Saturday, March 31, 2012

School parking and pupil safety

Yesterday, I attended the first meeting of the City Council's new school parking and pupil safety working group, following the discussion last month at the council about this issue.

There was a useful and detailed discussion about pupil and pedestrian safety outside schools across Dundee and my suggestion of site visits to schools to look at the issues first-hand was agreed to.    These visits will take place during April.

Various aspects of improving safety at schools were looked into at yesterday's meeting, including parking enforcement, pupil 'walking buses', publicising concerns and looking at the initiatives of other local authorities.

A useful start was made was on this important issue and I will keep residents updated.

WWF's Earth Hour 2012

Support Earth Hour tonight ...

Friends of Wighton event later this morning ...

As mentioned by Sheena Wellington on MacAulay and Co on Radio Scotland yesterday, here's a reminder of a great event later today from Friends of Wighton:


On Saturday 31st March, the monthly cappuccino concert in Dundee's Wighton Centre will be performed by fiddle and guitar duo, Stewart Hardy & Frank McLaughlin.

The concert will run from 11am till 12 noon, with complimentary coffee and newspapers served from 10.30am.   And in the afternoon, from 2pm, there will be a fiddle workshop and a guitar workshop for anyone who wants to learn some of the musical tricks displayed in the morning's concert!

Admission to the concert is £5. Admission to the workshops is £5, or £2.50 for under-18s.

Also, on Wednesday 4th April, 1.15-1.45pm Paul Campbell & Skyrie are playing the monthly free lunchtime concert in the Wighton Centre, on fiddles and guitar.

For more info please visit www.friendsofwighton.com.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Riverside Nature Park - friends group

Last night, I attended a meeting of local people interested in setting up a friends group for Riverside Nature Park.     We had great input from the Friends of Barnhill Rock Garden, who explained how they got started and have become a hugely impressive team that has done so much to improve the Barnhill rock garden.

On 16th June, the Friends of Riverside Nature Park will be officially established, with the official launch of information plinths at the Nature Park.  Taking part during WestFest week, it is great to see the new Friends group getting established, joining other Friends groups in the West End at Magdalen Green, Balgay Park and the Botanic Garden.

Harris Academy Project Board

Yesterday, I also attended the latest meeting of the Harris Academy Project Board.      The Board was given assurances of progress with Historic Scotland about the project and the planning process will commence later this year.

There was a useful discussion about the role of the Scottish Futures Trust, participation by pupils, parents and the wider West End community in the new school design, transport arrangements during the decant from August 2013, and the facilities at the Rockwell decant site that will be home to Harris Academy from 2013-16.

Dundee Economic Summit

Yesterday, I took part - along with nearly 300 others from local businesses, the education sector, the Chamber of Commerce, the public sector and many others - in the Dundee Economic Summit.   See right.

Organised by the Dundee Partnership, it was a very positive morning spent discussing the economic future of our city - and all the positive developments in Dundee - including V&A at Dundee and the Waterfront development.

I had the opportunity to seek assurances that Dundee Rail Station will be upgraded and redeveloped before the V&A at Dundee opens and was pleased to receive that assurance.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Magdalen Green

With the superb March (should that not read July?) weather this week, it was great to see the huge public use of Magdalen Green - but that has not come without some issues.   I have had lots of complaints about rubbish left on the Green - see right and below.

I have asked the City Council's Environment Department to :

Install new and larger litter bins

Work with Friends of Magdalen Green to install proper further BBQ tables and consider how to stop the use of portable BBQs on the Green


Consider toilet provision on the Green

Riverside pitches - thankfully back in action

At the end of last week, I was very disappointed that the Riverside football pitches would not, in the event, be available for last weekend's matches, following the unfortunate injuries on the pitches.

I was therefore pleased to learn yesterday from the Environment Department of the City Council that:


" (I  ...) can confirm to you that the pitches are on for this weekend.

We will continue to confirm weekly for the forseeable future due to the recent unfortunate accidents."

River Crescent Residents' Association

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the latest meeting of the River Crescent Residents' Association.    

The association does great work for the local area and we discussed various issues including community facilities in the West End, the future of the association after the AGM in June, sports initiatives in the West End and the former Laurie's Nursery site.

River Crescent Residents' Association is a great example of the community spirit in the West End.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting things done ... Hawkhill

Residents will recall that, last month, I was pleased to be advised by the City Council that the safety barrier needed outside the Tesco Express on the Hawkhill by-pass that I had long campaigned for was definitely to be erected before the end of the financial year.

I'm pleased to say that work started on Monday on this - see right.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday activities ...

Today :

* I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Sinderins Court and Pennycook Court Sheltered Residents' Association.  It was very well-attended and good to see progress on a number of issues including the proposed planters at the seating area in Pennycook Lane.   I was able to update residents about bin collection matters.  There was thereafter a really entertaining and interesting talk by Ann Thomson on 'Local Witches and Vampires.'

* I also attended the latest committee meeting of the Jericho House Support Group at which a number of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this extremely worthwhile facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism.    

* This evening, I firstly attended the Blackness Primary School Parent Council meeting at which concern at the loss of PE and music specialists in primary schools was discussed.   The Director of Education attended and there was a useful question and answer session.   I have strongly opposed  the loss of these vital teaching posts and attempted to reverse the cut during the City Council budget meeting.

* Lastly, I had the great pleasure of attending a very well-attended Civic Reception in honour of the Whitehall Theatre and to officially launch its very impressive new web pages and social networking presence.   The Whitehall Theatre has faced great challenges of late but a bright future lies ahead.  The theatre is an iconic part of the West End and it was good to see such strong support for it at tonight's event.

Beautiful weather ...

Lovely weather over the past few days and the Seabraes area looking lovely:

On Wave 102 news ...

I was on the Wave 102 news this morning about the forthcoming West End community clean-up - press 'play' below to listen:

Monday, March 26, 2012

City Council meetings

Tonight, following my ward surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and at Harris Academy, I attended City Council meetings at which :

  • I joined colleagues in thanking both Patricia McIlquham, the council's Depute Chief Executive, and Rory Malone of UNISON, both of whom are soon to retire.
  • I spoke in a debate on Education Committee about Curriculum for Excellence.  The committee report was detailed and well-written and we heard from two very experienced Head Teachers.   The Labour Group put forward an amendment that I could not in all conscience support - the suggestion of offering Intermediate 1 and 2 examinations that Labour suggested is not remotely credible;  opposition for the sake of opposition is not helpful.    The Director of Education gave assurances that any concerns about progress that come from teaching staff, pupils and parents will be listened to and addressed and it is important that this happens.
  • I sought assurances at City Development Committee that, in introducing Enterprise Areas, 'facilitating' the planning process will not mean any loss of rights of objectors to controversial planning applications. I quoted a West End constituent concerned about the proposed Biomass Plant - something that many of us strongly oppose.   All has gone quiet on the Biomass Plant.  Call me a cynic but I think we can safely conclude that the issue will be resurrected immediately after the council elections are out of the way on 3rd May.
  • I also raised the need for 20 mph speed zones in residential areas where there is demand from local residents for this.   There is real demand for safe speed limits in residential areas in the West End for this - Logie, Tullideph, Clovis Duveau Drive, River Crescent, the Hillside area and the Perth Road lanes are some examples in the West End where residents have indicated to me that they would welcome such an initiative.

The Great West End Clean Up!

On Wednesday 16th May, there will be a great clean-up of litter and clean-off of graffiti right across the West End.

Building on an initiative by the University of Dundee as part of Keep Scotland Tidy's National Spring Clean (see below), I have now secured support from the staff at a major West End business, numerous local residents (thanks folks!) and the Community Payback Scheme.    The West End Community Council and Community Spirit Action Group have signed up, as has one of the local churches.

It will be a huge effort right across the West End to remove graffiti and get rid of litter - we are already at over 70 volunteers - so please indicate your support by e-mailing westendcleanup@frasermacpherson.org.uk - many thanks. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting things done ... City Road/Logie Street junction

The yellow box safety markings at the City Road/Logie Street junction are very worn and I raised this some time ago with the City Council.    

I have now received an update from the Roads Maintenance Partnership as follows:


"An order to re-paint the yellow box markings at this junction was raised some time ago.  However due to a combination of weather, other lining commitments, a back-log with lining works and the traffic management necessary in order to be able to carry out the works at this junction, there has been a delay in this work being done. 

In addition, the carriageway surface is displaying some signs of wear and it is likely that some patching/repairs will be required before the lining is refreshed.

An inspection to ascertain the extent of the works is to be carried out in the near future and more information should be available after this has taken place."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Getting things done ... More progress on unadopted pavements

Last month, I welcomed the news that the the unadopted pavements in Marchfield Crescent were being upgraded to a good standard.   The City Engineer has confirmed to me that similar improvements for Marchfield Road are imminent (has similar priority in the Unadopted Footways Programme).


I also recently asked about the situation in nearby Marchfield Terrace on behalf of residents and am pleased to say that the City Council has advised:


"Marchfield Terrace has been reassessed at 21 points which is likely to mean it will have enough points to be included in the 2012/13 upgrade and adoption programme once the annual list review is completed in the coming weeks."


Back in 2007, I insisted that the City Council increase its funding on unadopted pavements two and a half fold to £500 000 a year.   This was agreed and is making a real difference to poorly conditioned pavements in the West End.

Friends of Wighton : Cappuccino concert and workshops

Stewart Hardy and Frank McLaughlin 
Next Saturday - 31st March - the monthly cappuccino concert in Dundee's Wighton Centre will be performed by fiddle and guitar duo, Stewart Hardy and Frank McLaughlin.

The concert will run from 11am till 12 noon, with complimentary coffee and newspapers served from 10.30am.    And in the afternoon, from 2pm, there will be a fiddle workshop and a guitar workshop for anyone who wants to learn some of the musical tricks displayed in the morning's concert!

Admission to the concert is £5. Admission to the workshops is £5, or £2.50 for under-18s.

Also, on Wednesday 4th April, - 1.15pm -1.45pm - Paul Campbell and Skyrie are playing the monthly free lunchtime concert in the Wighton Centre, on fiddles and guitar.

For more info please visit www.friendsofwighton.com.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday song - the superb Dionne Warwick

Seabraes Lane

From the City Council :


THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 : SECTION 14(1)


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of gas connection works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Seabraes Lane, Dundee.


This notice comes into effect on Monday 9 April 2012 for 3 working days.


Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.


No alternative routes for vehicles are available.


For further information contact 433168.


Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Adult Learning newsletter

The April 2012 City Council Adult Learning newsletter is now available and can be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/adultlearnapril.

West End courses are : 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Getting things done ... Steps from Pentland Avenue to Scott Street

Residents have complained to me about damage to the steps (see right) leading down from Pentland Avenue to Scott Street.

I contacted the council's Roads Maintenance Partnership who have now advised me that:

"An order has been raised by the Road Maintenance Partnership inspector for the repair of a hole at the top of the steps on Pentland Avenue with a timescale for completion of three days."

Getting things done ... Morven Terrace

At my meeting with the sheltered tenants at the Ancrum Place and and Morven Terrace last month, residents raised the poor condition of the pavement in Morven Terrace near to the Tullideph Road junction.

Yesterday, I had a site visit with the roads inspector for the area, who has kindly agreed to my request for footpath repairs - see right.

I am very pleased at this as the pavement is currently in a poor state.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WESHA meeting - and an update on the Riverside pitches stones problem

Riverside pitches
Following concerns about the unplayable football pitches at Riverside after seven players sustained injuries because of stones hidden in the soil (as I reported earlier this month), at  the West End Sports and Heritage Association (WESHA) committee meeting last night, I was pleased to indicate that, after extensive work by Dundee City Council’s Environment Department to tackle the problem, the pitches will be back in action next weekend.

As WESHA Secretary and along with Vice-Chair Steve McSwiggan, who is a leading member of the Riverside Saturday morning football league, we reported back to WESHA’s committee following a meeting we have had with senior officers in the council’s Environment Department about the issue.

The six pitches to the south side of Riverside Drive are on reclaimed land and settlement of the ground has lead stones to the top of the soil, causing the safety problem.   The Environment Department has extensively verti-drained all six pitches and given particular attention to the two pitches nearest the road where the greatest concentration of stones was found.   Verti-draining is a process that both flicks out any stones and also helps with drainage too.

The council is taking a cautious approach to ensure that the issue was fully resolved before allowing playing to resume on the pitches.    

We were advised that at the very least four pitches will be back on at the weekend, although the council will continue with the verti-draining process in coming weeks to ensure there are no further incidents.   There will also be weekly spiking of the pitches and full weekly inspections of the pitches where Environment Department staff will walk each of the pitches to ensure they are safe for football.

The Saturday Morning League is a vital part of the WESHA project to improve sporting facilities at Riverside for the benefit of the West End and the wider community.  We are therefore relieved that football activity at Riverside can re-start at the weekend.

The WESHA committee last night also had a presentation from the Scottish Ramblers' Association about Medal Routes - walking hubs to encourage active walking - and also discussed was WESHA's new social network presence - on Facebook and Twitter.

Councillor Helen Dick and Patricia McIlquham

I felt an air of sadness today as two valued colleagues retire - one a hugely respected chief officer, the other being my Liberal Democrat colleague on Dundee City Council (and sister-in-law!)

Earlier today, along with the Lord Provost, the City Council's Chief Executive, previous Chief Executive, Legal Manager and other council group leaders, I attended a civic lunch to mark the impending retirement of the City Council's Depute Chief Executive (Support Services) - Patricia McIlquham - who, after over thirty years of service to the city, will retire from her post at the end of next week.

Patricia is not just a hugely experienced legal officer.   She is a much respected and her advice to all elected members of the council has been greatly appreciated by us all over the years.    She's also very pleasant and courteous and we all have the highest respect for Patricia.   Her retirement is a real loss to the City Council.

Cllr Helen Dick
As reported in today's Courier, my colleague - Councillor Helen Dick (pictured right) - has today confirmed that, after nine years as Strathmartine Ward councillor, she is standing down at May’s elections, following a period of protracted ill-health.

Originally elected in 2003, taking the seat from the SNP, Helen was re-elected in 2007 but has found herself battling Multiple Sclerosis in recent years, leading to her decision not to seek re-election.

Helen has been a superb and loyal colleague who has worked hard for the people of her Strathmartine Ward summed up by her comment to the Courier - "The people of Strathmartine have been brilliant – friends more than constituents – and although I am retiring from the City Council, I will continue to keep a close interest in the local area."

Getting things done ... Osborne Place

I am pleased to note that various pothole repairs have now been undertaken in the south end of Osborne Place - see right - following my raising residents' concerns about the state of the roadway.

I have, at the City Development Committee of the City Council, raised the need for the council to concentrate on permanent "rhino repair" patching, however, as simple tar filling of potholes simply does not last and is not cost-effective.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dundee Liberal Youth

Following the launch of the Dundee LibDem local election campaign yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending the first public meting of Dundee Liberal Youth, taking place at the Dalhousie Building at the University of Dundee.

There was an excellent turnout to hear Tim Farron and Willie Rennie speak - here's a photo and a short video of a short part of Tim Farron's presentation from an excellent event:
Joe Setch of Dundee Liberal Youth introduces Willie Rennie MSP

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dundee Council Elections - a superb LibDem launch!

Dundee Liberal Democrats had a superb start to our local election campaign today, with a visit from Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat President.     Here's some of us campaigning with Tim and Willie this afternoon: 
Willie was on Radio Tay news this afternoon about the Dundee Liberal Democrat campaign - click 'play' to listen: 

On Wave 102 news about the Dundee LibDem City Council campaign launch

I was on the Wave 102 news this morning about the Dundee LibDem City Council campaign launch, taking place later today.   Click 'play' to listen: 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden : an update

The Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden hold their next event on Wednesday 4th April at 7pm in the Education Centre at the Botanic Garden

Graeme Butler of the Rumbling Bridge Nursery will give an illustrated talk entitled "Gardening with Alpines", with particular emphasis on some lesser known plants that grow in this area.

Coffee, tea and biscuits and a chance to talk and ask questions will follow the talk.

Car parking is free and admission is £2 but Friends who produce valid membership card attend free of charge.

The Friends are looking for a new membership secretary and if any resident is willing to assist with this, please let me know (fraser@frasermacpherson.org.uk) and I will pass on your interest - many thanks.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

City Church Civic Reception

The Friary
This afternoon, along with a large gathering of church members, my ward colleagues, local residents and other guests, I attended the official opening of the City Church at its new place of worship, The Friary on Tullideph Road.

The Friary closed as a place of worship in 2010, following the decision to close St Francis' Parish Church.   There was much sadness at this decision and so it is great to see the Friary coming back into use as a place of worship.   The City Church intends to engage with the local community and invite local people to use the facilities.   This is to be welcomed.

I met Craig Stocks from the church some time ago, when the church was in the early stages of finding a permanent home and I am very pleased to see the church now find that home at the Friary.   I wish it every happiness at the Friary.

Good news - road resurfacing in the West End

I have welcomed news that several roads in the West End Ward including Abbotsford Street, Westgrove Avenue, Colinton Place, Loganlee Terrace and Pentland Crescent are to be resurfaced next month.

The condition of these local roads are in poor shape and resurfacing of them to a good standard will be welcomed by local residents.    I am continuing to campaign for improvements for several other local roads including Hillcrest Road, which is in an extremely poor condition.   I have asked for it to be included in the 2012/13 roads resurfacing programme.

The work on Abbotsford Street, Westgrove Avenue, Colinton Place, Loganlee Terrace and Pentland Crescent will be undertaken in the week commencing 16th April – the resurface work takes approximately one day to apply and traffic is managed by a stop/go system during the work.

Getting things done ... Pennycook Lane


Some weeks ago, I mentioned that residents had complained to me about broken fencing at the Pennycook Lane car park.    

I raised this with the City Council and was promised repairs.

As you can see from this photo of me taken at the car park yesterday, the work has now been carried out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

An end in sight for lane restriction on Riverside Drive

Following concerns expressed by constituents that a coned-off lane restriction on the busy Riverside Drive at the site of the Tay Rail Bridge has been in place since late last year, I raised the matter with Dundee City Council to find out when the coned off area will be back to normal traffic.   The cones were put in place during November 2011 following a vehicle hitting the bridge.

The City Council’s Head of Transportation advised me :

“This is a deliberate section of temporary traffic management to ensure that no further vehicle strikes occur.  The City Engineer's Structural engineers have undertaken a survey and we (City Engineer / Transportation and Planning) are considering a permanent layout that will prevent any further bridge strikes in the future.”

I have now been advised by the City Engineer :

“The works have now been designed which involves some kerb realignment in the central reserve to ensure that minimum headroom to the bridge is achieved above the carriageway.
Network Rail have just recently completed repairs to the damaged plate girder utilising the traffic management measures in place. 
The kerb realignment works have still to be fully programmed but will start sometime in April for a period of approximately 2 weeks.”

I am pleased that there is an end in sight to the coned-off traffic management at the rail bridge on Riverside Drive.   Its an extremely busy section of road with a large traffic volume so the removal of the coned area and safety works will be welcomed.

National Convention on Youth Employment

The Principal of Dundee College opens
the National Convention on Youth Employment
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending part of the National Convention on Youth Employment at Dundee College's Gardyne Campus, along with a large gathering of national and local politicians, major employers, JobCentre Plus, the further & higher education sectors and many others.   The event was organised by the Scotland Office.

Tackling youth unemployment is a major challenge for both the Westminster and Scottish Governments and it was refreshing to see Ministers from both governments speaking on the same platform and emphasising the close working relationship between the two governments on this vital issue.    

I heard three of the Ministerial presentations - by Mike Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth - and all spoke in a positive way about what their government is doing to create youth employment and their willingness to co-operate to ensure that public expenditure on this vital area is best-spent by each government.

The Youth Contract gives a package of support worth almost £1 billion to help young unemployed  people prepare for work and find a job.   Yesterday's event underlined the need to do all we can to support young people find good employment opportunities.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Congratulations to the City of Perth

Back in September 2010, I attended a Civic Reception hosted by the Lord Provost of Dundee, in support of the bid by Perth for City status.

It was great to learn yesterday that this bid was successful and that, in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year, Perth will indeed be the Fair City.

Earlier today, I met with Cllr Willie Wilson, the Depute Provost of Perth and Kinross, to pass on my congratulations - see right.

City Chambers tour

Today, I took part in a tour of the City Chambers with a group of University of Dundee students.    See right.    

The Council Officer gave them a really entertaining and informative talk about the city's civic history.    

It was a very enjoyable afternoon and great to see the interest in Dundee's civic history from the students.

Lochee Park - good news!

I recently received residents' complaints about the state of the Lochee Park playpark and in particular the loss of the roundabout.  

I raised this with the City Council's Environment Department and have been advised :

"There is a new roundabout that will be going into the play area at Lochee Park in the very near future together with safety surfacing."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Friendly Bus Sheltered Shopping Service - new timetable

The Friendly Bus sheltered shopping service is a great - and free - service for elderly folk to get to local supermarkets, have a good period of time for shopping, and get the bus back home.

Having campaigned for the inclusion of Morven Terrace/Ancrum Place sheltered housing and Richmond Court to be included in the service, I was delighted that they were added to the timetable last year.

There are new timetables in operation from week commencing 5th March - Tuesday remains the day that the West End is served.   You can download the new timetable by clicking on the headline above or by going to http://tinyurl.com/friendlybus2012.

West End Community Council meeting

Last night, I attended the latest meeting of West End Community Council at which there was a very informative and detailed presentation from the City Council's Recycling Projects Officer about the current position of recycling efforts in Dundee and future plans to further extend recycling opportunities for residents.

I have, on many occasions on behalf of West End constituents, asked about extending the kerbside plastics and bottles recycling facility that currently only covers a limited number of parts of the West End.   It was therefore good to hear last night that the council is, later this year, to be undertaking an additional trial of 3000 households who currently do not have the plastics recycling facility - they will be offered a larger plastics recycling bin that will take a wider range of recyclables.   I specifically requested that West End households are offered this new facility.   I was also pleased to learn that, in the second half of this one year additional trial, some flatted properties will be offered the facility.    I made the point that many constituents who live in tenements in the West End do not currently get the range of recycling facilities offered to other households, so this is welcome news.

It was also good to hear how successful the food recycling trial is going.     The Recycling Projects Officer also advised that new "recycling on the go" points will soon be available at specific sites such as Camperdown Park.     Speaking with her during the meeting's teabreak, she indicated that Nethergate at DCA was being considered for one of these facilities and I also suggested Lochee Park and Magdalen Green as possible sites.

The Community Council also discussed the on-going issue of Royal Mail delivery problems, in the main caused by the difficulties facing many local residents by the closure of the parcel collection office in Crichton Street and the fact that DD2 and DD3 customers now have to collect items from the remote Baird Avenue Collection Office.    I also mentioned that I have had numerous complaints from constituents about wrongly delivered mail in recent months.

Royal Mail's Director of Scottish Affairs is attending the next Community Council meeting on Tuesday 10th April to discuss the various concerns that have been raised about mail deliveries in the West End - all residents are welcome (and indeed encouraged) to attend this and the Community Council would welcome any feedback residents have about mail delivery problems (you can contact the Community Council by using the contact form at http://tinyurl.com/contactwecc).    I have a considerable list already of constituent concerns that I have passed on to Royal Mail and will be raising on 10th April and, as always, are very happy to help residents with any concern they have about this or any other local concern.

I also had the opportunity last night to mention the impending graffiti clean-up and litter pick in the West End that I am helping to organise for 16th May.   We have already had an excellent response from local organisations and many community councillors also offered their help at last night's meeting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

West End Community Council Update

I have today launched my monthly update to West End Community Council.   Issues include:


  • Riverside playing fields – safety concern   
  • Roundabout tidy-up   
  • Strawberrybank footpaths
  • Bellefield Avenue and Seafield Road – potholes action

The Community Council meets tonight at 7pm at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall.  All residents very welcome.

You can download my Community Council Update at http://tinyurl.com/weccmarch2012.

Monday, March 12, 2012

City Council committee meetings

Following my weekly ward surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and at Harris Academy this afternoon, I attended tonight's City Council committee meetings.

* At the Housing Committee, I sought assurances that the introduction of "Amenity Housing" (non-sheltered but supported housing largely for people aged over 50) could be used to ensure that our sheltered tenants are protected from anti-social behaviour from a minority of much younger tenants - I cited a specific example from the West End, where a constituent in her seventies suffered more than a year of noise from an irresponsible neighbour.

* At the Policy and Resources Committee, I welcomed proposals to introduce the 'Living Wage' for council employees but urged that it is promoted amongst all Dundee employers, public, private and third sector.  I asked questions about a report on welfare reform, welcomed the new local community plans for Dundee, emphasising the need to involve communities across the city, and welcomed the Armed Forces Community Covenant.

Getting things done ... Glenagnes Gardens, Riverside Drive and Blyth Street

The repaired fencing

I recently mentioned the collapsed fencing at Glenagnes Gardens and have therefore today praised the effectiveness of the Community Payback Scheme, that has seen improvements undertaken by people on community service orders - including replacing that fencing.

I recently nominated two schemes to be undertaken through the Community Payback Scheme – graffiti removal on Riverside Drive and replacing a damaged fence in Glenagnes Gardens – and both proposals were taken on by the scheme and have been successfully completed.

Community Payback Schemes are a way for the offender to make amends to the community for their crime.   I have been impressed with the speed with which Community Payback took on these schemes and made a good job of completing them.   

In Glenagnes Gardens, a large fence had collapsed and it was proving difficult to find out who was responsible for fixing it.    Residents asked me to see how it could be replaced and the finished job by Community Payback is extremely good.    The scheme is very well-managed by the City Council’s Social Work Department.

I have also nominated a seating area in Blyth Street that residents would like to see spruced up.   Local residents asked me if making the seating area nicer would be possible and I am hopeful that this suggestion will also be taken on too.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

On Wave 102 News - Armed Forces Community Covenant

I spoke on the Wave 102 News today about Dundee City Council's commitment to the Armed Forces Community Covenant.  The Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community and it is good news that our city is giving its support.    Click 'play' below to listen:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Getting things done ... Strawberrybank

At the request of residents I recently asked the City Council for repairs in Strawberrybank's footpaths.

I am pleased to have received the following feedback from the council's Roads Maintenance Partnership:

"An order has been raised to fill various trips on the footway in Strawberrybank with a timescale for completion of twenty eight days or sooner."

Friday, March 09, 2012

Getting things done ... Bellefield Avenue and Seafield Road

I recently - on behalf of residents - raised complaints about the state of the roadway in Bellefield Avenue and Seafield Road.    

The City Council has now updated me as follows :

"An order has been raised by the Road Maintenance Partnership inspector to fill various holes on Seafield Road carriageway and footway with a timescale for completion of twenty eight days.   An order has also been raised for the filling of a pothole on Bellefield Avenue with a timecale for completion of three days."

I am pleased at the fast timeframe in getting the pothole at the south end of Bellefield Avenue as its a really deep hole in the road.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

National Network of Community Councillors

In the West End, we are lucky to have a long-standing and very active Community Council.   You can read more about West End Community Council's activities at http://www.dundeewecc.co.uk.

There is now an interesting Scotland-wide community council blog - the national network of community councillors.    It is well worth a look at http://www.nationalnetworkcc.com/.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Community Spirit Action Group meeting

This evening, I attended the March meeting of Community Spirit - the community group for the "north" part of West End Ward, covering Tullideph, Ancrum, Pentland and the Cleghorn area.

There was a presentation from Grant Simmons, Manager of the Dundee Food Train.     Grant gave an update on progress with the Dundee Food Train since its recent launch.   Providing an excellent shopping service for elderly people in Dundee, there are now over 40 users of the service and 35 volunteers.    If you feel the service could benefit you or you would like to volunteer, here's the contact details:


Phone:  459202

Address:  Office D, Market Mews, Market Street Dundee DD1 3LA

After Grant's presentation, we discussed local issues and I was able to update the meeting about the site visit the Community Spirit Secretary and I had on Monday in Ancrum Drive, with a representative of Hillcrest Housing Association, that should hopefully see some additional car parking bays becoming available for local residents.   Parking is a real problem in the street and some more parking will clearly help.

Riverside pitches - further stones problem

As reported in yesterday's Evening Telegraph, today's Courier and on Wave 102 news, there has been concern about the latest injury of a football player, who was injured by falling due to exposed stones on a pitch at Riverside recently.

This has occurred before - back in December 2011 - so I was very concerned to learn of this further injury.   I contacted the City Council’s Environment Department seeking an assurance that the stones problem on the pitch area will be fully resolved urgently.

I have now received feedback from the City Council Environment Department as follows :

"The pitches were stone-picked the week before the football match in question and what we have done since is cut the grass on the site so that we can detect any potential stones that may cause injury and we are carrying out an operation called verti-draining the pitch.  We normally use this machine to assist with surface drainage of pitches and what we are hoping it will do is to break up soil compaction and bring any large stones to the surface.  We will then give the pitch a thorough inspection and remove any large stones.

We therefore hope to have the pitch operational as soon as possible.   We are taking a cautious approach and it may be that if this does not work then we may have to look at the possibility of applying a further layer of screened topsoil at sufficient depth so that it should eliminate any risk of stones coming through."

I am meeting a representative of the football league and a senior member of the City Council's Environment Department about the matter on-site next Thursday as I am anxious to see a swift resolution of this and an assurance that all steps have been taken to avoid further injuries in the future.

I was on Wave 102 news about this concern this morning - click 'play' below to listen: