Friday 29 September 2006

Tait's Lane

Earlier this year, I was pleased to report that Tait's Lane's road surface was finally getting resurfaced and as you can see from the picture (right) its really needed.
Since being elected to the City Council, I have been working with a number of the residents to get priority for the resurfacing here; it was a commitment during the Tayside Regional Council days so let's just say the residents have been patient.
But patience pays off and here's the draft temporary traffic order sent to me for comment yesterday :

Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating carriageway reconstruction works. The Order is expected to be in force for three weeks from 23 October 2006. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Taits Lane between its junction with Corso Street and number 11 Taits Lane (a distance of 200 metres or thereby).
Pedestrian thoroughfare and vehicular access to premises will be maintained.

An alternative route will be available via Hawkhill, Peddie Street and Corso Street.

Thursday 28 September 2006

Markinch morning, recycling prize draw and "No HGVs sign"

Early start today in order to help my North-East & Central Fife LibDem colleagues on polling day at a council by-election in Markinch. Lovely morning!

Back mid-morning to Dundee in time to draw the winning entry from the recent City Centre Recycling competition - see photo of Graeme Dailly from Waste Management and myself doing the draw at the City Chambers!

I'll not name the lucky winner of the
£50 Overgate shopping voucher as the winner may choose to tick the "no publicity box" if you catch my drift, but assuming the winner is agreeable, we're aiming to do a photocall next week to present the prize and winner will be revealed then.

Good news is that the prize draw's aim of promoting the Gellatly Street recycling centre has worked as staff report increased use of it.

On walking up Perth Road later on, pleased to note that the "Unsuitable for HGVs" signs I'd been promised for Westfield Place (following residents' requests) are now in place at the north end.

Graeme from Waste Management and me at the City Chambers drawing the winning ticket! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday 27 September 2006

Week thus far; Magdalen Green, Audit, Police Switchboard, Christmas and High Street clocks!

Monday was extremely busy - morning chairing the City Council's Audit & Risk Management Sub-Committee - very positive audit reports, both from the External Auditor (Audit Scotland) and from the Internal Audit Service.

In the afternoon, the next planning meeting for the West End Christmas Week took place at the Tartan Coffee House, following on from the site visit last Friday (see below) about the proposed fireworks display. Really good progress on this year's week. You can read minutes of the previous meeting on 11th September by clicking on the headline above (its a link to the appropriate page on the WECC site).

The Chief Constable was very prompt indeed at responding to the concerns raised on the Tay Talk-In about the responsiveness of the 223200 (Tayside Police Dundee non-emergency) telephone number. Following an e-mail from him first thing Monday morning, Chief Inspector Myles called me later on to invite me to visit him at Police HQ to see the call-handling at first hand and hear about the Police's project to enhance the service. So spent first half of Tuesday morning doing this & most worthwhile. Spookily enough I bumped into the other lady who called the Tay Talk-In (and her husband) in the street on Monday night coming from my surgery - so was able to update her on actions local police and HMO licensing unit has taken about the specific anti-social behaviour issue raised but also called her after the visit to Police Headquarters to advise her about the planned improvements to the 223200 service.

Latter half of the morning Tuesday was spent chairing a very productive meeting of around 20 local residents to discuss the future of Magdalen Green - some immediate issues together with plans for the long-term protection and enhancement of the Green. Thanks to the council officers who also attended - we are all meeting again in November to consider a number of proposals. Meantime, we'll be producing a news-sheet to update nearby residents on some of the issues.

And ... contacted the City Centre Manager following concerns that the new clock in the High Street was running 15 minutes fast - its now repaired!

Tuesday 26 September 2006

Fest 'n' Furious!

Sheena Wellington, Treasurer of the City Centre & Harbour Community Council, and so much more ..., has sent out the latest update on Fest 'n' Furious - with Sheena's permission, I'll simply quote her words but click on the headline above to link to the Fest 'n' Furious website:
"Fest'n'Furious - - is on this weekend! Please feel free to pass this on to your friends!! Highlights include a ceilidh dance with music from Ceilidh Minogue and the Tayside Young Fiddlers at the Bonar Hall on Friday night, Cappuccino Concert - Helen Brown Sings Robert Burns, Hannah Maclure Centre, Abertay University the National Youth Pipe Band at the Music Centre on Saturday afternoon Sheila Stewart's book launch at the Hannah Maclure Centre on Sunday afternoon. harpsichord recital, (7pm Friday Wighton Centre), Street Party, free concerts, talks, workshops - and much much more! AND the marvellous BOYS OF THE LOUGH are at the Bonar Hall on Sunday evening. This is the Boys first visit to Dundee for years and should be utterly superb!"
And utterly superb is what it will be, so please give Fest 'n' Furious your support!

Sunday 24 September 2006

Wet but successful Memory Walk, HMOs ...

Janet & I took part in the Alzheimer Scotland Memory Walk in Balgay Park this afternoon (see photos below!) It was a really wet horrid afternoon but a great turnout of people to help raise funds for Alzheimer Scotland. Janet & I raised £180 between us and very many thanks to everyone who sponsored us. You can link to the Alzheimer Scotland website by following the link above.
Was on the Tay Talk-In earlier on about the issue of Houses in Multiple Occupation in the West End. I am pleased that proposals will be coming forward (at next month's Planning & Transportation Committee) to set limits on the number of HMOs in local areas in the city - this will be welcomed by residents in the West End & City Centre.
One of the two West End residents who also called the Talk-In called me afterwards about specific concerns about disturbances in her street - I have taken these up with the HMO licensing team in the City Council and with our local community policeman. I've also contacted the Police regarding continuing complaints about getting through to the police switchboard and about another anti-social behaviour complaint 3 residents of the same street have been in touch with me about over the past couple of days.

Me during the walk - been drier! Posted by Picasa

Part of the group in Balgay Park during the Memory Walk Posted by Picasa

Saturday 23 September 2006

Leaflets and Mosaic in Tay Square!

Spent the morning helping the LibDem Team in Kirkton - they were delivering a newsletter from Cllr Helen Dick (colleague & sister in law!) - absolutely beautiful morning.
Good news on getting the damaged mosaic in Tay Square repaired. The Planning Officer (Public Art) tells me that the artist should be on site next week. The final completion date is the end of September. He also says - "The artist still believes he will be finished for the end of September. I will keep a watch on progress."
It will be good to see the mosaic in the square back in its original condition.

Friday 22 September 2006

West End Fireworks, Overgrown Trees and Blogging Top 100s ...

Friday morning was spent on day job activities - I am organising (along with the Northern Ireland Chief Executives' Forum) a conference on local government reorganisation - taking place in Belfast next month - and whilst its going very well, its time consuming too!
This afternoon, apart from visiting residents in the Ancrum area about their concerns regarding overgrown trees and helping a constituent with a passport application problem, met with council officers, Tayside Police and the West End Christmas Group volunteer pyrotechnician to look at the health & safety aspects of our West End Christmas Week fireworks display this December. All went well and I am sure we'll have a super fireworks display in the West End this Christmas!
Further to my wee departure from normal content - i.e. the Top 100s blogs - I see "Civic Scene" in the Tele ( tonight mentions both this blog and that of Marlyn Glen MSP (Labour, North East Scotland). So, having expressed my sadness at the impending departure of my council Conservative colleague Bailie Neil Powrie from the City Council in an earlier entry, in the interests of political balance (!!), if you click the headline above, you can read Marlyn's Blog!

Thursday 21 September 2006

Useful day!

A busy useful day today! This morning I chaired a meeting where City Council finance staff spoke with retired members of the Tayside Superannuation Fund. It was very worthwhile and a robust and enjoyable question and answer session took place. The group of retired members gave their strong support to ethical investment decisions and I will be reporting back their views to the next meeting of our Superannuation Investment Sub-Committee.
This afternoon received good news that, following my request, Dundee Contract Services has agreed to paint the benches at the Sinderins junction during the winter. The other issue is the improvement or replacement of the litter bins there and I've been advised that this matter will be raised through the Neighbourhood Partnership Network.
Tonight, after a short meeting of the City Centre & Harbour Community Council, there was an excellent presentation by the Dundee Civic Forum about the Forum's visit to Orebro in Sweden during which they studied community planning & local democracy in Orebro, a city of similar size to Dundee. Not only was this informative, it was presented in an entertaining way.

Wednesday 20 September 2006

Bus Issues in West End

Had a question raised by a West End resident about the height of the bus timetables on stops, so here's the response from the City Council :-
* * *
"The bus shelters and bus stop poles have been designed to meet the 'Inclusive Mobilility' guidelines, which are aimed at assisting elderly and disabled persons. The alternative would be placing displays so low that the majority of persons would not be able to read as the information would be below waist height."
* * *
You can read the guidelines by clicking the headline above.
* * *
Also had a complaint that service 42 & 96 timetables not on all Perth Road stops - see response below:
* * *
"With regard to 42 / 96 I was obviously unaware of this, thank you for bringing this to our attention we will look at amending this over the next couple of weeks, initial investigations are underway. It is a strange one as the base database and on line journey plan information has all stops on Perth Road, looks like a transfer to roadside display has let us down?"

Graffiti, Signage and Alzheimer Scotland

Good news received this morning from City Council re complaints I had forwarded in Bankmill Road and Blackness Road (near fire station) areas - to quote:
"Graffiti on pathway between Bankmill Road and Blackness Road removed however the top part is causing a problem with access due to parked cars the crew will check the area for access later. Utility box requires painting. Graffiti in Lane just east of Fire Station removed."
There's been good progress on getting co-operation of a major owner of utility boxes to get graffiti removed so hopefully it'll be tackled soon.
At last week's West End Community Council, it was pointed out to me that the lack of directional signage at the entrances to the new Pinegrove development (ie off Shepherd's Loan and Perth Road at Sinderins) was causing confusion - deliveries going to Pinegrove Gardens development in Osborne Place in error. Took this up with Planning & Transportation who tell me that they'll provide directional signage "for completion within the next two to three weeks."
Lastly, along with some members of West End Community Council, Janet and I are doing a sponsored walk round Balgay Park on Sunday in aid of Alzheimer Scotland - details of the memory walks across Scotland can be read by clicking on the headline above. Many thanks to everyone sponsoring us - if you can do so please e-mai me at

Tuesday 19 September 2006

Marching against Trident (by accident)

Firstly, BT has acknowledged my complaint about the phone box in Milnbank Road and promises action to improve it.
My latest City Centre & Harbour Community Council update for September's meeting (Thursday 6pm at the City Chambers - earlier & a different venue as the Dundee Civic Forum is meeting at 7pm) was published today - click on the headline above to read it!
Issues raised include:

* Tay Hotel Site Development Brief
* Gallacher Retail Park - bus service
* Green Circular and Greenways maps
* Litter at City Churches
* Christmas 2006 in City Square
* Recycling in the City Centre
Was in Edinburgh today with day job (Revenues Software Suppliers Group with Scottish Executive) and Janet came along. Theory was she was shopping but she came across the Long March for Peace just as it was finishing its walk towards the Scottish Parliament so she joined it for the last few miles (and was delighted to chat with Donald Gorrie MSP on the way).
The Long Walk for Peace began on Thursday with anti-nuclear protesters setting off from the Faslane naval base on the Clyde. The group, including church and union leaders, walked the 85 miles to Edinburgh where ministers were asked to oppose plans to replace Britain's Trident missile programme.

Monday 18 September 2006

Ford's Lane good news & telephone box concern Milnbank Road

Had a gentleman at my surgery last Monday complain about dumped garden cuttings in Ford's Lane. Pleased to say they have now been removed by the Waste Management Department following my passing on the complaint to them.
A resident in Bankmill Road has complained to me about the really poor state of the phone box in Milnbank Road; apart from having a missing door, there's glass on the ground in it and the receiver itself is vandalised. See right. I've taken this up with BT.

Saturday 16 September 2006

Blog in top 100th! Well, 69th actually!

You will have gathered by now that the purpose of my blog is not to make political comment (I make enough of that at City Council meetings!) but to update residents in the West End and City Centre of Dundee on local issues, so its really rare that I make any sort of political comment on the blog but - well - a couple of exceptions and it is all about the Tories.
Firstly, I am personally really sad that the Conservative Councillor for the neighbouring ward to mine (Riverside) Neil Powrie has decided to stand down at next year's elections. Neil's done loads for the West End over the 27 years he's been on the Council (well, actually councils - Dundee District Council, Tayside Regional Council and the current Dundee City Council) and he's a good friend. So forgetting the politics, I'll miss Neil being on Dundee City Council.
Secondly, had a good laugh to see that Tory commentator Iain Dale (Iain Dale's diary - has done a resume of the best UK political blogs and I'm 69th on the LibDem Top 100, which is pretty amazing considering my blog is aimed only at the people who live in the West End and City Centre of Dundee. Anyway, you can read his full LibDem 100 by clicking the headline above!
The next blog entry will revert to type.

Blackness & Logie Deliveries!

We had a team out delivering this morning across Blackness and Logie (special FOCUS newsletter for these areas and Pentland and Ancrum - you can download page 1 by clicking the headline on the headline below and page 2 by clicking the headline above!)
Whilst in Blackness Avenue, received a complaint from a lady who pointed out that the "Blackness Avenue" street sign at the south junction with Hyndford Street is broken - see below - have reported this to the Planning & Transportation Department of the City Council.

The sign & click on headline for FOCUS Special Page 1!

Broken Blackness Avenue Sign Posted by Picasa

Friday 15 September 2006

Underpass cleaned

Good news - the City Council's Rapid Response Team has - at my request - cleaned up much of the graffiti at the underpass next to Clovis Duveau Drive - see both cleaned up photo below and original story from earlier in the month (by clicking the headline above).
Its not perfect given the state of the tiles, but a whole lot better - so many thanks to our Waste Management Team!
Over 1500 blog readers in the past month, thanks to you all - you can send feedback to - cheers!

Underpass cleaned up a bit. Posted by Picasa

Thursday 14 September 2006

Pitfall of your colleague's holiday!

Helen, my sister in law but also council colleague (Dundee City Councillor for Strathmartine Ward) is on holiday so I am covering her constituent concerns as well as my own at the moment .. so I have spent a fair bit of the day on complaints about leaking roofs in Kirkton, road repairs in Downfield, you get the idea ...
That said, lots of West End issues on the go - parking, pavements (eg flooding at entrance to Pinegrove), overgrown trees in Saggar Street, and a controlled entry issue in Peddie Street - to name a few.
Currently delivering a new newsletter to Logie, Pentland, Blackness and Ancrum areas - lots delivered last night but rather rained out tonight! Will upload soon. Lots of responses from residents already.
Lastly, really useful meeting of West End Christmas Week Group committee earlier this week (which I chair) - you can read the agenda on West End Community Council website by clicking headline above - Christmas Week 2006 looking really good!

Wednesday 13 September 2006

Tayfield Place update - my, that was efficient!

An e-mail response from Planning & Transportation about the street sign referred to below :

"I shall instruct our contractor to replace the nameplate and inform you once this has been carried out. This should be within the next 2 - 3 weeks."

Very efficient!

Tayfield Place

Following complaints from residents about missing street sign at the mouth of Tayfield Place (see below) I've reported this to the Planning & Transportation Department for attention:

Tuesday 12 September 2006

In the Highlands ... and Community Council

A very nice day as the day job meeting I was at during the day was hosted by the Highland Council in Kingussie. Leaving aside the Council's excellent hospitality, as you can see below the drive passes beautiful scenery - and also the Clan Macpherson museum in Newtonmore! Click on headline above for more information about the museum.
West End Community Council had a very interesting meeting earlier tonight with Professor El-Awaisi, Principal of the Al-Maktoum Institute giving a presentation on the detail of the Al-Maktoum Multicultural Centre.
On the way to the Community Council meeting, met with residents about a particular West End parking issue.

Clan Macpherson Museum in Newtonmore Posted by Picasa

Rather more spectacular scenery than I see going to meetings most days Posted by Picasa

Monday 11 September 2006

New West End Community Council Update

Just produced my September 2006 update to the West End Community Council - click on the headline above to read it!
The Community Council meets on Tuesday (12th September) at 7pm at Logie St John's Cross Church Hall, off Blackness Avenue.

Sunday 10 September 2006

Junction Lines in Logie Avenue

Received a complaint from residents in the Logie area about worn junction lines - see below! This example is at the east end of Logie Avenue (at its junction with Glenagnes Road) and I've reported it to the Planning & Transportation Department for attention.

Saturday 9 September 2006

Back from Conference; good news in City Centre!

Just back from a few days away running my Institute's Conference (day job) and a backlog of over 100 Council e-mails! A couple of Conference snaps below - me in the Conference Exhibition and the main Conference Hall. I can assure you administering conferences is not for the faint-hearted but the event went really well.

Good news on return about the dug up pavement in Exchange Street/Commercial Street - outside the Children's Panel Offices. I have raised the condition of the pavement on numerous occasions - my colleague Claire is pictured (above right) at the works but see really good news e-mailed to me on Thursday from a member of the City Centre & Harbour Community Council :

"I walked past the Reporter's office this afternoon to see that the last of the building site has gone and the grilles have been filled in with small gravel. It all looks so nice - even knowing the trees are on order!!"

Monday 4 September 2006

Graffiti removed .. and Fyffe Street roadway

Further to the story last month about outstanding issues at Seabraes (click on headline above to read), pleased to say resident advises this morning that the graffiti on the pillars (right) has now been removed.

On a less positive note, a resident has contacted me about the really poor road surface in parts of Fyffe Street (see below) - I've taken this up with the Planning & Transportation Department - condition of roadway round the corner in Benvie Road similarly poor.

Sunday 3 September 2006

Seabraes Lane - damaged coping stones and pillars

Had concerns from residents about the above - situated at the top end of Seabraes Lane on the boundary between the lane itself (leading to the SET Digital Media Park) and the adjacent property to the east, which I understand is owned by the University of Dundee.

Have taken up with both the University and with Scottish Enterprise Tayside.

The roadworks in Perth Road around Sinderins appears over & Turriff (the contractor) is heading further west along the street. Now bus stop is back in action, have asked the Council to get rid of the "bus stop out of action" signs ASAP.

Saturday 2 September 2006

Underpass - west end Perth Road

Residents have brought to my attention the state of the underpass at the very far end of Perth Road (the one that runs across Perth Road just east of the Invergowrie boundary to the west of Clovis Duveau Drive).

See photos below! I have reported this to the City Council's Planning & Transportation Department asking for action to remove the graffiti.

Friday 1 September 2006

Tay Rail Bridge - more photos!

A couple more photos from the Rail Bridge yesterday, with thanks to Network Rail - immediately below - me on the Bridge with Tay Bridges Ward behind! Below that - Network Rail team, Dundee's two MPs and myself on the Rail Bridge.

Latest Sinderins junction update

Further to previous blog, concerns over past 24 hours about the traffic management here - in particular operation of "stop/go" boards in relation to the traffic lights during the gas replacement works & associated disruption. Just had this feedback from the City Council :
"There was a problem which was sorted by mid morning. The traffic control system is not too bad but complicated for me to explain by email. Basically our UTC (CCTV staff) are helping SGN/Turriff (the gas people & their contractors) to get the timing of the lights right at Sinderins to work with the stop/go and leave Shepherds Loan open as long as possible and at the same time give appropriate green time for every phase of the lights.
"This short section should finish by tomorrow. Then they will move to the west of the junction and need to come back to the east side when our UTC have fitted extra controls on the lights. It is worth mentioning to your constituents that the stop/go traffic control system is the best option to allow two way traffic operating on Perth Road as we could have closed the Perth Road to one way traffic at this location."

Sinderins disruption, Network Rail, Riverside Roundabout

Firstly, pleased to see bush trimming work on roundabout near Marmalade Pot was carried out as promised last Sunday.

Really interesting visit to the Tay Rail Bridge yesterday. Network Rail had invited me and the two Dundee MPs to see the painting and refurbishment works on the bridge.

There's a very significant investment in these works being made by Network Rail over the next few years and the photos show us walking out across the bridge and underneath it (about a quarter of the way across the Tay).

A lot of disruption at the Sinderins junction area over the past few days caused by gas mains replacement works - I'd earlier forewarned residents about this is a recent FOCUS newsletter - click on headline above to read.

A number of residents have rightly complained that the "out of action" bus stop near the Rosebud & the Chemist didn't have any notice on it to say where the nearest "operating" bus stop was - a bit of a problem as some residents erroneously thought the buses had been moved to Hawkhill (as has happened before). I have spoken to Planning & Transportation & pleased to say posters put in the shelter this morning.