At the briefing meeting I attended last week, we were advised that Twitter would be used as one means of updating residents and the site is now up and running at http://twitter.com/A92_EastDock_St
Monday, 31 August 2009
At the briefing meeting I attended last week, we were advised that Twitter would be used as one means of updating residents and the site is now up and running at http://twitter.com/A92_EastDock_St
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Saturday, 29 August 2009
And wasn't he very, very, very good! Also liked Rozelle from Trinidad and Tobago.
Following a spate of graffiti complaints earlier this week in the West End, the Council’s Cleansing Services Manager advised me:
"At the Community Safety Partnership Operational group meeting on Tuesday I suggested we set up a short term group to look at the issues to determine if there are any further steps we can take to help combat this issue, and this will be taken forward over the coming weeks.
"Discussions have taken place with the Criminal Justice section, and agreement has been reached for community service people to be involved in painting the media cabinets. We anticipate this will start within a month or so. We are also providing graffiti removal packs to community groups to remove low level graffiti."
I welcome this - it will add to the good work in terms of graffiti removal by the Council’s Anti-Graffiti Squad. However, it is vital that all agencies including the Procurator Fiscal’s Service, Children’s Panel and the Courts take the issue very seriously. Following my raising the graffiti issue in the West End with the local Community Planning Partnership for the West End, a local working party to tackle graffiti in the West End, including local resident participation, has been established.
It is in my view – and the view of other councillors – that graffiti is a total menace and it must be proactively tackled and stamped out. I am pleased that agencies are prepared to work together to proactively tackle this vandalism.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Although to the east of the West End Ward, this major project will impact on the West End with an increase of traffic on Riverside Drive and possible congestion at the Swallow roundabout. This is because trunk traffic from the Tay Bridge going to the north of Dundee will be diverted via Riverside Drive and the Kingsway during the works.
I sought assurances from BEAR Scotland that they have contingency arrangements in place should there be tailbacks at the Swallow roundabout back along Riverside Avenue.
Here's part of a letter I received today from BEAR about the project (and see http://tinyurl.com/eastdock) :
SCHEME NO. 07/NE/0101/025
Transport Scotland and Dundee City Council are working in partnership to deliver an essential road maintenance and junction improvement project within this financial year on the A92 trunk road between Gellatly Street and Greendykes Road.
The £2.8 Million project will involve resurfacing 2.3Km of the carriageway and the installation of a new signalised junction at Trades Lane and City Quay, which forms part of the Dundee Waterfront development plan. In order to resolve the long term flooding problem in the area we will also be installing a pumped drainage system at the south of Trades Lane. A leaflet is enclosed which provides details about the project and proposed Traffic Management arrangements.
The works are set to commence on the 8th September lasting for an estimated 10 weeks. It is inevitable that there will be some disruption and delays to road users. However, this is a Lane Rental type project where the contractor is awarded a bonus for early completion and penalised if the works take longer than the agreed timescales, such that any inconvenience to road users, residents and businesses is minimised.
I trust this helps to explain the nature of the project and the efforts being made to minimise delay during the works. It is hoped that the long term benefits will outweigh the inconvenience during construction.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
May I make clear, this is not a criticism of the reports authors, who have clearly conducted a very searching and detailed inquiry but they must surely have been frustrated with their findings that even basic office procedures, such as minute taking at important meetings, were not observed.
For instance, I refer to recommendations on Case Conferences, item 11.1.1 (on page 46). ‘All agencies must ensure the most up to date information is available to the case conference’
Does it really take reports such as these to advise anyone attending such an important meeting that they should be in possession of up to date information?
I think that I will not be the only person who, having read the reports, was deeply concerned at the apparent lack of preparedness in relation to the Initial Referral Discussion on 28th February 2008, some 17 days before the death of Brandon Muir.
If these recommendations regarding recording of case notes and minute taking at meetings were not already being carried out by the agencies involved, questions must asked, if not - why not?
The Serious Case Review painted a picture of an inadequate system where proper recording of case notes was something of an exception rather than a rule and “little or no managerial oversight of work” existed (to quote Para 3.3.9 on Page 8). Why such a system – or perhaps I should say “non system” – would have been allowed to develop must now be subject to our scrutiny.
Much comment has also been made over the last few days about whether the shocking, violent, death of Brandon Muir could have been ‘predicted’.
The more pertinent question is whether it could have been prevented. The Serious Case Review states there was ‘little opportunity to prevent the fatal assault’ on Brandon. The key to this would seem to have been that with the information available at the Initial Referral Discussion meeting, whilst there were ‘serious concerns’, there ‘were no red lights’ and immediate removal of Brandon to a place of safety was not considered necessary. This of course was the missed window of opportunity that would have changed the turn of events.
The author also raised the benefit of hindsight. It is my belief the decision to remove a child to a place of safety must be based on whether the decision makers charged with the responsibility of that decision, with certain information before them, would consider the child to be at risk. Yet the report does not actually tell us what information was brought to the table at the meeting on 28th February 2008, so we are unable to question what information caused ‘serious concern’ but not a ‘red light’. In light of the disastrous consequences that ensued, surely we must be asking if the threshold for a ‘red light’ should be lower than whatever information was presented at that meeting on 28th February.
So - perhaps scrutiny should now be made of the criteria or guidelines for the categorisation of cases as a result of Initial Referral Discussion meetings. When does a case become a “red light”; when not, and are the criteria that lie behind this adequate and robust.
Mindful of the restriction of time for me to speak, I can only say that the reports have left me with many more questions than answers.
Suggestions that elected members should scrutinise these reports in detail at an all party committee have been met with some resistance and I would make the point that any unwillingness to allow proper, detailed scrutiny will be viewed by a concerned public as being a wholly inadequate handling of, and response to, this report, - by Dundee City Council.
At this committee, members have – in terms of Standing Orders of the Council – the ability to ask a couple of questions and limit contributions to 4 minutes. Further, there is no opportunity to call witnesses to this meeting. It goes without saying that all will agree with accepting the recommendations from Professor Wilson and Mr Hawthorn but in terms of a proper response by Dundee City Council to these reports, failure to bring these reports to an adequate and public scrutiny process would be unsatisfactory, inadequate and not acceptable in terms of properly scrutinising a catastrophic failure of service delivery.
I would further suggest that councillors should be afforded a further meeting with the authors of the reports in order that they may ask further questions thrown up by the reports. I am in agreement with Bailie Borthwick that only 90 minutes to read such an in-depth and complex document prior to meeting with the reports’ authors was woefully inadequate. It is only now that having read and digested the information in the reports that serious questions can be raised with the reports’ authors.
The answers to these questions are nothing more and nothing less than Brandon’s family and, indeed, all citizens of Dundee deserve."
Sunday, 23 August 2009
At present, we are in the process of finalising the ecological design, which will inform the final land uses and the Leisure and Communities Department are currently preparing a management and maintenance plan, which will help clarify requirements and responsibilities for the different parts of the site.
Technical issues and agreements have still to be reached in relation to the former use as a landfill, although we are working with all stakeholders to ensure that the progress of the Nature Park will not be hindered.
As the project design advances there will be consultations with elected members, 'special interest groups' and the wider community and these initial consultations are in development."
I am pleased to see progress taking place. Many West End residents have long wished to see the site opened to the public, particularly given its stunning views across Invergowrie Bay and the River Tay. I will continue to keep a close eye on progress in this matter.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Friday, 21 August 2009
Thursday, 20 August 2009
“The works will commence on Monday 24th August and will be completed within 5 days. I will instruct the contractor to reinstate the footpath and kerbing etc. back to its original condition and alignment, which will allow the original means of access for all pedestrians along Riverside Drive. I will also insist on the temporary footpath (formed adjacent to the railway line) to be blocked off to negate any further vandalism.”
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
I am advised that all people who qualify for this useful help scheme to convert to digital television will be automatically sent information about it, probably starting next January - in plenty time before the old analogue TV signals are switched off in the summer of next year. However, there will be other publicity to ensure people are made aware of the scheme and I have specifically invited BBC digital switchover help scheme representatives to come to the community fayre being run as part of the West End Christmas Week later this year as it will be an ideal opportunity to discuss the benefits of the scheme with local people in Dundee's West End.
It is absolutely vital that the recommendations from today's reports are acted upon swiftly and in full. At this morning's briefing meeting, I sought assurances that there is adequate risk assessment to prevent harm to children. What happened to Brandon Muir was a tragedy and it is vital that all agencies promptly address the issues highlighted by Jimmy Hawthorn and Professor Wilson in their reports.
Child protection concerns are a Scotland wide issue. The Scottish Government must look again at all existing child protection cases across the country in light of this report.
"Thousands of children live with drug addicted parents and could be at risk. Back in March I asked the First Minister if he would review this.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Monday, 17 August 2009
Bruce Cartwright, the joint administrator from PricewaterhouseCoopers wrote to me today in the following terms :
Sunday, 16 August 2009
For the record, here's the result :
1(1) Luke Akehurst LA
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Bassey for Saturday.
Both before and after the football photocall today, been delivering parts of the West End with FOCUS; most grateful to all who helped today. Sore feet, so chilling out watching 'Hairspray' tonight on one of the Sky movie channels - we saw Hairspray in New York last year and the film is just about as good.
This was to mark the presentation of new strips sponsored by Hamish Robbie Lettings. The team has gone from strength to strength in recent months - in fact there's now two Riverside Boys' teams -Under 9s and Under 11s and the teams are now quality marked by the SFA. The new under 9s also reached the final in a local competition - a great start.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing said:
"High hedge disputes should be a relatively trivial matter, with those involved resolving things with a simple neighbourly chat.
Cllr Harry McGuigan, COSLA Community Wellbeing and Safety Spokesperson said:
"Clearly helping neighbours in our communities to avoid such disputes in the first place would be the best solution and we are working in partnership with the Scottish Government to help prevent all forms of antisocial behaviour in Scotland".
We welcome the news that the Scottish Government is seeking a solution to this problem. Our members cover the length and breadth of Scotland from Skye to Dumfries and Arran to Fife."
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Cllr Macpherson revealed that he had been in talks with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the administrators of the former owners of the site – Duncarse Riverside Ltd – about the possibility of the perimeter hoardings being moved to allow for the restoration of the original far more ‘open’ and safer pathway to the south of the site to be restored, pending the site being sold and construction work commencing at some point in the future.
Cllr Macpherson said, “Although there are issues about how any works would be funded and this is yet to be resolved, I do have to say that the administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers do appear anxious to find a solution to this and view, in principle, restoration of the original pathway as a sensible thing to do.
“Discussions will continue later this week and I am pleased that we are at last making some progress on this problem.”
Cllr Macpherson said that the possibility of graffiti removal at the site had also been discussed. He added, “The graffiti is pretty awful and no advertisement for the city for those arriving by train or along Riverside Drive by car – it would be good to see this mess cleaned away as soon as possible.”
It had been my intention to update the site today with an article about useful discussions with PricewaterhouseCoopers, administrators of the former Duncarse Riverside Limited - with regard to public safety at the former Homebase site on Riverside Drive.
Err ... but "Blogger" has technical problems tonight so that update will have to wait until tomorrow. Meantime, here's the video of the new Dundee branding ...
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Monday, 10 August 2009
Sunday, 9 August 2009
"The area inspector checked this section of footway on the south side of Perth Road between Thomson Street and Step Row and noted a small number of areas where the footway surface was in less than perfect condition however these areas are too shallow to fill with temporary material. In the short term he will continue to inspect this footway on a regular basis and monitor its condition. It has been provisionally included in a future (not this financial year) programme of improvement works although this is subject to change dependant on funding and its ranking in terms of deterioration compared with all other footways included in the annual inspection to assess condition."
I have written back saying "I am concerned that the pavement is being left and only being monitored at this time, particularly the usage by elderly people from the Paton’s Lane and Seafield Lane sheltered housing complexes" and pressing for assurances about resurfacing.
I have also received assurances about pavement repairs on Perth Road east of the Invercarse Hotel (north side) and have raised residents' complaints about pavement condition on parts of Seafield Road and on Blackness Road (north side around Rosefield Street and Rosefield Place).
Saturday, 8 August 2009
The shrubbery is greatly overgrown and protruding onto the pathway (the ground to the east and north side of the pathway is owned by NHS Tayside).
Here's the response from DCS :
Ever since I became leader of the Liberal Democrats I have been travelling the country, holding public meetings, listening and talking to the people I meet. The economy is in a mess, people are losing jobs and everywhere I go, people are angry at the way politicians have let them down.
The two old parties don’t really want to change a political system that keeps them in power or challenge the bankers who got the economy into such a terrible mess. The next election will be your chance to tell them they're wrong – your chance to vote for something different.
Many people believed they would get change for the better in 1997. Instead, under Labour, the gap between rich and poor has got bigger, our politics has got even dirtier, our civil liberties have been eroded, the environment around us is in danger and our international reputation is at a new low. Labour let us all down.
The Conservatives say they want change but all they really want is to keep things the way they are. They say they want fairness but demand tax cuts for millionaires. They say they want to protect the environment, but have linked up in Europe with people who deny climate change is a problem at all. They will promise everything and change nothing.
Britain is in the teeth of three crises: a huge banking crisis and recession, a rotten Westminster system abused by too many MPs for personal gain, and the threat of climate change. We need big changes to fix our economy, our discredited politics and our environment, yet both Labour and the Conservatives are letting the City, the House of Commons and polluters off the hook. No action against bankers’ bonuses. No action to give people the right to sack MPs guilty of breaking the rules. No action to slash emissions. They say just enough to get in the headlines, but when the spotlight moves on it's back to business as usual.
Even in these difficult times, giving all children from all backgrounds the life chances they deserve will always be my personal priority.
So if you want things to be different, choose a party that is different. Choose the Liberal Democrats.
Friday, 7 August 2009
If you would like to get involved, please email the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Winter Light Night will take place during this year's West End Christmas Week and as the activities will take place in Tay Square and around DCA/Sensation as well as across the City Centre, its hoped that many West End residents will attend and participate. More on this in the coming weeks ...
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Monday, 3 August 2009
Sunday, 2 August 2009
I am pleased that the Cabinet Secretary has given the assurance of bilateral discussions, with visits to and representations from, local councils. I am anxious that the case for capital funding for improvements of the Harris Academy building is made with Scottish Government and I made the point to Scottish Government that I want to see Harris Academy benefiting.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
1. Reduce the amount of packaging they give out
2. Take a more active role in cleaning up outside their shops
3. Report offenders