing to Tayside Contracts and we are currently awaiting the cost estimate.

Perth Road/Riverside Drive Junction :   Network Management is currently in consultation with activated signs suppliers to consider sign options.    This is to improve safety for road users travelling along Perth Road eastbound to highlight the junction and traffic merging from Perth Road westbound onto Riverside Drive north section/Perth Road."

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Glamis Road area - pedestrian safety

Back in 2014, at my request on behalf of constituents, the City Council provided a central refuge island on Glamis Road just north of the roundabout with Blackness Road/Glamis Drive to assist pedestrian safety.

Given the width of Glamis Road, I have since had requests for similar safety measures south of the roundabout and also towards the south end of the road, near its junction with Perth Road (see latter - right).

I raised this with the City Council and have been advised as follows :

"Glamis Road / Perth Road junction and Glamis Road / Blackness Road roundabout has been inspected and there is justification for central refuge traffic islands to be provided at these locations.

However due to the proposed budget cuts I am awaiting confirmation of the budgets for 2016/17 minor works.

With the likely budget cuts this scheme will have to compete with other minor works from the available budgets.

We will have to evaluate all schemes before confirming the works programme."

I will continue to press for these to be provided as soon as funding is available.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Complacent attitude over West End parking slammed

As reported in today’s Courier, I have slammed the council’s SNP administration for its wholly inadequate and complacent attitude towards tackling parking problems in the West End.

I recently called for a further consultation with residents over the area’s parking problems and am hugely unimpressed with the council’s ‘do nothing’ response to this.

As residents know, plans were previously put forward back in 2012 for residents to consider a residents’ parking scheme which would have given local residents priority for parking in the area of the West End south of Blackness Road and east of Windsor Street.    However, with permits being proposed at £80 a year, residents rejected the proposal as the planned West End scheme was 16 times more expensive than the parking scheme in Menzieshill, a price differential I consider unacceptable and discriminatory.

Since the failed consultation now some years ago, it is obvious from the level of complaints from residents that the parking situation is getting worse not better and that local people find it increasingly difficult to get parked near their homes.  

I therefore feel strongly that the council simply cannot walk away from the problem but must consider some further consultation on revised proposals – for example on a mix of different solutions each covering smaller areas, rather than the ‘wide area’ proposal suggested back in 2012.   Crucially, the council cannot expect to get public support for a parking scheme 16 times more expensive for residents than another council one in the city.   Schemes must be fair and consistent in charging policy.

I raised the matter again with the City Council and the Director of City Development has responded as follows :

“I have consulted with my convener on this issue and our position is that this issue was fully tested through a formal public consultation on a Residents Parking Scheme for the area, but this was firmly rejected by local residents.    Our resources have therefore moved onto to other priority areas.

“We will of course always try to assist with minor localised adjustments to waiting restrictions through our annual report to committee, but I am unable to revisit the issue of residents parking provision in the West End at this time.”

The SNP administration may well have “moved on” but it has done so having failed to tackle the major parking problems in this part of the West End and I view this complacency as hugely concerning.   

However, if the administration intends to sit on its hands and do nothing to help West End residents, they’ll find I take a different view and I will therefore be bringing the issue to the council’s City Development Committee so the parking problems can be properly debated and discussed and a further consultation given proper consideration.  

It is simply not good enough for the administration to have a ‘do nothing’ approach so I have formally requested a debate on the parking issue is brought before committee as soon as possible.

The administration wants to sweep this issue under the carpet but I am unprepared to let that happen.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Community Spirit Action Group

Last night, I attended the February 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.   

The meeting took place at the Mitchell Street Centre and there was an excellent presentation by Barry Farquharson of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park about the birdlife in the nature park.   Barry was really interesting, informative and entertaining and everyone really enjoyed his talk.

The meeting was also a good opportunity to discuss local issues and I updated the group about a number of matters including bus services and bin collection issues.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Friends of Riverside Nature Park - next meeting

The next meeting of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park Committee will take place on Thursday 11th February at 6pm* at the Mitchell Street Centre.

Amongst other things, the group is looking to develop a programme of events and activities for 2016.  

The meetings are open to the public so all are very welcome.

*NB : Note earlier start time of 6pm.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Finish the Tower project exhibition

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the 'Finish the Tower' project exhibition at Logie and St John's (Cross) Church, the results of a competition involving Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design architecture students to find an imaginative solution to the church's unfinished church tower. 

The ideas proposed and the standard of work produced is excellent - really imaginative and interesting.   The exhibition is open all week (details here).

Here's a couple of photos to give a flavour of the superb work undertaken by the DJCAD students :


Riverside composting operation - site visit

Last summer and autumn, on behalf of local residents, I again raised the problem of bad odours emanating from the composting operation at the Riverside Civic Amenity site and impacting on households to the immediate north of Riverside Avenue, mainly around the western end of Perth Road and adjacent streets.

At the time, the Environment Director agreed that the council's corporate Health and Safety team review the existing arrangements and working practices.

Yesterday, I undertook a site visit to the composting operation to see what steps are being taken to tackle the smell issue - the Corporate Health and Safety team review is not yet complete (and I will be advised in due course of all the recommendations and actions) but meantime, the department is looking at ways of speeding up the windrows-turning process which would assist addressing the smell problem, which is welcome.

Here's a couple of photos from my site visit today :
Garden waste awaiting the composting process
Windrows, as part of the composting process

Dundee air quality concerns - council brings in consultants to tackle concerns

I have welcomed news that Dundee City Council has engaged expert consultants to look in-depth at the air quality problems at two locations – Lochee Road and Seagate – and recommend possible steps that could further improve the air quality in these areas.

The City Council’s Head of Community Safety and Protection has advised me that the council has commissioned two consultants- SAIS & Bureau Veritas - to undertake scenario testing of possible traffic management solutions and other mitigation options covering the Lochee Road.   The council is awaiting the outcome the assessments of the Lochee Road expert work and expects to receive the final reports by the end of March.   

In relation to Seagate, JMP Consultants has been commissioned to undertake a review of the transport issues currently being experienced by all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, bus users and operators, taxi users and operators, hauliers, cars, residents and business.   This has the aim of identifying options that would improve traffic movement and reduce air pollution concentrations.    In the case of Seagate, the council has received a draft report which recommends a traffic management solution for the area and the proposals are currently being considered. 

I welcome the work being undertaken to look at possible additional measures of improve air quality in these areas, although any proposals will have to be carefully considered.     It is vital there is a proactive approach to tackling the air quality issue.   

I have raised this on numerous occasions with the council in the past and we need to see a situation where no Dundee streets have unacceptable air quality.   A significant number of my own constituents live in the tenement flats on the south side of Lochee Road near to the junction where nitrogen dioxide are unacceptably high.   It is therefore important that the council has a clear strategy for improving air quality here.

Recent work by Friends of the Earth again highlighted concerns about air quality in the two streets in Dundee as being amongst the most polluted in Scotland.   The full details are below:

Top 10 most polluted streets for nitrogen dioxide in 2015 (figures in microgrammes per cubic meter, European standard 40): 

St. John's Road Edinburgh: 65 microgrammes
Hope Street Glasgow: 60 microgrammes
Seagate, Dundee: 50 microgrammes
Atholl Street, Perth: 48 microgrammes
Lochee Road, Dundee: 48 microgrammes
Union Street, Aberdeen: 46 microgrammes
Queensferry Road, Edinburgh: 41 microgrammes
Wellington Road, Aberdeen: 41 microgrammes

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Seabraes Bridge - lift breakdowns

The bridge at Seabraes officially opened only last June but there's unfortunately already been a number of lift breakdowns.

Unfortunately another - the third - occurred last week and, in addition to seeking repair, I asked the Senior Engineer in the council's Structures & Bridges Team - who is in charge of the project - for assurances that the lift is fit for purpose and we won't see further regular breakdowns.

I have now had feedback from him as follows :

"We are satisfied that the lift meets the performance specification required for an external lift and has been installed and maintained/serviced by a recognised and reputable lift company, Stannah.

However, we have requested that the contractor carries out a thorough inspection of the installation and provides us with a full summary of the number and cause of breakdowns to date."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dundee City Council to debate closure of Dundee’s call-handling operation

I have secured a debate at the council’s Policy and Resources Committee over fears following Police Scotland’s decision to axe Dundee’s call-handling operation in June as part of controversial reforms.   I have strongly criticised moves to close the facility in Dundee’s Bell Street and relocate it to the central belt.

I am very concerned by this further centralisation of police resource away from Dundee.  The call centre has served Dundee well over the years until the creation of Police Scotland.    Police Scotland has said it will “plan to work towards” moving all 999 and non-emergency calls from Dundee to the national centre from late June.

Now all 999 and 101 calls will be answered by police staff in the central belt rather than locally which is really bad news with the loss of staff with local knowledge.

I have therefore secured this debate at Policy and Resources Committee on 14th March to discuss this serious concern to the city.   It is important that the City Council makes clear to Police Scotland our concerns over the loss of this vital facility to Dundee.

I spoke on Wave 102 News yesterday about the situation.   You can listen to the interview by clicking 'play' below :

Friday, January 29, 2016

Graffiti tackled - Glenagnes Street

Me pictured against some of the graffiti
Following complaints from residents about graffiti on the wall at the back of the lock-ups in Glenagnes Street near to the Elm Street junction (see right), I brought this to the attention of the City Council's Rapid Response Team.

The team has responded and will tackle this although it may require a disclaimer signed by owners as the wall is privately owned.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Evening classes at the new Harris Academy - an update

Last night, I also attended the second informal meeting to discuss the creation of a new committee to take forward adult learning/evening classes from when Harris Academy returns to Perth Road.   

Prior to the school decant to Lawton Road to enable the school rebuilding in Perth Road, there was an active Harris Education and Recreation Association that successfully provided a programme of evening classes over many years.    At the time of the decant, the previous committee retired after many years' service to the community.

Getting a new group together to take evening classes and adult education at the Harris is taking good shape and we had a very positive meeting last night.    Do please let me know if you are interested in getting involved.   You can also complete a short survey about possible evening classes and adult learning at Harris Academy by clicking here.

Drop in event on future of Blackness General Economic Development Area

One of the presentations at the drop-in event yesterday
Last night, I attended a very useful drop in event on the future of the Blackness General Economic Development Area that took place at Verdant Works.

The consultation took place because city planners are now preparing the next Local Development Plan for Dundee.   The first stage in the process was to produce a Main Issues Report that discusses key planning issues and informs the preparation of the next Local Development Plan by considering which areas of the City are suitable and unsuitable for development and discussing the way land should be used, managed and developed.

The Blackness General Economic Development Area (GEDA) is identified as a main issue within the Main Issues Report for its potential to bring areas of vacant, derelict or underused land and buildings back into productive use.    As well as improving employment opportunities and productivity, it also highlights the potential to make the Blackness GEDA a more vibrant and high quality place by improving the quality of the built environment; strengthening the existing character and identity; increasing connectivity and making the area more attractive, safe and welcoming. 

Yesterday's event about the Blackness GEDA allowed business owners, property owners, residents and other stakeholders to give their views and it was extremely well-attended.   The public consultation runs until Monday 29th February and you can read more about the process here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bonnie Dundee and Harris Academy Parent Council meetings

It was a busy evening yesterday with my attending both the Bonnie Dundee group meeting at the City Chambers, followed by the Harris Academy Parent Council meeting at the school's current Lawton Road campus.

Bonnie Dundee encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee's parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape, and it was a really positive meeting last night with lots of good initiatives taking place, including work on the planters at West Port, Union Street and Dundee Science Centre taking place during February and March and a litter pick at the University of Dundee on 19th February.

The Harris Academy Parent Council meeting was equally positive - you can't help but be impressed by the way the new Head Teacher Barry Millar has hit the ground running since taking up post earlier this month and there were excellent discussions about parent engagement, timetabling, progress with the new school building at Perth Road and other matters.

Future parent council meetings will include joint sessions with Menzieshill High School Parent Council, an excellent initiative on the part of both parent councils given that the two school communities come together in August as the new Perth Road campus opens.

Bank unwilling to reconsider Perth Road branch closure

Yesterday, I met with senior TSB officials about their proposed closure of the Perth Road Branch but, after a lengthy discussion with them, it is clear that the bank is unwilling to reconsider its decision.

I met with TSB’s Distribution Director for Scotland and their London-based Public Affairs Senior Manager and put the case for the bank retaining the Perth Road Branch given the loyal customer base it has enjoyed over many years, the importance of retaining one bank branch in the area and the inconvenience the closure would have to local people in the West End, particularly the elderly and those with mobility difficulties.

What was very clear from the meeting is that the bank has decided to close the branch for commercial reasons.   The lease on the branch’s building is up for renewal and the bank has decided it won’t renew it.     Although TSB officials said that the decision was not taken lightly, it is clear that the bank is not willing to renew the decision which is very disappointing.

Being aware of the fact that the branch continues to be very well used by customers in the local community, I was anxious that the bank listened to all the points made by the very many residents who have contacted me, expressing their deep dismay at the bank’s decision.

The bank officials did give a commitment to ensure that the transfer of accounts will not have to be to their Meadowside Dundee HQ.   If a customer would prefer to transfer to Lochee, the bank is willing to do this and the bank has promised that the Perth Road staff will be retained and will transfer to other local branches.   However, the bank will not retain their cash machine on Perth Road.

I am hugely disappointed at TSB’s position as this represents the final bank branch in the Perth Road district shopping centre being lost.   It’s the sixth bank branch to go in the wider West End and Lochee areas over the past few years and its really bad news, particularly for those less mobile and those who don’t use internet or phone banking.     I will continue to campaign for the retention  of local facilities like this as the loss of them is a real blow to the local community.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jericho House Support Group

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.

We had a useful discussion on a number of matters including the proposed Open Day at Jericho House aimed at local organisations working in the field, to showcase the work of Jericho House.     This will take place in April.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Path - Perth Road to Riverside Avenue

North end of the path
Residents have raised with me the fact that the pathway running down from Perth Road to Riverside Avenue (runs behind the west side of River Crescent and the east side of Riverside Place) is overgrown.    The path is well-used - a main route on foot from Perth Road to Riverside Nature Park. 

I contacted the Environment Department of Dundee City Council regarding this and have been advised as follows:

" ... the Network Team has recently upgraded this path.   During this time we were unable to gain access.   Now that this section is complete, we are hoping (if weather allows us) to get in there to start bringing this area back to standard.

(With regard to) the long term solution ... I have a few thoughts and this will be carried out between January -March.   Again this will depend on the weather."

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lighting on path - Logie Street to Tullideph Street/Place

Residents in the Tullideph area recently raised with me the poor lighting on the pathway from Logie Street to the Tullideph Street/Place junction.   This is a very well-used path as it provides the main route on foot from Tullideph to catching a bus on Logie Street.   Many of the path users are elderly, living in the Tullideph Sheltered Housing.

I contacted the council's Street Lighting Partnership Manager about the lighting situation and she sent me a very helpful response as follows :

"I have had a look at the path in question and can understand the concerns that have been raised.  I will add a small capital scheme for additional lighting into next years programme.   Unfortunately we are fully committed both in terms of finance and workload for the current financial year.

In the meantime, may I suggest that the tree in the middle of the path be cut back? this may help to make the path a little more visible."

On the overgrown tree aspect, the Assistant Forestry Officer has also responded positively :

"I have inspected the mature maple tree next to the footway leading to Logie Street.    I will arrange to crown lift, crown balance, crown thin and prune this tree ... I will include this work in our current winter schedule and the works will be completed prior to any street lighting improvement works."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pedestrian safety at Balgay Cemetery, Hill and Park

One of the roads running through Balgay Cemetery
I have recently received a number of constituents' concerns about pedestrian safety at Balgay Cemetery, Hill and Park.    The following comment from a local resident is typical :

“I would ... like to tell you about the speeding cars in Balgay Cemetery and the road leading up to the observatory, as I often walk in both places.   These drivers need to be more careful as there are children about.”

I raised this with a senior manager in the Environment Department of the council who has responded positively as follows :

"I can see how there are concerns from park users particularly if the have young children present. 

We can certainly look at improving the signage.   I  will copy this to both the Head of Transportation to see if he has advice on traffic calming measures and also Leisure & Culture Dundee in terms of a view to see if there is a message we should be sending to visitors. 

Finally I will also copy this to the area supervisor and we will remind staff of the need to repeat speed limits and generally look out for visitors to the park and cemetery."


With specific regard to the road up to Mills Observatory, Leisure & Culture Dundee, who operate the observatory, has also responded, stating :

"We are presently looking at directional signage for The Mills to replace existing which is tired and in need of updating.

It might be worthwhile looking at incorporating something which indicates a speed restriction or advises caution for anyone in vehicles."

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blether Tay-Gither - Storytelling in Dundee


The January Blether will be on Tuesday 26th January at 7pm in Madigan's Food Emporium and Bookshop, Castle Street.

This month we are excitedly launching our very first CD, "Stories From The Hat."   Those who contributed to the CD are invited to re-tell the story they told. 

CDs will be available for sale at a very reasonable £5.   So, please come along and snap one up! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Overflowing rubbish problem tackled

Last night's Evening Telegraph highlighted the overflowing rubbish problem at a set of flats on the Perth Road and my taking up the problem on their behalf to get the matter resolved.

I have had feedback from the City Council's Neighbourhood Services Department who advise that the problem occurred at the time of a complete change of crew dealing with the bin collection and I have been promised a prompt rubbish uplift.   

I have also asked for the bin store area to be given a proper clean-up as bags have been ripped open by seagulls, causing a mess.

Planning the Future of Blackness General Economic Development Area

From the City Council :

Planners are now preparing the next Local Development Plan for Dundee.   The first stage in the process was to produce a Main Issues Report.    This discusses key planning issues and informs the preparation of the next Local Development Plan by considering which areas of the City are suitable and unsuitable for development and discussing the way land should be used, managed and developed.

The Main Issues Report was approved for consultation at the City Development Committee on 7th December 2015. The public consultation runs until Monday 29th February. Officers will be hosting workshops, exhibitions and other events over this period.  You can read more about the process by clicking here.

The Blackness General Economic Development Area (GEDA) is identified as a main issue within the Main Issues Report for its potential to bring areas of vacant, derelict or underused land and buildings back into productive use.    As well as improving employment opportunities and productivity, it also highlights the potential to make the Blackness GEDA a more vibrant and high quality place by improving the quality of the built environment; strengthening the existing character and identity; increasing connectivity and making the area more attractive, safe and welcoming. 

As part of the public consultation exercise, a drop-in event will take place within the Blackness GEDA to engage with business owners, property owners, residents and other stakeholders.
  
The drop-in event will take place on Wednesday 27th January 2016, from 12 noon to 7pm in Verdant Works.   Planning officers will be on hand to outline the council’s preferred option for the area, discuss any issues and to gather as many thoughts and ideas from those who attend.

Please see poster about the event below :

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Meeting with sheltered housing tenants

Sinderins Court
Yesterday morning, I met with the residents' association that represents the tenants at Sinderins and Pennycook Courts.

We had a good discussion about various local issues, primarily around the changes to the warden arrangements implemented last year.

I am in discussions with Home Scotland about a review meeting with the tenants regarding the revised arrangements.

Perth Road Branch TSB closure slammed

I have slammed the decision of TSB to propose closure of the Perth Road Branch of their bank at the end of March.

Since last Thursday when the letters breaking this bad news started arriving with local TSB customers, I have been contacted by many residents upset and concerned at the loss of the last Perth Road bank branch.

The TSB's Perth Road Branch is extremely well-used, always busy and has long-standing professional and friendly staff.   The loss of the Perth Road TSB would be a great loss to the West End.   It comes less than two years after the loss of the Royal Bank Perth Road Branch.

Last Thursday, I wrote to the local manager of TSB outlining the case for keeping this vital branch and seeking a meeting to discuss the matter further.   I will do all I can to persuade TSB to reconsider and have urged all constituents who have contacted me to contact TSB also making their concerns clear.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Touch Screen Bus Information - Nethergate

A number of residents have contacted me about the touch-screen bus information facility at the bus stop west of the Queen's Hotel.

The touch screen is not working and I have reported this to the City Council requesting repair as soon as possible.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Meeting at Harris Academy

Earlier this evening, after a council committee meeting, I attended a very informative meeting at Harris Academy of members from both Harris Academy and Menzieshill High Parent Councils.

New Harris Academy Head Teacher, Barry Millar, gave an overview of his plans for the school and his approach, as the school prepares to move later this year into its new facilities back in Perth Road and welcomes the Menzieshill High community into Harris in August.

Barry gave a very impressive presentation and has a clear vision for taking the school and its pupils forward with some new initiatives including a regular Head Teacher Surgery for parents and carers to meet the Head Teacher.

Glenagnes Street council lock-ups demolition

Over the past couple of years, the City Council has consulted over the future of the Glenagnes Street council lock-ups (the ones at the east end of the street - see right).   These have been approximately 50% unoccupied over a long period.   

Given the lack of demand and after an attempt to advertise the empty lock-ups for rent, the Housing Committee took the decision to demolish them (after attempting to find alternative lock-up provision for the sitting lock-up tenants).

The Neighbourhood Services Department (formerly Housing) has now written to all adjacent residents in the area as follows :

"Contractors are proposing to commence demolition of the lock-up garages at 1-33 Glenagnes Street, Dundee week commencing Monday 25th January 2016, or as soon as possible thereafter, weather permitting. 

It is anticipated that these works will be complete within 3 weeks, again weather permitting.

A new 1.8m high fence will be provided along the current line of the rear wall of the lock-up garages as soon as possible thereafter. 

The yellow lines on the south side (only) of Glenagnes Street that are currently in front of the lock-up garages, up to the kerb, will be removed and the site of the lock-up garages will be made suitable for off-street parking. 

You can be assured that every effort will be made to keep any inconvenience, if experienced, to a minimum, but this part of Glenagnes Street may be obstructed at times by machinery. Additionally, a small portion of the rear gardens to 219-251 Blackness Road adjacent to the garages will be occupied by temporary security fencing during the works. 

If you have any enquiries whilst this work is on site please call 434412."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Big Garden Birdwatch Day

From the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden :

Big Garden Birdwatch Day : Saturday 30th January 11am – 3pm

Join RSPB Scotland at the University of Dundee Botanic Garden to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch - the world’s largest wildlife survey!

Discover which birds can be found in the garden and get useful tips from RSPB staff and volunteers on identifying them. You can also find out more about how to Give Nature a Home in your garden and children can get messy making bird feeders to take home.

The event is free to Friends and the cost to others to enter the Garden will be £2 per person.   Donations to the RSPB on the day will be gratefully received.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Review of West End waiting restrictions

Back in 2013, when the proposed West End residents’ parking scheme proposal was rejected, I moved at City Development Committee that, at the very least, the department should review West End waiting restrictions.

This would allow the council to see if any yellow lining was now redundant/superfluous to requirements to hopefully free up some additional parking space.    

This exercise has now been completed and there are now proposals to do just that in various streets - you can download what is being proposed here.

I have been advised by the council that a cost estimate has been requested and, once approved, a Works Order will be made to allow the necessary lining removal to take place.

The Courier covered the waiting restrictions progress in yesterday's paper and also highlights my view that there is a real need for City Council transportation officers to look at residents’ priority parking again, given the flaws in the previous consultation.

The complacent response from the Convener of City Development to this is extremely disappointing and is a real concern to the very many West End residents who find great difficulty parking near their homes.

This is an issue I will continue to pursue on behalf of local residents in the West End.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Evening classes at the new Harris Academy - next meeting

Further to my update in November about a possible new group to run evening classes and adult learning at Harris Academy after the school returns to its Perth Road campus next August, the next meeting of the informal group to take this forward and seek your views and input will take place at Blackness Library (enter by Blackness Avenue entrance, not main entrance) at 6.30pm on Wednesday 27th January – all welcome!

Please so complete the short survey about possible evening classes and adult learning at Harris Academy by clicking here.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Logie and Blackness areas walkabout

Yesterday, along with the Assistant Area Housing Manager and the local Housing Officer, I had a useful walkabout round the Logie and Blackness areas to discuss a number of local issues.

These include tackling the flooding issue on Logie Avenue at the lock-ups (see below), some missing or damaged street signs including the damaged one in Glenagnes Road at its junction with Blackness Road (see right) and fly-tipping at an empty property in Blackness Road.

The Neighbourhood Services Department (the new department from 1st January that covers both Housing and Environment) is ensuring that the Logie Avenue flooding issue is tackled both in terms of having the leak repaired permanently but also to ensure the pavement and lock-up area is given a better surface.

I have followed up non-housing issues with the appropriate departments to ensure all matters are properly resolved.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Annual Photographic Competition

Entries to the 50th city’s annual photographic competition are invited and there’s no time to lose with the closing date of Monday 25th January 2016 fast approaching.   

The entry form can be downloaded by clicking here,  obtained directly from the Dundee Photographic Society or by contacting Dundee City Council’s Environment Events team on 433104.

The winning selection will be made on Monday 15th February at the Marryat Hall and an exhibition of the entries will take place between Wednesday 24th February and Wednesday 9th March at the Central Library.

Prizes being offered include :

Dundee Corporation Trophy :   This trophy, together with a miniature and prize voucher, is awarded for the best 3 images in print and/or projected which best portray Dundee.

Robert Saunders Trophy :   This trophy was presented by Messrs Robert and Ivan Saunders to commemorate their father who was an early exponent of colour photography. Awarded annually with a miniature for the best projected image taken in any park in Dundee.

Dundee Photographic Society Trophy - Open Competition :   This trophy donated by Dundee Photographic Society in recognition of the photographer who, overall, obtains the highest aggregate points from projected image, monochrome and colour print sections in the open competition. This will automatically include all images submitted for the Dundee Corporation Trophy and Robert Saunders Competitions.

Under 18 :   For the best image taken by an Under 18.

You can view an image gallery of the 2015 winning entries by clicking here.