Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Commercial Street update!

Have had complaints over state of footpath in Commercial Street/Exchange Street at Children's Panel Offices - featured in mine & Claire's last FOCUS - click on headline above to read this!

Anyway, update today from Director of Planning & Transportation to me:

"There has been some delay in the manufacture and delivery of the tree guards and grilles and this has delayed the reinstatement of the footway. However, the tree guards and grille are due to be delivered this week (today) and the grilles will be installed as soon as possible after that.

"The barriers and clutter can then be removed from the site and the footway reinstated.

"The trees and their guards will then be planted and installed at the start of the new planting season - approximately October."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bridge Repairs welcomed

Recently received a complaint about the poor condition of the bridge over the railway on Riverside Drive south of the Botanic Gardens (see right). Having brought this to the attention of the Planning & Transportation Department, I am now advised as follows:

"The bridge over the railway is owned by Dundee City Council. I have had the bridge inspected and the damage you noted is localised damage and is of longstanding.
I have asked for repairs to be effected."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Drains, Manhole Covers, New Members ... oh yes, and a new newsletter!

A busy week, including :

* Pleased to welcome former SNP councillor Allan Petrie to Dundee Liberal Democrats - Allan is a very active community representative in the Mid Craigie & Linlathen area and was a valued colleague on Dundee City Council until 2003. Allan is pictured below during the visit of Nicol Stephen MSP, our Scottish Party leader, to Dundee earlier this week. Allan will be a great addition to our party in Dundee East.


* Having spoken with Scottish Water, they have cleaned out drains in Roseangle (both at south end and at junction with Seabraes Court).

* Had a very useful site visit with Network Rail (and two members of West End Community Council)at Riverside Approach earlier this week. We agreed a better fencing (to replace the horrible blue boards) and it should be in place by October.

*The Courier and Tele have featured the story of the noise from a loose manhole cover that has been keeping the Travel Inn's customers off their sleep. Anyway, good news today - see my news release featured in tonight's Tele:

"Dundee LibDem councillor pleased there's a good night's sleep again for Dundee hotel customers

West End LibDem City Councillor, Cllr Fraser Macpherson, today (Friday 25th August) said he was pleased that Scottish Water has advised him that they are taking immediate action to repair a rattling manhole cover outside the Premier Travel Inn in Riverside Drive.

Noise from the cover has been keeping the Travel Inn's customers off their sleep and Councillor Macpherson said that Scottish Water had promised to undertake a temporary repair with tar to stop the banging noise from the cover.

"Scottish Water tells me that a permanent repair will require traffic lights and a lane closure and is best undertaken on a Sunday," said Cllr Macpherson. "Therefore I am pleased that they are taking temporary action to get the noise problem removed meantime."

Scottish Water is undertaking the permanent repair on Sunday 2nd September.

"I am pleased that there's an end in sight to this problem and that the hotel's customers will get a good night's sleep once again," concluded Cllr Macpherson."

* Lastly, read my latest local update for part of the West End by clicking the headline above.

Roseangle drains cleaned Posted by Picasa

Allan Petrie with Nicol Stephen MSP Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 21, 2006

City Centre Trees and West End flooding

A member of City Centre & Harbour Community Council raised with me concern that two more mature looking trees in Commercial Street (near former Arnotts building) had been replaced with new, smaller ones. Now had feedback from the Council's Forestry Officer, who explains why:-
"We don't have any mature trees on Commercial Street; they are all less than 20 years old. What has happened is that due to the renovation to the Arnotts store some of the trees were in the builders' compound and got severely damaged, which I condemned. This was them getting replaced with new trees at the cost of the developer.
"I am not happy that they were replaced during the summer months and they have been informed that if they die off they will be responsible for further tree planting."
On another subject, over the last few days, heavy rain has caused flooding in parts of the City Centre (Seagate/Trades Lane area, east of my ward area) - not exactly the first time this has happened here. Additionally, there was a significant amount of flooding at the south end of Roseangle. A constituent has contacted me concerned about the problem. As he says - "I live in Roseangle, and whenever there's more than just a drizzle of rain the street gets flooded, especially at the corner shop. " Am taking this up with Scottish Water today.

Friday, August 18, 2006

West End latest update plus City Centre update on Youth Parade

Firstly, a new FOCUS newsletter for parts of the West End launched - click on the headline above to read it.
A useful City Centre & Harbour Community Council meeting last night including a session on core path planning. Updated the Community Council on the safety work in Commercial Street (work scheduled for October). Also details of the Lord Provost's Youth Parade a week on Saturday - from City Centre Manager - see below!
The Lord Provost's Youth Parade takes place on Saturday 26th August 2006. This is part of a special Twinning weekend hosted by the Lord Provost and involving Dundee's twin towns and committees. Various representatives from Orleans (France), Nablus (Palestine), Wurzburg (Germany) and Alexandria (USA) will be coming over and taking part.

The parade route on 26th August is: depart from Dundee High School car park at 14.00hrs. Cross Meadowside down into Reform Street - High Street - Nethergate - right, along past City Churches back of Overgate, past Market Cross at Next, left into Nethergate again, into High Street at top of Crichton Street, into City Square.

Road Closures requested for 2pm - 3pm on 26th August: Nethergate, Whitehall Street, Union Street, Crichton Street, High Street and Reform Street from the start of the parade at 14.00hrs until finish of Parade at 15.00hrs latest.

Buses will be affected in these areas, and the taxi rank outside City Churches will be out of action during these times.

Junctions will be manned by Tayside Police to assist the parade at the bottom of Whitehall Street and bottom of Union Street, and the corner of Nethergate and West Marketgait, and at Meadowside.

We have 30 groups and max. 800 people doing this, who should all be in City Square by 2.30pm. We asked for the road closure up to 3pm for safety.

20 stewards from Upfront Security will be on hand during the day, as will First Aid. We will have 11 market stalls in the High Street, plus the Army's climbing frame, Air Training Corps' harrier cockpit and marquee, Scouts' mobile display unit, pavement art, stage in City Square with Wave 102 from 2.30pm to 5pm.

There will be no barriers but cones will be in position at the top of Crichton Street on part of Nethergate to ensure safe passage for the parade participants on the road.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

City Centre latest update

The City Centre & Harbour Community Council meets tonight at 7pm in the Central Library (Wellgate). As always, I have prepared a Tay Bridges Ward City Centre update - the new edition covers various issues including :
  • Refuse
  • Recycling
  • Festive Season 2006
  • Tay Hotel Building

You can download a copy by clicking on the headline above.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Step Row Latest

Just spoken with Radio Tay who are running the update on Step Row tomorrow morning - the positive news in terms of getting matters resolved is below - ie the news release I have just issued :

WATER HYDRANT BURST - RESOLUTION IN SIGHT

Dundee City Councillor for Tay Bridges Ward, Cllr Fraser Macpherson has welcomed news that a permanent repair to the burst water hydrant in the West End’s Step Row is to take place tomorrow evening (Thursday 17th August).

The problems started around a fortnight ago when a spindle failure led to water pouring from a pipe and leaking all over the roadway of Step Row, damaging vehicles and soaking the adjacent buildings and street. Although a temporary repair was undertaken, water is still leaking from the hydrant and Cllr Macpherson said that residents were rightly anxious for a permanent repair to be carried out as soon as possible.

“From my discussions with Scottish Water, I am pleased to say that it looks promising that the permanent repair will be carried out starting around 6pm,” said Cllr Macpherson. “I am grateful that an end is in sight to this problem, and although it appears that unfortunately the repair will need a temporary road closure overnight and a few hours’ disruption to nearby households’ supply, residents will be pleased to see the problem getting properly resolved. Scottish Water has assured me that it has written to those households affected by the work to give them advance warning.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More on Hydrants, Tay Hotel, and OK it seems early but Christmas Week discussions start

Yesterday was very busy with Council meetings, including weekly meetings with Council Leader and Depute Chief Executive (Finance) & Head of Finance and dealing with lots of constituents' correspondence.

A teatime meeting with the group of volunteers who kindly help organise the West End Christmas Week - it was our initial 2006 meeting and great progress already - the week will run from 2nd December & we hope to have lots of new initiatives this year. The minutes of our meetings will go on the West End Community Council website (www.wecc.org.uk) in due course.

Council Recess over, it was back to committees last night. Two good news stories :-

* Really pleased to see the Draft Site Development Brief for the Tay Hotel building going before Planning & Transportation Committee - I spoke in the debate welcoming the prospect of the building going back into use. Click the headline above for a copy of the P&T committee report.

* At my own committee (Finance) pleased to announce the success of March's benefits take-up city centre campaign - see http://www.dundee.prai.co.uk/news/255.html.

Today, concerned at fact that Scottish Water appears not to have applied for the Traffic Order to enable permanent water hydrant repairs in Step Row (the Planning & Transportation Department tells me) so have been back on to Scottish Water about this. But on a positive note, following my taking up a resident's complaint about dumped plywood and an old bath in Union Place, Waste Management has removed these.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

BBQs, Water Hydrants, City Centre Policing

The weekend has flown by, partly because of a Dundee LibDem action weekend, delivering thousands of leaflets (let's just say my feet have been in better shape!) but also because of the Dundee LibDem BBQ on Saturday (as the photos below testify to).

A few recent issues:
  • I was pleased to be advised of Police action in the City Centre to crack down on anti-social behaviour - see http://www.dundee.prai.co.uk/news/253.html. Was also featured in Saturday's Courier and in the Press & Journal. Click on the headline above to read the P&J story.
  • Have reported dumped items (bath; plywood) in Union Place Car Park, following constituents' complaint.
  • Have been in touch with Scottish Water and the Planning & Transportation Department about the damaged water hydrant in Step Row - see http://www.dundee.prai.co.uk/news/254.html

OK then, you are delivering thousands and thousands of leaflets, so you obviously need a bit of help to sort out delivery rounds ... Posted by Picasa

Iqbal and his rather challenging burger! Posted by Picasa

BBQ 2006 Posted by Picasa

Raymond, our local party Convener, with party of BBQ party in background Posted by Picasa

Dundee LibDem BBQ 2006, courtesy of Murray & Helen Dick Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

Progress on Seabraes issues

Pleased to see progress with the issues here following site visit earlier in the week. I am advised by Waste Management at the City Council that the glass I reported to them has been cleared. The car park manager has also advised - "Roseangle Car Park has been tidied up and will be done so on a regular basis." Additionally the Council's Access Officer has spoken with Scottish Enterprise Tayside (SET) about the damaged 'cycle white markings' on the cycle path and SET is to progress this.

Lastly, I paste below part of the response received by e-mail from SET following a long telephone conversation with them :

"SE Tayside is aware of the points you raise and is in discussion with the contractor regarding having the grafitti removed and are looking to receive a price. This is an extra to the contract and bid for funds to have this undertaken will result.

"As regards the lifting of the small area of surface of the path at Seabraes gardens this has been drawn to the contractors attention to repair under the contractors liability period. With regard to the dog fouling bins I have taken this up with DCC in the hope these can be supplied.

"As part of the maintenance agreement of the area the landscaping contractor is bound to undertake regular litter picks.

"The long term arrangement for the Seabraes Yards steps and associated landscaping has been arranged with Dundee City who SE Tayside are committed to pay a substantial lump sum to cover maintenance after the contractors' 2 year maintenance period."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Latest update ... (proposed) Riverside Nature Park & other recent issues

Yesterday, attended the West End Community Council's re-visit to the 'proposed' Riverside Nature Park. I say 'proposed' because, as one member correctly says, it is only 'proposed' until SEPA and the Council allow it to be opened to the public, and I have no doubt the consensus is - the sooner the better. The views are, simply, totally tremendous; very few views are quite as stunning & the full opening of the site will become a real Dundee attraction.

We had a walk round a couple of months back but time was short as a Community Council meeting was taking place immediately afterwards. This time it was particularly useful to see along the coastal path.

Other matters:

* Pleased to get confirmation from Director of Planning & Transportation that the Tay Road Bridge Manager has agreed to the re-siting of the playpark to bridge board ground east of the Hilton Hotel. No date yet for relocation but pleased about progress.

* Some feedback from Planning & Transportation Department regarding my concerns about the speed of traffic on Magdalen Yard Road -

"An inspection of recorded injury accidents for the period 2002-2004 shows no accidents occurring along Magdalen Yard Road including all junctions. Speed counts were taken on Magdalen Yard Road , east of Step Row, summer 2004 and I would expect these to reflect current traffic conditions.

Average speed over a 12 hour count (7am to 7pm) was 23mph for both directions. The parking pattern helps to slow speeds with opposing traffic and west bound traffic giving way (with the parking on the north side)"

I am raising matter further at meeting about issues regarding the Magdalen Green area I am arranging together with City Council staff.

Some of the group walking westwards towards Invergowrie Bay Posted by Picasa

The splendid view to the west from the proposed nature park Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 07, 2006

Seabraes site visit and Westfield Place update

Met with two members of West End Community Council at Seabraes this morning. Pictures below indicate that some of the issues here have still to be properly addressed by Scottish Enterprise Tayside and I have been back in touch with them (also with Waste Management at Dundee City Council given the concern about glass). In a positive light, good to see progress with some of the landscaping issues. Have also been in touch with Planning & Transportation regarding the community/wildlife aspects.

Some good news! Just been advised that the setts replacement in Westfield Place is scheduled for Wednesday of this week.

Graffiti at Seabraes paths Posted by Picasa

Glass & Rubbish at Seabraes steps Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Weekend update!

A few things to update since last blog entry:
  • City Council advises the loose setts on the roadway in Shepherd's Loan are being re-cemented, following my complaint.
  • Concern about gulls in Seafield Road area - I've reported to Head of Environmental Health & Trading Standards.
  • Got first meeting of West End Christmas Week 2006 committee organised for mid-August. Good new initiatives suggested by a number of us for this year's Christmas week!
  • A very (very!) warm morning spent today delivering Claire's & my FOCUS newsletter in the City Centre, but almost complete now. Already good feedback from residents.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

City Centre and West End Latest!

Very busy couple of days - yesterday afternoon was the quarterly (or thereabouts) City Centre Beacon Management Group meeting organised by Tayside Police. I find these meetings really useful on City Centre issues and it brings together police, city council, city centre businesses, health service, universities and other organisations.

Was able to update the group on the impending pedestrian safety improvements in Commercial Street (junction with Murraygate/High Street). Also lengthy discussion about graffiti issues in City Centre and in particular the problem in various pends and near to City Churches. Both the Police & City Ambassasdors taking a proactive approach.

And talking of graffiti - good news - the graffiti in Fleuchar Street I mentioned recently has, I am told by Waste Management, been painted over.

Yesterday teatime, went along to a meeting of residents and the owners of the Kingsway West Retail Park about some of the outstanding issues affecting residents there. OK, you may say, just a few miles from my area in the West End & City Centre! I was actually there to assist my colleague Helen, the local councillor in Strathmartine. I originally got involved with this when Helen was on holiday ages ago (we cover each others' issues when the other is on leave) and Helen & I have been very keen to see the outstanding issues resolved. Good meeting; felt it was most productive, but the proof of the pudding will be in the remaining issues sorted for the residents who live close to the retail park.

OK - back to home territory! My colleague Claire Matthew & I have just produced another FOCUS newsletter for City Centre - if you click the headline above, you can download it.

In e-mail correspondence with the Head of Environmental Health & Trading Standards again today about waste bags / rubbish/ seagulls - to quote his response, he has taken action "to get this refuse presentation problem sorted out properly once and for all" including resourcing the time of a senior environmental health officer to get any remaining waste presentation issues sorted.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Westfield Place & Riverside Approach

Following constituent's concern have been back onto the Planning & Transportation Department about a couple of issues in Westfield Place :
  • Need for road to be property reinstated (ie setts replaced - currently just temporary tar) where Scottish & Southern Electric undertook a repair some months ago. I raised this originally in May or thereabouts & have now asked P&T Department to chase up Scottish & Southern.
  • Need for a "No Heavy Vehicles" sign in this very narrow street - P&T promised me this & they have now said they'll chase up Tayside Contracts to get it done ASAP.

Following blog yesterday, was pleased to hear from Network Rail this morning - they hope to get the ugly blue boards in Riverside Approach replaced by end of August if possible. They've agreed to meet me and reps from West End Community Council again later this month on-site so we can choose replacement fencing. It will still be of a temporary style pending the completion of the long-term works on the rail bridge, but hopefully a lot less unsightly than what's there at the moment! Meantime, Network Rail has painted out the graffiti on the boards.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A few more West End issues ...

Firstly, a bit of good news! To quote blog on 29th June :

"Following complaints, I have raised the concerns about the high shruberry on the roundabout at Riverside Drive/Avenue (near Marmalade Pot) - very difficult for drivers coming roundabout to see pedestrians - have raised this concern with the Planning & Transportation Department."

Good news is that the Council has now advised me that it has asked Dundee Contract Services to trim the shrubbery - hope its done soon.

Other issues :
  • Sinderins - Following the complaints about squint signs etc, the situation has been much improved with the new traffic lights, but I have now reminded the City Council about the very squint "No Entry" sign (at roadway leading from Hawkhill, just west of Rosebud shop) - also mentioned the need to improve seating/litterbin here.
  • Have asked Network Rail for on-site meeting to sort the replacement fencing in Riverside Appoach (ie - let's get rid of the horrible blue boards!)
  • There's an on-going discussion between Planning & Transportation & Waste Management Departments about providing litter bins near bus stops. Pending the outcome, I have asked Waste Management for litter bins at the bus stops opposite both River Crescent & Riverside Place (on Perth Road) given resident requests.