Thursday, March 31, 2011

Getting things done ... Disabled Parking Bays - Union Place car park

Following residents' requests for better disabled parking facilities in the Union Place car park, I took up the matter with the City Council's Head of Transportation.

He has responded positively as follows :

"As per your earlier request we have looked at the Union Place vicinity and are proposing to proceed with four marked Disabled Parking places / spaces within the two DCC managed off street car parks on Union Place (two in each car park). No on street spaces can be provided, however the off street provision should assist local residents' requirements.

I will arrange for the Car Park team to have the markings to be updated, this will be early in financial year 2011/12. I understand that no additional orders are necessary as the off street parking orders allow for this provision."

Nick Clegg: Why the Liberal Democrats are saying YES! to Fairer Votes

Wednesday ...

A very busy day yesterday, including :

* A meeting with Dundee Museum of Transport representatives at the building in Roseangle (see right) that they hope to soon open as the temporary premises for the museum.     Although their long term aim is to locate at a larger site in Maryfield, they are keen to get the museum open meantime in Roseangle and residents will welcome the news that the long-empty building and site in Roseangle will come back into use, particularly for such a worthwhile project.

* Along with my ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready, I took part in a meeting at St Peter's Free Church to discuss further ways in which this fabulously renovated building can be used as a community resource and for concerts and other activities.    I have also been in touch with Angus and Dundee Tourism officers to see how they can assist with this, given the great historical interest in the church, the church of the Rev Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-43).

* I took part in the Dundee House Project Board's latest meeting, at a time when the building project is nearing completion.

* I attended a briefing on tenant participation in Dundee, run by the City Council's Housing Department.

* I met a number of residents in the Polepark area about issues of local concern.

* I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Kaye, Managing Director of National Express's UK Bus operation.    Dave was taking part in an event in the City Square where the Dundee public could meet senior staff from National Express, including Simon Mathieson, the Acting Director of National Express Dundee.    This was an excellent initiative to let Dundee people highlight their issues about bus services in the city and let local people meet senior representatives of one of the major bus operators in Dundee.

* I also had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Dundee Youth Council at the City Chambers last night.   Congratulations go to Matthew Landsburgh on being elected Chair and to all the other members of the new Dundee Youth Council.    Listening to the debate last night, there is no doubt that the DYC will become firmly established as a strong voice for young people in the city.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Getting things done ... City Road

Residents have expressed concern to me about the state of the pavement in City Road, following the problems with the sewer a few months ago.    I have raised this with the City Council and received the following response :

"A repair was carried out on part of the footway on City Road on 23rd March 2011. An order is to be raised to investigate the cause of the subsidence ... Road Maintenance will advise you in due course of their findings."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On STV news - campaigning against graffiti vandalism

I took part tonight in the STV news, highlighting the concerns of West End residents about graffiti vandalism.

I have reported the graffiti highlighted to the City Council, Scottish and Southern Energy and Scottish Water for action to get it removed.

There's another community initiative to tackle the graffiti issue in the West End this June, following the super effort by residents and others last year.   If you wish more details, please contact me at fraser@frasermacpherson.org.uk

Yes to Fairer Votes!

Good to see cross-party support for the Fairer votes campaign today :

Bus services update

I have received complaints about the fact that the 17 service no longer serves Tesco in South Road.   The Acting Director of National Express Dundee has advised me :

"The change to the 17 service has been made to improve the punctuality of the route overall and to help the City Centre to Whitfield service.

Prior to 6th March the 15 and 17 were causing problems for passengers on the Whitfield side of the City because they were bunching together and running late. One of the reasons for this was that the 15 was being delayed in Albert Street.
We changed the service from 6th March so that the 17 served Albert Street and not the 15. We were able to give the 17 more time to cope with the congestion on Albert Street by shortening the route and missing out Tesco at South Road. The benefit of this to the people on the City Centre to Whitfield section outweighs the disbenefit of those people wanting to access the Tesco store which is still served by the 14 and 28/29

I hope this explains the reasoning and I do understand that some people will not like the change but it was made to try and benefit the majority of people."

I have responded :

"Thanks Simon;  the problem with this is that, whilst I appreciate the benefit to the people in the Whitfield area in the east of the city, it disadvantages those in the west of the city, particularly those not served by the 14/28/29 but who would like to get to Tesco on South Road.   I’d be grateful if this could be reconsidered, although I do appreciate the sense in the change in the Albert Street area."

It would clearly be beneficial if the 17 service again covered Tesco South Road and I hope that National Express Dundee will re-consider.

A number of constituents have also raised the issue of the service 5 route at its western edge - all Service 5 buses are routed in an anti-clockwise direction around Ninewells Hospital and the Technology Park - and the following comment from a resident is typical :

"… this provides a very unsatisfactory service pattern along the most westerly section of Perth Road (4 per hour inbound and none outbound) and a long winded journey time for passengers travelling to the Tech Park. With four buses per hour, surely two could be routed clockwise, thereby giving a half hourly headway in each direction and perhaps generating some patronage from the Old Folks' Home, the flats and the two Housing Estates."

National Express Dundee's Acting Director has promised to look into this issue and respond soon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday ...

A long day, starting with a 'day job' meeting at Scottish Government at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh (absolutely beautiful morning - see right!)   

Thereafter, on return to Dundee, I held two surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and at Harris Academy and met with constituents in Pentland.  Please note that, after my forthcoming Thursday evening surgery at 6.15pm at Blackness Primary School, I do not have surgeries during the school holidays, but I can be contacted at any time at home on Dundee 459378 or contact surgeries@frasermacpherson.org.uk

Tonight, I attended City Council meetings at which I supported the administration to undertake a review of the school estate across the city including the West End, moved an amendment to support a officer report on housing benefit and welfare reform, questioned the removal of Saturday customer services at the City Square offices, and sought assurances about how best to run community services - including community learning - in the re-organisation of City Council departments.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seymour Avenue unadopted footway upgrading

Seymour Avenue is on the City Council's unadopted footways adoption programme for 2010/11, but, as the financial year reaches it end later this week, the street's pavements are not yet made up to a good standard. 

I asked the City Engineer for clarification and he has replied as follows:

"Due to the severe winter, some footway works have been delayed and require to be carried out in the new financial year.

Seymour Avenue is programmed to be carried out in May 2011."

Sunday Song

Let's Dance - Donna Summer - 1978 - a Fraser favourite!

Some of last week’s activities …

On Tuesday, I had much pleasure in attending a meeting of the support group for Jericho House. This project is extremely worthwhile, providing care and support to men recovering from alcohol problems. We discussed various projects being undertaken by Jericho House of benefit to the residents and I am really pleased to join the support group to assist the project.

I then attended a meeting of the Finance and Operations Committee of Dundee Contemporary Arts, where we discussed and agreed DCA’s budget for 2011-12. Thereafter, along with a number of fellow councillors, I attended a civic reception to thank all who helped during the severe weather period in December/January. Many staff put in a huge effort above and beyond the call of duty during this period, particularly to help with meals of wheels, other social care and winter maintenance in very difficult conditions. It was a good initiative on the part of the City Council’s Chief Executive and the Lord Provost to thank all involved.

Also on Tuesday, I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of Barnetts Motor Group to discuss the re-launch of their Barneys Charity Fund, aimed at helping local charities, community groups and worthwhile local projects, and I am pleased to accept the Chair of the Barneys Charity Fund Committee, on which there will be community representatives. The company has kindly agreed to donate a minimum of £2000 for local projects in the West End in the first year, which is an excellent boost to community groups in our area. More details will be available soon on how local groups can apply for a share of this funding.

On Thursday, as well as holding my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended a meeting of the Dundee West Transition Town Group’s home insulation team to discuss how home insulation in the local area can be further promoted.

I also attended an enjoyable civic reception to mark the end – and the achievements of - Dundee Travel Active – a project launched when I was the City Council’s Planning and Transport Convener. Here’s Anthony Active, the project’s mascot, at the reception - right.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Roadworks - Perth Road/Riverside Avenue

In response to constituents' enquiries about the current roadworks at the Perth Road/Riverside Avenue junction, I asked for an update from the City Engineer and have been updated as follows:

"The works at Perth Road/Riverside Avenue are for the creation of a longer/wider slip lane off Riverside Avenue into Perth Road heading eastbound.

This is a traffic safety related project and is being provided to improve visibility at the junction for right turning vehicles (heading west) at that junction.

The works are being carried out by Tayside Contracts and should be completed within 3 weeks (having started on Monday)."

Earth Hour Scotland 2011

WWF's Earth Hour is the world’s largest display of hope for a bright future. From London to Sydney, New York and Singapore, people all across the world will be switching out their lights for one hour to show they care about tackling climate change and protecting the natural world.

In Scotland, thousands of people switched off at the same time as iconic landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, Falkirk Wheel, Kelvingrove Museum and the Wallace Monument.

Earth Hour 2011 in Scotland will be the biggest and best yet.    There is more than switching off the lights - check out all the ways you can get involved.

Scottish Liberal Democrat broadcast

Friday, March 25, 2011

Magdalen Green in film!

There was much activity on Magdalen Green this morning - a film crew from Greenroom Films were filming the green as part of a production for a V&A at Dundee promotional film - see below.  

It is great to see the green featured along with other key Dundee locations, such as Broughty Castle, The Law and Maggie's Centre.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Alison Burns for Dundee City West!

Liberal Democrats in Dundee were today quick off the mark in formally adopting well known Dundee lawyer and jazz singer Alison Burns as their parliamentary candidate for the re-named "Dundee City West" parliamentary seat, that includes the West End.

Brought up in Downfield, Alison became one of the first female apprentice engineers at Timex in 1977, before going on to have success as a professional actress working at Dundee Rep and on TV shows for Channel 4 and BBC Scotland. 

Her career as a singer also took off and she worked with Danny Wilson, Michael Marra and co-founded the well-known Dundee singing group The Penny Dainties.

Having gained a law degree at the University of Dundee in the 1990s, Alison worked as a solicitor for Thorntons WS in Dundee and Arbroath before moving on to becoming a consultant for a leading London law firm. In 2001 she co-founded a successful music company.  

Alison also sits on the board of Dundee University Students' Association (DUSA) as an external trustee and is a practising solicitor specialising in Intellectual Property law.

On becoming parliamentary candidate Alison said, "It's a real honour to have been selected as the LibDem parliamentary candidate for Dundee City West, the city where I was born, grew up in and love.

I am not a career politician but I got involved in politics because I feel passionate about creating a fairer Scotland and a more prosperous and vibrant Dundee.

I am personally meeting with as many local residents as possible in order to act on their concerns and to establish a credible alternative to Labour and the SNP in Dundee."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dundee in the 1950s

For some superb photographs of Dundee in the 1950s at http://www.normanmoore.com/dundee/.    Here's Balgay Road - below :

Budget 2011: Helping Alarm Clock Britain

Dear Fraser,

Today the coalition government has announced a budget that will return the UK to sustainable and balanced economic growth and which puts helping Alarm Clock Britain at its heart.

We are increasing the income tax threshold by £630 to £8105; lifting hundreds of thousands of low income earners out of paying income tax and putting £126 back in the pockets of low and middle income earners. This is in addition to the last budget that took nearly a million of the lowest income earners out of tax and made millions of hard working individuals £200 better off. We are making a real difference in people’s lives - from the front page of our manifesto to people’s back pockets.

Alarm Clock Britain will be further helped by the measures we have taken to give motorists a fairer deal. We are shifting taxation away from the pumps and onto the broader shoulders of the oil companies instead - with fuel duty being cut and taxation on oil companies rising.

At the same time we are making the wealthy pay their fair share with increased measures to tackle tax avoidance, higher charges for non-doms and a special tax on private jets. This budget also places green growth front and centre – the Green Investment Bank will begin operation next year with £3bn of capitalisation, delivering an additional £18bn of investment in green infrastructure by 2014-15.

We were left a toxic economic legacy by Labour with a record deficit and debt. Under Ed Balls Labour have no answers and solutions to the mess they left. The difficult decisions we have taken in government have rebuilt confidence in Britain’s ability to pay its way, kept interest rates lower than they would otherwise have been, and have provided the stability that business and individuals need to invest in the UK’s economy.

There are no easy decisions in this budget. But we are delivering a budget which will mean that that those who can pay more will; and those who are working hard to make ends meet will get a helping hand. This budget is progressive, green, liberal and what our country needs at this time.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg MP
Deputy Prime Minister & Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grit on West End roads and pavements

As a result of winter maintenance over the snowy period in December, there is grit on many local pavements and roads and, now the chance of further snow and ice has disappeared, residents are rightly asking when this grit is going to be cleaned away.

The Waste Management Department of the City Council has advised me :

"We have 4 small compact sweepers and 3 medium size mechanical sweepers that are undertaking this task. In the west end there are a number of manual street sweeping beats and mobile beats. The street sweepers on the manual beats are being instructed to sweep all grit into the channel. The mechanical sweepers will then run the channels uplifting the grit. On the mobile routes we will be using a combination of manual sweeping and the mechanical sweeping to uplift the grit. We are currently working on the main thoroughfares across the city. We will then proceed into residential streets.

Additionally are also doing diamonds and islands at junctions between 6am and 7am and at the weekends. A nightshift is being planned in the next few weeks to do Kingsway, Forfar Road, Riverside Drive etc. This allows us to complete central reservations/roundabouts etc. Any areas that we are unable to complete during the day. Any complaints that we recieve will also be attended too."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Road safety success at Sinderins

I'm pleased to see that, following my last update about pedestrian safety at the Blackness Avenue/Hawkhill junction, the City Council has erected the agreed six bollards at the footpath edge on Blackness Avenue and immediately to the east on Hawkhill.

These will emphasise to drivers not to drive too close to the pavement along Hawkhill, where pupils are walking to and from school.


Signpost event in Dundee

Signpost International has asked that I highlight their upcoming superb night at the Apex Hotel in Dundee, to benefit the many impoverished communities in India, Uganda and Philippines that Signpost works in.

See below for further details, call Dundee 660072, or e-mail enquiries@signpost-international.org.

Mr Douglas Lang

I was saddened to learn of the death of Mr Douglas Lang of Perth Road, who died last Friday in an avalanche, whilst climbing in Glen Doll.

My thoughts are with Mr Lang's family at this sad time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blackness Road - buses only entrance/exit at Hawkhill

A number of residents have asked why there continues to be a "buses only" section of Blackness Road, at its junction with Hawkhill.   I raised this matter with the City Council's Head of Transportation, who has responded as follows :

"In response to your query relating to Blackness Road, the principle of having a bus only link at the eastern section of Blackness Road is linked to the function of the Hawkhill Bypass.

It acts as a restriction that prevents general traffic from 'rat running' to avoid the traffic signals at the junction of Bellfield Street. The removal of the bus only section and opening it up to general traffic would undermine the purpose of hawkhill bypass and create additional turning manoeuvres at the Blackness Road / Hawkhill and Blackness Road / Bellfield St / Ure street junctions. This is not desirable as these additional movements could create a road safety problem where one does not exist at present. The most appropriate road for general traffic is Hawkhill bypass and this should be maintained as the main thoroughfare.

The bus only link also ensures that buses are not impeded by general traffic to or from the city centre/ Ninewells and to remove it would send a wrong message in terms of using more sustainable modes of transport. The number 22 uses this bus lane and this service is one of the busiest in the city and any additional delay would impact on National Express Dundee and their journey times."

Sunday Song ...

A great song from the eighties from Boy Meets Girl :

City Council sponsored golf competitions

With grateful thanks to the City Council's Leisure and Communities Department for the poster download, here are details of the City Council's sponsored golf competitions for 2011 :

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friendly bus concerns

I have had a number of complaints recently from elderly residents about the punctuality of the Friendly Bus sheltered housing shopping service. 

Earlier this week, the bus was an hour late getting to one sheltered complex in the West End and was also too small to accommodate all passengers.

I have raised this with Stagecoach Strathtay who operate the service and am promised a full investigation into the matter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

West Grove Avenue roadway

Having received residents' complaints about the state of the roadway in West Grove Avenue, I raised this with the City Council and have been advised as follows :

"An order has been raised to fill a number of potholes in West Grove Avenue with a timescale for completion of 28 days."

In Glasgow ...

Had a long but thoroughly enjoyable day in Glasgow today, running a conference with the 'day job'.   And a lovely day too ... photo below of Buchanan Street in the City Centre ...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Friends of Wighton Update

From Sheena Wellington :

The Friends of Wighton's monthly Cappuccino Concert is on Saturday 19th March.

The performers this month will be the excellent Angus Folk, who will give a lively concert of traditional song.

The event starts at 10.30am with coffee and newspapers, and the music will be from 11am.

The venue is the Wighton Heritage Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library.

Admission is £5 on the door (including coffee) and all are welcome.

For more information please see http://www.friendsofwighton.com/ or call 07792 336804.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday and Wednesday ...

Yesterday morning, I had a very useful meeting with the City Council's Head of Transportation about parking issues.  

Last night, I took the minutes at the latest committee meeting of Friends of Magdalen Green, at which we had a very productive discussion on local matters, including consultation with local residents on new BBQ tables on the green and on our forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

This afternoon, I met with another committee member of the group on the Green to look at damage to the grass west of the old bowling green area - see right.   I have reported this matter to the Leisure & Communities Department.

I then attended the launch of the merger of Tayside Deaf Association with Deaf Action at Discovery Point.   It was a very enjoyable, informative and well-attended event at which there were various speakers including service users and a super performance by the Claypotts Castle Primary School Signing Choir.

Tonight, I took the minutes at the latest committee meeting of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust - a very productive meeting at which we concentrated on fundraising progress.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Latest from WestFest 2011!

Sinderins fight concern

As reported in today's "Courier", I have expressed my concerns and those of West End constituents about the weekend fight near Sinderins in which around 30 people were involved and which left a 51-year-old man needing hospital treatment for a head wound.

This is a matter of concern to residents, particularly as it took place in an area where such behaviour is extremely unusual.

I have been in touch with Tayside Police regarding the matter.


Monday, March 14, 2011

City Council tonight ...

After my weekly ward surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy, I attended tonight's City Council meetings, at which :

* I welcomed progress with the proposed Riverside Nature Park.

* I expressed concern about the City Council's SNP administration being £1.5 million over budget as highlighted in today's Courier, and asked questions about the huge jump in City Development Department overspend.  

* I queried slippage in capital expenditure - as of 31st January, the council's outturn is only 68% of budget, down 8% on the equivalent outturn last year.

Monday music ...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

West End bus services - an update

I have been in touch with the Acting Director of National Express Dundee regarding a number of West End bus issues, including :

* I have received complaints that the 2 service's replacement service (the 4/4A) no longer serves Perth Road (the 4S school service still serves Perth Road). I have received the following response :

"Services 2 and 4 have been the subject of many complaints from users since they were last changed. These complaints have, in the main, been about poor timekeeping and buses failing to turn up. There have also been complaints about overcrowding due to the size of bus used and the reduction to an hourly service.

The cause of the timekeeping issues has been that there has not been enough time allocated to the routes to allow them to adhere to the timetable properly. The decision to take the service out of Camperdown Leisure Park during the day means that we can use the time saved on this section to give more time between the City Centre and Dryburgh and this improve punctuality.

The decision to change the route away from the Perth Road has been made due to the constraints the library/triangle puts on vehicle size. We can only use small mini-buses on the 2 at the moment because larger buses 'ground' when they use the triangle. We need to be able to put larger buses on the new 4/4A to deal with the complaints we have been having about overcrowding and to do this we had to come away from using the triangle."

* I had asked him to look at the 22 service running from Ninewells Hospital in the West End Ward to Downfield. If a passenger gets on the bus at Ninewells, or, say, Blackness Road, the hefty £2 charge takes effect at the stage at Clepington Road.   He has responded :

"I am unable to change the fare on the 22 between Downfield and Ninewells Hospital as requested. However, on service 26 the fare from Downfield to Ninewells is £1.60 and I hope that this will help residents in that area."

I have pointed out to him that, whilst I appreciate the point about the 26 service alternative, its timetable is far more limited than the 22 - there are no evening buses and no Sunday service.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Opposing councillor pay increase proposals

As reported in today's Courier, I have slammed the proposals of the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee (SLARC) that has suggested councillors in Scotland should get a 24% pay rise.  The proposals are ridiculous and pathetically out of touch.

The suggestion of a pay increase for councillors at a time of staff pay freezes and cuts in services by the SNP-controlled Dundee City Council is totally ridiculous and if it went ahead, I would certainly not accept a single penny of it.

My colleague Cllr Helen Dick and I refused to take the previous increase and we view the pay increase proposals as completely inappropriate.

Campaigning in the West End for Fairer Votes!

My Dundee Liberal Democrat colleagues - parliamentary candidates Alison Burns (Dundee City West) and Allan Petrie (Dundee City East) have met up with Alison McInnes, Liberal Democrat MSP for North East Scotland, in the West End to show their support for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign.   They are pictured below in Taylor's Lane.

Alison Burns said, "At the moment, MPs can be elected with fewer than one vote in three. With fairer votes, MPs would have to aim to get more than 50% of the vote to be sure of winning. This is good for democracy."

Allan Petrie added, "We need political reform now and the Alternative Vote is our best chance. For far too long we've had a situation where a monkey could get elected just by wearing the right colour of rosette.

That must change if we want the right people in government taking decisions on our behalf. We must say goodbye to First Past the Post, and vote Yes to AV."

Alison McInnes MSP said, "I am delighted that Dundee Liberal Democrats are campaigning for a YES vote on 5th May. The campaign for Fairer Votes is gathering momentum in Dundee and across Scotland."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thomson Street finally reopens

As reported in tonight's Evening Telegraph, Thomson Street has finally re-opened after months of closure due to works by Scottish Water and Scotland Gas Networks.

As the Tele reports, I have paid tribute to the patience of residents over months of disruption.   

Although there will be a 10 day further closure at the end of April to allow for road resurfacing works, it will mean that the current poor road surface, full of patches where the road has been dug up,will be properly renewed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Been away in Crieff ...

I have been away the past couple of days with the "day job", running a conference in Crieff - a slightly snowy Crieff (see below) - great event and back in Dundee in time for my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School this evening.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Waste collection arrangements in Blackness area

Numerous residents in Rosefield Street, Forest Park Road and Forest Park Place have been in contact with me recently regarding the City Council's recent proposal to introduce a wheelie bin collection in parts of these streets.

Although some residents have welcomed the move away from the old 'traditional' polybin collection as it had its problems, many residents are concerned that in some parts of the area, there may be problems with wheelie bins being left out on the street permanently - an on-going issue in streets like Peddie Street, Blackness Street, Hawkhill and parts of Blackness Road, for example.

Both I and the chair of the local community group - Community Spirit - have raised these concerns with the City Council and a representative of the Waste Management Department will be attending the next meeting of Community Spirit to discuss the issue.   It is good to see the department engaging with local residents to discuss the matter.

The Waste Management Department has also advised me :

"We will be monitoring the situation once wheelie bins are introduced. We will allocate one wheelie bin per property and label the bin which will enable us to identify the household should there be an issue regarding bins being left kerbside, outwith collection day. In this instance we can letter households, reminding them of their responsibilites within the scheme. The Environmental Health and Trading Standards Department will be responsible for non-compliance in relation to back areas.

We are consulting with City Development looking at introducing eurobins into Peddie Street. If this goes ahead and proves successsful, we may review the arrangements in Rosefield Street and Forest Park Road should the wheelie bins prove problematic."

Given the concerns that a wheelie bin fire caused in Peddie Street last September, moves to look at alternative collection arrangements here will be welcomed by residents.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Concern over break-ins

Last night's Evening Telegraph reported on a number of recent break-ins in Marchfield Road, Pitfour Street, Rosefield Street and Peddie Street, together with my comments expressing concern about this.

Intrusion into people’s homes causes great upset and anxiety to householders, in addition to the theft of personal possessions.   

I have no doubt that Tayside Police will be putting in significant resources to apprehending those responsible and the co-operation of any members of the public with information is vital.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Afternoon at the Botanic Garden ...

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a get-together of residents from River Crescent, at the Botanic Garden cafe.  

It was a very pleasant event and a good opportunity to chat with residents about local issues.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Bus timetable - Perth Road

Residents in Clovis Duveau Drive have pointed out to me that the bus shelter on Perth Road opposite their street has no bus timetable on it.

I contacted the City Council regarding this and am advised :

"This shelter was converted to polycarbonate due to vandalism.

When Trueform installed the polycarbonate they did not fit a pane with holes in order to install a timetable case within the shelter.

I will speak to Trueform and ask for them to install a timetable case asap."

Riverside Drive - speed limit and pedestrian safety

Many residents have contacted me about their continuing concerns about the 50mph speed limit on Riverside Drive, and the lack of any pedestrian crossings on the road - an issue I have raised on numerous occasions in the past.    

Having previously requested for a speed/safety survey on the roadway, I recently asked the City Council's Head of Transportation for an update on the situation and on progress towards the provision of pedestrian crossings.

He advised me as follows :

"The speed limit review data has already been captured and will be considered alongside all other roads in Dundee towards the tail end of 2011 in one composite report. It is too early to make any assumptions in relation to the recent fatalities and I will have to await the outcomes of the investigations.

In relation to the provision of controlled pedestrian crossing facilities this is being looked at already between my Traffic Team and colleagues within Leisure and Communities, however these are very early investigations and no location or budget has been identified."

There is no doubt that provision of pedestrian crossing facilities and a review of the 50mph speed limit would be welcomed by residents and I hope there will be progress on this in the near future.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

An end in sight for Thomson Street road closure

I am advised by the City Engineer that Thomson Street will finally re-open on 11th March.

Over past months, I have been raising numerous residents’ concerns during the road closure due to the Scottish Water and then Scotland Gas Networks (SGN) works – these concerns covering the delays in the work being completed and other issues such as bin collections.

Given that works on the roadway started way back on 23rd August, residents have been extremely patient during what has been many months of road closure.    I am therefore hoping that when the remaining work concludes, Thomson Street can get back to normality.

It is important that the road is properly resurfaced and I have also sought assurances that disabled parking bays will be properly renewed for residents after the road is resurfaced.

The City Engineer has advised me :

“SGN complete and road open by 11 March 2011

6 week period to allow settlement to take place

Surfacing works by Tayside Contracts 25 April 2011

Works will take up to 10 days”

Friday, March 04, 2011

Polepark Road - empty houses concern

I am very concerned that a council bedsit in Polepark Road has been lying empty for well over two years (since September 2008 to be exact). I raised this with the Director of Housing and was advised :

"This property was extensively damaged - provisional estimated cost £20 K.+ - when recovered as an abandonment in August 2008. At that time an operational decision was taken to not commit this level of resources on a property with little or no demand (ground floor bedsit).

What should have happened is what we are now doing and an options appraisal exercise is being undertaken to determine how best to resolve the issues around this particular vacant property."

I have replied stating :

"I must confess considerable concern that an options appraisal exercise has not been carried out sooner at (this property in) Polepark Road and that the property has been left in this situation for such a lengthy period. Can I please be given an assurance over the timeframe for the options appraisal and can I have sight of it when complete and detail of any decisions taken as a result of it?"

I also asked about another property that is lying empty in Polepark Road and was advised :

" ... this property was fire damaged a few weeks ago and we are in the process of arranging the appropriate repairs to allow the decanted tenant to return a.s.a.p."

I have responded as follows :

" ... could you give me some clarity on dates? When did the fire take place and if the department is now “in the process of arranging the appropriate repairs” what he been happening with this property in the meantime? When will it be available for the decanted tenant to return?"

There's an important issue here. At the last Scrutiny Committee, I expressed concern that the time taken for reletting houses under the SNP administration is getting worse.  

In the 6 months to 30th September 2009, the average time to relet a council house was 74.5 days; it had worsened by the 6 months to 30th September 2010 to 98.7 days, despite the SNP administration's "enhanced relets policy" that has cost council tenants a small fortune.

At the Scrutiny Committee, I was assured that effort was being made to improve matters and get average relet time down to 65 days – but the Housing Department seemed not to know when this target will be met. I have therefore also sought clarity on this from the Director of Housing.