Friday 30 March 2007

Latest updates

Had a very helpful meeting with Perth Road area tenants - who are threatened with eviction - last night - reported in today's Courier - hope to meet with landlord's solicitor (and tenant reps) w/c 10th April.
Tonight's Tele had an article about my concerns about the problems facing residents in the Pentland area getting parked and also my letter about tackling litter problems in Nethergate.
Spent the day helping Dundee East colleagues campaigning although pleased also to hear from 2 Logie Estate residents about graffiti removal and bins issues.
Lastly, the new Greenmarket Car Park opens on Sunday; click on the headline above to view more.

Wednesday 28 March 2007

Parking in Pentland

As residents will recall, I have highlighted various parking problems in the West End in the past.
The last local edition of FOCUS the old Tay Bridges Ward area gave good news regarding proposals for residents’ priority parking and the consultation to take place on these. This should go a good way to helping the parking issues around the Sinderins area and eastwards along the Perth Road from there, including many adjacent streets.

Now, a number of Pentland area residents have highlighted to me the problem of parking in streets like Saggar Street, Pentland Crescent and other nearby streets (see photo).

As the Housing Department has responsibility for estates management in the area, I have contacted the Department and am pleased to advise that the West District Housing Manager has agreed to meet me on-site to look at possible solutions. Further updates on the blog in due course!

Tuesday 27 March 2007

Latest update ....

A few days since I have been able to pause for breath and update the blog - so here goes!

Firstly, many of you will have read in the local press on Saturday and heard me on local radio yesterday about the deep concern of a number of tenants regarding a local landlord who has served eviction notices on them, despite their being long-standing and good tenants. I am of the view that the tenants have been treated very badly and the comments by the landlord in Saturday's Courier accusing me of "electioneering" for having the cheek to speak out on behalf of constituents, were highly inappropriate.
I am pleased to advise that I have spoken with the landlord's solicitor today who has apologised on his client's behalf for the comments in the press. He has proposed a meeting with myself and tenant representatives and I will be speaking with the tenants about this and hope that we will soon have a proper solution to this that allows the tenants to remain in their homes.
On another local matter, pleased to get the following information from the Council's street lighting department about the faulty lighting in the car park near the Muirlands sheltered housing (there has been an issue as to responsibility here - i.e. is it privately maintained by the Housing Association or part of the adopted street lighting?) :-

"I have made contact with Servite Housing and have arrange a meeting on site ... to try and resolve this situation. In the short term I have repaired the lights."

Residents are naturally delighted the lighting is back on.

Janet & I were delighted to attend Wave 102's Local Hero Awards last Friday night (see photo!) I had the real pleasure of presenting the "Contribution to Charity" award to Pat Stevenson, who has done so much for Advocating Together (Dundee) - a superb local organisation helping people with learning disabilities - and based in my ward in Ryehill Lane.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable night - and a great credit to Wave 102 - let's hope the Local Hero Awards will be an annual feature in the Dundee calendar.

Thursday 22 March 2007


Was on both Radio Tay news and news on Wave 102 yesterday speaking about Council Tax collection.

This morning, helping my Lochee LibDem Team with leaflet distribution, came across the filming of the latest View video in Dryburgh (see above) - you can read the story from yesterday's Courier by clicking on the headline above. A fair turnout of people to see what's going on!

Following complaints about the mess/derbis/glass around the Scottish Water waste water pumping station on Riverside Drive, I have had the following feedback from Scottish Water:

"I have requested that the ground of Windsor Street waste water pumping station be tidied up and all debris removed."

Wednesday 21 March 2007

Week thus far ...

Had a very busy week thus far with constituents' queries and issues. At Council committees on Monday night, I spoke on a couple of matters:
  • The summary of the 2006 Air Quality Updating and Screening Assessment for Dundee was on the Environmental Services and Sustainability Committee. The particulate matter concentrations in Union Street were above average. The report to committee indicated this will have been adversely affected by major construction projects in the vicinity. However, I sought assurances that this will be closely monitored and this assurance was given.
  • The Communities Committee included detail of a consultation process on the future of Community Councils, given the new ward arrangements. This is to be welcomed, although I stressed that a "one size fits all" approach would not be appropriate. In some places it may be an exiting Community Council will comfortably 'fit' into the new STV ward area. However, in others, a combination of different Community Councils in an STV ward (or other representative organisations) may be the more appropriate way forward.

The Blackness Area Residents' Association AGM takes place tonight (with bingo afterwards) in the Corso Street sheltered lounge at 6.30pm. The West District Housing Manager is the speaker - on local housing issues.

Sunday 18 March 2007

Spring Clean Balgay Hill

There will be a spring clean on Balgay Hill this afternoon (1pm to 3pm) involving Friends of Balgay, Countryside Rangers and others.
You can read more about Balgay Hill by clicking on the headline above.

Nicol Stephen MSP

It is rare that I make any political comment on the blog but thought I should include this quote from our Scottish Party Leader's weekly e-mail to party members in the run-up to 3rd May. The photo is me with Nicol in the West End :
"And increasingly across Scotland, this message is getting through. I was pleased to hear this week from Fraser Macpherson in Dundee, who says that the Liberal Democrats are mounting our strongest ever campaign in the city and have the other parties seriously rattled. Advances like these are being made all over the country."

Saturday 17 March 2007

Good news at Pinegrove and Litter Bin replacement

Was pleased to see yesterday that the work I had requested to stop the flooding at the Pinegrove entrance in Perth Road was being undertaken (see left).

However, following residents' complaints about a litter bin destroyed by fire in Blackness Street (see right), I have requested that the Waste Management Department provides a new one.

Friday 16 March 2007

Tuesday to Friday

Tuesday night's West End Community Council meeting had a useful update on paths and cycle routes by a member of Leisure & Communities staff. There was an update on the proposed Western Cemetery Association and I updated the Community Council on how the embryonic Friends of Magdalen Green group is progressing. There was a discussion about helicopter noise complaints about the airport and I advised that I have had a response from the airport manager on this issue.
Taking of the embryonic Friends of Magdalen Green group, we met again on Wednesday morning - a really positive and constructive meeting. We are working towards the launch at a public meeting at the Friendship Hall in Dundee West Church on Wednesday 16th May at 6.45pm - a note for all local diaries! The draft publicity looks really good.
Am pleased that the lighting problem at the back of Windsor Street (between there and Minto Place) was resolved earlier in the week. The street lighting section advised me as follows:

"The fault related to a problem with the underground cable in Richmond Terrace feeding some of the lights in Minto Place. These types of faults are difficult to locating and hence get operational again. We did however manage to repair these lights within the national target of 7 days."
Met a number of constituents on various issues this week including Friday and Saturday night disturbances in one area and tenemental issues in another.

Thursday 15 March 2007

Angus & Dundee Roots Festival : 6th to 13th September 2008

I am sure this will be of interest to many local groups:
Local authorities in Angus and the City of Dundee have joined forces in a bid to attract tourists from across the world to come to the area and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. A two – year project aims to capitalise on increasing interest in family history worldwide, and to tap into the estimated market of 2.5 million people across the globe with their roots in Angus & Dundee.

A Project Manager has been appointed to lead the development of a range of product initiatives and marketing campaigns, including development of a website portal, which will be promoted as the first port of call for people looking to research their Angus & Dundee roots, and a local ancestral information pack for tourism businesses designed to help them signpost ancestral tourists to sources of help and information on the ground.

One of the key objectives of this project will be to develop a Roots Festival for Angus & Dundee in 2008, which will then be further developed for 2009 linking in to Scotland’s Year of Homecoming. The event will be aimed at locals and tourists alike, giving a real flavour of Angus & Dundee’s rich heritage and culture.

The aim of the Festival will be to have ‘ancestral-friendly’ accommodation, restaurants and other tourism operators providing a friendly welcome and service to visitors through a core Festival package of conducted tours, activities and workshops which, together with existing large and small events across the Angus & Dundee area, will give a real flavour of Angus & Dundee’s rich heritage and culture for visitors from across the globe coming back to their ancestral roots.

How can you get involved?

An ambitious and exciting programme for the week long festival, which will take place from 6th to 13th Sept 2008, has been developed. However the organisers would also like to encourage community groups and event organisers to stage their own events with a ‘roots’ theme eg. street theatre, musical events, celebration of local heritage etc during the Festival to add colour and interest/enjoyment for locals and visitors wherever they are in Angus & Dundee.

The Roots Festival team will be able to provide a promotional platform for all roots-related events taking place during the festival via their brand new web portal, which is being launched in the spring. A comprehensive marketing campaign will seek to drive people to the site to get up to date information on all the individual events taking place during the festival.

If you are planning to organise an event during the festival and would like to promote it on, please email details, including event name, venue, date, time, short description (30 words max), contact/booking details and web address (if applicable) to Louise Connor, Marketing Officer, Angus Council at

Please note inclusion on the website, which will be FREE, is at the discretion of Angus Council.

For more information about the Roots Festival, or an informal discussion about an event you may be planning, please contact Gillian Harrower, Angus & Dundee Ancestral Tourism Project Manager at or telephone 01738 860523.

Wednesday 14 March 2007

City Centre & Harbour Community Council public meeting

The City Centre & Harbour Community Council is holding a public meeting on Thursday 15th March at 7pm in the Conference Suite, Central Library.
The subject is Wireless Access in the City Centre.
The City Centre & Harbour Community Council is hosting this public meeting on Thursday night to discuss the possibility of installing a community wireless network that would enable city centre residents, businesses and visitors to access the internet for free. A similar scheme has been operating in Norfolk since July 2006 and is currently the largest free community wireless broadband network in the UK. It is two-year pilot project, run by Norfolk County Council, from August 2006 to April 2008, to evaluate the impact of mobile technology.
The team behind the Norfolk Open Link project hosted an interactive forum in Norwich to outline details of the project, including presentations on how the project evolved, was implemented and delivered. A representative of the City Centre & Harbour Community Council attended the forum and will report their findings at the public meeting.
All local residents of the city centre and harbour area are invited to attend the meeting, to be held at 7pm in the Wellgate Central Library Conference Suite.

Tuesday 13 March 2007

Parking at Polepark, Street Cleaning and Heating Charges - Blackness Court and Sinderins Court

Had useful meetings with residents today - one about street cleaning in a West End street, the other about the parking problems in Polepark Road.
Also been in touch with the Courier today following on from the article about the large increase in heating changes at Blackness Court and Sinderins Court - here's a copy of the news release I have given the Courier:
Councillor’s concern over heating cost hike for sheltered tenants.

West End Councillor Fraser Macpherson today expressed great concern over the heating charge increases being faced by residents in Blackness Court and Sinderins Court and indicated that he has been in correspondence with the landlords Home in Scotland about the issue.

“Residents from Sinderins Court attended my surgery last week to express their worries about the huge hike in charges and I immediately wrote to Home in Scotland seeking an explanation,” said Cllr Macpherson.

“The housing association has replied and said that the fuel charges they pick up from Scottish & Southern Electric and Scottish Gas have increased and they are having to pass this on to tenants. It is deeply concerning as the increases are very significant – in a typical flat in Sinderins Court a previous heating charge of £15.76 becomes £57.34,” continued Cllr Macpherson.

“Although there has been a welcome reduction in other service charges which will reduce the net increase for those who do not receive housing benefit, for anyone on Housing Benefit the situation is particularly concerning as the heating charge that has significantly increased is not eligible for help through housing benefit. I have therefore made arrangements to meet with a Home in Scotland representative next week to discuss the issue further. I am really concerned about this situation, especially as it affects residents many of whom are elderly,” he concluded.

Monday 12 March 2007

First Anniversary, and the parking issue again ...

It is the first birthday of my blog today - err, Happy Birthday to me ....

The Courier called me yesterday following on from the earlier article about the Magdalen Green damage/parking issue (click on headline above to view earlier article) and in the news item in today's paper, I emphasise the need for any solution to include residents' priority parking - consultation on which will take place later this Spring.

Thought I'd use the first anniversary of the blog to promote another local blog and website, very impressively created by a West End resident:

It's a new website with independent listings of events, music, art, culture, restaurants, attractions and much more in the city. The website gathers information from many sources, and provides a vibrant, dynamic, up-to-date summary of what's happening in Dundee.

with regular "Top 5" listings of upcoming events...

Both well worth a visit.

Sunday 11 March 2007

March West End Community Council Update

You can read about my latest update for the West End Community Council by clicking on the headline above.

The View Concert

Following a query I received yesterday about why the tickets for The View concert did not go on sale yesterday at the City Square Box Office, click on the headline above for the explanation - apparently they will be available from tomorrow morning.

Union Street

Pleased to note that Union Street has now reopened three and a half weeks early – following completion of a £170 000 gas mains project by Scotland Gas Networks.

A few residents had asked why it looked like it was complete just before it actually reopened – part of e-mail from the City Council explains why :

“...some road markings needed done for a few days, and they had to finish the connection at bottom of Union Street and test the gas pressures (otherwise, they would have been back to Union St to re-open for faults) hence it looked as if they had finished. At the end they finished about 3.5 weeks ahead of schedule thanks to Scotland Gas Networks.”

Good to see normality restored to Union Street.

Saturday 10 March 2007

Latest West End & City Centre news

An extremely busy week dealing with issues right across the West End and City Centre areas.
On Tuesday, we had a site visit to Magdalen Green with residents, representatives from the embryonic "Friends of Magdalen Green" group, the Police and Leisure & Communities staff to look at the parking problems.
Additionally, good news - the Planning & Transportation Department has agreed to my request for a further speed/traffic safety survey in Magdalen Yard Road, following up on that last one carried out in 2004.
I also asked that the bus shelter on Perth Road at the Invercarse get side panels as the current shelter (at an exposed site) affords little protection from the elements. Here's the positive response back from Planning & Transportation ...
"We adhered to ensuring a remaining footway width of 1500mm at all sites, however we have been given clearance to reduce this to 1000mm at certain locations and intend to revisit all shelters with no side panels (which also means no seats!) and consider installing small 600mm returns. The shelter maintenance contractor has been asked to provide quotations and we will take it from there ...I will ask ... to ensure that this location is considered early days."
And with regard to the need for real time bus information in the Commercial Street shelters that I had requested, the department continues ...
"Also as a brief update, Adshel (Clearchannel) have now been approved by P&T committee as advertising shelter partners and I have asked them to consider the Commercial Street shelters for inclusion of Real Time Information and poster panels."
Lastly, a very useful meeting with Stagecoach Strathtay and Planning & Transportation on Thursday about the No 72 bus service (along with Cllr Nigel Don, part of whose ward - Gowrie Park - is served by the service as well as my own West End area). It is hoped to review the service later in the Spring - I am very keen to see it serve Richmond Terrace/Court and that the mid-afternoon 'gap' in the service issue is resolved.

Tuesday 6 March 2007

Blackness Road - Bus Shelter request

Following my recent request to the Planning & Transportation Department to add the bus stop on Blackness Road between Seymour Street and Ashbank Road for future consideration for bus shelter provision, please to advise this has been added to the waiting list for future provision.

Monday 5 March 2007

Recycling extension - Gowrie Street

Good news today from the Waste Management Department to me :

"Leaflet deliveries to households offering the appropriate services are scheduled to commence Monday 12th March."

Saturday 3 March 2007

Parking in the West End ... and similar problems elsewhere

As readers of my blog and the West End FOCUS newsletter will be well aware, I have been actively discussing with the Planning & Transportation Department ways in which the problems many West End residents face getting parked can be tackled.

The City Council has set up a "Focus Group" to look at the issues, starting with the City Centre, but also to tackle the problems in the areas immediately peripheral to the City Centre including the West End. The intention is to consult residents on alterantives (eg residents' priority schemes) later in the Spring.
Recently, many residents in City Quay have contacted the Dundee LibDems about the increasingly difficult parking situation there (see above right); City Quay is to the east of my ward and its very clear that it too has the same sort of parking issues as parts of the West End (commuters trying to avoid parking charges by parking just outside the metered zone being one obvious problem).
I'll keep residents updated on the parking issue, but I'd welcome any views - e-mail me at - many thanks!

Friday 2 March 2007

Friends of Wighton update

Latest Friends of Wighton update from Sheena Wellington ...
The sweet sound of the Scottish Smallpipes will be heard at the Wighton Heritage Centre on Wednesday 7th March when pipe maker Ian Kinnear will give the Friends of Wighton Lunchtime Recital. The recital runs from 1.15 -1.45 pm, admission is free and the Centre is in the Local Studies Department of Dundee’s Central Library.

Ian Kinnear lives and works in Forfar, Angus. He began playing pipes at the age of 10, when he was taught by John McDougall and David Taylor. Whilst studying geography at Edinburgh University he continued playing pipes with Scottish Gas pipe band and Edinburgh University OTC pipe band. During this time he also tutored at the University Bagpipe Society and the innovative Adult Learning Project in Edinburgh.Ian began making Scottish Smallpipes in Edinburgh in 1993. Piping has taken him to many parts of the world where he has given solo performances and played as a member of pipebands, and smallpipes and folk ensembles (Brittany, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Ireland and USA). He has also been privileged to judge piping in Brittany.As business increased, so spare time decreased. He finished his competitive playing with Lothian and Borders Police pipe band in order to keep up with demands of work. The move from Edinburgh to rural Angus was a result of having 2 children and the good fortune to have a career that allowed the move! He still plays regularly (Highland pipes less frequently than Smallpipes). There is a healthy traditional music session culture in Angus - Ian can be heard regularly at these sessions and also plays with a folk band. As well as making and playing Ian enjoys teaching.
More details about Friends of Wighton can be obtained by e-mailing - and look at the website at :

Thursday 1 March 2007

Adult Learning in the West End - Update

With thanks to the West End Adult Learning Team, please click on the headline above to read about an initiative to promote activities for local residents whose first language in not English. A great initiative!

Northern Ireland and return ...

I've been away for part of the week in Northern Ireland and now ploughing through ward issues on return. A huge postbag following the latest West End FOCUS newsletter with some very helpful contributions from residents on many local issues.

On return, received complaints from residents about the increasing problem about parking on Magdalen Green; it was particularly highlighted by an HGV parking on the Green (see above right) earlier this week. We have a site visit with the Police & Council staff to progress a solution next Tuesday.

Before going back to a joyous evening of going through my e-mails and dictating letters, I'd like to introduce you to our new family member - Millie - isn't she lovely! Already adopted as mascot for the Dundee City Council Liberal Democrat Group!