Saturday 30 April 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Fleuchar Street (Eassons Angle to Blyth Street), Blinshall Street (Lochee Road to Douglas Street) and Scott Street (City Road to Glenagnes Road) – closed for 16 weeks for SSE cable renewal works.

Thomson Street (Magdalen Yard Road for 100m north) – closed from Monday 2 May for 2 weeks for service connections.

Perth Road (at Glamis Road and Windsor Street) – off peak temporary traffic lights on Friday 6 May for Scottish Water manhole repair.

Forthcoming Closures

Perth Road (West Park Road to Blackness Avenue) – closed from Monday 9 May for 3 weeks for carriageway resurfacing.

You can read the weekly road report for the whole of Dundee here.

Event at the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum

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

Tuesday 3 May at 6pm - Just a Mammal!

Join us in the museum for a special animal-themed version of the popular quiz Just a Minute. Kim Dale, Liz Lakin, Barry Caudwell and Mike Sedakat will be the panellists trying to speak on zoological topics without hesitation, repetition or deviation, with Matthew “Nicholas Parsons” Jarron as your genial host! 

Refreshments served after the event.

Friday 29 April 2016

Temporary Traffic Order - Thomson Street

From the City Council :

Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating service connection works.  The Order is expected to be in force for two weeks from 2 May 2016.  Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Thomson Street from Magdalen Yard Road for a distance of 100 metres or thereby north.

Vehicular access to premises will be maintained where possible.  Pedestrian provision will be maintained at all times.

An alternative route will be available via Roseangle and Perth Road.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, City Development Department, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee  DD1 1LS.    If you have any queries, please contact 433082.

Thursday 28 April 2016

Botanic Garden - garden advice clinic

The Botanic Garden is holding a garden advice clinic later today - all welcome.

It takes place in the Botanic Garden's Education Centre between 2pm and 4pm.

Normal Botanic Garden entrance charges apply.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Busy Wednesday!

Earlier today I had the pleasure of visiting Heart Space Yoga and Bodyworks in Scott Street to see round the impressive facilities and meet Ian Alexander and Finlay Wilson who have, over the past five years, built up services aiming to improve quality of life by increasing physical activity levels and offering numerous services for well-being.

Here's a couple of photographs from my visit :

Later, I attended the latest meeting of the Jericho House support group, a regular meeting at which a number of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this important facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism.   

We concentrated our discussion of final arrangements for the impending Open Day at Jericho House aimed at local organisations working in the alcohol and addiction fields, to showcase the work of Jericho House.  

This evening, I attended the latest Harris Academy Parent Council, which commenced with another joint meeting with Menzieshill High School Parent Council.    The working together of the two school communities in coming together is impressive and there was very positive discussion over a number of subjects - visits to the new school building for pupil year groups, parents and the wider community and school uniform being just two.

Friends of Riverside Nature Park AGM tomorrow

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Friends of Blackness meeting

Earlier tonight, I attended the first Friends of Blackness meeting of the new term.   Friends of Blackness undertakes both the Parent Council and Parent Teacher Association roles at Blackness Primary School.

It was an extremely positive meeting and Gordon Ferrier, Head Teacher, reported a likely very healthy P1 intake for the forthcoming 2016/17 year.     There was also a useful discussion about parking issues near to the school and promoting safe drop off and collection of pupils from the school.

Blether Tay-Gither - Storytelling in Dundee

Our April meeting will be tonight - 26th April - in Madigan's Tea Emporium, Castle Street, at the usual time of 7.30pm.

The Theme this month is "Earth, Wind and Fire."

We will be joined this month by three apprentice storytellers as part of their Storytelling Centre accreditation process.

All welcome!

Monday 25 April 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Fleuchar Street (Eassons Angle to Blyth Street), Blinshall Street (Lochee Road to Douglas Street) and Scott Street (City Road to Glenagnes Road) – closed for 17 weeks for SSE cable renewal works.

Forthcoming Closures

Thomson Street (Magdalen Yard Road for 100m north) – closed from Monday 2 May for 2 weeks for service connections.

Perth Road (West Park Road to Blackness Avenue) – closed from Monday 9 May for 3 weeks for carriageway resurfacing.

You can read the weekly road report for the whole of Dundee here.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Friends of Balgay meeting

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Spring Meeting of the Friends of Balgay, which took place at the Mills Observatory.

The guest speaker was Kate Treharne, Dundee's community allotments officer, who spoke eloquently about community gardens in the city.    Kate has done great work across the city and her passion and enthusiasm shines through!

There was a display on “Balgay - then and now” at the meeting which was very interesting :

Saturday 23 April 2016

Botanic Garden event tomorrow

Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden

The next talk arranged by the Friends committee is tomorrow, Sunday 24th April, as usual in the Botanic Garden's Education Centre at 2pm.

Les Hatton will talk about "The decidedly odd world of bats. A quirky introduction to a little known group of amazing animals".

Free to members; donations welcome from others.

Friends of Riverside Nature Park - Bird Walk tomorrow

Friday 22 April 2016

Friends of Balgay Spring Meeting

The Friends of Balgay Spring Meeting takes place tomorrow, Saturday 23rd April 2016 - at 2pm in the Mills Observatory.

The guest speaker is Kate Treharne, Dundee's community allotments officer, who will speak about community gardens in the city.

Refreshments provided and all welcome!

Thursday 21 April 2016

Harris Academy - Development of Evening Classes : an update

Earlier tonight, I also attended the fourth informal meeting to discuss the creation of a new committee to take forward evening classes from when Harris Academy returns to Perth Road.   

Prior to the school decant to Lawton Road to enable the school rebuilding in Perth Road, there was an active Harris Education and Recreation Association that successfully provided a programme of evening classes over many years.    At the time of the decant, the previous committee retired after many years' service to the community.

We had a really positive meeting tonight.   It was agreed that the “Harris Evening Classes Team” will be at WestFest’s Big Sunday on 5th June to speak with local people about evening class opportunities.    Also, the inaugural meeting of the new Harris Education and Recreation Association will take place on Thursday 9th June at 7pm in the new Harris building – more details to follow!

Improving banking areas - Pentland Avenue and Millhall Crescent

Yesterday, I met with local residents and an environment manager from Neighbourhood Services at Dundee City Council on-site in Millhall Crescent and in Pentland Avenue, to discuss options to improve the look of the steep banking in each street - see below (Pentland Avenue) and above (Millhall Crescent).

These are challenging areas to maintain given the very steep banks but we discussed options including ways of retaining soil and hopefully planting wildflower towards the bottom of banks to improve the look of them.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Friends of Blackness Library

Leisure and Culture Dundee is hoping to establish a Friends of Blackness Library group, similar to the successful initiative at Broughty Ferry Library.

If you are interested, please print off and complete the short questionnaire below and hand into the library (hard copy of this is also available in the library) - many thanks :

Energy saving street lighting

There has recently been news that Stirling Council is set to save £31m over the next 30 years by installing energy saving street lights. 

That local authority is borrowing almost £10m from the Green Investment Bank to install LEDs in 12 000 street lights over the next four years.

I think that's a great initiative and asked the City Council its position on doing so.     I have been advised by the Street Lighting Partnership Manager :

"We are currently putting together a business case for LED lighting in the city and the source of funding for this will be given due consideration by our finance colleagues I am sure. 

Green Investment Bank is only one of a number of financial sources available to local authorities."

Tuesday 19 April 2016

V&A Museum of Design - Dundee : site visit

This morning, I participated in the latest V&A Museum of Design, Dundee Project Board meeting.

After the meeting, board members had the opportunity of a site visit round the V&A construction site at the waterfront.

You can see all the photos I took here.    

The external walling work and cladding is making real progress in what is a very complex design.   At the site visit, I was left in no doubt that the V&A Museum of Design in Dundee will have its home in a truly iconic building.

The STEP Programme

The ‘STEP programme’ is a new adult learning programme to be delivering throughout Dundee.

The ‘STEP programme’ aims to tackle social isolation, build confidence and inform adults of the different services available to them throughout Dundee.    The groups are informal and light-hearted and adaptable to meet the needs of the group. 

The programme meets for 2 hours a week over a  9 week period and tackle different topics each session.    The sessions are as follows:

Effective Communication
Healthy Living
Coping With Change
Managing Stress and Anxiety
Sexual Health
Financial Planning
Managing Addictions
Graduation/Next Steps

The programme is suitable for anyone over the age of 18 that would be considered a ‘vulnerable adult’.    This could be anything from homelessness to substance misuse to mental health problems etc.    The programme will accept anyone that’s looking to make positive changes in their life and more details are below :

Monday 18 April 2016

Mutual repairs - council housing and sold properties

Dundee City Council has an obligation to undertake mutual repairs (things like stairwell paintwork, guttering repairs and roof repairs) to maintain its own stock – and owners in blocks where there are a mix of tenants and owners are obliged to pay a share of the mutual element of this work.

There are often queries from both owners and tenants when this sort of work (known as External Cyclical Maintenance) is undertaken – last year, for example, I had a number of queries from residents in the Corso Street/Abbotsford area and also Fyffe Street/Benvie Road/Mitchell Street area.

The council has now published useful guides that you can download below :

Sunday 17 April 2016

New Sky TV Family Documentary Series

I was recently contacted by a TV production company called Little Gem who are currently working on a brand new documentary series for Sky that will tell the story of six families over 5 years of their life.

They are looking for families who’d like to be a part of this project and hope to capture their dreams, ambitions and the journeys that they go on but also the changes that will happen to the world and surroundings that we live in.

They want to embrace the uplifting, challenging and universal experiences of family life that we can all relate to, from young people not flying the nest to weddings on the horizon.

They indicate :

“Perhaps there are some families doing amazing things within your local area e.g. in local business, community work, events or sporting families?

With this in mind, I wondered whether you might be able to help me share this information, to let people know of the chance to be a part of this ground-breaking documentary series.

This is a fantastic opportunity for families across the UK to have a unique once in a lifetime film about their family – a home movie that they can pass on to generations to come - made by some of Britain’s best documentary filmmakers.”

More details below :

Saturday 16 April 2016

Sculptural - new exhibition in the Lamb Gallery

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


Lamb Gallery, Tower Building, University of Dundee
Now open and running until 7th May 2016
(Monday to Friday 9.30am to 7pm;  Saturday 1pm to 5pm)

Now open in the University of Dundee's Lamb Gallery on the first floor of the Tower Building, this exhibition features highlights from the University’s extensive sculpture collections. 

It includes free-standing and wall-based constructions as well as preparatory drawings, sketch-books and photographic documentation of sculptures that no longer exist.   Many are by former students at Duncan of Jordanstone College (including notable graduates such as David Mach) but there are also works here by acclaimed professional sculptors - from Victorian masters such as Sir John Steell to modern artists like Bill Scott, Fred Bushe and Sarah Lucas.    The exhibition also includes Enzo Plazzotta’s magnificent bronze portrayal of former rector Peter Ustinov, normally displayed in Bonar Hall.

This is the first exhibition in the gallery since the installation of new lights thanks to a grant from Museums Galleries Scotland – we hope you’ll notice the improvement! A full list of artists represented in the exhibition can be found here.

Friday 15 April 2016

The new Harris Academy building - site visit

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of visiting the new Harris Academy building on Perth Road.   Robertson Construction has recently handed the building across to the City Council and the fitting out of the completed building is underway, in advance of the school opening.

There will be opportunities for pupils, parents and the wider community to see round the building in the coming weeks (many staff have already been in to see it).    It is simply superb and will be an excellent teaching environment for our community for many years to come.

Some photos below - I have a photo album on Facebook that you can see here :

Perth Road pavement resurfacing

I have long campaigned for the poor conditioned pavement on the north side of Perth Road, east of the junction with Glamis Road, to be upgraded.

Its therefore good to report that work is now well advanced with the resurfacing - see below :

Thursday 14 April 2016

Rose Lodge - Charter for Involvement celebration

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of again visiting Rose Lodge, in Seafield Road, which provides high-quality housing and support for adults with learning difficulties.   

We were there to celebrate Rose Lodge’s involvement in the Charter for Involvement, an initiative by the National Involvement Network that is a series of 12 new statements that show how people who use support services want to be involved in the services they get, in the organisations that provide their services and in the wider community.

Alison Hogg and her team at Rose Lodge do a great job for all in their care and it was a lovely afternoon – here’s a couple of photos!

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Glenagnes Street council lock-ups demolition - creation of new parking area

Further to the recent demolition of the former council lock-ups in Glenagnes Street (see right), I asked the City Council when the area will be completed to create parking spaces and to erect the promised fencing between the area and the flats in Blackness Road to the south.

I have been advised as follows :

"Tayside Contracts has inspected the formation at Glenagnes Street.    They have scheduled to commence making good for a parking surface week commencing 18 April 2016. 

This includes removing the double yellow lines from the south carriageway which otherwise would see residents ticketed. 

Fencing should be around a similar timeline." 

Monday 11 April 2016

West End Community Council Update

I have today launched my April 2016 Update to West End Community Council.    Subjects covered include:

•         Parking in the West End  
•         9/10 bus service meeting   
•         Scottish Water proposed works – Perth Road/Nethergate   

The Community Council meets tomorrow evening at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall at 7pm - all residents welcome.      You can download my Update here.

Sunday 10 April 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Fleuchar Street (Eassons Angle to Blyth Street), Blinshall Street (Lochee Road to Douglas Street) and Scott Street (City Road to Glenagnes Road) – closed for 19 weeks for SSE cable renewal works.

A90 Perth Road (west of Swallow roundabout) - overnight (7.30pm – 6.30am) northbound nearside lane closure on Tuesday 12 April for gully resetting works.

You can read the weekly road report for the whole of Dundee here.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Focus on fixed penalty non-payment as dog fouling fine increases

As reported in yesterday's Courier and also on Radio Tay and Wave 102, with the fixed penalty for failing to clean up after your dog doubling from the start of this month from £40 to £80,  I have asked the council to re-double its efforts regarding the recovery of fixed penalties for dog fouling.

Dundee City Council advised has me that the statistics for dog fouling fixed penalties and payment is :

2015 :
No. of dog fouling FPNs issued during 2015 - 63
No. of these cancelled (representations / appeals upheld) - 7
No. of these paid - 29
No of these outstanding - 27 
Amount outstanding - £1,580
Overall amount outstanding over last 3 years - £4,700

2016 :
Number of FPNs issued -16
Number cancelled - 1
Number paid - 5
Number Outstanding - 10 (8 still within £40 payment period, 2 escalated to £60)
Amount Outstanding - £440

The council’s Head of Environmental Protection has advised me that :

“We shall be approaching the Procurator Fiscal’s office to discuss and establish if there are any other options open to us as regards seeking to secure a conviction against non-payment.”

Since receiving these figures, I am advised that just one of the outstanding 2015 fixed penalties has since been paid and I have therefore been in discussions with the City Council about additional ways of ensuring that all fixed penalties are paid – and paid promptly.     Recovery via bank arrestment is an obvious route to consider where a fixed penalty is ignored and the increase in the amount of the fixed penalty to £80 not only acts as a better deterrent against dog fouling but also gives local authorities more options to ensure full recovery of penalties raised.

Constituents rightly view dog fouling as disgusting and anti-social behaviour – there is absolutely no excuse for not ‘picking up’ after your dog and its clear that constituents support the fixed penalty increase and the council taking strong action to recover all penalties.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Meeting with Xplore Dundee

Yesterday, I met with the Managing Director of Xplore Dundee and two of her colleagues about local bus services in the West End.

The good news is that, from 24th April, Xplore Dundee is issuing revised timetables for the 9/10 service which, with additional resource being added into the service, aims to tackle reliability issues and will hopefully ensure the service runs to timetable at all times.    The new timetable for the 9/10 will be a combined timetable with the 5 service which, given the partially shared route, will be of assistance to passengers.

We also had a useful discussion about inter-operator bus ticketing, likely to come to Dundee this summer, which is good news from passengers and a step towards the Saltire Card functionality becoming a reality, which, in later phases, will allow cash to be put onto a inter-operator card and use on other modes of transport.

Fabulous launch of #DiscoveryWalk

I was delighted to attend yesterday's unveiling of Discovery Walk at Slessor Gardens in the Waterfront and the evening reception for the families of those honoured in the walk.  

Having served on the Discovery Walk Committee, it was tremendous to see just how fabulous the walk is - a great addition to the waterfront - and thanks go to all my colleagues on the committee, all others who have supported the project but in particular to Kelly Marr, who has been the driving force in moving the project to such a successful fruition, and to Suzanne Scott, whose design skills have made the high quality plaques a reality.

The Courier has posted a good video of the unveiling - you can see this by clicking 'play' below - and also below are a few of my photos from what was a fabulous day for Dundee :
The unveiling event
Mary Slessor (Lynne Binnie) and Mary Lily Walker (Hollie Whitfield) attended the unveiling
One of the plaques
The Lord Provost addresses the evening reception at Discovery Point

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Dropped kerbing - Tullideph Street

On behalf of residents, I raised with the City Council the need for better dropped kerbing in Tullideph Street.

I am pleased to advise I have received a positive response as follows :

"A site inspection has been carried out in Tullideph Street and the adjacent carriageways.

From the inspections it was observed that there are lowered kerbs at either end of Tullideph Street. The lowered kerb are slightly higher than the new upstand standard for drop kerbs but do provide a lowered kerb. 

For any future footway maintenance programme in this location I will arrange for these kerbs to be lowered further." 

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Stagecoach bus service 26 being withdrawn

I have expressed disappointment that Stagecoach is to withdraw its relatively new Service 26 - City Centre to Camperdown Park via Lochee – from the end of May.

The City Council has advised councillors that :

“Please note that the Council has been advised by Stagecoach Strathtay that they plan to withdraw Service 26 (City Centre to Camperdown Park via Lochee) in its entirety after 29 May 2016. 

This was a short-lived bus service, that only started operating in November 2015.  Service 26 was operated on a 20 minute frequency with distinctive yellow buses and was marketed as a bus that could take passengers to Camperdown Zoo.   I have been in e-mail correspondence with Stagecoach management who have explained their decision to withdraw was because patronage levels were below that which was necessary to sustain the service in the longer term.

Because the route operated in direct competition with a number of commercial services operated by Xplore Dundee - notably Service 28/29, it is not possible for the Council to support a replacement service.”

The 26 service has proved very useful for constituents in streets like Lochee Road, City Road, Pentland Avenue, Balgay Road, Blackness Road and Hawkhill and I’m disappointed that Stagecoach is intending to take it off after such a short period.    

I felt it really needed greater publicity and with this it could have, over time, become a commercial success.    

I have made these points to the Managing Director of Stagecoach East Scotland, in the hope that some reconsideration of the decision can be considered.

Monday 4 April 2016

West End Ward Surgeries

Now that the school Spring holidays are underway, my usual weekly ward surgeries do not take place, but I can still be contacted on any local issues or concerns through my e-surgery - just e-mail

I can also be contacted at home at any time on 459378 and also during office hours at my Dundee City Council office on 434985.

Surgeries commence again on Monday 18th April – full details of surgery days and times here.