Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On Wave 102 News about council housing lighting repair concerns

Further to my article yesterday about council housing lighting repair concerns, I was interviewed yesterday on Wave 102 News about the issue.

You can hear the interview by clicking 'play' below :

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

City Council council housing lighting repair concerns

I have expressed concern about the unacceptable speed of responses to council housing lighting failure repairs in the run up to Christmas, particularly as the cases involved older tenants the West End.

I have asked the City Council’s Housing Department for an explanation as to why it took from 16th December until 27th December to repair a strip light in an elderly tenant’s kitchen in sheltered housing in the Logie Estate.    

The repair finally happened on Saturday after I contacted the Director of Housing herself.    I am very grateful for the Director’s intervention but the fact that, for days, this elderly tenant’s carers were having to try to prepare her meals in the dark in her kitchen is wholly unacceptable.     I therefore asked for more information about service standards and if these are being achieved.

In another case, where lighting has failed in the back area of a tenement block with mainly older residents in the Abbotsford area, a repair request reported on 12th December was given a target date for repair of 31st December.   The tenement back area and route to the bin store has been in pitch darkness at night.    I have concerns there were simply too few electricians on duty to effect repairs in a reasonable timescale.

I think it is important that such lighting repairs timescales are swiftly improved, particularly where elderly tenants were affected.

The City Council's Housing Strategy Manager responded to me yesterday as follows :

"Where all lights in the communal close are out, this will be dealt with as an emergency (24 hours). 

Otherwise it will be logged as a Quick Fix Repair (5 working days). Staff taking repair requests do not have the authority to change repair priorities, however, when dealing with an elderly/vulnerable tenant (including tenants in sheltered housing) they are encouraged to use their initiative/discretion and they should discuss with the trade supervisors the possibility of having the repair carried out more quickly. 

Communal lighting – this is classed as a Routine Repair (15 working days). However, as above, staff are encouraged to use their initiative/discretion when dealing with an elderly/vulnerable tenant and, where necessary, they should discuss with the trade supervisors the possibility of having the repair carried out more quickly.

If all lights are out in a house this would be regarded as an emergency (24 hours). Otherwise it would be logged as a Quick Fix (5 working days). However, as above, staff are encouraged to use their initiative/discretion when dealing with an elderly/vulnerable tenant."

I have responded :

"What’s not clear from this is whether or not targeted repair timescales are actually being met?    

When my office contacted the department again on 23rd December about Abbotsford Place they were advised (to quote) “the electricians … unfortunately they are too busy and there is only 2 of them.”    In the case of [the tenant in question in Logie], the tenant is clearly elderly and infirm but it took from 16th to 27th December for the kitchen strip light to be repaired during which time the tenant’s carers had to prepare meals in the dark.

You indicate “staff are encouraged to use their initiative/discretion when dealing with an elderly/vulnerable tenant” but this either did not happen in this case or – as I suspect – there was simply no resource available to do the job earlier.

The bottom line is that the speed of response has been unacceptable in these cases and I would ask if you can confirm if you monitor if targets are actually being met, if all staff are actually aware they have discretion to insist on an earlier repair where the tenant is vulnerable [and what actually happens in terms of escalation at (the Environment Department repairs service) if such insistence is made by Housing staff] and if staff resource in the period leading up to Christmas has been sufficient to achieve targets?"

Monday, December 29, 2014

Liberal Democrats choose Dundee West candidate

Announcement from the Dundee Liberal Democrat website today :

Dundee Liberal Democrats have announced that well-known Dundee law student, McManus 2013 Citizen of the Year and Dundee football referee, Daniel Coleman has been selected as Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Dundee West in advance of next year's Westminster General Election.

Daniel has been Chair of the Dundee Youth Council, a former Deputy Head Boy at St Paul's RC Academy and student at the University of Dundee, and has represented the city as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

Following the announcement of his selection as the LibDem candidate Daniel said:

“I am delighted and privileged to be selected as the LibDem Dundee West Candidate in the 2015 General Election. I am thoroughly looking forward to taking part in the political process and engaging with the people of Dundee West. It is essential we maintain political interest after the referendum and I am determined to work hard for everyone across the constituency.”

Born in St Mary's and was educated at Hillside Primary School, Lawside RC Academy, St Paul's RC Academy and currently the University of Dundee, Daniel is determined to bring in a new, fresh and vibrant face to politics in Dundee.

On leaving secondary school, Daniel became the sole Scottish representative on the British Youth Select Committee at Westminster on Education issues, where he took his experience of the Curriculum for Excellence to discuss issues with a wide UK audience.

In 2011, he was elected to the Scottish Youth Parliament to represent Dundee West and then resoundingly re-elected in 2013. In that time Daniel tirelessly campaigned on behalf of the young people, representing and taking forward their views and concerns. Furthermore, in March 2013, Daniel became Chair of the Dundee Youth Council, serving 18 months making him the longest chair to date. Daniel qualified as a SFA Football Referee in 2011 and has officiated in four cup finals and a Youth Scottish Cup Semi Final.

Daniel has been actively campaigning for the Scottish Liberal Democrats across Dundee West.     Liberal Democrat councillor for Dundee’s West End, Cllr Fraser Macpherson, added,

“Daniel will be one of the Liberal Democrats’ youngest candidates at next year’s General Election but he already has a wide range of experience and will bring a fresh of fresh air and much enthusiasm to the General Election campaign in Dundee West. I am delighted that our members in Dundee have chosen Daniel to be our parliamentary candidate in Dundee West and will be working with him and the LibDem Dundee team in the run-up to May 2015.”

A photo of Daniel with Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Cllr Fraser Macpherson at the Tay Rail Bridge is below :

Fit for Fifteen

On Friday 2nd January from 11am to 1pm, weather permitting, the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden are inviting Friends and their families to celebrate the New Year with a run, walk, or stroll round the Garden, followed by drinks and nibbles in the glasshouse.   

See poster below :

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pennycook Lane Recycling Centre - an update

Further to my recent update about the overflowing recycling at the Pennycook Lane recycling centre, I have now received the following update from the City Council's Recycling Projects Team Leader :

"I can confirm that the Pennycook Lane Recycling Centre overflowing bin has been emptied. We believe this to be a one-off incident. 

However, I have instructed a member of my team to monitor the site twice weekly to assess whether the collection frequency is indeed adequate."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Time 4 U - lets carers have a break from caring

The Time 4 U service provides carers with the chance to have a break from caring.    If you look after or support a person aged 65 and over, this service may be able to help.

Time 4 U is being piloted on a trial basis in Dundee and is funded by the Scottish Government's Older People's Change Fund.    
The Dundee Carers Centre operates the service and they are working together with social work services and other providers to ensure that carers are supported to get meaningful breaks.

Further information from Dundee Carers Centre on 200422.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Harvest Together project

Further to my recent update about DRIVE Enterprises, here's further news from Mike Taylor at DRIVE about their Harvest Together project :

Harvest Together is a garden sharing project which is run by DRIVE Enterprises, a not-for-profit organisation which was founded by University of Dundee students.    The aim through our various different projects is to improve the environment and to make the world around us a better place. 

Harvest Together is currently looking for two different groups of people.    Firstly, we are looking for people who have unused garden space who would be willing to share their garden with another person.    Secondly, we are looking for people who would like garden space in order to grow their own vegetables.    Our staff will pair these groups of people together and provide them with the tools necessary in order to grow their own vegetables, what is grown would then be shared between the pair.

DRIVE reopens from the Christmas holidays on January 12th and we would love to start getting people involved in this project from that date.    If you would like to become involved in this project, please contact hello@drive.enterprises or alternatively you can call us on 229527 after we reopen on January 12th.    We are also happy to receive any enquiries or questions about this project at the same e-mail address.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pennycook Lane Recycling Centre

Residents have expressed concern to me that the Pennycook Lane Recycling Centre has been overflowing recently.   The photo below is from last Friday :
I have brought this matter to the attention of the City Council's Environment Department and have asked that the site servicing arrangements are improved.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Harris Academy Carol Service

This evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Harris Academy Carol Service that took place at Dundee West Church.

It was a hugely enjoyable community event and showcases the huge talent of Harris Academy pupils.

This is the 14th year I have attended the carol service.   Each year, it really marks the start of the festive season and this year's service was every bit as enjoyable as in past years.

Wishing all at Harris Academy a very Happy Christmas!

... and well done Dominic! @WEndChristmas

Later this afternoon, Dr Mark McGilchrist, Chair of the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden, and I presented Dominic McMichan aged 10 with his prizes as winner of a competition run by the Christmas Fortnight in the run up to the festive season.   Dominic lives locally and attends Victoria Park Primary School.

All local school children from the 4 West End Primary Schools – Victoria Park, St Joseph’s, Ancrum Road and Blackness – and local children who attend other primary schools – were all invited to participate in a window spotting competition around the Perth Road district shopping area.   They were tasked with following a trail of clues in shop front window displays, and from the 50+ correct entries, Dominic’s emerged out the hat in the draw!

Dominic wins a year’s Family Membership of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden and also a gift voucher - Mark, Dominic and I are pictured below at the presentation at Blackness Library :

Well done Impulse Flowers! @WEndChristmas

As part of West End Christmas Fortnight, every year we ask local shoppers to vote for their favourite Christmas-themed shop window in the West End.

This year, we are delighted to announce that the winner of the public vote is Impulse Flowers of Perth Road.

Earlier today, Ann Prescott from the West End Christmas Committee and I presented Diane Watson from Impulse Flowers with her award certificate and gift.

Here's Ann (left) and Diane at the presentation :

Many thanks TSB Perth Road @WEndChristmas

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of receiving a cheque from TSB Perth Road Branch on behalf of the West End Christmas Fortnight Committee.

We are very grateful to TSB for their kind support of West End Christmas Fortnight this year.

Here's a picture of Ann Rossborough of TSB and myself at the presentation :

Computer access at the Mitchell Street Centre

The Mitchell Street Centre provides very useful computer access for local residents.   Following constituents' concerns that the centre is no longer providing the service on Thursday mornings, I sought an explanation from the Adult Learning Manager, who advises:

"Mitchell Street offers an IT4Work Course and a job shop on a Thursday mornings. Both these groups need access to IT to complete Job Search and for people to learn how to fill in their benefit claims on line. The groups run from the base which has 8 PCs.    However, we are finding this is not enough PCs for the number of people who are attending and some stay on to do their claimant commitment on line.

Therefore in order to enable everyone to get access to a PC we are using the 4 PCs in the open are as this allows the tutor to work between two areas, which are adjacent to each other.

These PCs wont be available to the general public between 10.30am and 1pm as they will be reserved for Job search and benefits on line.

I think the notice we have put up could explain this a bit better, so that people who need  IT access for this job search and benefits are aware they can still get access.   I will get this notice amended."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mosaic in Tay Square - repairs needed

Four years ago, the City Council repaired the mosaic outside the Rep, following my raising the matter with the Director of City Development.

Unfortunately it is again needing repair :
I have therefore asked the City Council to undertake necessary repairs.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

West End Christmas Fortnight - prize winners! @WEndChristmas

Here's the winners' list for the shoppers' prize draw and children's window spotting competition from this year's West End Christmas Fortnight.

All winners have been advised and Dominic, the window spotting competition winner, will be presented with his prizes at Blackness Library on Monday.

This poster also appears on the West End Community Council notice board outside Nisa in Perth Road.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Progress with superfast broadband coverage for part of the West End

In August, I highlighted that superfast fibre broadband coverage should finally reach the most westerly part of the West End Ward which is served – for both telephone and broadband - by the Invergowrie Exchange, which also serves Invergowrie itself and parts of the Carse of Gowrie.

This will benefit constituents in the areas around Clovis Duveau Drive, Millbay Gardens, Millbay Terrace and Clayhills Grove, for example.

I am pleased to say that Digital Scotland has now advised me that :

“Confirmation that some premises served by the Invergowrie exchange can now order service.   To check coverage for any specific address, use our interactive map www.digitalscotland.org/whereandwhen.     This information is updated on a weekly basis.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Electric vehicles' charging points in the West End

Back in October, I queried at the City Council's City Development Committee the proposed possible siting of an electric vehicle charging point on Perth Road, west of Shepherd's Loan, at the Sinderins junction - see right.

Yesterday, along with a representative of West End Community Council, I met with the council's Head of Transportation and the Sustainable Transport Team Leader on-site to discuss this.    

Although the principle of providing public electric vehicle charging points is a good one, my concern about this possible site was sight lines for vehicles emerging from Pinegrove.    I am pleased to say the City Council is not proceeding with this site.

We took a walk down Perth Road and into South Tay Street to look at other proposed sites, all of which appear to be fine.     There will also be parking spots for car club vehicles.    These initiatives are being done in such a way as to minimise any loss of general-use car parking.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Festive Cheer at Magdalen House! @WEndChristmas

There was festive cheer at West End care home Magdalen House today when bakery chain Greggs kindly donated a large box of Christmas Pies to the residents to wish them all a very Happy Christmas. 

The festive gift was part of Greggs' sponsorship of the recent West End Christmas Fortnight events and I had the pleasure of handing them into Magdalen House today – here’s a picture of some of the residents receiving the pies! 
We are very grateful to Greggs for this generous gesture for the folk at Magdalen House.

Meetings at Tullideph and Morven Terrace Sheltered Lounges

Following on from Monday's meeting with the tenants in the Corso Street/Abbotsford Street/Abbotsford Place area to discuss rent options for 2015/16, yesterday I had the pleasure of chairing meetings at the Tullideph and Morven Terrace Sheltered Lounges at which two members of staff from the Housing Department discussed with tenants the rent options for 2015/16.

We had very useful discussions on the rents issue, the sheltered housing charge and service and also other matters such as bin collections, grass maintenance and house energy efficiency/insulation.

Roseangle pillar box repaired

I recently advised that I had reported to Royal Mail the fact their postbox in Roseangle had been damaged by a vehicle - see right.

Royal Mail has now advised me :

"I can confirm that, after making enquiries with the Collection Planning Manager, the box has now been reinstalled.

Thanks again for bringing this to our attention and I hope you'll be pleased with the outcome."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Road to Multicellularity : A free talk in the Zoology Museum

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :

The Road to Multicellularity - Lifting the veil on the emergence of multicellular life forms

A free talk by Pauline Schapp
D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, Carnelley Building, University of Dundee
Tonight :  Tuesday 16th December at 6pm

The appearance of multicellular organisms was a defining moment in evolution that gave rise to all the life forms that we see around us today. Multicellularity allows division of labour between cells and the construction of tissues and organs. However, multicellularity also requires novel mechanisms for communication between cells that allows them to function in a manner the benefits the whole organism. 

In this free public talk, Professor Schapp will discuss how the transition from uni- to multicellularity is likely to have occurred and give an example of how the mechanisms that single-celled organisms use to respond to environmental signals became adapted to control cell-type specialisation in their multicellular descendants. She will also show how research into fundamental questions in biology opens up new avenues to address problems related to human health.   

Pauline Schaap obtained a PhD in the natural sciences at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 1987 and was in 1988 appointed as Lecturer and later Senior Lecturer at the same University. She was appointed as Reader at the College of Life Sciences in the University of Dundee in 1999 and as Professor in 2003. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Society of Biology and a corresponding member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Science.

We hope you can join us for this fascinating event. Refreshments will be served after the talk.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Busy Monday ...

A busy Monday started at Blackness Library where library staff, community councillors and I took part in drawing the winners of the shoppers' prize draw and children's window spotting competition as part of West End Christmas Fortnight - the full winners' list will be published in the next couple of days.   Photo below!
Jo, Alan and Ann from West End Community Council undertake the prize draw!
The day also included my taking part in today's Tay Road Bridge Board meeting, immediately followed by my chairing a residents' meeting at the Corso Street Sheltered Lounge for residents in the area.   The meeting was primarily to discuss with tenants the council's possible rents options for 2015/16 - two Housing Department representatives addressed the meeting - although we also had a very good discussion about sheltered housing and other issues.

After my two Monday surgeries at the West Park Centre and the Mitchell Street Centre, I took part in tonight's Development Management Committee, which considers planning applications.   In a discussion about the renewal of planning consent (originally granted in 2011) for Tay Rope Works, I sought assurances on a number of issues raised by objectors including avoiding HMO use, parking and boundary walling.     

I supported both Western Gateway planning applications that would provide high-quality new housing and local facilities.   One application was lost by 2 votes, the other approved with the Convener's casting vote.   

Oh, and we're still missing Kevin unfortunately ...

X7 hospital bus problems - a solution needed

Some weeks ago, I updated residents about the impending change to the Dundee-Perth 333 hospital bus service - now the X7.    

The new bus's timetable is an improvement on the 333 timetable but as my Perth councillor colleague Cllr Willie Wilson pointed out in the Courier last week, the type of bus being used, with hardly any downstairs seats, is a huge disappointment.

Here in Dundee, I have had many complaints, just as Willie has had from his Perth constituents.    As one of my own West End constituents pointed out :

"The new bus is no doubt top-of -the range if you are going Perth-Aberdeen, but not so suitable for anyone with mobility difficulties.    Two seats only behind the driver for people like myself (at 91) who find stairs difficult.  

Last week a young disabled girl at the South Street (Perth) bus stop said to me that if the two seats were occupied when the X7 came she would have to wait for the country bus to Dundee, taking an hour, as she was unable to climb stairs."   

I have had a fair bit of correspondence with Stagecoach, NHS Tayside's Chief Executive and Dundee City Council about this concern.     The Managing Director of Stagecoach East Scotland has written to me as follows :

"The service does not just serve the hospital and like any successful route it has a myriad of users and demands. The X7 element of the route has only been running for just over three years and the 48 seat vehicles were already proving to be too small at certain times of day, so the increase in size of coach was required. 

Depending where the constituents live, from Ninewells we have the Tayway 73 service running every 10 minutes in to to town, the 16A running every hour to Perth in one direction and to town in the other, as well as the hourly 77 service and the X42 - all of these are operated with low floor vehicles without steps in the front area of the vehicle. 

We will of course continue to monitor and review the performance of the service and the complaint levels."

I really do think an urgent rethink by Stagecoach is required.   The coach-style vehicle is simply not the appropriate sort of vehicle for a service that links hospitals.   

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Perth Road roadworks - an end in sight

Quite a few residents have queried the extended period that temporary traffic lights have been operating on Perth Road, just west of Windsor Street.

The City Council has now updated me as follows :

"The temporary traffic lights currently on Perth Road at Windsor Street belong to Scotland Gas Networks. 

SGN have been renewing the mains in several west end streets and this section of Perth Road is part of this project. The temp lights have been listed in our weekly road report since they were set up. 

The reason for the lack of site personnel is that work on the main is now complete. The track has been backfilled and the excavated concrete replaced by the contractor. 

Given the cold weather the curing time for the concrete takes longer. This is the resaon for the site being vacant. 

Once the concrete has cured sufficently the blacktop will be laid. I expect this to happen early next week and the lights be off by the middle of that week."


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blog now also on Tumblr!


In addition to my Blogger blog at www.dundeewestend.scot and my Wordpress blog at www.westendblog.org.uk, the blog is now also on Tumblr - at www.cllrfrasermacpherson.tumblr.com.

DRIVE Enterprises - an update on the bike hire project at the University of Dundee

As a trustee of the Dundee University Student Trading and Innovative Enterprise, branded as DRIVE Enterprises, I met yesterday with Bogdan Handrea, Project Manager, to get an update on the DRIVE bicycle hire project.   

The project has made a great job of creating a highly professional base at its offices at 75 Old Hawkhill (see photos above and below) and the project is going extremely well with a long-term strategy and new carbon reduction projects in the pipeline.

DRIVE is a great social enterprise that offers young entrepreneurial people from all over Dundee a place to meet like-minded individuals and brainstorm ideas, work on projects and start companies.   You can find out more about DRIVE here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dundee Food Train

I have mentioned the award winning Food Train in the past and this is a reminder about this great service that supports older people aged 65 or over to live independently in their own communities by delivering groceries to people who have difficulty doing their weekly food shopping.

Dundee City Council has contracted the Food Train Service to provide a grocery shopping delivery service to people in Dundee aged 65 and over who are having difficulty in managing their grocery shopping.

The  Food Train   further  supports older people to live independently at home  by  addressing some of the  difficulties older people face in getting their weekly grocery shopping. As a Social Enterprise, this preventative service  provides choice and flexibility to older people  and supports people gain employment by providing opportunities for volunteering in the community. 

For those older people with mobility difficulties, the Food Train  helps them  organise   their weekly groceries from the shops to their homes. There is a £3.00 delivery charge payable. Customers pay a £1.00 fee to join the Food Train.

For further information contact: Grant Simmons, Regional Manager, Food Train, Telephone 459202 - grant@thefoodtrain.co.uk - Office D, Market Mews, Market Street, Dundee, DD3 1LA

Volunteers needed!

The Food train needs volunteers to deliver their grocery shopping and home delivery service to older people living  in the community. 

They need:

Shoppers
Drivers
Helpers

Further information from Kirsty or Grant at the above address.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oakland Community Link Service

This service, at the Oakland Centre in the West End Ward,provides support to people over 65 years old, or have dementia to access services in their local community.

A trained and experienced support team can offer short term support to older people and people with dementia, who live independently in the community. 

Examples of the type of support are:

accessing community facilities or activities
independent travel
meeting new friends
building confidence
increasing wellbeing

The short term service is free, however there may be costs if a person requires ongoing support to use some other services or facilities.

Finding out more is easy. 
To arrange a visit and informal chat.
Phone:    435900 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Children's clothes recycling scheme

A Community Payback initiative involving the collection, cleaning and distribution of donated children's clothes is helping families in Dundee.

The scheme involves asking members of the public to donate good quality children's clothes which are not being used or which their own children have grown out of.

Clothes handed into the Criminal Justice Social Work office at Friarfield House, Barrack Street are washed, packaged and distributed to families who need particular types of clothes for young children.

Social workers  identify children who need this additional support and offenders sentenced to undertake work as part of a Community Payback Order wash and package the clothes using a new laundry area which they have developed within the Criminal Justice Social Work office at Friarfield House.

This excellent Community Payback initiative meets the needs many families in Dundee have for good quality children's clothes.   By undertaking  unpaid work, Community Payback offenders are making a positive contribution to supplying much needed clothes to families with young children.

It  provides much needed practical support for children and families who may be vulnerable in Dundee.

There is an opportunity for local businesses to donate unused items of children's clothing or become involved in partial sponsorship of this scheme.

Further information is available on 435001.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Women who went to War - special event later today

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :

The Women who went to War - tonight, Tuesday 9th December - 6pm
Gannochy Trust Lecture Theatre, School of Medicine, Ninewells Hospital

A free talk and film screening organised by the Tayside Medical History Museum about the Scottish Women’s Hospitals during the Great War, presented by Alan Cumming.

When war broke out in August 1914, people clamoured to do what they could to support the war effort. While men volunteered for the armed forces, women were eager to assist in other ways. The Scottish Women’s Hospitals were set up with two very specific aims: firstly, to help the war effort by providing medical assistance and secondly, and equally importantly, to promote the cause of women’s rights and by their involvement in the war, help win those rights.

Their original idea was to establish a hospital in Edinburgh to treat war wounded but this was quickly abandoned in favour of establishing hospitals in the field and close to the fighting to treat the injured. Ultimately, there were hospitals established in France, Macedonia, Greece, Corsica, Romania and Russia, but the majority of their work was in Serbia.

Amateur researcher Alan Cumming became fascinated by the story of these women, and recently featured in the STV documentary The Women who went to War presented by Kirsty Wark. In this special free event he will introduce a film about his own journeys to Serbia and France to research the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, and will tell the stories of some of the women from Dundee and Tayside who worked in them – including former University College, Dundee students Agnes Blackadder and Florence Inglis (who was the niece of Elsie Inglis, the prime mover behind the Scottish Women’s Hospitals). 

Free admission – all welcome.

Monday, December 08, 2014

City Council meetings

This afternoon, I attended a briefing on air quality in the city, organised in advance of a report on the subject to tonight's City Council Environment Committee on the subject.

I have long-campaigned for air quality improvements in Lochee Road, the area from the Polepark to Tullideph junctions being an air quality 'hot spot.'    The report before committee tonight shows some improvement in NOemissions but there is some way to go to reach acceptable targets.

I made the point that there should be traffic modelling undertaken to see if the complex junctions at Cleghorn Street/Dudhope Terrace/Lochee Road/Rankine Street could operate better.

Also at Environment Committee, I welcomed Phase 1 of works to restore steps within Balgay Cemetery [and improvements to drainage in the cemetery] and was assured the final phase would take place in 2015/16.

At Education Committee, I spoke in the discussion about the proposal to consult on the possible closure of Menzieshill High School and extension of Harris Academy's catchment area to include the current Menzieshill High catchment area within the City Council boundary.   I emphasised the need to listen to the views of parents, carers, pupils, staff and the wider community.   Sufficient capacity at the new Harris Academy campus is key as are assurances that all pupils in the catchment area get a place at Harris.

I am pleased to discuss the matter with constituents and can be contacted on 434985;  fraser.macpherson@dundeecity.gov.uk.

At City Development Committee, I sought and was given assurances that the poorly conditioned road to the Riverside Civic Amenity site (Wright Avenue) will be resurfaced in the near future.

Blackness Library Knitting Group

The Blackness Library knitting group started last month - details below - all welcome :

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Christmas Fundraising at Tesco Riverside!

With grateful thanks to Dundee 330 Round Table, at Tesco Riverside, a group of us from the Friends of Magdalen Green earlier today participated in a fundraising effort for the bandstand restoration.

... and many thanks also to the very generous Tesco Riverside customers!     Here's a few photos :



A great finale to West End Christmas Fortnight! @WEndChristmas

The final event of this year's West End Christmas Fortnight took place late yesterday afternoon at the Botanic Garden.

"A Walk in the Dark" was a great event for younger children and all had a great time!    Here's a short video and some photos from the event :
A welcome from the Gruffalo!
... and it was dark!
Meeting the Gruffalo afterwards!

Christmas Coffee Mornings ... @WEndChristmas

Yesterday, both the Harris Academy and the Pennycook/Sinderins Courts Sheltered Housing Christmas events took place.

Here's a couple of photos from Pennycook Court yesterday :
A large queue at the entrance!
Great selection of stalls!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

West End P6 football competition a great success @WEndChristmas

This morning's West End P6 football competition was a great success and congratulations go to Ancrum 'B' who won the final over St Joseph's.    Ancrum 'A' came third and Blackness 'A' fourth.

Congratulations also to Leon Spowart of Ancrum Road Primary School - winner of the "Best Player" trophy.

Many thanks go to Matt Miller who refereed the matches, Murray McDowall of Life Changing Choices who sponsored the trophies and staff at Victoria Park, Blackness, St Joseph's and Ancrum Road Primary Schools for their help and co-operation :

Here's a short video from the final and also some photographs :
Just before kick off for first match
Matches underway
Matt presents Leon with the Best Player trophy
Competition Winners - Ancrum 'B'

Bus shelters in the West End

Two bus shelter queries!    Firstly, a constituent contacted me as follows :

“The new bus shelter at Elliot Road. Why does it not  have sides as the majority of others do along Blackness Road. It is actually very drafty.”

The City Council's Sustainable Transport Team Leader advised by response :

"The pavement width at this location was too narrow to accommodate anything other than a minimal cantilever shelter.  'Sides' would have blocked the passage of people along the pavement.  Lack of space on the pavement is possibly the most common reason why we cannot relocate shelters more readily.   This one is actually a brand new bus shelter and has been positioned so it provides protection from the prevailing winds.  

There is currently no power supply to this location and this will be progressed with our colleagues in street lighting over the coming weeks.  I will ask my team to ensure that there is printed information provided within the shelter."

Another - unrelated - query was as follows :

“I would like to ask when the Perth Road bus stop sign opposite the Invercarse Hotel is to be reinstated. When new street lighting was put in the bus stop sign and information board vanished. The "BUS STOP" paintwork is still on the road and so far buses ( X5  and 16 ) have stopped to let me off but one driver this morning asked if the bus was meant to stop there as he did not usually do the route. It is a busy stop for people wanting the Invercarse, Botanic Gardens and of course local residents.”

On this query, the Sustainable Transport Team Leader advised :

"Your constituent's query has caused us to scratch our heads.

None of my team were aware that the bus stop pole was missing and having made a few calls the trail has gone cold.  We don't know how, why or when the pole was removed.   If you are able to ask your constituent how long they think the bus stop has been missing, I would be very interested to hear back from you.   My best guess is that it went missing following an unreported traffic accident.

We will get the pole replaced as soon as possible."

He has thereafter updated as follows :

"I have now been advised that there was a road traffic accident on 11 May 2014 and that lighting column and bus stop were knocked down at that time.

I will look into the reporting mechanisms to try and work out why it appears this was not passed to us (Sustainable Transport) at the time."

Friday, December 05, 2014

West Port Christmas Lights are on! @WEndChristmas

Many thanks to Emily and Daniel, who switched on the West Port's Christmas Tree Lights at teatime tonight!   Here's a couple of photos :
From left - Daniel, Emily and mum Sharon (of the Christmas Fortnight Committee!)
The West Port Christmas Lights are on!