Monday, April 30, 2012

Concern over West End excluded from new recycling kerbside collection pilot scheme

I have today expressed concern to the City Council’s Environment Director following news that a new mixed recyclates pilot to expand Dundee’s recycling effort is very limited and excludes 3 of out Dundee’s 8 wards completely including the West End.

The council has updated me as follows:

"As we are limited in the number of properties we're able to service for such a small pilot, it was therefore not possible to include all wards - in the same way that it was not possible to include all wards in the food waste trial -  and it was felt that the West End ward was already fairly well serviced by the current green box scheme. However ... there is a deadline of 1st January 2014 to have collections of this nature rolled out to all serviceable properties within the city so I'd hope that following a successful pilot scheme, we'd be able to quickly roll-out the service to cover all suitable properties within the west end and across the city as a whole."

I have arranged to meet the City Council’s Director of Environment to discuss the matter and in particular how the pilot can be extended to cover all 8 Dundee Wards and more houses across Dundee.

Many of my West End constituents would like to recycle more but they have no facilities to recycle, for example, plastics.   Any expansion of the recycling facilities offered to householders is welcomed but the crucial point is that there is a deadline of 1st January 2014 to have collections of this nature rolled out to all properties within Dundee and at the rate this pilot is going at, meeting that target looks challenging to say the least.

I want the pilot extended to more houses that are crying out for proper recycling facilities and I want all 8 Dundee Wards included.   I don’t think it is acceptable that 3 have been excluded including the West End so I have arranged to meet the Director of Environment at Dundee City Council to make the case for an expansion of the pilot.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Old Gaelic Laments - CD launch in Dundee

On Wednesday lunchtime, 2nd May, Simon Chadwick will be playing a launch concert for his new CD, "Old Gaelic Laments" in Dundee's Wighton Centre, upstairs in the Central Library.

The event starts at 1.15pm and admission is free.

Performed on the amazing decorated replica of the medieval Scottish "Queen Mary" harp, Simon's programme of ancient music ponders the many different faces of death, from morbidity through to celebrating and remembering the deceased, to consolation of loved ones.

In the Old Gaelic World, death was always near at hand. Feared, celebrated or regretted, it was the central point of the complex and beautiful art music composed by professional and skilled musicians.     Simon's new CD presents a selection of music and poetry from 16th and 17th century Scotland and Ireland, much of it directly drawn from the clarsach or Gaelic harp tradition.

For more information about the event please visit the Friends of Wighton website at www.friendsofwighton.com

For more information about the new CD please visit www.earlygaelicharp.info/laments.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Magdalen Green

recently mentioned that my council colleague and sister in law Helen Dick was taking part in an art exhibition at the Botanic Garden.    Helen's latest painting has something of a West End theme!
Painted from original photograph by Iain Gordon at www.magdalengreen.co.uk  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

West End Thursday ...

This morning, after a visit to constituents about a local problem, I had the pleasure of attending another area "walkabout" - this time in the Logie Estate where, along with council officers and two of my ward colleagues, we looked at a number of issues - including footpaths condition and railings.

The remainder of the day was spent campaigning across the West End.   This is my fourth election - and by far the most enjoyable.   I am extremely grateful to all residents for their kindness and, in particular, all who have have contacted me to voice their support.   Here are some quotes from residents in e-mails over the past couple of days:
Just a quick email to say well done for being a good councillor. I've recently moved to Lochee Road from Arbroath where we are use to councillors bickering instead of working together to improve their respective constituencies and the town as a whole, as I'm sure you have seen in Dundee. Political posturing doesn't help anyone and just makes everyone involved look completely detached from the people they are supposed to be representing.
I enjoy reading the Dundee's West End Focus newsletter that gets posted through my door and seeing the work you've been putting in.
Thank you for your newsletters and for your hardwork in improving our circumstances at the West End of Dundee. I have voted for you at the first candidate this time, and wish you best luck in winning the election again! 
Good luck with the election - we have received lots of bumph from your opponents but as far as we are concerned you are the only councillor who has done anything for this area!
This evening, after my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School, I met residents in the Oxford Street/Blackness Road area.   A lovely night - as this photograph taken at Elliot Road indicates: 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Riverside Drive - on-going works

Two Traffic Orders from Dundee City Council :

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

1. THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of carriageway surfacing works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in an eastbound direction in Riverside Drive (from Tesco roundabout to South Marketgait), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Thursday 26 April 2012 for 2 nights (7.00pm to 6.00am).

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Perth Road/ Hawkhill/West Marketgait/South Marketgait.

For further information contact (01382) 433168.

2. THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of carriageway surfacing works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in an eastbound direction in Riverside Drive (from Tesco roundabout to South Marketgait), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Friday 4 May 2012 for one night (7.00am to 6.00pm).

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Perth Road/ Hawkhill/West Marketgait/South Marketgait.

For further information contact (01382) 433168.

Mike P Galloway
Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Issues at Pentland

Yesterday, along with council officers, local residents and two of my ward colleagues, I attended a walkabout round the Pentland area.   We undertake these walkabouts round Pentland (also Logie and the Corso/Abbotsford/Blackness area) twice a year to look at any local issues that need attention.

Yesterday there were a number of issues highlighted including :

* The poor condition of some of the steps in the internal paths of the estate and going up to some houses - see above right.   

* The variable quality of grass maintenance in the open plan areas of Pentland.    I have written to the Environment Department asking for action to improve the situation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Inside the new West End schools

As I indicated last week, I had the pleasure of attending a site visit around the new West End schools building project at Blackness Road/Glenagnes Road, that will become the new home of St Joseph's Primary School and Park Place Nursery and Primary Schools from this autumn.

I did not post photos of the internal of the new schools as all participants were specifically asked not to take photographs for health and safety reasons in what is, of course, currently a building site.   Given that constituents are keen to see progress, I requested that Robertsons, the contractor, give us publicly available photos and I am pleased these have now been provided - see below.   It is good to see progress towards excellent new nursery and primary schools provision in the West End: 
Upper Floor Classroom
Kitchen Area
Ground Floor Classroom
Reception Area
Corridor Area

Last meeting of the City Council term

Yesterday saw the last meeting of the City Council take place before next week's council elections.    A number of my colleagues who are not seeking re-election gave their final speeches, including my LibDem colleague and sister in law Cllr Helen Dick, who is standing down as councillor for Strathmartine Ward after nine years, given her ill-health through MS.    

I have huge admiration for how Helen has coped with her illness but continued to be a hugely active councillor for her constituents.     Helen & I are pictured (right) at a visit Nicol Stephen (then Scottish LibDem leader) made with us and colleagues to St John's High School in 2007.   I simply remember this as a very sunny and happy day and I am extremely grateful for Helen's support over her years on Dundee City Council.

Helen gave a moving speech - as did others - including my ward colleague Jim Barrie, who has been a valued colleague over my 11 years on Dundee City Council, and also Lord Provost John Letford.   John has enthusiastically accepted every invitation I have made to attend West End events - he's been to every West End Christmas Week since 2001 - and he has been an excellent Lord Provost.   All retiring colleagues will be missed.

During last night's committees I :

* At Education Committee, expressed disappointment at the loss of visiting PE and music specialist posts.   The SNP administration could have retained these - my own budget proposals and the proposals from Labour and the Conservatives would all have managed to do so.   I feel strongly that a new administration after 3rd May should reinstate these vital posts.

* Sought assurances at Environment Committee over the length of time gas management works at the Riverside Nature Park will take.

* Also sought assurances - at the City Development Committee - that the work to improve Dundee rail station will be completed before the V&A at Dundee opens.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting things done ... Hillcrest Road


I have today welcomed the news that, following my long campaign to improve the terrible road surface in Hillcrest Road, the City Engineer has confirmed that substantial repairs will be carried out next month :
The works programmed for Hillcrest Road are being carried out under the annual structural patching programme. The works comprise of a 40mm full width patch for approximately ¾ of the street (150m), starting at Blackness Avenue going west towards Marchfield Road. The works are programmed to start Monday 21 May 2012.
In my view, and the view of residents in Hillcrest Road, this roadway must be amongst the worst-conditioned in Dundee.   The road looks like the surface of the moon – and I have, over a long period, sought that the City Council make substantial improvements.     I am therefore delighted to receive assurances that this will now happen.

Public Notice from Dundee 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 carriageway patching works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Hillcrest Road (between Blackness Avenue and Marchfield Road), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Friday 18 May 2012 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Marchfield Road/Middlebank Crescent/Hyndford Street.

For further information contact (01382) 433168.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sandwiches and a blether!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure in participating in "Sandwiches and a blether!" - the Friends of Balgay's Spring Open Meeting at Mills Observatory.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and good to chat with all those who attended.

The Friends have a litter pick planned for next month that will complement the Great West End Clean-Up, organised for 16th May!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

West End Art Exhibition Preview

I thoroughly enjoyed attending last night's preview of the exhibition of paintings completed in 2012 by many of John Stoa's art class students - taking place at the Botanic Garden - see right.  


It was a well-attended event and an enjoyable evening.   My council colleague and sister-in-law Cllr Helen Dick took part in the exhibition - Helen is pictured (below) alongside one of her paintings.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Schools visits

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of taking part in a site visit to the new West End schools building project - on the site of the former Logie Secondary site at Blackness Road/Glenagnes Road - that will provide the new centres for St Joseph's Primary School, Park Place Nursery School and Park Place Primary School - see right.

Progress is good and the schools are scheduled to open on the new site after the October holidays.   Apart from the site visit, I had a useful discussion with council officers about road/pupil safety around the area adjacent to the new schools.

And - talking of pupil/road safety - later the same day, as part of the working group on road safety outside schools in Dundee, I took part in a visit to Forthill Primary School in Broughty Ferry, where there are real concerns about vehicle movements close to the school.   It was a highly informative site visit and - as one of the first ever pupils of Forthill PS back in the late 1960s and whose younger son attended the school in the late 1980s/early 1990s - it was good to revisit the school that has seen significant extension/improvement in recent years - see below.   I am anxious to see this working group result in improvements to pupil safety outside schools across Dundee.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Botanic Garden Family Fun Day!


The University of Dundee Botanic Garden has a Family Fun Day taking place this Saturday – 21st April – from 10am to 4pm.

The event includes many attractions such as a BBQ, wood turning, bee keepers, face painting, garden games, whacky workshop, pot a plant and a play by DBS Productions.

It will be a great family day out in the West End!

Improving employment levels in Dundee

Yesterday, I took part in the latest meeting of the City Council's Local Economy Monitoring Group, at which there was an excellent presentation by Chris Brodie of Brodie Economic Research.   Chris gave an very detailed and useful resume of the effect of the economic downturn after 2008 and, in particular, how it has affected Dundee.

The key message from Chris's presentation is that, although the economic situation has been challenging, Dundee is well-placed for the future, particularly given the Waterfront development, V&A at Dundee, life sciences, digital media and so much more.

There was also discussion about the success of the Dundee Economic Summit last month, that I had the pleasure of attending.   Another Summit, focusing on employment and job creation, is planned for September.

Dundee Liberal Democrats have a manifesto commitment to enhance the role of the City Council's Local Economy Monitoring Group.   Employment for Dundee people is vital and is our Number 1 priority.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Marchfield Road - decent pavements at last!

Last month, I was pleased to confirm that, in addition to the upgrading and adoption of the Marchfield Crescent pavements recently, Marchfield Road's footpath would be similarly upgraded - and I am pleased to see this has now commenced - see right.   I am also pleased that the nearby Marchfield Terrace will have its pavements improved in the 2012/13 financial year.

It was through my insistence that the City Council increased its funding on unadopted pavements two and a half fold to £500 000 a year.   It is making a real difference to poorly conditioned pavements in the West End and I will continue to campaign for improved pavements across the West End.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

West End Sports and Heritage Association

This evening, I attended the latest Committee Meeting of the West End Sports and Heritage Association (WESHA) at the Vine in Magdalen Yard Road.   As the Chair and Vice Chair were unable to attend, as Secretary, I (sort of!) chaired the meeting!

WESHA is going from strength to strength in terms of moving forward sport in the West End.   Our new website will be launched as part of "Big Sunday" at WestFest on 10th June when WESHA will be participating in what will be a great community event.

And ... our new banners have arrived!    See below.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Campaigning for the West End and across Dundee

Today, I had the pleasure of campaigning with North East Scotland MSP Alison McInnes across the West End, starting with a visit to Dundee rail station, at which Alison and I welcomed potential improvements that would see station refurbishment to the tune of £14 million - see right.

A report to the City Council's Policy and Resources Committee next week identifies that £11.68m of the funding has been secured with the remaining £2.23m being sought from Network Rail.   It is vital that remaining funding is achieved and I will be seeking assurances to achieve that.

After visiting the rail station, Alison and I had an enjoyable time in the West End and she thereafter campaigned in Broughty Ferry, where my colleague Craig Duncan is running a superb local election campaign on behalf of Broughty Ferry residents.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tayway 73 bus service


On behalf of West End constituents, I recently contacted Stagecoach Strathtay regarding the operation of the Service 73.   Constituents have complained that on a regular basis passengers are having to change buses at Whitehall Crescent – so when a resident travels back to the West End from Broughty Ferry, a change of buses is necessary midway through the journey as the bus travelled on from Broughty Ferry terminates in the City Centre.  

The other complaint regarding Service 73 is the difficulty getting a bus at the Seagate travelling back to the West End between 3pm and 3.30pm and buses then not sticking to timetable.

Stagecoach Strathtay has updated me as follows:

"I assure you that we work very hard to minimise any delays or disruptions to our passengers. Unfortunately due to the amount of roadworks recently there have been times that our buses have been delayed. To combat this we have input extra buses into the route in the afternoon peak to reduce the delays for as many of our passengers as possible. This may have contributed to passengers having to change bus at Whitehall Street although I have checked this and at the most this practice has happened two or three times a week. 

With regard to there being a problem getting a bus at the Seagate between three and three thirty again we have had problems with roadworks but I assure you that we have never had at any point no buses going to the Seagate between three and three thirty and there would never have been a problem getting a bus at this time they may have been a few minutes late but this is why we are putting extra buses out which may run only to Whitehall Street and turn there and then run back towards the Ferry. 

We have a new timetable coming into effect at the end of May and we have put a lot of time and effort into this to ensure that going forward the service will run as close to timetable as is possible and hopefully stop all the problems you are being told about."

I was pleased to be advised of the new bus timetable being introduced at the end of next month and hope it is the solution to the issues on Service 73.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Joint MSP/councillor surgeries

Alison McInnes MSP
With the start of the new school term on Monday, my weekly surgeries across the West End recommence with surgeries on Monday at :

Mitchell Street Centre, (The Base) at 4.20pm
Harris Academy, (Main Reception) at 4.50pm

On Monday, I will be joined by Alison McInnes, MSP for North East Scotland, for more joint MSP/councillor surgeries - all West End residents welcome!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tullideph Road/Ancrum Road junction - road safety action

At the request of residents, I recently raised issues with the City Council about road safety at the Tullideph Road/Ancrum Road junction.   As one resident put it:

"I drive to work every morning and turn right at the end of Tullideph Road into Ancrum Road (heading towards the traffic lights).

It is difficult to see traffic coming down Ancrum Road from my left as there are usually 2 or 3 cars parked just around the corner of the junction.    Often you have to pull out 'blind' and hope that nothing is coming towards you."

The City Council's Head of Transportation has updated me as follows:

"The junction of Tullideph Road and Ancrum Road was identified as a site on a number of vehicle accidents and kerb lines were adjusted two years ago.

The build out has now encouraged drivers to park nearer the junction.  The solution is to lay double yellow lines and prohibit parking around the junction.  This proposal has been added to the list of future traffic orders."

I am pleased that action to improve safety here is being taken although it is important that any alterations that are considered are subject to consultation with local residents.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Grit Bins at Clovis Duveau Drive

I recently - on behalf of local residents - highlighted to the City Council damaged grit bins at Clovis Duveau Drive.

I have now received feedback from the council's Roads Maintenance Partnership as follows:

" ...the Roads Maintenance Partnership inspector has raised an order for two vandalised grit bins to be uplifted and this will be done when resources are available.   Replacement bins will be set out before the start of the winter weather."

Renowned American singer Judy Cook to perform at Wighton!

From Sheena Wellington :

Friends of Wighton's Cappuccino Concert on Saturday 14th April will feature the renowned American singer Judy Cook, currently on an extensive UK tour.

The Concert takes place at 11am in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, tickets are £5 to include coffee, and doors open at 10.30am.

Virginia-born Judy brings a powerful voice, a great unaccompanied style and a deep respect for tradition to her performances of a huge repertoire of (mostly) American songs and ballads.  Judy's singing is marked by a command of narrative that pulls the audience in to really understand what the song is about. Her style and presentation are "a credit to the sources".

Folks come away from a Judy Cook concert with fresh insight into old songs and the warm feeling of having joined with others in plenty of choruses and harmonies.  They take with them musical memories:  the flirtatious charm of a young maid's teasing love song, the gripping story of a classic ballad, the exhilaration of a rousing gospel,  the silly delight of an animal song, and many more.

Judy lifts the spirit and entertains us with programs drawn from her vast and varied repertoire of traditional songs and ballads from the English speaking world - American songs from North Carolina's Outer Banks to the Southern Appalachian Mountains; from the Ozarks up to New Hampshire, Maine and eastern Canada; and across the Atlantic to songs from England and Scotland.  These she presents along with her personal memories and research in a straight-forward unaccompanied style. Judy's command of narrative style and deep respect for traditions have earned admiration on both sides of the Atlantic.

We find ourselves captured by the timelessness of these old songs; delighted with Judy's ability to discover the best of them, and her skilful use of  phrasing and understanding to take us inside the songs, sharing the joys, sorrows,  concerns and delights of the unknown poets who wrote them so many years ago and the real people who have been singing them since.

You can't help but have a wonderful time!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Graffiti action at Ninewells Hospital


I have today thanked the prompt action by NHS Tayside to ensure a large graffiti eyesore in the grounds of Ninewells Hospital gets cleaned up.

Following complaints from residents of Pasteur Lane in the Ninewells Hospital grounds about extensive unsightly graffiti on the large gas sub-station nearby, I contacted NHS Tayside about the concern.    I am indebted to NHS Tayside for taking up the matter to get the very extensive graffiti removed.

The Head of Site and Support Services at Ninewells Hospital has now advised me :

 “…that this is now being arranged to be repainted with approval from the Gas company (TRANSCO) for this to be carried out by volunteers under supervision by Dundee City Council.     I haven't been given a specific timescale but expect it to be fairly soon.”

Royal Mail collection office issue - again

Last night at West End Community Council, Ian McKay, Scottish Affairs Manager at Royal Mail, spoke to a well-attended community council meeting on the continuing concerns that the Community Council and I have with mail collection, following the closure of the Crichton Street Collection Office.

Although the Edward Street depot is handy for some West End residents in the Blackness/Milnbank area, for many West End residents it is not a convenient location.  It is not an easy walk for an elderly person travelling by bus.   From both the 17 and 22 services' routes, the walk is hilly in places. 

Significantly more worrying, people in the large DD2 area in the West End and elsewhere in Dundee West and in the DD3 area elsewhere in the west of the city now have to use the Baird Avenue facility.   Baird Avenue is utterly hopeless if you rely on public transport.

Mr McKay, although indicating Royal Mail would continue to "look at" the issue, gave no commitment to do what the Community Council and I would like to see happen - that residents in the West End part of DD2 at least get to collect items from the much-nearer Edward Street depot than the much further away and inaccessible Baird Avenue facility.   However, he did say that a trial in Edinburgh of a new method of Royal Mail customers being able to opt to have items left with a neighbour (as Royal Mail's competitors already offer) was proving successful and should the Regulator allow its general introduction across the UK, this would at least allow for an additional way of undelivered mail being re-delivered.

I read part of a letter from a West End constituent to the meeting as follows :
Mr McKay indicated that there may be work around to allow DD2 items to be redirected to the Perth Road Post Office and he committed to looking into this.

The outcome of the meeting does not give from Royal Mail what I or the Community Council wish to see - a good, local collection point for the West End.   I will continue to campaign for this on behalf of our local community.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Liberal Democrats - on your side

West End Community Council Update

I have today launched my April 2012 Update to West End Community Council.   Subjects covered include :



Riverside Pitches    
Magdalen Green   
Tennis Courts at Victoria Park  
Safety Barrier at Tesco on Hawkhill   


You can download the update at http://tinyurl.com/weccapril2012.


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

Monday, April 09, 2012

Balgay Park and Hill – lighting improvements

Over many months, I have sought improvements to the lighting on Balgay Hill and Park.   I was pleased to be updated last week by the City Council as follows:


"All the proposed works for this year have been completed. The new lanterns were installed on the replacement columns on 08/03/2012 and 09/03/2012, and have been illuminated since then.

The existing lighting columns and lanterns which remain were repaired and some illuminated by 22/12/2011. The remainder were energised on 09/01/2012 after the cable fault was repaired.

We had another cable fault on 12/03/2012, which took out a section of lighting within the park but this was repaired and an additional lighting column installed on 15/03/2012.

There are minor works remaining to the underground cables at the existing column, but these will not cause any lights to go out, unless a further cable fault develops. We will undertake these shortly or these existing columns may be replaced later in the year if funding is available. A decision should be reached on this shortly."

Dundee's Bright Future

Dundee Liberal Democrats today launch their local election manifesto – “Dundee’s Bright Future” – for the Dundee City Council elections on 3rd May.    The document has detailed policies for all areas of local authority responsibility.

Leading the Dundee Liberal Democrat team of 10 candidates – 2 more than in 2007 – I have pointed out that 2012 sees the largest Liberal Democrat local election campaign in Dundee in a generation.      The more Liberal Democrat candidates, who are elected, the more we will be able to influence decisions of the Council and press for the adoption of our policies.

We pledge to work constructively with others elected to the City Council, and will oppose the ‘political dog-fight’ that has been a feature of much of the city’s local government in the past.

Key Liberal Democrat policies include :

- ACTION ON JOBS – with an enhanced role for the City Council’s Local Economy Monitoring Group in terms of bringing together all relevant organisations including the Department for Work and Pensions/Job Centre Plus, Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and others to tackle long term unemployment in the city and consider how to enhance provision of placements and training.
- AGAINST THE BIOMASS – Liberal Democrats are completely opposed to the Dundee Biomass proposal and call on the SNP government to ensure it does not progress further.   They say that a new City Council administration should seek to overturn the SNP administration’s refusal to support a Public Inquiry into the biomass project.
- AGAINST SECRECY - Abolishing the SNP’s secretive so-called “Changing for the Future” Board and transferring its responsibilities to the publicly accountable Policy and Resources Committee of the City Council that does not meet in secret.
- SCHOOLS NOT COUNCIL OFFICES – The Liberal Democrats say the planned new offices and depots for the Environment Department of the council should be shelved, in favour of increased investment in the seven primary schools targeted for improvements.   This will increase their funding from £250 000 each to £1 million each.
- ABOLISH SNP EDUCATION CUTS -  Liberal Democrats will reverse the SNP cuts to PE and music visiting instructor posts in Dundee primary schools.
- BETTER PLAYPARKS -  The LibDems wish to see a higher standard of maintenance of parks, amenity areas and public open spaces.   They want to see a real improvement in the city’s playparks over the next five years.
- BETTER PARKING - The Liberal Democrats say the SNP administration has failed to progress consultation on possible residents’ parking schemes in parts of Dundee where there is real difficulty for residents getting parked near their home.    They see this consultation as a key early task for the new council administration after 3rd May 2012.    They also believe resource should be directed towards improved parking facilities in Dundee’s council estates.
- ACTION ON EYESORES – The LibDems want action on derelict buildings across Dundee.    There’s concern that empty buildings are an eyesore and a potential danger.  
- BETTER ROADS AND FOOTPATHS - The LibDems say that the roads and pavements in Dundee need a speedier and more effective system of maintenance and repair than exists at the moment.     Additionally, they will support the continuance of funding a programme of upgrading unadopted pavements, looking at increasing its funding as finance allows.   They also wish to see an unadopted roads programme established.
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT IMPROVED – The Liberal Democrats are very critical of the lack of progress by the SNP administration of Demand Responsive Transport and this must be a key priority for the next administration.   This will be best achieved by tendering for a commercial operator to run Dundee’s DRT service.   Meantime, the City Council must improve the frequency of its subsidised bus services (202, 204, 206, 208) and introduce Sunday services.

You can download the manifesto at http://tinyurl.com/dundeelibdems.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

On Wave 102 news ...

I was on Wave 102 news today about concerns regarding the former garage in Benvie Road, following another fire there last week.  Click 'play' below to listen:

Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 07, 2012

Getting things done ... Blackness Road - an update

Some weeks ago, I mentioned that the City Council had advised me that it would be providing a new bus shelter at the exposed bus stop in Blackness Road at Victoria Park. 

I am pleased to say that, last week, work started on providing this much-needed shelter.    It will be much welcomed by local residents.   A number of residents mentioned to me that they felt that the "build out" proposed for the roadway to accommodate the shelter would unnecessarily reduce the width of the roadway and I passed their comments back to the City Council.

The City Council has now advised that :

"Please be advised that rather than the bus build out that had originally been planned for the new bus shelter at Victoria Park / Jedburgh Road junction, we are now proposing to erect the shelter behind the pavement in the park.  We have reached agreement with the parks department to use their land (grass) to accommodate the shelter.  The work to create the hard stand is likely to commence this week with the shelter being transferred to its new site in the next few weeks."


Spring Art Exhibition

by John Stoa
Local residents are invited to the free exhibition of paintings completed in 2012 by many of John Stoa's art class students.

Preview on Friday 20th April at 7pm.

Botanic Garden, off Riverside Drive.

Exhibition starts Saturday 21st April and runs to Wednesday 2nd May - 11am to 4.30pm daily.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Benvie Road : fire concern

In the past, I have highlighted residents' concerns about the former garage site in Benvie Road, where, a couple of years ago, the owner finally demolished most of the derelict building that had been a target for vandalism and fires.

Some of the structure, however, remained, and, after a further fire earlier this week, I wrote to the City Council's Director of City Development asking that the owner is contacted urging him to take immediate steps to clear the site and secure its boundary and if he fails to do so, that enforcement action be taken.    I took the photo (above right) here last night and it was easily possible to gain access to the site as the boundary fencing is not secure.

The Director has sent me a prompt response saying :

"My Building Standards Team are contacting the owner again urging him to take immediate steps to clear the site and secure its boundary.  The owner will be advised that failure to carry-out the above may result in the Council instructing the necessary safety measures."

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Community Spirit Action Group meeting

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


There was a good discussion with a representative from the City Council's Environment Department about grass maintenance and related issues.   I sought assurances about the removal of weeds from the gutters of West End roads which often becomes an issue as the summer approaches.


I was also able to update the meeting about the on-going  lack of Sunday buses serving Pentland and the north side of Logie, with some good news of a review of provision that will take place in the summer.   


Over many months, I have highlighted the inadequate bus services in parts of the West End and, in particular, the lack of service on Sundays in areas like Pentland, Scott Street and parts of the 204a service area like Newhall Gardens and Invergowrie Drive.


I met with the Managing Director of National Express Dundee when the Number 4 service was re-routed away from the West End, which was a really detrimental move by the bus company.     I have also continued discussions with Transportation staff at the City Council about the matter and is now pleased to have been advised by the City Council Head of Transportation that the areas I have highlighted will be reassessed as part of a review of local bus service provision by the council in the summer.   


The purpose of this review is to look at the operation of the small number of bus services the council subsidises (such as the 204 and 204a) and any gaps in provision.   I have made the point on behalf of local residents that some form of Sunday service where there is currently none would be a boon and that the current route the 204/204a takes is convoluted.


Community Spirit Action Group now has a new publicity leaflet - see below - and you can download it here or by clicking on the headline above :

Riverside pitches latest ...

As reported in this morning's Courier, following a further detailed pitches inspection yesterday, the Environment Department of the City Council has taken the decision to suspend use of the pitches until the start of the new season to allow all necessary work to take place to ensure that the stones problem is fully and permanently resolved.

Suspension of play for the Saturday Morning League and the temporary transfer of matches to Lochee Park and elsewhere is disappointing although I think everyone appreciates the priority has to be the health and safety of players.    

I had a lengthy discussion yesterday with the Head of Environmental Management about the situation and the aim is to ensure that the pitches are in fully playable and a safe condition for permanent use at the start of the new season in August.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

MEP support in the West End

I was delighted to welcome George Lyon, MEP for Scotland, to the West End today, to meet my campaign team - here's a couple of photos taken on Magdalen Green, prior to us having a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's campaigning!