Thursday, October 31, 2013

Playpark area in Polepark Road - need for improvement

Residents in Fyffe Street and Polepark Road have been in touch with me regarding the poor condition of the playpark area at the north end of Polepark Road.

See photos below:

I have been in touch with the City Council's Environment Department about this and have been advised:

"This area is one we have identified as a possible site for environmental improvements under the capital programme ... we are keen to carry out some improvement works here over the winter months."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

West End adult learning opportunities

The City Council's Autumn 2013 Adult Learning newsletter is now out and it gives details of learning opportunities across the city.  

You can download the full newsletter here.  

West End opportunities are listed below:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pentland walkabout

Earlier today, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area, representatives from Community Spirit Action Group, the City Development Department and the Environment Department, I took part in a walkabout around Pentland, to look at local issues, similar to the walkabouts last week at Logie and Blackness.

We looked at many issues - poor conditioned steps, dumped rubbish, grass maintenance - to name just three - and action will be taken to address all the issues we looked at.

Bring a Pound to Work Day - Help for Kids

You can download a high quality PDF version of this poster here.

Road Safety - Glamis Road

In recent months, I have had a number of constituents raise the issue of safe pedestrian crossing at Glamis Road at its south end.    As one constituent highlighted recently:

'My wife and I are regular pedestrians along Perth Road from our house to town.  My wife walks to and from her work in town every day.  

It has always been a problem, but as we get older, crossing Glamis Road at its junction with Perth Road is getting more dangerous.  It is a very wide junction, and although you can check there are no cars planning to turn into Glamis Road when you start crossing, because of the speed of cars along Perth Road and the time it takes to cross the junction, on numerous occasions we have had near misses with cars whose drivers appear to have little respect for pedestrians and the Highway Code.   I have been able to touch cars as they turn in front of me. 

Would it be possible to place a refuge island in the middle of the junction as there is at the Spar circle further up Glamis Road or at the Junction of Perth Road and Riverside Drive just west of the Invercarse Hotel?'

I have been in discussion with the City Council regarding this sensible suggestion and the council's Head of Transportation has updated me as follows:

"I will arrange for this location to be inspected for the best location to be considered. 

I have had initial advice from the traffic engineers and certain factors have to be taken in to account such as pedestrian movement and count as well as the carriageway width.  Ideally the carriageway should be sufficiently wide enough to construct a 2.0m wide island and provide a 0.5m wide safety zone for construction and maintenance. 

For normal traffic including buses and HGV the absolute minimum width of lane is 3.0m with desirable 3.25m. Therefore to maintain two way flow for construction and maintenance to minimise disruption would require the carriageway to measure 9.0m absolute minimum and 9.5m desirable minimum. 

If this section of carriageway meets the criteria I will arrange for this location to be considered for inclusion with a future Cycling Walking and Safer Street (CWSS) Projects Programme."

Monday, October 28, 2013

West End Charity Fundraising event!


City Council meetings tonight

Following my ward surgeries this afternoon at the West Park and Mitchell Street Centres, I took part in tonight's City Council meetings at which:

* At Environment Committee, I asked questions about the issuing of fixed penalty notices for littering and asked about the success in getting a proper outcome when these are reported to the Procurator Fiscal due to non-payment (around 50% of the 300-400 fixed penalties for littering in Dundee each year end up being reported to the PF).

* At Housing Committee, I welcomed the more reasonable rent increase proposals to be consulted upon this year - in my view, the SNP has had unreasonably high rent increases in the past few years - but I questioned a change in procedure which effectively means that tenants can only chose between 3 options for increase proposed by the council with no opportunity to say that all are not acceptable and suggest an alternative to them.

* At City Development Committee, I moved deferral of a £735 000 tender to relocate part of the Environment Department to City Square.    The SNP administration is all over the place on this matter, previously suggesting that millions be unnecessarily spent on a new HQ for that department at Marchbanks.   Had they listened to me at the last budget, that project would have been abandoned then and we would have seen an extra £1.15 million available for schools refurbishment this year, as I proposed.

A deferral would have allowed for the department to properly brief councillors on its strategy before another £735 000 is spent, but the SNP majority on the council voted for full steam ahead without this.   It is not so much a case of a policy intention being badly communicated, more about it not being communicated at all - and not a way to manage public funds.  

Harris Academy Project Board

This morning at the City Chambers, I attended the latest meeting of the Harris Academy Project Board.   There was a useful discussion about the new school building project's progress and on transport issues and I raised several aspects of the latter matter.

It was agreed that a sub-group will be formed to take any outstanding bus/transport issues forward, which is a sensible approach.

Friends of Magdalen Green Soup and Pudding Lunch - new poster

.. as part of West End Christmas Fortnight ...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Traffic Order - Blinshall Street

From Dundee City Council:

DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL  :  ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984

DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL (BLINSHALL STREET AREA, DUNDEE) (VARIATION OF WAITING RESTRICTIONS) ORDER 2013

Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 the effect of which will be to alter the waiting restrictions in the Blinshall Street area due to the changing parking requirements of the area.

Full details of the proposals are contained in the draft Order, which together with a Statement of the Council’s reasons for proposing to make the Order may be examined during normal office hours and without payment of fee at Dundee City Council offices, Reception, 18 City Square, Dundee by any person, during a period of 21 days from 25/10/13.  A copy of the plans can also be viewed by searching for "Traffic Regulation Orders (In Progress)" in the A to Z section of our website.

Any person may within 21 days from 25/10/13 object to the proposed Order by notice in writing to the Head of Democratic and Legal Services, Dundee City Council, 21 City Square, Dundee.  Objections should state the name and address of the objector, the matters to which they relate and the grounds on which they are made.

ROGER MENNIE, Head of Democratic and Legal Services

Scottish Water - Be Prepared For Winter Campaign

With the clocks change earlier today, it is an opportune moment to highlight Scottish Water's "Be prepared for winter" campaign:
Follow Scottish Water’s winter code and be prepared for winter!

Scottish Water has launched its winter campaign to encourage customers in communities across Scotland to follow their winter code - protect your pipes, be prepared and heat, insulate and protect your home.

We are also urging holiday homeowners, businesses, agents and landlords to take steps to heat, insulate and protect properties and any vacant commercial let properties.
Sean Batty from STV weather (pictured above) supports the launch of our winter 2013 campaign for the fifth year running.

Visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/winter where you can find winter information, films and advice. If you would like hard copies of our leaflet and poster, please feel free to email customermarketing@scottishwater.co.uk details of your request.

Further information can be found online about your pipework responsibilities, visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/responsibility.

Follow us on @scottish_water and www.facebook.com/scottishwater.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a safe and happy winter season.

Scottish Water Team

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blackness Court Coffee Morning

Blackness Court's coffee morning takes place at 10.30am next Saturday - 2nd November - all welcome!

Usual stalls and entrance is £1 (adults) and 50p (children).

Friday, October 25, 2013

West End Garden Sharing Scheme

Back in March of this year, I attended the launch meeting of 'DUSTIE' - an initiative by the Enterprise Gym at the University of Dundee - aimed at providing university students with paid, supervised work experience that will benefit both the student and the local community.

Now branded as DRIVE, the initiative has two arms -DRIVEPRO, the for-profit unit - and DRIVEECO, the not for profit unit.

I had a very useful meeting earlier today with Bogdan Handrea, Acting Project Manager, to speak about a DRIVEECO initiative - a garden sharing scheme for the West End.   

As Bogdan advises, "Mainly, we want people who are willing to harvest fruit and vegetables to harvest other people’s gardens who are not able or do not have the time to do it.    This would benefit both parties as the owner of the garden would have a share in the harvested food and this will cut down CO2 emissions as they would both save trips to the supermarket and have cheaper organic food."

This is a super initiative and if anyone is interested in knowing more about it, please contact me at drive@frasermacpherson.org.uk

Students' Surgery at DUSA today with @dcoleman49

Earlier today, along with Daniel Coleman MSYP, Chair of Dundee Youth Council, I held a surgery for University of Dundee students that took place at Dundee University Students' Association.   This was part of a series of surgeries at DUSA with local elected representatives.

Here's me and Daniel at DUSA today - see below:

Getting things done ... Patrick Place

Recently, at the request of residents, I asked the council's Roads Maintenance Partnership to replace the very worn street sign at the entrance to Patrick Place.

I am pleased to say this has now been done - see below:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Harris Academy Parent Council

Tonight, I attended the October meeting of Harris Academy Parent Council.   

In addition to a detailed discussion about school transport, there were useful Head Teacher's and School Captains' reports.

The transport issue and progress with the Harris Academy rebuilding project will be further discussed at the school Project Board next week.

Logie Walkabout

This morning, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area, representatives from West End Community Council and the Environment Department and one of my ward colleagues, I took part in a walkabout around the Logie Estate to look at local issues, similar to the walkabout we had on Tuesday around Blackness.

We looked at a number of issues - the estate's lock ups, slippy leaves (see below), fencing and hedging, to name a few - and action will be taken to address all issues noted.

Surgery at Dundee University Students' Association

You can download a PDF version of this poster here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Campaigning for Susan Leslie #susan4dunfermline @scotlibdems

Have spent a few hours today campaigning for Cllr Susan Leslie, our superb candidate for tomorrow's Dunfermline by-election.    Here's me pictured (below) with Jim Burke, Chair of Dunfermline Liberal Democrats, on the campaign trail!

Westgrove Avenue - resurfacing

I have, for some time, campaigned for a better road surface in Westgrove Avenue, following concerns expressed by local residents.

The road has now been resurfaced (see below) and residents have told me how pleased they are with the finished result.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On STV News at Six and on Wave 102 News - rejection of the West End Park and Ride proposal

Further to my update last night about the rejection of the West End Park and Ride proposal, I spoke on STV News at Six tonight and on Wave 102 News this afternoon about the issue.   You can hear the Wave 102 interview by clicking 'play' below:

Better broadband for the West End

The most western part of the West End Ward (area around Clovis Duveau Drive, Millbay Gardens, Millbay Terrace, Clayhills Grove, etc) is - for telephone and broadband - served by the Invergowrie Exchange.

Constituents have contacted me to complain that this exchange is not yet providing superfast broadband and I contacted the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout team about this and have been advised by a member of the team as follows:

"I have conducted a search of our intervention area can confirm that the Invergowrie area is eligible for a state aid intervention as part of the programme.  This means that the premise of your constituents may benefit as part of the rollout.  

At present no announcement has been made regarding what areas will benefit and when.  We are currently developing a website which will go live on the 15th Oct 2013 showing information on what areas of Scotland are eligible for state aid intervention, all our public announcements will be made via this facility.  Our first rollout announcement is due to be made in early 2014.  

In the meantime updates will be given regularly to our Local Authority stakeholders through our regular catch-up session, and to members of the public through Twitter @digitalscots." 

Monday, October 21, 2013

City Council meeting tonight - West End Park and Ride proposal defeated

Tonight, after my weekly Monday ward surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and the West Park Centre, I took part in the City Council's Development Management Committee meeting at which, after listening to very well-prepared deputations, I moved refusal of the Park and Ride Proposal for Riverside on the following grounds:

"The proposed development is contrary to Policy 66B (Protection of Other Open Space) of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 as it fails to meet the criteria set out within Policy 66A and is not consistent with a park master plan, strategy or programme approved by the Council to improve the management of open space. There are no material considerations of sufficient strength to justify the granting of planning permission contrary to the provisions of the development plan.

The proposal is contrary to Policy 70 (Semi-Natural Greenspaces of Local Nature Conservation Importance) of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 as the proposal adversely affects the nature conservation qualities of the nature park having an adverse impact on breeding birds which utilise the woodland habitat within and close to the site boundary. There are no material considerations that would justify approval of the proposal contrary to the provision of the development plan."

I am pleased to say that my motion was accepted unanimously by committee as the committee's Convener was unable to find a seconder to propose his motion to agree to the park and ride proposal.

The decision tonight is, in my view, in the best interests of local residents - over 400 signed a petition against the park and ride proposal - and also for the future of the Riverside Nature Park.

On another agenda item, I supported a move to modify a legal agreement associated with a planning application at Kingsway West Retail Park, which would have allowed for the opening of a new Next Home and Garden store - the first such home and garden Next operation in Scotland.    Regrettably, the move was defeated by a small margin - a very disappointing outcome given that the Next proposal would have resulted in a £4.3 million investment and a net gain of some 85 new jobs for Dundee.

Blackness area walkabout

Abbotsford Street
This morning, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area officers from the City Development and Environment Departments and one of my ward colleagues, 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.

We undertake these walkabouts in several areas every six months to ascertain any local issues or problems and ensure action is taken thereafter to deal with them.

A walkabout for the Logie area takes place later this week and one for Pentland next week.

Guided tour of DC Thomson exhibition

From the Curator of Museum Services, University of Dundee:

Our popular exhibition in the Lamb Gallery, DC Thomson: Press Print Production, ends this week. 

Though a range of unique and rarely seen material, it tells the story of changing print technologies at the Dundee-based publisher and showcases their many influential publications.  

On Tuesday 22nd October at 1pm, journalist and best-selling author Norman Watson will give an informal guided tour of the exhibition and share his wealth of experience. 

No need to book - just come along to Lamb Gallery.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Friends of Balgay AGM

Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Balgay, at the Mills Observatory.

Despite torrential rain, there was an excellent turnout to hear Clive Gillman (see right), Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts, give a very interesting presentation about Dundee's bid for UK City of Culture 2017.

Friends of Balgay can be contacted via their website contact form and would welcome your involvement in enhancing and protecting Balgay Park and Hill.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

On Wave 102 News ...

I was on Wave 102 News yesterday about the issue of the so-called “Invergowrie” roundabout.    You can hear the interview by clicking 'play' below:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wasps Open Studios - 19th and 20th October 2013

Across the month of October Wasps Open Studios are opening their studio doors and inviting the public into their spaces to see the tools of a working artistic trade. Wasps Open Studios 2013 gives you a rare opportunity to see inside an artists studio space and talk to them directly about what inspires them.

Meadow Mill Studios will be open to the public on the 19th and 20th October, 12noon - 5pm both days as part of Wasps Open Studios 2013. Alongside artists' open studios, we will be hosting the following activities in the project spaces: 

Saturday 19th:
12 noon - 13:00: Creative writing with author Zoe Venditozzi
(maximum of 8 people)

13:15 - 15:15: Reading session with poet Dawn Wood
Dawn Wood grew up in Omagh, Co. Tyrone and now lives in Perthshire, working as a science lecturer at the University of Abertay, Dundee. Her poetry publications include Ingathering (forthcoming, Nov 2013) and Quarry (2008) with Templar Poetry, and Hermes With Gift (UAD Press 2011)

15:30 - 17:00: Best bits of Pecha Kucha Dundee

Sunday 20th:
12:30 - 13:30: Meet the Inkers - Vanilla Ink.
Vanilla Ink is a jewellery workshop which offers a suportive, collaborative and affordable studio environment to silversmithing and jewellery graduates in Dundee for the period of one year. This years designers have just moved in and this is a great opportunity to meet them and learn more about their work.

14:00 - 17:00: TRiGGER presents Connectivity 2013.
TRiGGER is one of the ArtWorks Scotland/Paul Hamlyn Foundation research networks and explores developing practice within participatory settings. This drop-in activity will allow visitors and studio artists to contribute to an informal reflective visual response to the open studios event.

Both Days 12noon - 5pm:
Ms Battenberg’s Travelling Tea Room
A vertiable cornocupia of delectable treats. Sit back and relax with some homemade treats and a cuppa.

Lovely Things at Wasps
For the weekend studio 316 will be transformed into a pop up shop selling items made by artists and makers, curated by Lynne Duffus of Lovely Things. Cash or cheque only.

Friends of Wighton : Cappuccino Concert on Saturday 19th October

From Sheena Wellington:

Wighton Heritage Centre at the Central Library :  Saturday 19th October at 11am.

Helen Forbes (tin whistle), with Lou Lewis (guitar).

Tickets £5 (includes coffee, available from 10.30am).

Scotland's finest whistle player presents reels, jigs, slow airs and a surprise or two, sensitively accompanied by Lou Lewis on guitar.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Art Classes in the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum

Starting this Friday, acclaimed artist and Duncan of Jordanstone graduate Lara Scouller will be running a four week course on Museum Drawing.  The D'arcy Thompson Zoology Museum is the perfect setting for someone who is interested in improving their observational drawing technique. In this course participants will work from a variety of zoology specimens and other objects.

The course runs 12 noon-3pm over four Fridays starting on 18 October. It costs £45 which includes tuition and some materials. You can find out more information about this and other classes by Lara on the website www.cargocollective.com/purepastels. Spaces are limited so please book by e-mailing Lara directly on lara.scouller@btinternet.com.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Daft name for West End roundabout ...

As reported in last night's "Evening Telegraph", I have criticised the council’s naming of a roundabout “Invergowrie Roundabout” despite the fact that the roundabout is nearly a mile from Invergowrie.

As part of the sponsorship of roundabouts in the city, the roundabout at the south end of Ninewells Avenue at its junction with Perth Road has been named “Invergowrie Roundabout.”   It has been sponsored by leading local company WL Gore.

I am all in favour of sponsorship of Dundee’s roundabouts as this brings in income to keep them in a well-maintained condition but the name of this roundabout is plain daft and misleading.  It is the best part of a mile east of the council boundary with Invergowrie and the name can only serve to confuse visitors.

I suspect the rationale was that the roundabout is near Invergowrie Drive, Dundee, but that street does not join this roundabout.    ‘Clayhills Roundabout’ would have made far more appropriate name – it is very close to Clayhills Grove and Clayhills Drive.   

I have asked the council to change the name to something more appropriate.

Bonnie Dundee meeting

Last night, I attended the latest committee meeting of the Bonnie Dundee group, at the City Chambers. 

The group encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee's parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape.

It was great to learn that the group won a silver award in this year's Beautiful Scotland Awards, with significantly improved scoring compared to 2012 - well-deserved recognition.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sinderins Court and Pennycook Court Residents' Meeting

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of attending the latest meeting of the Pennycook and Sinderins Courts Residents' Association.

We had a good discussion about local issues and ate some rather lovely scones - a trial run of scones production for the forthcoming residents' coffee morning.   Details of the coffee morning below - don't miss it!

UPDATE 25th October :   Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the coffee morning on 16th November has had to be postponed and will be rescheduled for into the New Year.

Disgraceful graffiti vandalism slammed

I was on both Radio Tay and Wave 102 News today, speaking about the disgraceful vandalism that took place in the Glamis Road, Hazel Drive and Elliot Road area at the weekend.

Residents are rightly outraged at this latest spate of graffiti vandalism, coming so soon after previous vandalism in the area.    

I hope that any resident who may have seen anything over Saturday night/Sunday morning in the area can contact Police Scotland on 101 to help bring those responsible for this mindless vandalism to justice.

You can hear my comments from Wave 102 News below by clicking 'play' below:

West End Christmas Fortnight : Soup and Pudding Lunch

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of chairing the latest West End Christmas Fortnight organising committee meeting.   2013's Christmas Fortnight is taking great shape and in the period leading up to the start of Christmas Fortnight on 23rd November, I'll be featuring some of the great activities taking place.   I start with this great initiative by Friends of Magdalen Green:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Improved pavement at Ancrum Place

Earlier this year, I advised that I was pleased to have been informed that the pavements of Ancrum Place were to be brought up to good standard and adopted by the City Council this financial year.

I am pleased that this work has now been carried out - see right - and residents have told me how pleased they are with the finished result.

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.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Latest event from the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden

On Wednesday 16th October, there is a lecture at the D'Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre in the Tower Building at the University of Dundee.

Starting at 2.15pm, entrance fee is £2.00 and Dr Tony Miller of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh will give a lecture on the reclamation and regeneration of the Marshes of Iraq.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

On Wave 102 News on the Harris Academy school transport review

I was on Wave 102 News yesterday about the Harris Academy school transport review.    You can hear the interview by clicking 'play' below:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Harris Academy transport situation - an update

Further to my previous article about the need to review Harris Academy bus provision, yesterday there was clarification on the situation by Dundee City Council transportation team as follows:

“I am sure you will be pleased to hear that the additional bus on the route of the 12S is to continue after the October break.  The bus will remain in place until any future review of passenger loadings indicates that it is no longer required.

Operationally, I can advise that the duplicate 12S bus will commence from the bus stop known as 'Perth Road near West Park Road'.    This will reduce perceived congestion around Clovis Duveau Drive at 0805-0810. 

I have also secured agreement from National Express Dundee that a larger capacity vehicle will be allocated to the 11S route.   This will generate space for an additional 8 pupils. 

Perth & Kinross Council have advised that, with effect from 21 October 2013, some Longforgan based pupils will be offered concessionary places on the Stagecoach bus that commences in Invergowrie.   This should relieve some of the pressure on the 11S and 12S. 

I have relaxed the guidance issued to drivers about boarding arrangements in the morning, which means that pupils waiting at Clovis Duveau Drive will be free to choose which bus they travel on to school.   I will keep this under review.

Having discussed the timings with senior staff at the school, it is not proposed to amend the current timetable.

Letters to parents were sent out earlier this week, advising them of arrangements for renewing pupils season tickets.  In August 2013, we had advised all parents by letter that season tickets should be retained and that further instruction would be issued during the October holidays.  I will consider whether this 'renewal' letter can, in future, be issued before the schools break for their holidays.”

In addition to the sensible decision to keep the second 12S school bus, it makes sense that it starts further down the route to avoid any bus getting over-full and I also welcome the larger capacity bus on the other route – the 11S.  

I do still feel that a marginal alteration of the bus times would have ensured that no pupil arrives late or misses the afternoon bus and I have asked that council officers reconsider this.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Forbidden Fruit: Appetite & Desire - Ninth Annual University of Dundee Culture Day

The Ninth Annual University of Dundee Culture Day 
Wednesday 16 October 2013
Baxter 1.36, first floor, Tower Building

1.45                       Welcome

2pm                       Graeme Stevenson (Music) – Bach’s Coffee Cantata 

The Coffee Cantata is about the closest Bach came to opera. Written to be performed in Zimmermann’s Coffee House in Leipzig it tells the tale of Herr Schlendrian and his daughter Lieschen. She is addicted to coffee and her father is trying to persuade her to give up the “evil drink”. Our soloists are Jill Harrison (soprano), Mike Towers (tenor) and Alister Allan (bass) and the band is made up of students led by Beth Wyllie.

2.30pm                 Neil Paterson (Botanic Garden) - Eat at your peril!: taste, poison and mimicry in evolution 

A very long time ago, the Plant Kingdom made a momentous decision to adopt a sedentary lifestyle.  This means that plants have evolved chemical defences against animals and other plants leading to bad tastes and poisons. Unpalatability also features as a defence mechanism in the Animal Kingdom leading to the evolution of the amazing phenomenon of mimicry.

2.45pm                 Jackie Malcolm (Design, DJCAD) – Food as a Trigger for Memory

Our food is driven by our culture and it can offer us a rich source of information about life as it is has been lived and is being lived. This talk will provide insights into life in Dundee, through natural conversations recorded with elderly people, at four sheltered housing locations in the city. Looking back to the 1950s we will observe just how much our food has changed.

3pm                      Break

3.20pm                 Trevor Harley (Psychology) - Living to a budget

How much do we need to spend on food to live healthily? How easy it is to stick to a budget? What can be done to make it more likely that we will follow our budget and our good intentions? I review my recent attempt to live economically for a month.

3.35pm                 Caroline Brown (Archive Services) – Chicago, Dundee and Paris: the passions and prejudice of a 19th century Dundonian

John James Dalyell was born in France in 1835 but lived most of his life in Dundee and Angus. Using one of his many letter books held by the University Archives this talk will examine his interests and concerns over a period of four years between 1868 and 1872. Dalyell was a keen cricketer and golfer, with an interest in foreign affairs, particularly in America and France. Sadly in 1872 Dalyell began suffering with severe head pains which were to lead to his admission to Sunnyside Asylum in Montrose where he stayed until his death. 

3.50pm                 Brian Hoyle (English) - In America they wash their Oysters. It kills the taste: Food, Sex and Death in European Cinema

This talk will examine references to food and eating in the work of some of the great European filmmakers, ranging from mouth-watering feasts the pepper the films of Claude Chabrol; to the cibophobia of Jan Svankmajer; to the surreal, scatological world of Luis Bunuel. 

4.05pm                             Break

4.30pm                 Dominic Smith (Philosophy) - The Appetite for Paradox: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Internet Culture

Since the dawn of philosophy with Plato, paradoxes have been emphasised as important provocations for thought and creativity. This talk will examine how contemporary online culture relates to this. Does the Internet expose us to too few paradoxes, or to too many?

4.45pm                 Annie Tindley (History) - Appetites of the Flesh: scandal, money and inheritance in the British Aristocracy, 1880-1895

In September 1892, the 3rd Duke of Sutherland, one of Britain’s richest patrician landowners, died, leaving his multi-million pound inheritance to his second wife, the Duchess Caroline. His son, the 4th Duke, was forced to take her to court for his inheritance, a process that saw one of them jailed, and was finally settled out of court. This talk will explore this episode, feverishly followed by the media, and will consider the nature of sensation and celebrity gossip in the high Victorian age.

5pm                       The JOOT Theatre Company will perform the Seven Deadly Sins scene from Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus

5.30pm                        Finish

Admission is free and visitors are welcome to attend as much of the event as they choose. The programme is also available online at www.dundee.ac.uk/museum/exhibitions/caf.  

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Friends of Magdalen Green Meeting

Last night, I was minute-taker at the latest Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting.   We had a very positive update on the Roseangle playpark improvements campaign and are delighted at the Courier's coverage of the launch of our 2014 Magdalen Green calendar, the proceeds of which will go towards the playpark campaign.

Don't forget our Soup and Pudding Lunch on 7th December at Dundee West Church (11.30am to 1.30pm) as part of the West End Christmas Fortnight!

Skill Share Dundee October events

You can download a higher quality copy of this poster here.

Monday, October 07, 2013

West End Community Council Update

I have today launched my October 2013 Update to West End Community Council.

The Update covers the following issues:

Road safety - Sinderins junction

West End Christmas Fortnight 2013

Call for review of council's HMO policies 

West End Heritage Walk

Review of bus transport for Harris Academy

Bus timetable information – Perth Road and Nethergate 

You can download the Update here.

The Community Council meets tomorrow night at 7pm at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall in Shaftesbury Terrace.   All residents welcome to attend.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Friends of Riverside Nature Park - new membership leaflet

The Friends of Riverside Nature Park have now published a new membership leaflet that you can download here.

The Friends are doing great work at the Nature Park and you can join for only £5 (individual membership) and £10 for family membership.

Simply complete the tear-off section on the back of the leaflet and send it back with your membership fee to the address listed.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Bus timetable information - Perth Road and Nethergate

IBIS Interactive Unit
A constituent contacted me recently about the electronic bus timetable information (IBIS Interactive Unit) in Nethergate opposite Park Place and audio facility on Perth Road near Grosvenor Road as follows:

"I happened to try the “audio” facility at the eastbound (north side of Perth Road) stop at the Harris site the other day.  It isn’t working properly.  It belts out a response at loud volume, but that’s maybe the problem: there must be “feedback” within the system, or some sound imbalance, because it’s quite impossible to understand what’s being said: the words are drowned out by the general noise.  So passengers with poor eyesight get no information.

Also, it’s a great pity (in my view anyway) that the only timing information now available on-screen here and at Queen’s Hotel is the “buses due in next hour” times.  All very useful, but what happened to the actual timetables which you used to be able to call up on screen?  Not there any more.  It would be useful to have them (I needed to check one recently, for use on a return journey later in the day) – I had to go to the office and get the timetables on the web.  No doubt I could have walked to the next stop and got them.  But why withdraw the info from the actual stop?"

Having contacted the transportation team at the City Council regarding this, I have now received the following helpful response:

"I reported the IBIS unit faults as soon as you informed us and i believe they are now fixed.  

We discussed the IBIS units at length in our quarterly progress meeting with VIX ACIS, where VIX informed us that tests have been carried out on the IBIS unit down south to try and eliminate all of the issues.

These tests have been successful and the improvements will be rolled out to our IBIS units shortly.

In the meantime, if the IBIS units in situ fail at all, please do not hesitate to contact us, and I will log the fault and make sure they are repaired asap."

Thursday, October 03, 2013

On Wave 102 News - on Dundee's carbon footprint

I am on Wave 102 News this morning, speaking about action to reduce Dundee's carbon footprint.    You can hear the interview by clicking 'play' below:

Friends of Balgay AGM

The Friends of Balgay AGM will be held at the Mills Observatory on Saturday 19th October at 2pm.

Agenda

1. Apologies
2. Minutes of last AGM
3. Matters arising
4. Chairman’s Report
5. Presentation of Accounts
6. Retirement of Treasurer
7. Subscriptions 2013-14
8. AOCB

The AGM will be followed by a talk from Stewart Murdoch of Dundee City Council on Dundee’s bid for the ‘City of Culture’.  This will be followed by discussion and refreshments.   All welcome!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Community Spirit Action Group meeting

Earlier tonight, I attended the October meeting of Community Spirit Action Group, the residents' group for the 'north' of the West End Ward, covering areas like Cleghorn, Pentland, Ancrum, Tullideph and Milnbank/Forest Park.

Tonight's guest speaker was Gill Bain, who gave an interesting update on the new West End timebank.   Gill advised that, after consultation with the steering group I am participating in, the West End timebank will be called Time2Give.   There is real progress and momentum behind this excellent community initiative.

Back in July, I raised residents' concerns about the poor timetabling of the new 9, 10, 11 & 12 service in relation to service 17 at Tullideph/Ancrum.    I was pleased to advise the meeting tonight that the timetabling situation has been improved.  The council's transport team has advised me:
"..  as at 30 June 2013 Services 10/12 were at 22 and 52 minutes with Service 17 at 01 and 25 minutes;
as at 29 September 2013 Service 10/12 are 17 and 47 minutes with Service 17 at 01 and 25 minutes.
This has resulted in buses at this stop being more spread out over an hourly period."