Monday, 31 December 2007

New Year Message from Nick Clegg

Dear Cllr Macpherson

2008 will be a momentous year for the Liberal Democrats.

We have before us an unparalleled opportunity. We must reach beyond the stale two-party system to the millions of people who share our liberal values, and change Britain for the better.

Let us show what that means in the local elections that face us this spring.

Putting British families back in control of their everyday lives will be at the heart of everything we stand for.

In control of their time, not fighting to make space for family life between the demands of work and the burden of bills.

In control of what their children are exposed to on TV, not constantly struggling to protect toddlers from the pressure of advertising.

In control of their own privacy, not forced to submit personal information to a massive government identity database.

Giving power and responsibility to families – of every shape and size, of every background – is the only way to make sure everyone has a fair chance in life.

I will not tolerate a country in which the poorest people die 13 years sooner than the richest, lone parent families are twice as likely to get attacked or burgled, and the poorest pupils are twice as likely to fail their GCSEs.

I believe no-one should be condemned by the circumstances of their birth. And I am certain that is what the British people believe, too. We are a nation with a strong sense of fair play, and natural justice.

The challenge for our party is to persuade those people that their home is with the Liberal Democrats. We will do it by putting social mobility – a fair deal for every family – at the heart of our message.

That means investment in education, so every child gets the best start in life. I will campaign relentlessly for a “pupil premium” to bring spending for the poorest children up to private school levels.

It also means cutting taxes for low and income families, and reforming tax credits so that no family is ever again plunged into debt by crippling repayments enforced by an incompetent government.

We all know the Conservatives don’t have the answers. They would block opportunity, not promote it.

They talk about social justice, but want to return to a Victorian-style voluntary system. They talk about families, but only want to help married couples. They talk about tax cuts, but don’t say where they’ll find the money.

The Liberal Democrats are different. Under my leadership, we will campaign for opportunity for everyone, with people, families, and communities in control of their destinies.

So we will campaign for flexible working, shared parental leave, and flexible benefits for all families. We will campaign for sensible restrictions on advertising aimed at toddlers – my own children remember the adverts far more clearly than any of the programmes they watch. We have lost the virtue of cherishing innocence, as childhood becomes ever shorter.

Protecting very young children from unwanted commercial intrusion into their lives is part of the same instinct that seeks to protect adults from unwanted state intrusion into theirs.
So we should campaign tirelessly to stop the expensive, invasive and unnecessary Identity Cards scheme in its tracks.

The child benefit and learner drivers' data loss scandals mean there is a looming crisis of public confidence in the government's capacity to look after their personal information. So let 2008 be the year we bring down the Identity Cards scheme.

I urge you to join with me to make this happen: so we can truly give British families control over their own lives this year.

Together, we can make Britain the liberal country the British people want it to be.


Nick Clegg


Liberal Democrats

P.S. You can also watch and comment by clicking on the headline above

Happy New Year ... when it comes!

I'll not be near my PC to update the blog at stroke of midnight ... so can I slightly in advance wish everyone a very Happy New Year.
Blog entries will recommence early in 2008!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

The photocall (mentioned in last blog entry) at lunchtime today went very well and many thanks to both Peter & Kim from Wave 102 for attending and to the Evening Telegraph for featuring it in tonight's paper. The West End Community Council website records the event ( together with other Christmas Week photos.

Had an increasing number of e-Christmas cards this year but perhaps the nicest of them is from the University of Dundee (click on headline above to view) with its West End theme!

As always, I take a break from blog entries over the festive period, so see you in early January 2008! In the meantime, can I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Guid New Year!

Monday to Thursday!

It has been an exceptionally busy week … on Monday, had a very useful and constructive meeting with Alison McInnes, MSP for North East Scotland, about a variety of local and regional issues.

Also met with representatives from NCR and, apart from an administration group meeting on budget matters, the City Council’s Development Quality Committee met for some four hours in the evening, including debate over a number of highly contentious planning applications.

One of the items I spoke on was the decision of the Scottish Government Reporter to uphold an appeal (and quosh enforcement action) against the committee’s decision to refuse planning approval for a flat conversion at the Meadowside/Victoria Road junction.
When this matter came before committee in March, it was in my old Tay Bridges Ward (it is not in the new West End Ward) and I was highly supportive of the decision to refuse permission. The application failed on two counts (a) contravening policy on decent space standards and (b) poor air quality. The Reporter has again failed Dundee and I am highly critical. I am grateful to the Courier for highlighting my concerns in yesterday’s edition.

Apart from chairing the TACTRAN Board in Forfar on Tuesday, I attending my employer’s Christmas reception in Edinburgh and to give a degree of “balance” (having mentioned the Glasgow Christmas lights recently!) here’s a couple of Edinburgh Christmas photographs!

Spent much of yesterday catching up on constituents’ issues and we are awarding the winner of the West End Children’s Window Spotting Competition at lunchtime today.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

New local history course

Click on the above headline to read more about a new local history course taking place in the Mitchell Street Centre in early 2008.

Taking place over 8 weeks it will cover :
  • Victorian Dundee
  • The Smeiton family of Carnoustie
  • The impact of the wars on Dundee
  • Politics, Suffrage and Riots in Dundee
  • Plus visits to the McManus Collection and the City Archives

This Alexander Wilson photograph shows the Sinderins (with thanks to Dundee City Council). Many more fascinating photographs of old Dundee can be seen at

Received today from Nick Clegg MP

Dear Cllr Macpherson

Under my leadership the Liberal Democrats will be ambitious. Ambitious for ourselves and ambitious for Britain.

I want to thank you for giving me the chance to lead our great party. It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of Paddy Ashdown, Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell, who have all contributed so much to our party. I look forward to working with them all during my leadership.

I would also like to pay tribute to both Vince Cable and Chris Huhne. Vince has been an inspiration as stand-in leader with both his forensic questioning and his memorable put downs. Chris and I saw a lot of each other during the leadership contest. Now we will be working together as close colleagues to ensure that our party goes on to further electoral success. I am delighted that both Vince and Chris are going to be part of my top team over the coming years.
We have a golden opportunity for our party. Gordon Brown presides over an increasingly stale, incompetent, and desperate government. David Cameron and the Tories don’t know what they stand for anymore.

We know what we stand for – a more Liberal Britain. I am confident that with hard work and dedication we can turn our beliefs into reality and change our country for the better.

Under my leadership our party will be a self-confident, radical, and energetic party. Together we can break the stifling two-party system and change Britain for good. That is my aim. I hope you will join me in making it a reality.

Best Wishes,

Nick Clegg MP

Leader of the Liberal Democrats

P.S. You can read more about the result at and if you want to see something a little more personal the Observer did a fun film about me at:

And don't forget - one of my first speeches as leader of the Liberal Democrats will be at the Manifesto Group's one day meeting on Saturday 12th January. For more information about the event click on

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Nick Clegg: New Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Congratulations to the new LibDem Leader Nick Clegg

Sunday, 16 December 2007

West End Christmas Week winners!

If you click on the headline above, you can see who won the prizes in the West End Christmas Week Window Spotting and Shoppers' Prize Draws!

Holyrood Magazine

As Chair of TACTRAN, the regional transport partnership for Tayside and Stirling, I was, along with the TACTRAN Director, interviewed by "Holyrood" magazine towards the end of last month.
You can read the article by clicking on the headline above.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Victory for Leon!

Well, bookies wrong as usual! Congratulations to Leon!

Vote for Leon tonight!

The X Factor has started, so mind and vote for Leon tonight! The programme is unhelpfully presenting it as a battle of the nations which rather helps Same Difference in terms on population, but hopefully talent will prevail!

Unconvincing smokescreen

The latest attempt at diversionary waffle by SNP MSP Alex Neil (click on headline to view today's Press & Journal on this) in which Neil wholly inaccurately claims that Nicol Stephen had launched a "cowardly attack" on Jim McKinnon, the Scottish Government’s chief planning officer, is, I suspect, simply designed to try to deflect from the serious questions the SNP government has to answer in relation to McTrumpgate.

What did Nicol Stephen actually say? Well, let’s quote word for word from the parliamentary official report :

Nicol Stephen: Aberdeenshire Council will confirm that it had to ask for the Trump representatives to leave the chief planner's room during a phone call last Tuesday. This is a serious situation for the First Minister and his Government. Every step of the way, there has been contradiction, concealment and cleverness from his Government on the issue. It smells of sleaze. Will he now establish an independent inquiry to investigate what happened in those 48 hours last Monday and Tuesday, to find out why the developers were present with the chief planner on the very day that their application was called in and to examine what pressure the chief planner was put under by ministers to take the potentially prejudicial actions that now jeopardise the project? Does he understand that few people will now believe that his Government is a fair and proper body to decide the application in an open and transparent way?”
Err…so what Nicol Stephen actually did was to bring into the public domain the fact that the Trump representatives were present when McKinnon picked up the phone to the local authority and Nicol Stephen also called for an independent inquiry on the whole issue, an inquiry that I suspect would be widely welcomed across Scotland.

Alex Neil’s attempts at “attack being the best form of defence” will get the SNP government nowhere – the issue has run far too far for the smoke and mirrors of Alex Neil to stop this particular story running and running.

The following BBC report (see highlights some of the legitimate concerns that will not go away :

BBC Scotland asked the Scottish Government a series of questions surrounding phone conversations between its chief planner and the chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council over the Trump application.

Those government responses, received in an e-mail three minutes after the start of first minister's question time, stated that members of the Trump team were not in the room with the chief planner.

However, Aberdeenshire Council later said they had been.

The Scottish Government then admitted that members of the Trump organisation were in the room with the chief planner at the start of the first of two phone call conversations, but not when the discussion took place.

Here are the initial questions we asked of the Scottish Government and the responses received.

Question: Who was in the room with the chief planner when he placed the first of the two calls he made to the chief executive of Aberdeenshire council on 4th December to discuss the Trump organisation's planning application for the Menie estate?

Answer: No-one other than the chief planner and David Ferguson, head of planning decisions. The Trump organisation were not in the room.

Question: Was it appropriate for members of the Trump organisation to be in the room during this call?

Answer: The Trump Organisation were not in the room.

OK then, we now know that at the time of the first call to the Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council was made, the Trump people were in the room. The fundamental questions in relation to this aspect are now surely (a) why did the Scottish Government initially indicate otherwise, only “clarifying” matters when it became obvious that its version was at odds with that of Aberdeenshire Council and (b) exactly why were the Trump people in the room at the time McKinnon picked up the phone to the local authority? An independent inquiry into the whole matter, including the actions of the First Minister, is now absolutely vital.

Salmond struggled badly at FMQs this week. Alan Cochrane, Scottish Political Editor of the Daily Telegraph summed it up perfectly :

“Mr Salmond got a terrific pasting on the issue at Question Time yesterday from Nicol Stephen, for the Liberal Democrats.”

Daily Telegraph 14/12/2007

As always, Annabel Goldie was on good form :
"The First Minister has failed to comply with the ministerial code. He has made inappropriate use of Scottish Government facilities, and he did not display the visible neutrality that is required of any Government minister when they are dealing with a planning matter. Astonishingly, as the First Minister, he was not even-handed, he was cack-handed. Either that is ignorance or arrogance, and ignorance is not a condition with which I associate the First Minister. [Laughter.]"

Friday, 14 December 2007

Thursday and Friday

Apart from very busy surgeries last night, I attended a meeting of the group that is planning to set up a community organisation for Pentland, Ancrum, Cleghorn and surrounding areas. A really enthusiastic group and I am really keen to see this group succeed as it would be great to have an active community organisation in the north part of West End Ward. I was pleased to advise of updates on a number of local issues - including controlled entry, road safety, road and pavement repairs. I also left the meeting with a number of local concerns to raise and address.

I was in Glasgow today (5.30am start!) running a conference with the "day job" at hotel attached to Central Station as the photo above right alludes to. Mightily impressed with the lovely "Christmassy" feel in George Square although my photo is a bit out of focus!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Latest Freeview Concerns

With thanks to the City Centre & Harbour Community Council member who kindly brought this latest Freeview issue to my attention, here's a news release I have issued on the subject today :
NEWS RELEASE : Councillor hits out at inferior TV services planned for thousands of Dundonians

Dundee City West End Councillor Fraser Macpherson has today accused TV bosses of short-changing thousands of Dundee TV viewers who will still be getting a “second rate” TV service after the digital TV switch over in Tayside in 2010.

Cllr Macpherson has long been critical of the Westminster Government’s handling of the conversion to digital which has meant that until the analogue switch off takes place, all people whose TV reception comes from a relay transmitter rather than a main regional transmitter cannot yet receive Freeview programmes. In the case of the Tay Bridge transmitter, its 35 000 viewers do not get access to Freeview, including most residents of the West End and City Centre, together with many in other parts of southern Dundee, including much of Craigiebank and Broughty Ferry. Additionally, many in the Charleston area of Dundee do not get Freeview because they are served by the Camperdown relay transmitter, again without digital signals.

However, Cllr Macpherson has now been advised – following his being contacted by a community councillor in the City concerned about the issue – that many people in the UK served by relay transmitters will still get a second class service after the digital switch over.

Cllr Macpherson said, “I received concerns that even after the analogue switch off, the Tay Bridge transmitter will not carry all the Freeview services that other transmitters already carry.

“The service from Tay Bridge will be called “Freeview Lite” which really means that it is light of many of the TV and radio stations others already receive – 36 TV and radio stations short to be precise.”

It emerged that whereas the Angus main transmitter already carries all 58 Freeview TV and radio channels, Tay Bridge and many other relay stations will carry a limited service of only 22 after 2010 (and absolutely none at the moment).

Cllr Macpherson continued, “It should be remembered that of those liable to meet a TV licence, everyone pays the same fee but it appears this will – even after the digital conversion takes place – result in two classes of service and I view that as completely unfair.

“I understand that analysts predict that the sell-off of the no longer used analogue bandwidth after the digital switch-over could raise for the Westminster Government at least twice as much as the £22.5 billion yielded last April by the auction of mobile phone licences, so let’s be clear here that the limited Freeview services that it appears are planned for many people is simply to maximise the government’s financial windfall from the sale of the bandwidth.

“I am writing to the James Purnell MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about the matter. I think it is disgraceful that many of my constituents in the West End – who do not get digital terrestrial at all just now – will get an inferior version of the service after 2010. It is simply unacceptable.”

Cllr Macpherson said he was also writing about this issue to Blair Jenkins, Chair of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission, recently established by the Scottish Government to investigate the future of Scottish Broadcasting and services.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

New course for 2008!

The City Council is running a series of meetings for bi-lingual families (in particular for mothers with children aged 0-5 years) in the West End in early 2008.

You can download the flyer by clicking on the headline above.

Cllr Martin Ford, Aberdeenshire Council

I have met Martin Ford on only a few occasions but he has always struck me as an able and committed local councillor. He has, in my view, been treated dreadfully badly by those Aberdeenshire councillors who failed to support him today.

I simply do not have enough local knowledge of that part of Aberdeenshire to form a reasoned view as to the merits of the Trump Organisation’s proposals but to remove a Committee Chair simply for having an opinion that is different from your own is quite frankly utterly disgraceful.

If you follow that stupid logic, all elected members must always support the officers’ recommendation on planning applications or face the sack. If this applied in Dundee, as one of the more vocal councillors on planning matters in defending his constituents’ interests in the West End, I wouldn’t last five minutes. Thankfully, our own authority continues to accept the right to disagree, to question, to complain on planning matters. Long may that continue.

On the subject of the First Minister’s role, I think it is summed up by Nicol Stephen’s comments:

"These meetings raise serious questions about the First Minister's judgment and whether he acted appropriately.
"The First Minister has a clear conflict of interest and should have played no role in the planning process.
"His actions have been at best unwise and are potentially seriously prejudicial. The sooner the First Minister makes the position clear with a full statement of the facts the better.
"He needs to come clean about his discussions with the Trump Organisation and senior civil servants."

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Tuesday update

A busy day (largely in Edinburgh) and having issued a news release about the Botanic Gardens concerns (pasted below), I was interviewed by both Radio Tay and Wave 102 (the latter whilst on a train to Edinburgh!) about the situation. The matter is also covered in today's Courier and Evening Telegraph.
The meetings in Edinburgh were with my TACTRAN hat on - along with my Regional Transport Partnership Chair colleagues from across Scotland, we met firstly with COSLA and thereafter with John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth, and Stewart Stevenson, the Transport Minister.
On my way back tonight, admired the 'other' West End Christmas lights at West Port (see above right). Clearly, the City Council got a job lot of similar Christmas lights sets, but attractive nonetheless!
Tonight sees the last monthly meeting of West End Community Council of 2007.

West End City Councillor Fraser Macpherson said that he was “gravely concerned” by the unwillingness of the University of Dundee to deny speculation that it is discussing the sale of part of the Botanic Gardens grounds to a local property developer.

“I have no doubt that the whole local community would strongly oppose the building of houses on any part of the Botanic Gardens ground. It would have been helpful for the University to confirm that it would not contenance sellling any part of its own ground at the Botanics to a developer, but unfortunately it has not given
such an assurance thus far,” said Cllr Macpherson.

“Any attempt to build housing on grounds earmarked as open space in the Local Plan Review 2005 would fly in the face of adopted local planning policy. The gardens clearly fall under the category of “protected open space” in terms of Policy 66 of the Local Plan Review.

“I was present at the very well attended Friends of the Botanic Gardens public meeting at the end of November and what was extremely clear from that was the needs for all parties – the University, Friends of the Botanic Gardens and others – to work together to ensure a sustainable future for the Botanic Gardens. I call on the University to give a firm commitment that it will not sell off Botanic Gardens ground to any developer,” he concluded.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Regeneration plans welcomed

You can read this article about the plans for the regeneration of Lochee and my comments as Convener of Planning & Transport - from today's Press & Journal - by clicking on the headline above.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Phased city-wide increase in recycling service provision

City Councillors have been advised by the Waste Management Department of a phased City-wide increase in recycling service provision as follows:
"For the past few years we have been constantly implementing additional recycling services as and when possible. Currently we have no additional funding available to allow us to implement any new services but following a great many requests from members of the public, we are now in a position to offer households larger and/or additional recycling bins.
"Although not a "new" service as such, this forms part of the commitment to increasing recycling throughout the city and consistently seeking to improve the recycling services offered to households within Dundee.

"We therefore intend to offer both additional and larger containers for recycling to applicable households on a phased implementation programme over the coming months.

"These additional/larger containers relate to all 3 of our current domestic recycling services which are paper and garden waste recycling (both by way of kerbside bins), as well as the green box scheme, which allows households to place glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and aluminium cans in their box for recycling.

"Both the blue (paper) and brown (garden waste) recycling bins will now be larger having a capacity of 240 litres rather than 140 litres. There will be no change to the size of the green box which remains at 55 litre capacity. Having received a number of requests from members of the public to collect cardboard along with paper in their blue bins, we are also now in a position to allow households to place flattened cardboard in their blue bins to be recycled.

"Households will be delivered an 'opt in' leaflet informing them of the additional & larger containers being offered and inviting them to request these. Households wishing to receive an additional bin or box should fill in the freepost section of the leaflet stating which receptacle they wish and whether they would like their smaller bin/s removed. It is important to note that the collection dates of these households will not change and bins/boxes should be placed out onto the kerbside as normal.

"For operational reasons, we are carrying out this phased implementation programme in a geographical manner, and the first phase is primarily within the west of the city. Further phases will follow in other areas."
I paste below the list of streets involved in the first phase that are situated in the West End Ward:

Kerbside Recycling - Additional Recycling Bins

Almond Place

Ancrum Drive

Ancrum Place

Arnhall Drive

Arnhall Gardens

Ashbank Road - North side only (42-64, 41-63)

Balgay Road - No's 7-15

Beechwood Terrace

Blackness Avenue {Blackness Rd - Perth Rd (No's 27,35,59-99,30-84)}

Blackness Road
(No's 354-444, 305-423)

Blackness Road
(No's 71-111 & 280-348)

Briarwood Terrace

Brook Court (No's 1-9)

Cambridge Street

Carseview Gardens

Clayhills Drive

Clayhills Grove

Clovis Duveau Drive

Dunmore Drive

Dunmore Gardens

Edward Street

Elliot Road

Elm Street {North side only (46-68, 41-63)}

Eton Street

Farington Street

Farington Terrace

Fort Street

Glamis Drive

Glamis Place

Glamis Road {No's 1-11, 16-20 & Blackness Rd - Dickson Ave (21-35, 26-62)}

Glamis Terrace

Glenagnes Gardens

Glenagnes Road (Except no's 2,2A & 50-60)

Gowrie Street

Grosvenor Road

Harrow Street

Hazel Drive

Hillcrest Road

Hillside Drive

Hillside Place

Hillside Road

Hillside Terrace

Hyndford Place

Hyndford Street

Invergowrie Drive

Jedburgh Road

Kelso Place

Kelso Street

Larch Street

Lime Street {North side only (21-35)}

Logie Avenue

Logie Gardens (Except no 35)

Lytton Street
(No's 3-29 & 22-38)

Marchfield Crescent

Marchfield Road

Marchfield Terrace

Melville Terrace

Menzieshill Road

Middlebank Crescent

Millbay Gardens

Millbay Terrace

Millhall Crescent

Minto Place

Newhall Gardens

Norwood Crescent

Norwood Terrace

Oxford Street

Perth Road {Glamis Road to Invergowrie & No's 325-365, 478-516, 231-313, 412-472 (exc no's 271-297, 365, 450-456A 474,488-492)}

Richmond Court
(Except no's 7C-7H)

Richmond Terrace
(No's 1-12)

River Crescent

Riverside Drive

Riverside Place

Rockfield Crescent

Rockfield Street

Rosewood Terrace

Roxburgh Terrace

Scotswood Terrace

Seymour Avenue

Seymour Street

Shaftesbury Park

Shaftesbury Road

Shaftesbury Terrace

Speed Street

St Johnswood Terrace

Sycamore Place

Urquhart Street

Vernonholme (No's 1-5 & 2-4)

West Grove Avenue

West Park Gardens (No's 1-12)

West Park Road

Whitefauld Road

Windsor Street

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Scotland's entry Leon through to the X Factor final!

Delighted to see Leon through to the X Factor final. This one isn't from this week's performances but it is definitely his best thus far!

West End Community Council : December 2007 Update

I have today launched my December 2007 Update to West End Community Council.

Issues covered include road safety (including Westfield Place and Logie Avenue/Ashbank Road), the western end of Seabraes and the Homebase site.

The Community Council meets this forthcoming Tuesday (11th December) at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall at 7pm.

You can download a copy of the update by clicking on the rather lengthly link below!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Westfield Place

Following residents’ concerns about traffic speed in the very narrow Westfield Place, I asked the City Council what could be done to alleviate the problem. I reproduce the response below and am pleased to note the suggested provision of “SLOW” markings on the north carriageway :

“The site has been investigated. There is no recorded injury accident record over the last 3 years. There have been 2 damage only accidents, one caused by a vehicle travelling in the wrong direction and the other caused by a motorist hitting a gate post when coming out of a driveway.
I agree that it may be perceived inappropriate speeds due to the lack of visibility at the numerous driveways / accesses with the high walls and narrow footways.

“The width of the road varies from north to south between 2.7 metres and 2.0 metres. [I can understand why vehicle speeds were lower when the road was two-way (and I would guess that there would have been quite a lot of reversing)]. The footways are too narrow to consider any signing.

“The carriageway surface is cobbles which do not offer high skid resistance and also offer poor adhesion for line marking.

“However, with the long straight giving the wrong message to some drivers as they enter from Perth Road, and in view of the high number of driveways, it is proposed to provide 'SLOW' markings on the carriageway on the northern section (the southern section is too narrow to accommodate slow markings). The lining will be added to the list for next financial year.”


Here's a far better photograph of last night's fireworks compared to my efforts (!!) - this comes courtesy of Derek Allan Photography - you can see more of Derek's work by clicking on the headline above.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

West End Christmas Concert, Lights & Fireworks!

We had a super night in the West End tonight with the children's concert involving St Joseph's, Park Place and Blackness Primary Schools and Harris Academy, the Christmas lights switch on and spectacular fireworks display!
A huge turnout of residents and here's a few photos from tonight's events!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Logie Ave/Ashbank Road junction

At next Monday's Planning and Transport Committee of the City Council (of which I am Convener) there's a report for councillors to consider on identified sites for road safety improvements in the forthcoming year. I am pleased to advise that the Logie Ave/Ashbank Road junction in Logie is recommended for improvement. Photo from Logie (but not the junction!) pictured right.

The City Council has given me the following feedback on the Logie Ave/Ashbank Road junction :

"There have been 3 slight injury accidents recorded for the period 2004 to 2006 incl. These have occurred at the junction of the southern carriageway of Logie Avenue and the southern section of Ashbank Road.

Although the accident number and severity is relatively minor in relation to some other sites, this location has been included in the list of identified sites for road safety measures as there is a dominant factor which low cost engineering measures can target. All accidents relate to failure of north -bound vehicles on Ashbank Road to give way to Logie Avenue traffic at the junction, (albeit one accident was due to icy roads).

It is proposed to emphasise the junction priority by providing give- way triangle road markings on the minor road (north, south, and the central crossing at Logie Avenue), and locally provide centre line road markings on Logie Avenue. Vegetation will be cut back at the junction to improve visibility.

Works are designed and ready to order. Should be completed by mid December."

Monday, 3 December 2007

Christmas Week Update!

There was good coverage and a couple of nice photos of last Saturday's West End Christmas Week launch in the Courier today (as the picture right alludes to!)
Here's a reminder of all the activity taking place this Thursday evening - do come along - it will be a great night!
Thursday 6th December at 6.15pm

West End Christmas Concert, Christmas Lights Switch On and spectacular fireworks extravaganza!

This year's West End Christmas Concert takes place at Dundee West Church at 6.15pm. All local residents are very welcome to attend.
There will be musical contributions from all local primary and secondary schools.
A welcome to the Concert will come from Lord Provost John Letford and the Concert will be hosted by Rev Andrew Greaves.

At 7pm, the West End Christmas Lights will be switched on at Seabraes by Nurse Molly Coddle and Crazy Daisy from the Downfield Musical Society Panto "Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood".

The children can see round a Fire Engine at the switch-on and a Piper from the Tayside Police Pipe Band will play too! There will again be a spectacular fireworks display after the lights switch-on - and we would like to thank the West End shops whose financial support has made the fireworks display possible and thanks to Robin Carstairs for his help in organising the fireworks.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Footprint Event

As part of West End Christmas Week, there's a "Footprint" event at Logie and St John's (Cross) Parish Church next Wednesday from 10am to 1pm.

The event is being run by the Dundee City Council Leisure & Communities Department and will see lots of fun activities, information on recycling, charity shop displays, samples of Fairtrade food - and lots more!

You can download a poster about the event by clicking on the headline above.

Political Diary ...

Any of us who actually live in the real world read with a certain amount of incredulity and a whole lot of laughter the article in “Political Diary” in the Courier yesterday which claimed Dundee LibDems “were certain of coming of coming second and had a decent chance of winning” the Lochee by-election.
This is simply not true. I think we can all work out Steve’s “source”, who undoubtedly deserves a tartan P45. If Steve's source seriously believes we thought that, from less than 7% of the poll back in May, we were going to win the seat, they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

Our aim all along was to increase our share of the poll (we increased by far more than any other party and indeed Labour and Tory fell back) and put ourselves in position to have a decent chance of picking up one of the 4 seats here in the next Council STV elections. Mission more than accomplished and all credit to Chris Hall, the LibDem candidate who ran a dynamic campaign. A great future lies ahead for Chris.
Steve says Nicol Stephen visited four, perhaps five times. Err, actually three times. It is not tremendously difficult to ask Nicol to visit Dundee as he drives through the city numerous times each month between his constituency in Aberdeen and the parliament in Edinburgh!
The SNP and Labour poured huge resource into the by-election. SNP candidate pictured with Alex Salmond, Kenny McAskill, Nicola Cheerful … you get the picture. Labour threw everything including the kitchen sink into the by-election – I came across two Labour MSPs delivering leaflets in Charleston the Saturday before polling day and bumped into Cathy Jamieson and large Labour Team on a very wet Monday before polling day sheltering from the rain at Tesco in Lochee. Despite all the Labour effort (they had an army out on polling day) Labour fell back, the LibDems moved forward. As an aside, you get a really good value breakfast in Tesco Lochee!
Some haven't done the maths - but the party feeding the inaccuracies to the Bargeton column has. A LibDem increase of 3.9% of the poll across each ward in the City next Council elections means 2 LibDem holds plus LibDem gains in at least two further seats. The Salmond honeymoon is ending, the SNP promises galore are broken and the Dundee Liberal Democrats have never been in better shape to move forward right across the City.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Great start to West End Christmas Week!

A brilliant launch earlier today of the West End Christmas Week on a cold, windy but thankfully dry Magdalen Green! A large turnout of local residents and a great start to Christmas Week. Here's a few photos:

Depute Lord Provost Joe Morrow opens Christmas Week from the Bandstand!
Some of the assembled crowd!
A really good turnout!
Dundee University Brass!
The Depute Provost plants a tree on the Green!

Friday, 30 November 2007

West End Christmas Week starts tomorrow!

Just back from a couple of days (wet days!) in Dumfries with my day job (more on that later...) and very tired so I'll keep this short!

Just a reminder to come along to Magdalen Green tomorrow (Saturday) at 12.15pm for the West End Christmas Week launch. Many thanks to the Courier and Evening Telegraph for their coverage of the impending launch today (including the article in the Craigie Column!) Also thanks to Wave 102 who interviewed me on the phone about the launch as I was parked in a layby on the A75 outside Dumfries, to be played on tomorrow morning's news!

A lot of West End folk have worked hard to make Christmas Week Year 7 a success, so fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden

Attended a packed meeting tonight of the Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden, taking place at St Andrew's Church Hall.
It was very heartening to see the level of interest in the gardens and in securing a sustainable future for them.
There is much work ahead for the Friends and other stakeholders but tonight's meeting was a very positive evening.
You can read more about Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden by clicking on the headline above.

New look!

As we are nearing the end of 2007, I have brightened up the blog today with a fresh look and new colour scheme - hope you like it!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Tullideph Area Update

I have had feedback from Dundee City Council regarding proposals it has agreed to, following my raising safety concerns at the junction of Tullideph Place and Tullideph Street.

These streets are in an area of sheltered housing and although the number of traffic movements is limited, residents have expressed concern about the speed of a minority of cars and the lack of road markings at the junction of the two streets.

The City Council has now advised me that the junction of Tullideph Street and Tullideph Place has been inspected to assess suitable improvements. I have been told that it is proposed to introduce a centre line to emphasise the sharp bend. This should help deter traffic from taking the fastest approach round the bend on the wrong side of the road and the markings will be undertaken early in the new financial year.
I am also advised that 'SLOW' markings could be considered at a later date if these initial measures require further emphasis.

I also raised with the Planning & Transportation Department the need for dropped kerbing at the Tullideph Street/Tullideph Road junction.
The Council has already confirmed it will improve the existing dropped kerbs at the City Road/Tullideph Road junction (see earlier story by clicking on headline above) but I am glad to say that it will now also provide new dropped kerbing – where there is currently none – at the Tullideph Street/Tullideph Road junction.
This will be provided during the current financial year.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Temporary Traffic Order - Step Row

Received from the City Council :
Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating drainage works and reinstatement works. The Order is expected to be in force for three weeks from 5 December 2007. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Step Row from its junction with Perth Road for a distance of 100 metres or thereby in a southerly direction.
Pedestrian thoroughfare and vehicular access to premises will be maintained.

An alternative route will be available via Perth Road, Thomson Street and Magdalen Yard Road.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, Planning and Transportation Department, Tayside House, Crichton Street, Dundee, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date.

If you have any queries please contact the department on 433168.

West End Christmas Week 2007!

This year's West End Christmas week starts next Saturday (1st December).

For the seventh consecutive year, we are having a super West End Christmas Week to highlight the vibrancy of the West End and its local shops. The launch is on Saturday at Magdalen Green and we hope many West End residents will be there. It will be an action-packed week in the West End.


Saturday 1st December

Christmas Week starts!

The seventh West End Christmas Week will be launched on Magdalen Green at 12.15pm by Depute Lord Provost Joe Morrow.

See the festively decorated bandstand!

There will be fun for all the family on Magdalen Green :

The presentation of prizes to pupils from Park Place Primary, St Joseph's Primary and Blackness Primary Schools - winners of the West End Christmas Week Schools Competition!

Football coaching and mini matches on the Green with Dundee FC and the Scottish Football Association!

Seasonal Chestnuts on the Green - kindly provided by Friends of Magdalen Green!
Music from Dundee University Brass and LoadsaWimminSinging!

Depute Lord Provost and local primary school children will plant a new Cherry Tree on the Green as part of the environment theme of this year's Christmas Week!

Family Art Activities on Magdalen Green - Sparkle and Greenery - making decorations with a new twist. Work with our Environment Artists to capture the spirit of the season!

Blackness Primary School - Christmas Fair 10am to 12 noon - including raffle, cake and candy, games & teas and coffees. All welcome!

Why not attend the Christmas Fair at Blackness Primary School then come down to Magdalen Green for the launch of Christmas Week - a great Saturday out for all the family!

Thursday 6th December at 6.15pm

West End Christmas Concert, Christmas Lights Switch On and spectacular fireworks extravaganza!

This year's West End Christmas Concert takes place at Dundee West Church at 6.15pm. All local residents are very welcome to attend. There will be musical contributions from all local primary and secondary schools. A welcome to the Concert will come from Lord Provost John Letford and the Concert will be hosted by Rev Andrew Greaves.

At 7pm, the West End Christmas Lights will be switched on at Seabraes by Nurse Molly Coddle and Crazy Daisy from the Downfield Musical Society Panto "Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood".

The children can see round a Fire Engine at the switch-on and a Piper from the Tayside Police Pipe Band will play too! There will again be a spectacular fireworks display after the lights switch-on - and we would like to thank the West End shops whose financial support has made the fireworks display possible and thanks to Robin Carstairs for his help in organising the fireworks.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

St Andrew's Day Celebrations

As part of Dundee City Council’s celebrations for St Andrew's Day, the Wellington Consultancy and Friends of Wighton have arranged a programme of musical happenings in the city. Many thanks to Sheena Wellington for the information and very pleased to see the St Andrew's Night Party at Meadowside St. Paul's Church Hall - very handy for West End residents!


Care Homes for Senior Citizens:

11am: Janet Brougham House, Robertson Street

2pm: St Margaret’s Home, Victoria Road

3.30pm: Wellburn Home, 118 Liff Road

Fiddle player Karen Read and singer Mike Kelleher will be the musicians visiting the Care Homes. Both artists have done a lot of work in this field and enjoy entertaining older people.

Karen Read (nee Hannah) is a highly accomplished fiddler with a sparkling personality. A former Celtic Connections Danny Award winner she has toured throughout the UK, Europe and New Zealand, appearing with musicians of the calibre of Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham and Alasdair Fraser. She is a member of the band Randan and several other groups.

Mike Kelleher hails from Ireland and is equally at home with Irish or Scottish song. A fine guitar player he also has a mellow, delightful voice and a winning way with an audience. He is also a member of Randan. (interesting footnote: Karen & husband Danny and Mike & wife Eleanor are expecting their first babies in mid to late March – there are bets on which arrives soonest!)

Senior Citizens Clubs

11am Broughty Ferry Centre, 343 Brook Street, Broughty Ferry

3.30pm Fiveways Centre, 2-4 Caird Avenue DD3 8AW.

Musicians entertaining at the Clubs are Maureen Jelks, singer, and Simon Chadwick, harpist

Dundee born Maureen Jelks is one of Scotland’s finest traditional singers, much in demand for festivals and concerts. She has recently returned from the International Celtic Women’s Festival in Milwaukee.

Simon Chadwick is a world expert on the medieval harp, a recent winner of a prestigious Arts Trust of Scotland Award and proud possessor of a beautiful replica of the harp which belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots.

City Square

1 -2 pm Dundee High School Pipe Band & Mains of Fintry Pipe Band.

DHS Pipe Band is a very promising young band. Mains of Fintry Pipe Band have been invited to represent Scotland at a major piping event in Japan in 2008 and this will be part of their fundraising for the trip.

Wellgate Centre Entrance: Kinnear & McKay, pipes, banjo and a touch of funk!

Central Library

12.30 - 2pm Music from Wighton Singers with input from Maureen Jelks, Simon Chadwick, Karen Read, Mike Kelleher

The Wighton Singers are a group of mainly senior citizens who meet with Maureen Jelks every Tuesday afternoon in the Wighton Heritage Centre to learn Scottish songs.

3.30pm Children's Song workshop with Sheena Wellington

Meadowside St. Paul's Church Hall, West Marketgait

7.15 pm St Andrews Night Party (pipes, highland dancers, Sheena Wellington & stovies)
Tickets £5 including refreshments, available from Cornerstone Coffee House, Nethergate

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Nicol Stephen

Nicol Stephen MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, last night issued an e-mail to party members across Scotland. I replicate part of this below :

Dear members,

At the end of a busy week, I thought I would e mail to record my congratulations to the LibDem team in Dundee for achieving a big growth in our share of the vote in Dundee Council's Lochee by-election yesterday. It showed, once again that, where we work, we gain new votes for our party.

Well done to our great, young candidate Chris Hall and to Cllr Fraser Macpherson and the Dundee team who have worked so hard to add so much to our vote share.

There have now been three by-elections in Scotland since May. They have been in Aberdeen, Argyll and Dundee. The combined results show that the Liberal Democrat vote share has gone up by more than any other party. We have been the biggest winners in votes and - remember - we made that important seat gain in Helensburgh just last month.

I am determined to continue to take our positive campaigns to every part of Scotland and for us to win new votes wherever we can.

Best wishes

Nicol Stephen

Friday, 23 November 2007

Lochee outcome!

Attended the Lochee Ward by-election count this morning after a dreadfully cold polling day yesterday.
The Dundee LibDems are delighted at our progress, with an increase in our share of the overall poll of almost 4%, more than any other party (and Labour and the Conservatives both fell back).
My personal thanks go in particular to Chris Hall, our excellent by-election candidate, who worked exceptionally hard during the campaign. Chris is pictured with Alison McInnes, MSP for North East Scotland and myself (above right) during the campaign!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Friends of Magdalen Green update

With the agreement of the Friends, I replicate the latest update below :
Friends of Magdalen Green Coffee Morning
First of all a big thank you to everyone who supported our Coffee Morning on 27th October; it was a tremendous success and raised £930.
The talents of our local cooks & bakers were much appreciated as were the skills of the dedicated kitchen team who served and entertained people. The cards and crafts seemed to spark off some early Christmas shopping. But without everyone who came for the craic over tea & scones and stayed to buy things the morning would have meant nothing - so a big thanks to all.
Christmas Cards
Despite good sales at the coffee morning we still have some of Pauline Murray’s lovely Christmas Cards.
If you would like some please email, or phone Liz Broumley on 01382 642530. (The cards are 75p each for A6 size, or £6 for 10 and £1 for A5 size)
We also have a few (very few) Harry McGregor prints of the bandstand as well as photographic bookmarks, cards and prints of the Green - all of which would make ideal gifts. (If you would like to order some please use the contact details above.)
West End Christmas Week
This year the launch of West End Christmas week will be held on Magdalen Green for the first time. The event is on Saturday 1 December at 12.15pm. The launch will be opened by Depute Lord Provost Joe Morrow and will feature Dundee University Brass and Loadsawiminsinging - both performing in a festive Bandstand.
Join us at the Bandstand or make this a double date by supporting Blackness Primary School Coffee Morning (10am - 12) too!
Contribution to West End Consultation Exercise
Those of you who were at the inaugural meeting of Friends of Magdalen Green may remember completing a questionnaire about the Green. A summary of the results and a copy of the Friends Action Plan have been submitted to the City Council as part of the West End consultation exercise. (Both documents were available at the meeting on 19th September, but if you would like a copy please email
Friends of University of Dundee Botanic Garden
Friends of University of Dundee Botanic Garden invite you to a meeting to discuss their future strategy at: St Andrew’s Church Hall King Street, Dundee. Wednesday 28th November 2007 For 7.30 pm start (doors open 7 pm)
We’re taking a Christmas break before planning activities for 2008.
Suggestions for spekers/activities will be very welcome.
All good wishes for a Happy Christmas and a good New Year,
Sheila Roy (Chairperson) - On behalf of Friends of Magdalen Green
(PS : I'm delighted Sheila is making great progress following her recent accident and hip replacement - click on the headline above to read the story in tonight's Evening Telegraph. Being the West End stalwart that she is, she hosted yesterday's West End Christmas Week meeting at her home, despite just being out of hospital).

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Pavilion on Riverside Drive

I have had complaints from residents and our local community policeman about further graffiti on the pavilion building on the north side of Riverside Drive (east of the airport).
I have asked the Leisure & Communities Department (who own the building) if it can arrange removal of the graffiti.