Saturday, 1 December 2012

Council acts on my complaint about pavement work in run-up to Christmas

As reported in today's Courier, I have welcomed news that my complaint about pavement works disrupting shops in Perth Road (see right) in the run-up to Christmas has resulted in a compromise that will see disruption hopefully now kept to a minimum.

I was very critical of a decision by Dundee City Council to allow a utility to dig up pavements outside shops in part of the Perth Road district shopping area, despite the council having an embargo on disruption to shopping areas in the run-up to Christmas.

Shops in Perth Road east of Seafield Road would have had the inconvenience of the pavements in the area being dug up from Monday of next week.   

Following concerns raised with me by local businesses, I raised this with the council and was advised:

“This work is indeed that of a Statutory Undertaker. It is being carried out by Scottish And Southern Energy Telecommunications. You may recall our correspondence of 19 November concerning similar work in Bellefield Avenue.   The work in Perth Road is the continuation of this scheme.

“I was of course fully cognisant of the Christmas Embargo being in place.   It was with this very thought in mind that I insisted the contractor complete the most disruptive sections of the scheme prior to the start of December. This they has duly done by carrying out road crossings on West Marketgait, Perth Road and Hawkhill, all on Sundays, to again lessen the inconvenience to the road user and avoid disrupting Christmas shoppers coming into our city centre.

I would expect the works on the Perth Road section to take no longer than a few days and I will ensure access to premises is maintained.”

I responded to the council in the following terms :

“I have to say I am very unhappy about the principle of the Christmas embargo being circumvented and the shops here being disrupted in what is the most important trading time of  year for them.   What’s the point in having a Christmas embargo if it is ignored?   I had always understood that the embargo was just that – an embargo – and that the utilities were perfectly aware of it.”

Having escalated the matter with the council's Chief Executive and Director of City Development, the Director of City Development reviewed the situation and updated me yesterday afternoon as follows:

“I accept that the embargo is there to ensure that the shops have no impediment to trading in the run up to Christmas; however, these works on the Perth Road are the final leg of a two week programme which has had to incur a slight runover.  My Network Management Team have reviewed the options and reached agreement with the contractor to work this Saturday and Sunday with possibly some Monday working.  The Saturday working will be east of Millers Wynd and not impact on the shop frontages, with the section between Seafield Road and Millers Wynd being undertaken on Sunday.  Any Monday working will be minor and hopefully will not be required, but is remaining in the programme in case unknown problems arise.

Hopefully you find this compromise acceptable and allows the works to complete with minimal impact on the local traders.  Access will be maintained to all doorways.”

The compromise the council has agreed with the contractor is a whole lot better than works affecting the shops during next week.   

Some of the shops here are open this Sunday so it would have been preferable if the work had not been agreed to at all at this stage, but hopefully any disruption will now prove minimal in its impact.     I am certainly hoping that the pavement here will be back to normal by Monday.