Sunday 30 September 2007
Saturday 29 September 2007
Friday 28 September 2007
Wednesday 26 September 2007
Tuesday 25 September 2007
Monday 24 September 2007
Sunday 23 September 2007
I have long had concerns about the democratic deficit whereby the planning decisions of local authorities (made by councillors elected by the people) are regularly overturned by a Reporter, not elected but simply appointed by the Scottish Government. My concerns are clearly shared by many other Dundee councillors.
Although pleased at recent appeal decisions to refuse developers’ appeals at Tay Rope Works and land south of Richmond Terrace, the Courier leader referred to the regrettable decision to overturn the City Council’s refusal of a planning application for 20 houses at the former Blackness Nursery (Lawrie’s). On Friday, I was advised by the City Council that the Reporter had refused the appeal for the erection of two townhouses at Steven’s Yard (ground north of High Mill) but there was bad news yesterday when residents called me to say they have received the decision letters about the appeals regarding the planning application and listed building consent for four housing units to be created on the ground floor of the High Mill itself and the appeals have been allowed. Not, of course, that the Reporters’ Unit’s website is very illuminating:-
Appeal type - Planning Permission Appeal
Current progress of appeal - Decision issued by DPEA or Scottish Ministers
Address - HIGH MILL, HIGHMILL COURT, DUNDEE, DD2 1UN
Description of development - CHANGE OF USE WITH ALTERATIONS OF LOWER GROUND FLOOR SHELL UNITS TO FORM FOUR FLATS
Outcome - Decision not available present
Date of decision (DPEA/Scottish Ministers) - September 20, 2007
Decision letter not available
I had moved refusal of these applications (Full Application & Listed Building Consent) as I viewed the impact of the development as highly intrusive in terms of loss of privacy for residents south of the Mill in Patrick Place – the development proposes large windows in the south wall of the Mill, literally facing right into residents’ gardens. I am frankly astonished at this decision which flies in the face of preserving residential amenity.
On another matter, received a complaint today about graffiti that has appeared on the electricity sub-station on Magdalen Green – have reported this to the City Council and Scottish & Southern Electric.
Tuesday 18 September 2007
Monday 17 September 2007
Sunday 16 September 2007
Saturday 15 September 2007
Thursday 13 September 2007
- Firstly, a useful meeting with the Chair of Logie Residents' Association about safety concerns in Logie Avenue. A speed survery will now be undertaken - click on the headline above to view the full story in tonight's Evening Telegraph.
- Secondly, following concerns raised about the safety of pedestrians on Blackness Road (including Harris Academy pupils and visitors going to Royal Victoria Hospital), we met with residents who live close to the Kelso steps. The City Council had initially suggested a traffic island here to improve things for pedestrians crossing, but this had the disadvantage of significant loss of parking. An alternative suggestion by the Planning & Transportation Department includes a build-out at the bottom of the steps together with dropped kerbs and white lining (including "SLOW" markings) which has the advantages of creating a more calmed traffic environment and a shorter crossing length, without loss of parking. The unanimous view was that the latter option provided the best solution and it is anticipated that the necessary works to provide this will be undertaken during the current financial year.
Wednesday 12 September 2007
- The Western Cemetery Association has its public launch meeting next Tuesday 18th September at 12 noon at Harris Academy (click on headline above to view more) - you can join the Association free of charge by going to http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/dundeewca/
- The next public meeting of Friends of Magdalen Green will take place on Wednesday 19th September at 7pm at Dundee West Church - you can read more at : http://magdalengreen.blogspot.com/2007/08/next-meeting-of-friends-of-magdalen.html for further details. Unfortunately I'll miss the meeting as I'll be in Northern Ireland, but I do hope it goes well.
Monday 10 September 2007
- Traffic issues - Logie Avenue and Blackness Road
- Vandalised phone box - Magdalen Green
- Newhall Gardens pavements
- Bus Timetables - in the West End
- Wheelie Bins
- Parking in the West End
- Bus Lane markings - Blackness Avenue
- Step Row - temporary road closure
- West End Christmas Week 2007
Sunday 9 September 2007
Tuesday 4 September 2007
Sunday 2 September 2007
Participation in the games is ‘self funded’ and the Tayside Special Olympics group has been actively fundraising. Already, the Lord Provost and the Economic Development Department have kindly donated Dundee civic gifts to be presented to the host "families" in Shanghai, who will be providing accommodation for Andrew and the other participants.
The Tayside Special Olympics has a considerable shortfall between the projected outlay for the trip and the monies they have managed to raise to date, and I’ve been helping with a wee bit of fundraising myself, along an appeal to the other Dundee councillors, community groups and others, who are always great at helping a worthwhile cause.
It is really great to see Dundee being represented at the Special Olympics and if anyone is willing to consider making a small donation , you can do so by sending any donation to : Andrew Gray, 11 Dunmore Gardens, Ninewells, Dundee, DD2 1PP. (Cheques should be made out to “Special Olympics Tayside”). Many thanks indeed.
Saturday 1 September 2007
An exceptionally busy week both with my day job (as I am running a large conference next week) and with City Council and West End matters, so here’s a brief summary!
* Tait’s Lane : Had complaints about the general tidiness of the lane and the pathway that runs from the lane to Peddie Street and I have had favourable responses from the Waste Management Department and from Dundee Contract Services. The latter are going to tackle the overgrown weeds and I have also asked Economic Development if they can do something about the sadly neglected seating at the grass area in the lane.
* Last Sunday, I mentioned the request I had passed on to the Animal Control Team from residents for a dog bin at the end of the tunnel under Riverside Avenue near to the Invergowrie boundary (see http://frasermacpherson.blogspot.com/2007/08/dog-bin.html). I am pleased to report that I have been advised that a new bin was installed yesterday.
* A very useful meeting at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday with Nicol Stephen MSP, Tavish Scott MSP and my fellow LibDem council group leaders from Scottish local authorities about issues facing councils.
* Along with the other party group leaders in Dundee, we met with the President of COSLA on Tuesday about the future direction of COSLA and challenges facing local government.
* A West End constituent recently contacted me about his difficulties getting an NHS dentist and, as this is a parliamentary matter rather than a local authority one, I passed him on MSP details. He’s let me know the feedback he has received which he felt it might be useful to pass on to others via the blog – "… where an NHS Board considers that the existing NHS general dental service provision is insufficient to meet the demands of the local population, and no independent general dental practitioner is available to fill the gap, the Board can appoint salaried dentists. NHS Tayside already employs a number of salaried dentists, and are looking to approve further such posts. Any constituent wishing to enquire about an appointment with a salaried general dental practitioner should contact NHS Tayside at Ashludie Hospital, Monifieth, Dundee, DD2 4HQ (Telephone number 01382 527861)."
* Yesterday, along with the Public Health Minister, I was delighted to attend the launch of “Get Active Getting There” project at Gowriehill Primary School. Gowriehill is one of eight primary schools and two secondary schools (including Harris Academy) in the west of Dundee participating. It’s a great project to encourage school pupils – and indeed the community as a whole – to make use of the local paths network to walk and cycle.
A pilot project in Edinburgh in 2005 resulted in a 50% increase in walkers and cyclists using local routes and the City Council is pleased to be working with SUSTRANS and NHS Tayside on this new excellent project in the City. You can read more by clicking on the headline above.
* Some time ago, the Blackness Area Residents’ Association asked for better markings at the bus stop on the east side of Blackness Avenue (half way down) to ensure the bus can get clear access to the side of the road to allow passengers to get off the bus safely. Many elderly folk get off the bus here and it’s important that they can alight at the pavement properly. I am pleased to say that I have just had the following positive feedback from the City Council’s Planning & Transportation Department indicating what is to be provided here (hopefully within the next three weeks) :
“A ‘BUS STOP’ box marking 29m long with thick yellow Clearway marking. This will ensure that the bus can park with the door at the boarding point allowing safe boarding and alighting for all. We are about to undertake this exercise across all 900 bus stops as part of the Dundee barrier free city commitment.”