Friday, November 30, 2007

West End Christmas Week starts tomorrow!

Just back from a couple of days (wet days!) in Dumfries with my day job (more on that later...) and very tired so I'll keep this short!

Just a reminder to come along to Magdalen Green tomorrow (Saturday) at 12.15pm for the West End Christmas Week launch. Many thanks to the Courier and Evening Telegraph for their coverage of the impending launch today (including the article in the Craigie Column!) Also thanks to Wave 102 who interviewed me on the phone about the launch as I was parked in a layby on the A75 outside Dumfries, to be played on tomorrow morning's news!


A lot of West End folk have worked hard to make Christmas Week Year 7 a success, so fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden

Attended a packed meeting tonight of the Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden, taking place at St Andrew's Church Hall.
It was very heartening to see the level of interest in the gardens and in securing a sustainable future for them.
There is much work ahead for the Friends and other stakeholders but tonight's meeting was a very positive evening.
You can read more about Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden by clicking on the headline above.

New look!

As we are nearing the end of 2007, I have brightened up the blog today with a fresh look and new colour scheme - hope you like it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tullideph Area Update

I have had feedback from Dundee City Council regarding proposals it has agreed to, following my raising safety concerns at the junction of Tullideph Place and Tullideph Street.

These streets are in an area of sheltered housing and although the number of traffic movements is limited, residents have expressed concern about the speed of a minority of cars and the lack of road markings at the junction of the two streets.

The City Council has now advised me that the junction of Tullideph Street and Tullideph Place has been inspected to assess suitable improvements. I have been told that it is proposed to introduce a centre line to emphasise the sharp bend. This should help deter traffic from taking the fastest approach round the bend on the wrong side of the road and the markings will be undertaken early in the new financial year.
I am also advised that 'SLOW' markings could be considered at a later date if these initial measures require further emphasis.

I also raised with the Planning & Transportation Department the need for dropped kerbing at the Tullideph Street/Tullideph Road junction.
The Council has already confirmed it will improve the existing dropped kerbs at the City Road/Tullideph Road junction (see earlier story by clicking on headline above) but I am glad to say that it will now also provide new dropped kerbing – where there is currently none – at the Tullideph Street/Tullideph Road junction.
This will be provided during the current financial year.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Temporary Traffic Order - Step Row

Received from the City Council :
Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating drainage works and reinstatement works. The Order is expected to be in force for three weeks from 5 December 2007. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Step Row from its junction with Perth Road for a distance of 100 metres or thereby in a southerly direction.
Pedestrian thoroughfare and vehicular access to premises will be maintained.

An alternative route will be available via Perth Road, Thomson Street and Magdalen Yard Road.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, Planning and Transportation Department, Tayside House, Crichton Street, Dundee, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date.

If you have any queries please contact the department on 433168.

West End Christmas Week 2007!

This year's West End Christmas week starts next Saturday (1st December).


For the seventh consecutive year, we are having a super West End Christmas Week to highlight the vibrancy of the West End and its local shops. The launch is on Saturday at Magdalen Green and we hope many West End residents will be there. It will be an action-packed week in the West End.




EVENTS:


Saturday 1st December


Christmas Week starts!


The seventh West End Christmas Week will be launched on Magdalen Green at 12.15pm by Depute Lord Provost Joe Morrow.



See the festively decorated bandstand!



There will be fun for all the family on Magdalen Green :



The presentation of prizes to pupils from Park Place Primary, St Joseph's Primary and Blackness Primary Schools - winners of the West End Christmas Week Schools Competition!



Football coaching and mini matches on the Green with Dundee FC and the Scottish Football Association!



Seasonal Chestnuts on the Green - kindly provided by Friends of Magdalen Green!
Music from Dundee University Brass and LoadsaWimminSinging!



Depute Lord Provost and local primary school children will plant a new Cherry Tree on the Green as part of the environment theme of this year's Christmas Week!



Family Art Activities on Magdalen Green - Sparkle and Greenery - making decorations with a new twist. Work with our Environment Artists to capture the spirit of the season!



Blackness Primary School - Christmas Fair 10am to 12 noon - including raffle, cake and candy, games & teas and coffees. All welcome!


Why not attend the Christmas Fair at Blackness Primary School then come down to Magdalen Green for the launch of Christmas Week - a great Saturday out for all the family!



Thursday 6th December at 6.15pm



West End Christmas Concert, Christmas Lights Switch On and spectacular fireworks extravaganza!



This year's West End Christmas Concert takes place at Dundee West Church at 6.15pm. All local residents are very welcome to attend. There will be musical contributions from all local primary and secondary schools. A welcome to the Concert will come from Lord Provost John Letford and the Concert will be hosted by Rev Andrew Greaves.



At 7pm, the West End Christmas Lights will be switched on at Seabraes by Nurse Molly Coddle and Crazy Daisy from the Downfield Musical Society Panto "Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood".



The children can see round a Fire Engine at the switch-on and a Piper from the Tayside Police Pipe Band will play too! There will again be a spectacular fireworks display after the lights switch-on - and we would like to thank the West End shops whose financial support has made the fireworks display possible and thanks to Robin Carstairs for his help in organising the fireworks.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

St Andrew's Day Celebrations

As part of Dundee City Council’s celebrations for St Andrew's Day, the Wellington Consultancy and Friends of Wighton have arranged a programme of musical happenings in the city. Many thanks to Sheena Wellington for the information and very pleased to see the St Andrew's Night Party at Meadowside St. Paul's Church Hall - very handy for West End residents!

ST ANDREW'S DAY - FRIDAY 30th NOVEMBER

Care Homes for Senior Citizens:

11am: Janet Brougham House, Robertson Street

2pm: St Margaret’s Home, Victoria Road

3.30pm: Wellburn Home, 118 Liff Road


Fiddle player Karen Read and singer Mike Kelleher will be the musicians visiting the Care Homes. Both artists have done a lot of work in this field and enjoy entertaining older people.

Karen Read (nee Hannah) is a highly accomplished fiddler with a sparkling personality. A former Celtic Connections Danny Award winner she has toured throughout the UK, Europe and New Zealand, appearing with musicians of the calibre of Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham and Alasdair Fraser. She is a member of the band Randan and several other groups.

Mike Kelleher hails from Ireland and is equally at home with Irish or Scottish song. A fine guitar player he also has a mellow, delightful voice and a winning way with an audience. He is also a member of Randan. (interesting footnote: Karen & husband Danny and Mike & wife Eleanor are expecting their first babies in mid to late March – there are bets on which arrives soonest!)

Senior Citizens Clubs

11am Broughty Ferry Centre, 343 Brook Street, Broughty Ferry

3.30pm Fiveways Centre, 2-4 Caird Avenue DD3 8AW.


Musicians entertaining at the Clubs are Maureen Jelks, singer, and Simon Chadwick, harpist

Dundee born Maureen Jelks is one of Scotland’s finest traditional singers, much in demand for festivals and concerts. She has recently returned from the International Celtic Women’s Festival in Milwaukee.

Simon Chadwick is a world expert on the medieval harp, a recent winner of a prestigious Arts Trust of Scotland Award and proud possessor of a beautiful replica of the harp which belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots.


City Square

1 -2 pm Dundee High School Pipe Band & Mains of Fintry Pipe Band.

DHS Pipe Band is a very promising young band. Mains of Fintry Pipe Band have been invited to represent Scotland at a major piping event in Japan in 2008 and this will be part of their fundraising for the trip.

Wellgate Centre Entrance: Kinnear & McKay, pipes, banjo and a touch of funk!

Central Library

12.30 - 2pm Music from Wighton Singers with input from Maureen Jelks, Simon Chadwick, Karen Read, Mike Kelleher

The Wighton Singers are a group of mainly senior citizens who meet with Maureen Jelks every Tuesday afternoon in the Wighton Heritage Centre to learn Scottish songs.

3.30pm Children's Song workshop with Sheena Wellington

Meadowside St. Paul's Church Hall, West Marketgait

7.15 pm St Andrews Night Party (pipes, highland dancers, Sheena Wellington & stovies)
Tickets £5 including refreshments, available from Cornerstone Coffee House, Nethergate

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nicol Stephen

Nicol Stephen MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, last night issued an e-mail to party members across Scotland. I replicate part of this below :

Dear members,

At the end of a busy week, I thought I would e mail to record my congratulations to the LibDem team in Dundee for achieving a big growth in our share of the vote in Dundee Council's Lochee by-election yesterday. It showed, once again that, where we work, we gain new votes for our party.

Well done to our great, young candidate Chris Hall and to Cllr Fraser Macpherson and the Dundee team who have worked so hard to add so much to our vote share.

There have now been three by-elections in Scotland since May. They have been in Aberdeen, Argyll and Dundee. The combined results show that the Liberal Democrat vote share has gone up by more than any other party. We have been the biggest winners in votes and - remember - we made that important seat gain in Helensburgh just last month.

I am determined to continue to take our positive campaigns to every part of Scotland and for us to win new votes wherever we can.

Best wishes

Nicol Stephen

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lochee outcome!

Attended the Lochee Ward by-election count this morning after a dreadfully cold polling day yesterday.
The Dundee LibDems are delighted at our progress, with an increase in our share of the overall poll of almost 4%, more than any other party (and Labour and the Conservatives both fell back).
My personal thanks go in particular to Chris Hall, our excellent by-election candidate, who worked exceptionally hard during the campaign. Chris is pictured with Alison McInnes, MSP for North East Scotland and myself (above right) during the campaign!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Friends of Magdalen Green update

With the agreement of the Friends, I replicate the latest update below :
Friends of Magdalen Green Coffee Morning
First of all a big thank you to everyone who supported our Coffee Morning on 27th October; it was a tremendous success and raised £930.
The talents of our local cooks & bakers were much appreciated as were the skills of the dedicated kitchen team who served and entertained people. The cards and crafts seemed to spark off some early Christmas shopping. But without everyone who came for the craic over tea & scones and stayed to buy things the morning would have meant nothing - so a big thanks to all.
Christmas Cards
Despite good sales at the coffee morning we still have some of Pauline Murray’s lovely Christmas Cards.
If you would like some please email friendsmagdalengreen@yahoo.co.uk, or phone Liz Broumley on 01382 642530. (The cards are 75p each for A6 size, or £6 for 10 and £1 for A5 size)
We also have a few (very few) Harry McGregor prints of the bandstand as well as photographic bookmarks, cards and prints of the Green - all of which would make ideal gifts. (If you would like to order some please use the contact details above.)
West End Christmas Week
This year the launch of West End Christmas week will be held on Magdalen Green for the first time. The event is on Saturday 1 December at 12.15pm. The launch will be opened by Depute Lord Provost Joe Morrow and will feature Dundee University Brass and Loadsawiminsinging - both performing in a festive Bandstand.
Join us at the Bandstand or make this a double date by supporting Blackness Primary School Coffee Morning (10am - 12) too!
Contribution to West End Consultation Exercise
Those of you who were at the inaugural meeting of Friends of Magdalen Green may remember completing a questionnaire about the Green. A summary of the results and a copy of the Friends Action Plan have been submitted to the City Council as part of the West End consultation exercise. (Both documents were available at the meeting on 19th September, but if you would like a copy please email friendsmagdalengreen@yahoo.co.uk)
Friends of University of Dundee Botanic Garden
Friends of University of Dundee Botanic Garden invite you to a meeting to discuss their future strategy at: St Andrew’s Church Hall King Street, Dundee. Wednesday 28th November 2007 For 7.30 pm start (doors open 7 pm)
We’re taking a Christmas break before planning activities for 2008.
Suggestions for spekers/activities will be very welcome.
All good wishes for a Happy Christmas and a good New Year,
Sheila Roy (Chairperson) - On behalf of Friends of Magdalen Green
(PS : I'm delighted Sheila is making great progress following her recent accident and hip replacement - click on the headline above to read the story in tonight's Evening Telegraph. Being the West End stalwart that she is, she hosted yesterday's West End Christmas Week meeting at her home, despite just being out of hospital).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pavilion on Riverside Drive

I have had complaints from residents and our local community policeman about further graffiti on the pavilion building on the north side of Riverside Drive (east of the airport).
I have asked the Leisure & Communities Department (who own the building) if it can arrange removal of the graffiti.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wet day in Lochee and planning concern

A very wet Monday in the rain in Lochee campaigning at the City Council by-election. Here's Nicol Stephen MSP, Chris Hall (Lochee candidate) and myself in the cafe at the Lochee Tesco store, escaping the rain!

Tonight, at development quality committee, I moved refusal of the extension of a 24-hour take-away at the Peddie Street units, given residents' concerns about noise, etc. A disappointing result (I lost 22-2) and in my view detrimental to residential amenity.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday in Lochee ... and great West End photos!

Our Lochee campaign team has returned home, damp, sore legs, but a great day in Lochee Ward! I have just worked out how much extra custom the Tesco cafe at the Stack is getting from the by-election... The SNP did make an appearance today in Menzieshill, but the LibDem team was in Menzieshill, Charleston, Beechwood, Dryburgh ... you get the picture!
Anyway, away from damp clothes and worn-out legs - click on the headline above to see some great West End photographs (South Tay Street; Nethergate) and also some of St Andrews.
Nicol Stephen MSP back in Lochee Ward tomorrow afternoon - busy day ahead!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lochee Latest!

If I ever had to appear on Mastermind, I think I’d choose “the geography of Dundee’s West End” as my specialist subject. Having organised the delivery of over 60 newsletters to update residents in the West End over the past six and a half years, I honestly think I know every nook and cranny of the West End, every controlled entry service button, every cul-de-sac, every dog behind the letterbox.

Over the past eight weeks or so, I feel I could expand the specialist subject to include Lochee. My colleagues and I have canvassed and delivered newsletters extensively for Chris Hall, the Lochee Ward Liberal Democrat by-election candidate and he’s worked extremely hard, not just in the past weeks, but over a period of many months.

Having spent some nine hours in Lochee today, I have sore feet, but it has been a brilliant day, meeting many residents – and also the Labour Party and the Tories (the latter finally made an appearance today – just a few months late guys). Strangely no sign of the SNP anywhere in Lochee today – but judging by residents comments about SNP broken promises (school class sizes, police numbers, grants to first time home buyers, writing off student debt .. etc, etc, etc, etc) I suppose that’s not too surprising.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Attended a meeting of residents at Menzieshill Parish Church on Wednesday night. It had been arranged between the Chair of West End Community Council and the developer (and their architects) in relation to the Wimberley Houses site, prior to a planning application being submitted.

The architect had invited me as ward councillor and, having sought advice from the City Council, I was allowed to attend only in an "observer" capacity as a planning application may soon come forward and elected members of the City Council are subject to a Code of Conduct in relation to planning applications. Over 70 residents attended the meeting.
Yesterday was busy with a photocall in the morning to mark the installation of several new helpful information boards along the southern section of the Green Circular Route across Dundee - an initiative by the City Council but funded through TACTRAN. (See photo right).

In the afternoon, was delighted to welcome LibDem Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael MP, to Dundee. Alistair was primarily here to help our Lochee Ward by-election candidate Chris Hall and he toured the ward and met local residents in Lochee High Street (see below).

After three busy surgeries, attended an administration group meeting at the City Chambers in the evening, with much of today spent on constituent issues (in part arising out of yesterday's surgeries) - mainly housing, environmental and roads issues.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Former Logie Secondary School site clean-up

Was called earlier this morning by Professor Malory Nye, Acting Principal of the Al-Maktoum Institute to be advised that, following my recent meeting with him when I raised residents' concerns about the state of the former Logie Secondary School site (earmarked for the proposed Al-Maktoum Cultural Centre), work starts today on tidying the site. The Al-Maktoum Foundation has employed the City Council (Dundee Contract Services) to undertake the work.
I am pleased that the area is to be tidied as there have been many concerns from residents about the state of the area.
Attended West End Community Council last night. An interesting talk by Historic Scotland and useful discussion on a number of local issues too.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November Community Council Update!

In my November 2007 Update to the West End Community Council various West End issues are covered, including :

* CCTV at Seabraes
* Pennycook Lane - handrail
* Leaves on local pavements
* Pavement Repairs - Perth Road at two locations
* Digital TV

The Community Council meets this forthcoming Tuesday (13th November) at 7pm at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall.

You can read more about the update by clicking on the headline above.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Latest update

Attended Logie Residents' Association on Wednesday evening. The group is looking to organise a survey of residents in the Logie area early in the New Year to get their views on local issues and gauge support for continuing Association activity.


Arising out of the meeting, I have spoken with a representative of Virgin Media about residents' concerns about graffiti on the cable TV boxes in the Logie area.


On Thursday, I met with the Managing Director of Travel Dundee to discuss public transport issues in the City and had a guided tour of their Dock Street operations (see above right) - very worthwhile and interesting. I also had two further visits on Wednesday and Thursday to meet Planning & Transportation staff in my capacity of Planning & Transport Convener. I find such visits extremely useful as it gives me a clear understanding of roles, issues and current projects across a very diverse department.


Many thanks to Suz Blog (blog of a "floating Lib Dem supporter from St Georges Ward, Islington North - a tough blonde 'cookie' having her say") for the link to my blog earlier this week (click on headline above to view this) I like Suz's use of Snap Shots on her blog so have added this to this one!

Like everyone I meet, thoroughly delighted at Glasgow's success in securing the 2014 Commonwealth Games - a great result.
Lastly, the BBC has finally got round to uploading to the BBC website their decision on my complaint about their 'Scotland Live' programme from Dundee on eve of poll back in May - see http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/news/2007/11/07/50531.shtml - although the detail of this contains factual inaccuracies at least the BBC accepts ... "the item was faulty in the ways described by Cllr Macpherson, leading to serious imbalance" - for the background see

Thursday, November 08, 2007

National Consumer Week

Next week is 'National Consumer Week' and the City Council's Trading Standards Team has advised me that it will have an information stand in the Overgate on Monday and Tuesday.

The theme is Distance Selling - buying goods over the internet/mail order etc. This will be well worth a visit and you can read more at www.dundeecity.gov.uk/events/evx068523.htm and by clicking the headline above.
There's an excellent Frequently Asked Questions section from Trading Standards on the City Council website at www.dundeecity.gov.uk/faqs/index.php?category_id=45

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Greenbank Place Lighting Concern

Residents in Greenbank Place off Tullideph Road have expressed concern to me that some of the lights on the side of one of the blocks of housing are not working. These are the responsibility of the Housing Department and I'm pleased to say that, following my request for repair, I have had back from the City Council the following positive response :

"The pathway lights serving the access to 1-23 Greenbank Place has been issued for repair."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Direct Debits ... and Lochee!

This morning I attended the launch event of the City Council Finance Department's "Pick up a prize" promotion - aimed at encouraging more Dundonians to pay their Council Tax by Direct Debit.
A prize draw campaign will run for 3 months until 31st January 2008, with the prizes being drawn on 29th February 2008. The draw gives the chance for Direct Debit payers to win a number of prizes (donated by local businesses) and, in case any of you are wondering - in response to a point made by the Council Leader that he'd be deeply embarrassed if he won a main prize, it was confirmed that City Councillors and Council Chief Officers will not be included in the draw!
For more details of the prize draw offer, click on the headline above.
I asked a question about encouraging the banks to offer basic bank accounts to citizens who do not presently have a bank account and was pleased to be informed that the Council is in discussions with the banks about promoting basic bank accounts - this will be particularly important given the move to Local Housing Allowance within the Housing Benefit Scheme next April, which will see many private tenants get their benefit paid to themselves rather than direct to their landlord in future.
This afternoon, Nicol Stephen MSP paid a second visit to the Lochee Ward by-election and spent time speaking to residents in both Charleston and central Lochee - see photo below of Nicol, candidate Chris Hall and some supporters pictured earlier at the Stack (I'm not in the photo - guess who took it!)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

City Road, Tullideph Road, Tullideph Street

I'm pleased to have been advised by Dundee City Council that the dropped kerbs and red tactile paving at the signalised City Road and Tullideph Road junction are to be improved this financial year.

The area has many elderly people so I am pleased that this improvement to dropped kerbing and tactile paving is planned.

I have also recently raised with the City Council the issue of road safety in Tullideph Street, an area with sheltered housing. This follows the recent community meeting at Balgay Church Hall - and residents are concerned about some vehicle speeds. Although I am advised that there have been no injury accidents here during the past three years, I am discussing with Council staff the concerns of residents to see what steps can be undertaken to alleviate these concerns.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Recycling again

The Courier today highlights the differing situation facing residents on different sides of part of Blackness Road – where residents on the south side have blue (paper) and brown (garden) recycling wheelie bins, but the residents on the north side do not have individual recycling bins.

As I commented in the Courier article, the reason for this is because of the storage difficulties for three separate bins per household (waste, paper, garden) facing residents in tenements (this part of Blackness Road – just east of Balgay Road/Blackness Avenue – has houses on the south side and tenement flats on the north side).
For that reason, the City Council has introduced the mini-recycling centres in recent months and earlier this week, we had the photocall to recognise the opening of the 50th neighbourhood recycling point (click on headline to view more). It allows residents to recycle paper and different types of glass without having to travel to the main recycling centres.

It is absolutely clear that residents want recycling facilities close by and as I made clear in the Courier, this is something the City Council wishes and intends to further develop – with more local facilities, offering a wider range of materials to recycle.

Great hilarity last week when I received an e-mail (day job – no politicians involved!) apologising for the inconvenience for the delay in sending me some Powerpoint slides, but rather embarrassingly saying “I apologise for the delay and any incontinence caused.”

Both sons round for tea tonight and further great hilarity watching the X Factor earlier on – Same Difference, oh dear… Rhydian’s version of “Get the party started” is no match for the Diva’s – see below.

Shirley Bassey - GET THE PARTY STARTED - Music Video

Rhydian Roberts - you have nothing on Dame Shirley!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Public path Peddie Street to Tait's Lane

I have in the past dealt with a number of complaints about the condition of the above pathway, which runs from the middle of Tait's Lane to Peddie Street - complaints have previously included graffiti and litter.
However, recently residents have expressed concern at the state of the fencing running along the pathway and I contacted Home Scotland (who own the houses to the south of the path) about this.
I am pleased to say that, having inspected the situation, Home Scotland has agreed to carry out repairs to the fencing and in the reply it is indicated this will be done in the near future.