Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blackness Walkabout


This morning, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area and two community safety wardens, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area - in particular, Corso Street, Abbotsford Place, Blackness Road, Peddie Street, Blackness Avenue and Abbotsford Street - to look at any local issues.

A number were highlighted, including the damaged bin store behind the tenements on Blackness Road (see right) bin collections and similar issues.

New West End polling station

As Harris Academy is due to decant to the Rockwell site between August of this year and August 2016, I asked the City Council about arrangements for the polling station for polling district WAL - most of the former Riverside Ward - a very large part of the west of the West End Ward, with over 4000 electors.

All these residents vote at Harris Academy and finding an alternative local polling place is important.   I am pleased to say that, subject to council committee approval, during the 2013-16 Harris decant period, voters will be able to cast their votes at the West Park Centre, just over the road from Harris Academy.

This is a very sensible outcome and I am pleased that residents will continue to have an accessible local polling station.

More LibDem Dundee Team campaigning for #bettertogether @UK_Together

On a beautiful evening yesterday, Alison McInnes MSP and I joined a group of LibDem colleagues in Broughty Ferry to speak with residents about the case for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom.   See photo of some of us below:
From left - Alison, Daniel, Craig & me
The reception was hugely supportive of Better Together (and I mean hugely supportive - 95-5!)

I was also delighted that Alison joined me with joint ward surgeries at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre earlier yesterday afternoon.

Friends of Wighton Lunchtime Recital for May Day!

From Sheena Wellington:

On Wednesday 1st May at 1.15pm, the Friends of Wighton Lunchtime Recital, in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Central Library, will feature Aberdeen singer and songwriter Bob Knight.

Bob Knight is a singer from Aberdeen who has slowly but surely been making a name for himself in the world of folk music. He is well known in North East folk circles as a singer and writer of songs in traditional style, having performed at most of the local clubs, including many events at the University of Aberdeen's Elphinstone Institute. 

Bob doesn't just confine himself to his home patch though, and has played all over Scotland, including Edinburgh Folk club, The Rolling Hills Folk Festival in Melrose, the Portsoy Boat Festival, Dougie McLean's Perthshire Amber festival and Celtic Connections in Glasgow.    More recently, at the end of August 2012, he performed in a series of six very successful concerts at the prestigious Whitby Folk Week in Yorkshire.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Visit to The Brae

The beautiful ponies at the Brae Riding for the Disabled are looking particularly well groomed today after receiving a donation of new grooming kits from Barney’s Fund.     Along with two of my Barney's Fund committee colleagues, we had the pleasure of attending a presentation and photocall at The Brae at lunchtime today - see below:
Over the last 2 years, Barney’s Fund committee have been supporting local groups and charities who demonstrate an active role in fundraising for their group.  The Brae is a fine example of a community based initiative and since they opened their doors 5 years ago over 120 people from the disabled community have been able to ride to their level of ability in a fun and encouraging environment.  A rolling waiting list is testament to the centre’s popularity and also ensures that everyone in the disabled community, young and old, has the opportunity to experience the wide ranging benefits from specially structured riding and carriage driving sessions.  

The centre thrives thanks to the help of over 120 volunteers of all ages and walks of life.  The centre’s youngest volunteer is only 14 and the oldest is an impressive 91!  They do tireless fundraising activities as well as help deliver the riding and carriage driving sessions and carry out day to day horse and centre maintenance.  

Having visited the centre, I pointed out the far reaching benefit for the disabled riders and their families and the excellent community spirit of local volunteers who are more than happy to give up their own time to participate in the centre’s activities. 

“With much needed donation of funds such as the Barney’s Fund donation we can continue to provide a wonderful experience for 700 disabled people living in the Dundee and surrounding areas” said Brae Centre Manager, Mary Sneddon. 

If you would like to enquire about lessons at the Brae, make a donation or if you are interested in volunteering please visit their website at www.brae.org.uk  

Applications for Barney’s Fund donations are always welcome. Please send an application letter to Barney’s Fund Committee, Barnetts Motor Group, Riverside Drive, Dundee, DD2 1UG or email barneys@barnettsmotorgroup.co.uk

UK City of Culture 2017 - Dundee's Bid is submitted!

I was very pleased this morning to be one of a large number of people (see some of whom - right) who took part in a photocall outside The McManus to celebrate the submission of Dundee's Bid Document today to become UK City of Culture 2017.

The Bid Team has advised:

"The bid itself plays strongly to the strengths of the creative and cultural sectors in the City.  It puts forward the case that we will build on our strengths and develop a sustainable City of Culture, the legacy of which will be strong community engagement.

The bid recognises the need to close the gap between those who enjoy the benefits of the rich cultural offer that Dundee presents, and the other side of the City which is too often under-represented in the creative output of the City, or in its audiences.

Dundee's bid argues that its development and implementation should be strongly focused on the next generation.

The outline programme for 2017 has been presented thematically:

a celebration of the river - and the communities around the Tay Estuary;
a celebration of the environment - connecting the City's green spaces, a festival of the hills in and around Dundee, a beach party and an outdoor music programme;
a celebration of the people - a homecoming for those with their roots in Dundee or those who studied in the City;
a celebration of the light - shining a light on the future, appreciating the quality of light, night light luminaire, and bright minds.

Each of these themes will be presented as an invitation to crowd source a seasonal programme for the spring, the summer, the autumn and the winter.

Although the outcome of the stage 1 bid will not be known until the end of June, the Bid Development Group have already started further work on stage 2 and remain very focused on the the task of bringing UK City of Culture 2017 to Dundee."

Here is a video taken from this morning's photocall:

On Radio Tay News ...

As the site agents for the former GA call centre site move forward legal action in respect of the current site occupation, I am on Radio Tay News this morning about the issue.   Click 'play' below to listen:

Further operational changes by Royal Mail in Dundee


Royal Mail has announced that changes to postal arrangements in the Dundee West Delivery Office area that were introduced at the end of March will now be extended to the Dundee Central Delivery Office area and this will affect all residents in the DD1 (Central Dundee) area and the DD6 area (parts of North East Fife, including Wormit, Tayport and Newport-on-Tay).

The changes are part of the “Way Forward” introduced by Royal Mail and I had already obtained assurances about the quality of service deliver in the Dundee West area, given the problems a similar introduction had caused some time ago in Dundee East.   

I am pleased that Royal Mail gave assurances about no adverse effect on mail deliveries in Dundee West and it is important that residents in the DD1 part of my ward also see no deterioration in the quality of postal deliveries.   I would urge any constituent with any concerns about their mail deliveries to get in touch.

Progress with the new Olympia

As reported in Friday's "Evening Telegraph", I have obtained assurances from the City Council that the new Olympia leisure facility will open on 24th June.

The City Architect has advised me:

"Having now reviewed matters with the contractor we are satisfied that the contractor will complete within the first week of May that will then give access to Leisure and Culture staff to commence their fit-out,risk assessment and training programmes to meet the targeted opening date of 24th June."

A number of constituents have been asking for reassurance it will open in June and it is now looking promising this will happen.


It is important this new facility opens on 24th June because the current Olympia needs to be demolished so building can start at the V and A at Dundee (subject to planning approval being obtained) and the waterfront project can remain on schedule.

New stop smoking drop-in at Royal Victoria Hospital


NHS Tayside’s smoking cessation team has launched a new drop-in service on Thursday evenings at Royal Victoria Hospital to help people kick the habit. 

The sessions which run between 6pm and 7pm, offer people who want to stop smoking the opportunity to speak to a friendly, trained adviser who will discuss treatment options and give support and advice to aid a successful quit attempt. The first session will last about 15 minutes with further weekly sessions lasting around 10 minutes.

To find out more about the new drop-in or other support available contact NHS Tayside Smoke Free Services on 0845 600 9996 or visit Facebook

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Plaque unveiling at the Balgay Park Rose Window

Later this afternoon, I was pleased to attend the Friends of Balgay's unveiling of a new plaque for the Rose Window in Balgay Park.    The plaque (pictured right) is a welcome addition to the park.

Here's the group of us who attended the unveiling today:

A great success for the Balgay Hill Nursery School Parents' Group

At lunchtime today, I had the pleasure of saying a few words of welcome and thank you to the huge turnout of parents and pupils of Balgay Hill Nursery School as they met up at Victoria Park to set off on their sponsored walk round Balgay Park and Hill to raise funds for outdoor play equipment at the school.

It was great to see such a large group of children, mums, dads, other family members and friends take part and our thanks go to all and in particular to Sharon and her colleagues on the Parents' Group and to Mrs Cowan, Head Teacher.
Ready for the sponsored walk start!

Concern regarding rubbish dumped at Riverside Business Park

As reported in yesterday's Courier and on Wave 102 News, I have expressed great concern about the appalling state the Riverside Business Park site has been left in as the travellers moved on from there.

A City Council officer advised me on Friday:

“The travellers have now moved from Riverside Avenue next to the airport.  Unfortunately they have left the site in an appalling condition.   The Environment Department will be on-site this afternoon (Friday) to remove the loose rubbish & gas cylinders which are the main concerns for the airport.  They will be back on Monday with heavy lifting machinery to clear the rest of the site.  Unfortunately some of the travellers have now set up camp at the old General Accident call centre (about 10 caravans).”

I understand that the GA site agents are planning to serve legal notice on Monday.

I have been in touch with the City Council’s Head of Democratic and Legal Services about the legal situation and the mess that is being left at sites.    Clearly, Riverside Business Park is in private ownership so the clean-up cost should not be borne by the Council Tax payer but the bottom line for me if who dumps this huge amount of rubbish should be made to pay for clearing up the mess.

Leaving or dumping  a large amount of rubbish right next to an airport runway is nothing short of thoroughly irresponsible.

You can hear by interview on Wave 102 News by clicking 'play' below:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jericho House's 'Broken Puzzle' success

Earlier this afternoon, I had the real pleasure of attending the matinee performance of "Broken Puzzle" at the Steps Theatre - a production with service users and staff taking part, alongside other performers including members of a Blairgowrie-based amateur drama group.

It was superb, entertaining and had a really powerful message.    Congratulations go to producer Claire Bee and all who took part.     Here's three videos below of some of the musical entertainment from this excellent presentation:  
  

Rubble concern at Hawkhill

Earlier this week, I was contacted by constituents about rubble on Hawkhill near to Sinderins - see right.   The City Council's Team Leader Building Standards  has advised me:

"Building Standards inspected the property earlier this week and were advised by a local resident that an ornate piece of stonework had been removed from the property by the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS).

FRS confirmed that they had received an emergency call from a member of the public who had witnessed the stonework moving in the high winds. 

Following closer inspection FRS decided to remove the stonework from building."

Adult learning newsletter

 The Spring 2013 City Council Adult Learning Newsletter has been published, highlighting adult learning opportunities across the city.   You can download the full newsletter here.   West End opportunities are listed below:

Friday, April 26, 2013

LibDem Dundee Team campaigning for #bettertogether @UK_Together

With three of my colleagues while campaigning with Better Together in Dundee City Centre at teatime today:

"Broken Puzzle" performance tomorrow

recently mentioned the play that service users from Jericho House together with a group of young people are performing at the Steps Theatre tomorrow (afternoon and evening performances).   You can get full details from their poster here.

The cast is pictured below at its final rehearsal last Wednesday.    Don't miss tomorrow's performances!

Getting things done : Menzieshill Road north pavement

Back in 2007, I requested on behalf of residents that Menzieshill Road's pavements be included in the unadopted footways scheme for future adoption.

Its great therefore to see that the north footway has now been adopted and upgraded by the City Council - see right.    


It is now important that the south side is upgraded, along with other local pavements.

A good number of other West End pavements will be improved and adopted by the council in the coming year, thanks to my proposal agreed by the council to increase capital funding.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Continued concern over parking at West End schools campus

Since the opening of the West End schools campus at Glenagnes Road/Blackness Road last year (the home of St Joseph's Primary School, Balgay Hill Nursery School and Victoria Park Primary School), I have raised concerns about pupil and parking safety around the schools' site.

Recently, the situation appeared to have improved, but yesterday - as reported in tonight's Evening Telegraph - there were real concerns about the situation.   I had a long conversation last night with our local community police officer about the situation and have made some suggestions this morning to the Director of Education and the Head of Transportation at the City Council as follows:

* A minority of drivers ignoring the schools’ advice not to enter the school site by car to collect pupils.   I think the time has come to consider a controlled barrier at the entrance to stop unauthorised entry.
* Some pupils leaving via the vehicle access road and not via the pedestrian entrance/exit.    This needs to be addressed.
* Outside the school grounds, parking on zig zags, yellow lines and right on the corner of Glenagnes Road/Street, blocking Glenagnes Street completely.    There is a clear role for parking enforcement staff to effectively tackle this.

I had a very prompt response this morning from the Director of Education and I am anxious to see progress to ensure pupil safety.

Pentland 'walkabout'

This morning, along with members of Community Spirit Action Group, council officers from the Environment and Housing Department and community wardens, and my ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready, I took part in the latest walkabout around the Pentland area to look at a variety of local issues.

Here's some photographs outlining some of the local matters looked at today:
Damage to stairs that has been reported for repair

New planting on the embankment at Pentland Avenue - further improvement here is planned

Damaged fencing at the Scott Street entrance to Balgay Park - the Environment Department is planning improvements

After requesting pavement improvements in Pentland, it was pleasing to see the works are making good progress

Lochee Road air pollution - traffic management update

Further to the meeting I had with council environmental health and transportation officers earlier this week about air pollution concerns at Lochee Road at the Cleghorn Street/Dudhope Terrace/Rankine Street junction, the City Council's Head of Transportation has updated me as follows with regard to traffic management:

"Following on from our meeting earlier this week regarding Lochee Road and the consideration for introducing traffic signals at the junction of Lochee Road And Rankine Street in order to improve air quality in the area. It is considered that an additional set of traffic signals will introduce more delay on main road traffic flow as this will have to stop when the lights go red where as currently the Lochee Road is essentially free flow.  The interruption of traffic flow would impact on the main flow  traffic speeds and reduce air quality.  Additionally given the proximity of Cleghorn Street it would be very likely that this would also have to be signalised also and this would almost certainly reduce junction capacity further.  From an air quality and road capacity point of view I would not recommend installing traffic signals on Lochee Road at Rankine Street or Cleghorn Street. 

I have also had the UTC staff have a look at the performance of the traffic signals at Dudhope Terrace and this junction has just recently had additional loops cut to ensure vehicles are detected on approach to the junction.  The Junction does not run Vehicle Actuated (VA) during the peak times as we have certain traffic signals plans that operate during these periods.  However outwith the peaks the junction operates VA and should respond to approaching vehicles quickly depending on the traffic demand.

We will commit to monitoring the performance of this junction over an extended period to ensure that they perform as efficiently as possible to aid in air quality improvement and keep the traffic moving as smoothly as possible.  Likewise during financial year 2013/14, we will look at further restrictions / traffic management options that may assist traffic flow."

I have asked the Head of Transportation to explore other possible alterations to improve performance at both the Cleghorn Street part of the junction and opposite there at Rankine Street and he has confirmed this will be looked into.

On Wave 102 News - caravans at Riverside Business Park

I have commented on both Wave 102 News and in today's "Courier" about the latest news regarding the caravans currently occupying the former Scottish Water site at Riverside Business Park.    You can hear my interview on this morning's Wave 102 News here:


Getting things done : Graffiti on rail buildings

Residents have complained to me about the very prominent and unsightly graffiti on the rail buildings at Riverside Approach, just as the rail line joins the Tay Rail Bridge.

See photo - right.

I have reported this to Network Rail, requesting that the graffiti be removed as soon as possible.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Harris Academy Project Board

This afternoon, I took part in a very productive and positive meeting of the Harris Academy Project Board, the board that is overseeing the school's rebuilding project and the decant arrangements.   The meeting took place at the Rockwell site, where the school will be decanted for three years from this summer.

There was an update on the planning position following Historic Scotland giving permission to demolish the existing school buildings.    The planning application is likely to be considered by the council's Development Management Committee on 13th May.

There was a further update on the school transport arrangements, further to the information I recently received from the council, as reported in the Courier.    In addition to all pupils who live in the catchment area and who live at least a mile from the Rockwell site being given a bus pass during the decant period of three years, National Express Dundee will be providing additional school buses (re-routed from other routes not required as the Perth Road school site is obviously closed from June).   The 5S service will leave from Perth Road around Clovis Duveau Drive to Rockwell and the 22S will cover the Blackness Road area starting in Glamis Road, again heading to Rockwell.   Additionally 1A and 1B services going past Rockwell from/to the City Centre will utilise large size buses at the start/end of the school day.

The school will keep parents and carers updated and information will be given on the school website.

I also raised the need to provide alternative accommodation for evening classes provided by Harris Education and Recreation Association during the decant and the Director of Education gave assurances this would be done.

After the meeting we had a tour of the Rockwell building to see progress with the work to ensure the school is ready to accommodate pupils and staff from August and all who took part were pleased with that progress.   Some photographs below: 
Rockwell school facade

School assembly stage

Site for portakabins 

Typical classroom for 30 pupils

Computer Education classroom

Work progressing in school dining servery area

Business Education classroom

Home Economics classroom

Bus service improvements welcomed

As reported in today's Courier, I have welcomed the new bus services that will be run by National Express Dundee as services tendered by Dundee City Council.    

The services include a daytime (Monday to Saturday) service that will link parts of Perth Road, Scott Street and Pentland with Lochee and St Mary’s, an evening service (again Monday to Saturday) that will link parts of Perth Road, Scott Street and Pentland with Ninewells Hospital as part of an Outer Circle Service and a Daytime Sunday service that will also link parts of Perth Road, Scott Street and Pentland with Ninewells Hospital as part of an Outer Circle Daytime Sunday Service.

I have been advised by the City Council’s Head of Transportation that the majority of the new services will commence on 30th June, some changes in the north west of city (some passing through West End at the Milnbank Road area) relating to Angus Council contracts will commence slightly earlier on 27th May.

It is also hoped that the 30th June changes will include details of Harris Academy school bus changes for when the school decants to the Rockwell site.   I am anxious to ensure there is good bus provision for pupils to easily get to Rockwell and this was planned to include additional services from both the Blackness Road and Perth Road areas.

I have long campaigned for improved bus services for the Logie and Pentland areas because at present people in the sheltered housing part of Logie, Scott Street and Pentland have no evening services and nothing at all in terms of bus services on a Sunday.   These new services will improve the situation and also create a welcome daytime link to Lochee.    There’s more could be done in terms of frequency and timetabling but I hope this can be further improved if the new services prove to be a success.

Pleasance Court residents' meeting

Pleasance Court
Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing the latest meeting of the residents of Pleasance Court.

There was a useful discussion on a number of local issues - seagulls nuisance, wheelie bins, door entry security and roof guttering to name a few.

There was a very useful update from two representatives from the City Council on the review of parking restrictions in the area which will free up new parking space and there was also a helpful update from another City Council officer on the draft site planning brief for Queen Victoria Works.

I am also most grateful to representatives from Home Scotland, Ross & Liddell and Community Spirit Action Group who attended and participated in the discussion.

Kelso Steps - a great result

Last December, I updated residents that the City Council had agreed to the request I had made on behalf of local residents and of visitors to Royal Victoria Hospital that the handrail at the Kelso Steps be extended up the brae north of the steps.  

The work has now been carried out (see finished result - right) and this will greatly help elderly people negotiate the brae, particularly in icy conditions in winter.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Loose masonry concern at Tay Rope Works

I was contacted by a concerned resident yesterday about loose masonry on the facade of the former Tay Rope Works on Magdalen Yard Road.

I immediately contacted the City Council and am pleased to have had the following very prompt response from the Team Leader Building Standards:

"I refer to your earlier communication regarding the above and would like to update you as follows.    Following an inspection of the property Building Standards have taken emergency action in order to reduce the immediate danger to public safety, barriers have been erected.

The marketing agent has been contacted and advised of the situation however no formal response has yet been received regarding their intentions.

We will contact the agent tomorrow in the hope that they can urge the owners to instruct the necessary remedial measures and we will also remind them of the owners obligation under the Building Scotland Act to maintain their property in safe condition."

The Cinnamon Trust

You can download a higher quality PDF version of this poster about the excellent Cinnamon Trust charity here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tonight's City Council meetings

At tonight's City Council committee meetings, I spoke about the following:

* Education Committee :   I welcomed a really positive initiative for school and family development workers.

* Environment Committee :  I sought assurances that new electric vehicle charging units will be available for public use as well as for council vehicles.

* Policy and Resources Committee :   I queried why the Al-Maktoum Foundation is not being given discretionary rates relief and commented that 25+ years after Tayside Regional Council had adopted its policy on rates relief (subsequently carried forward by Dundee City Council), it was perhaps time for an officer-led review of rates relief policy.   I am pleased this was agreed to.

* City Development Committee :    I welcomed the proposed City Council Tourism Action Plan and was given assurances that the wider West End would be promoted in addition to the Cultural Quarter.   I also welcomed the draft site planning brief for Queen Victoria Works and Regent Works.    I have long campaigned for action at Queen Victoria Works and the site planning brief is a good step forward.    I am meeting with adjacent Pleasance Court residents tomorrow and will discuss the draft planning brief with them.

Also, at City Development Committee, I spoke about the outcomes of the West End parking consultation exercise.    As I previously indicated, I feel there are actions that the council should now take to help the parking situation and therefore proposed an addition to the report to:

“... remit the Director of City Development to undertake a review of all waiting restrictions in the West End area of the City and to report back to the Committee in early course with his views regarding any additional parking space which could be achieved by removing any current waiting restrictions which are no longer appropriate or necessary.”

I am pleased to say this was agreed by committee and I am keen to see positive action to improve parking, whilst recognising that an £80 a year residents' permit scheme is not going to happen.

Improving air quality in Lochee Road

Lochee Road at approach to Rankine Street
Following raising my continuing concerns about air pollution at specific sites in Dundee during February’s  City Council Environment Committee meeting, earlier today, along with ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready, I met with key council officials from Environment and Transportation about the air quality in Lochee Road at the Dudhope Terrace/Cleghorn Street/Rankine Street junction, that Friends of the Earth recently highlighted as being one of the most polluted in Scotland - details below:

Top 10 most polluted streets for nitrogen dioxide in 2012 (figures in microgrammes per cubic meter, European standard 40): 

Glasgow Kerbside - 72.5 
South Lanarkshire Raith Interchange - 62.9 
Aberdeen Wellington Road - 58.8 
Edinburgh St John's Road - 57.9 
Dundee Lochee Road - 55.4 
Perth Atholl Street - 55.1 
Aberdeen Union Street Roadside - 55.0 
Edinburgh Queensferry Road - 54.5 
Dundee Meadowside - 54.5 
Paisley Central Road - 50.7 

One side of Lochee Road at the location of concern (the junctions at Rankine Street/Cleghorn Street/Dudhope Terrace) is in the West End Ward and I have asked council officers about steps that require to be taken to improve air quality here.

It is vital there is a proactive approach to tackling the air quality issue.   A significant number of constituents live in the tenement flats on the south side of Lochee Road near to the junction where nitrogen dioxide are unacceptably high.   It is therefore important that the council has a clear strategy for improving air quality here.

I specifically raised the need to look at the traffic management aspects – to avoid long queues of traffic building up at rush hour by keeping traffic moving and looking at ways of reducing the traffic flow in the vicinity.     

In addition to a number of measures officers have already taken, they gave a commitment to review the traffic lights vehicle activation to keep traffic moving and will also undertake vehicle counts to see if any adjustments to traffic management would further help the situation.

Update on travellers' encampment next to airport

Further to my article on 11th April about the travellers' encampment at Riverside Business Park, I have received concerns about the build-up of rubbish on the site - see photo (below) from the weekend:
Last Tuesday, I understand a change relative to management of the site took place, with a company from Ashford in Kent taking lease of the site.    The airport manager, the City Council and I have been in touch with the new leaseholder about ensuring that necessary legal steps are pursued promptly.

I have asked the City Council to have all rubbish removed.  I am very concerned about the safety issues caused by rubbish blowing across the airport runway.    

I have also been in touch with the Head of Democratic and Legal Services at the City Council about the need to see the legal process speeded up in such situations.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Friends of Balgay event

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a "sandwiches and a blether" lunch event, held by Friends of Balgay at the Mills Observatory.

It was good to see the excellent turnout on such a lovely Saturday.    Here's a photo taken from outside the observatory yesterday:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Britain has got talent ...

Richard and Adam are awfully good ...

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms screening


As part of a national screening programme, men aged 65 in Dundee and the rest of Tayside will be invited to attend a local clinic to receive an ultrasound scan which can detect Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) – a condition that affects one in 20 men.

The condition affects the aorta - the main artery that runs from the heart down through the chest and abdomen. As people get older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak and balloon out, forming an aneurysm. AAA is most common in men aged 65 and over. Most are unaware that they have the condition and will have no symptoms. For many men the rupture of the aneurysm is the very first sign of the problem. 

For further information on AAA screening call the NHS inform helpline on 0800 22 44 88 or visit the Screening Scotland website at www.nhsinform.co.uk/screening.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Harris Academy Parent Council

Last night, I attended the latest Harris Academy Parent Council meeting at which we had a useful discussion about a number of issues including the new timetable that is nearing completion, course choices for pupils, the prelim examinations and latest updates on the impending school decant and transport arrangements.

Thew new school website has lots of information about the school and can be accessed here.

West End parking - an update

Further to my update yesterday about the West End parking consultation outcome, I spoke on both Radio Tay News and Wave 102 News about the situation.   You can hear me on Wave 102 News by clicking 'play' below:

Event tomorrow : ancient harp music in Dundee


From Sheena Wellington:

On Saturday 20th April, the Friends of Wighton's monthly Cappuccino Concert will feature Simon Chadwick in a special launch performance of his new harp CD, Tarbh.

The concert takes place in the Wighton Heritage Centre, upstairs in Dundee Central Library - admission is £5.   Doors open, and coffee and newspapers are available, from 10.30am with the music from 11am until
12 noon.

Simon Chadwick is a specialist in the historic harp traditions of Scotland and Ireland.    He lives in St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland, and has been studying and teaching the early clarsach for fourteen years, including running the weekly harp class in the Wighton Centre, Dundee.    This is Simon's third recording.    His two previous CDs were released in 2008 and 2012.

Tarbh presents five large-scale compositions by Ranald McDonald who lived in the seventeenth century in the west highlands of Scotland.  

This grandly architectural music, taken from traditional bagpipe, fiddle and vocal settings, is here presented in new adaptions for solo clarsach.

The ringing resonance of the replica Queen Mary harp's gold and silver strings creates a rich and evocative sound for these intricate and complex musical journeys.

For more information about the new CD, please click here.    

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Still need to tackle West End parking problems as parking scheme proposal rejected


As Dundee City Council publishes its report on residents' parking in the West End and announces that it will not progress a residents’ parking scheme in the area of the West End that was subject to the parking consultation in autumn 2012, I have made clear that I am unsurprised by the outcome of the consultation as the council had proposed an unworkable scheme that was dead in the water from day one.    You can read the council's report on the consultation outcomes here.

The parking scheme proposed by the council was never likely to command support.   It is an unsellable proposition to expect many West End residents to pay £80 a year to park outside their homes when residents covered by the Menzieshill parking scheme pay only £5 a year.   The failure the address this guaranteed that residents in the West End would reject the proposal, and, to be frank, the proposal to further charge people for their visitors parking in the area was a faintly ridiculous idea.

The council must now look for a positive way forward from its failed consultation.    Over 600 people responded and there are many good ideas that residents have suggested.    The council must immediately take steps to undertake a review of waiting restrictions in the area that could free up some additional parking.  

The council’s report to next week’s City Development Committee has a “do nothing” feel to it and that is simply not acceptable.    There is a real issue for many people trying to get parked near their homes and the council must look for a positive way forward to help these residents.