Saturday 31 December 2011

Remember to recycle this Festive Season

From Dundee City Council :

Remember to recycle this Festive Season

Christmas is a time when we generate more waste than at any other time in the year, but not everything left over from Christmas is unwanted.

Your Christmas cards, wrapping paper and cardboard, glass bottles and jars and even your real Christmas tree are all wanted at your local Recycling Centres and Points and at the kerbside.

So this year, please reduce your waste and recycle all those leftovers from the festive season!

For more information:
Phone 432777

Friday 30 December 2011

Lighting at Balgay Park and Hill - an update

At the latest Balgay Stakeholders' Group meeting last month, there was a discussion about lighting improvements in the park.   

The upgrade will be completed in January but I was given an update by the City Council towards the end of last week as follows :

"We had a team working on the lighting for the whole day.
We now have the first 2 lighting columns from the Scott Street end illuminated, but underground cable faults means the rest of the equipment is dark on this section of road until you get to the pavilion. Not much more can be done here until January. Good news on the North end.  From Glamis Road, we have managed to illuminate 5 columns from the entrance to just past the pavilion. So you have the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th and 8th street lights illuminated.
The other lighting columns will be replaced with the main street lighting works in January."

Thursday 29 December 2011

More City Council cuts ahead

As recently reported in the Courier, around £3.4 million of further budget cuts are to be considered by the SNP-run administration on Dundee City Council.   

As I indicated in the Courier, I would take issue with the claim that the grant settlement is better than anticipated.   Anyone looking objectively at the actual settlements announced by the SNP government for each authority can see that Dundee has a cash terms cut when other councils have seen a cash terms increase.    The SNP government has badly let down Dundee in terms of its disappointing settlement for Dundee City Council.

The SNP continually blames Westminster for everything but the reality is that the SNP Finance Cabinet Secretary John Swinney has a budget that is in real terms billions higher than that available to the Scottish Government when the parliament was first established in 1999.    The suggestion that £3.4 million of further cuts is somehow “good news” is spin and an attempt at “news management” by the SNP administration.    Had the SNP Finance Secretary treated Dundee in a more equitable manner, we would not be looking at this level of cuts by the Dundee SNP administration.

What is now vital is that front-line services such as Education and Social Work do not fall victim to the further SNP cuts.   I will be working positively with other councillors in the run-up to the council budget being set on 9th February to minimise the effect of further budget reductions.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust newsletter

On this, the 132nd Anniversary of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster, its good to note that the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust has issued its first newsletter in time for this festive season.   

As one of the trustees of the Trust, its really pleasing to see the progress the Trust is making towards its aim of a proper and lasting memorial to the victims of the 1879 disaster.

You can read the newsletter at

Crime statistics

Last week, the Evening Telegraph highlighted crime statistics for 2010/11 across the city.     This indicated the apparently high crime rate in parts of the West End Ward.

Beat 26 which covers quite a large part of the West End Ward has been highlighted in the past for its high number of incidents reported to and investigated but as it is a large area largely to the north of the Nethergate and Perth Road shopping areas right up to Pentland, it is important to emphasise that much of the area has a very low crime rate and that the total of crime incidents can appear skewed by the part of the Beat area that covers the clubs and other night time economy area. 

Instances of housebreaking and theft are a real concern – in some instances these are “opportunist thefts” from mainly ground floor flats where windows have been left unsecured and it is important to emphasise that Tayside Police will provide any resident with free home security advice for their property.    

I would add that there is a great community policing team in the area who work hard to combat crime and they do rely on local residents reporting anything they see as potentially suspicious.

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Strawberrybank : a photo-essay

Brian Selway's excellent blog - a look at life in Scotland through photographs and comment - highlighted the charm of Strawberrybank earlier this year.

You can see the item at

Monday 26 December 2011

Dundee West Park and Ride update

Further to my article last month about possible future Park and Ride facilities sited in the west of the city and the subsequent decision by the regional transport partnership TACTRAN to progress the proposal for siting the facility at Wright Avenue, I sought, on behalf of constituents, some reassurances from TACTRAN about the facility.

The park and ride proposals have been largely welcomed by local residents but householders who live to the north of the preferred site have sought assurances that the facility would be properly screened.    Residents who currently enjoy excellent views of Riverside Nature Park, Invergowrie Bay and the River Tay to the south rightly do not wish to look out to a car park in the future.

TACTRAN's Project Manager has updated me as follows :

"As the Wright Avenue location has been approved by the Tactran Board we will now be taking forward the detailed design, in partnership with Dundee City Council through the City Engineers.  

As you’ll be aware the outline design was carefully designed to complement the landscaping of the surrounding park.  In particular it was designed to be adjacent to the existing trees as they will provide good screening.  

In progressing the design there will be an environmental assessment undertaken and this will include visual amenity for those properties that have a view of the site and I will ensure that appropriate provision will be made for any additional screening that may be required at the site."

There is no doubt that the provision of park and ride facilities will bring significant benefits, not just to the drivers concerned, but to relieving parking problems in parts of the City Centre and the West End.   However, it is important that a facility is properly screened and I am therefore pleased at the assurances given by the regional transport partnership in that regard.

Sunday 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Saturday 24 December 2011

Christmas Buses

A number of constituents have expressed concern about the inadequate bus services over Christmas and the New Year period - with no National Express Dundee buses at all on Christmas Day and New Year's Day and with the Sunday service on Boxing Day and 2nd January ending before 7.30pm.    I have been in touch with the bus company about this.

As always, Suzy Scott at has a useful update on bus services in Dundee over the festive season.

Christmas Eve music

Friday 23 December 2011

West End schools' progress

Back in September, I updated residents about the construction of the new St Joseph's Primary, Park Place Nursery and Park Place Primary Schools on the former Logie school site and gave links to the first two newsletters issued by the contractor, Robertson Construction, to adjacent householders in the Blackness Road, Abbotsford Street, Glenagnes Road/Logie, Rosefield Street and adjacent areas.

In recent weeks, the school building has moved forward significantly.   You can download the following two newsletters about the project, issued to adjacent householders, here :

Edition 3 - November 2011 :

Edition 4 - December 2011 :

Friday's favourite ...

My favourite Queen hit - back to Christmassy hits on Christmas Eve!

Thursday 22 December 2011

Getting things done ... Bus Stop on Perth Road at Shelter Shop

The bus stop on Perth Road at the Shelter Shop – just west of Step Row  was recently damaged by a vehicle.  
At my request a new bus stop pole and sign is now in place.

Today's tune

A break off Christmassy ones for a couple of days - this is my favourite Celine Dion song - Falling into you - from 1996 :

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Dog Bag provision will continue ...

Having recently had an enquiry seeking an assurance that the City Council will not, in these times of financial challenge, remove its provision of free "dog bags" to allow dog owners to clean up after their pet, I contacted the Director of Environment at the council to seek his assurances.

He has responded as follows :

"As a department we are looking at all opportunities for future savings and I am aware that this possible option has been discussed internally.    I can confirm that we have no plans to remove this provision at present."

I am pleased to have received such an assurance as the provision of these bags greatly helps in the effort to reduce the amount of dog fouling left on the city's pavements, parks and other open spaces.   I would have viewed any proposal to remove this free service as hugely counter-productive, so the confirmation that the dog bag service, available at many council facilities such as libraries, will continue is reassuring.

Wednesday Wizzard ...

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Recycling – Seafield Road area

Residents in the Seafield Road area have queried why they cannot recycle tins, plastice and glass via a household collection.

At their request, I raised this with the City Council’s Recycling Projects Officer, who advises :

"At present we are investigating different collection methodologies which may, in time, enable us to increase our kerbside collections of these materials across the city. In the meantime however, there are a number of Recycling Centres & Points in the vicinity of Seafield Road to enable your constituent to recycle his tins, plastics & glass:

Neighbourhood Recycling Point for glass & paper at Ryehill Lane/Perth Road junction
Mini Recycling Centre at Pennycook Lane car park for alu cans, textiles, glass & paper
Mini Recycling Centre at Roseangle Car Park for plastics, alu cans, glass & paper
Mini Recycling Centre at Tesco Riverside for alu cans, glass, paper & textiles."

Tuesday's festive tune ...

Monday 19 December 2011

City Council winter weather advice

The City Council has published a useful information leaflet on winter maintenance priorities, along with winter weather advice that you can download at

The City Council's winter weather advice page at

Winter weather e-help : If I can be of any assistance to any West End Ward constituent with a concern about winter maintenance matters  during the wintry weather period, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Monday music ...

Sunday 18 December 2011

Riverside Drive at Riverside Approach

Residents have asked why the traffic management at the above location is still in place, following the recent motor vehicle damage to the rail bridge.   The City Council’s Head of Transportation advises :

"This is a deliberate section of temporary traffic management to ensure that no further vehicle strikes occur.  The City Engineer's Structural engineers have undertaken a survey and we (City Engineer / Transportation and Planning) are considering a permanent layout that will prevent any further bridge strikes in the future.

I am unable to give any date for removing the traffic management as this will be dependant on when a permanent solution can be implemented.   My observation is that any delay to traffic egressing from Riverside approach would be restricted to peak times."

I have been assured that I will be given an update on the situation early in the New Year.

Sunday's music ...

Saturday 17 December 2011

Perth Road pavements

Earlier this year, I asked the City Council that the pavements in Perth Road in the shopping area be resurfaced where they are in poor shape – particularly on the south side between Seafield Road and Shepherd’s Loan.

The Council agreed to resurface the stretch from Step Row to Shepherd’s Loan and targeted for this work to take place in October.

The Council has since advised me :

"The scheme was originally proposed to start in October after the holiday period but due to additional works at other ongoing Council schemes: Waterfront and Dykes of Grey.   We did not have the resources to start this scheme as proposed and have it completed before the Christmas embargo starts, therefore we felt it better to reprogramme the scheme to after the festive season."

I am now advised that the work will take place in early January 2012 and have also requested that the pavement east of Step Row is resurfaced during 2012, following requests from residents, including the sheltered housing tenants at Seafield Lane.

Saturday's Christmas song ...

Friday 16 December 2011

Riverside pitches - action on stones problem

Further to the concerns expressed in the Evening Telegraph earlier this week about large stones bursting through the pitches on the south side of Riverside Drive and resulting in a number of accidents, I sought assurances from the Environment Department of the City Council that proper reinstatement of the pitches was in hand.

I have received the following helpful response :

"This is now in hand. When the area was cultivated as part of the grass seeding exercise, stones and other debris were brought to the surface. The surface was finished off with screen top soil and as part of the exercise a stone pick would have been done once the grass seed had germinated. This is stones that have worked through the soil due mainly to settling down and the weather conditions.

As soon as we were made aware of the problems we closed the pitches and have had the area cleared of visible stones.

There is always the chance that some stone may emerge due to the nature of the site and we will endeavour to inspect the site more regularly. We have good relations with the users of the site and we would also react to any feedback we receive from the teams and also the referees who have as a role in determining whether pitches are playable."

I am pleased at the prompt response by the City Council and also hope that more regular inspections will ensure the avoidance of any further incidents of large stones on the pitches or any unfortunate accidents caused by them in the future.

Friday's festive fare ...

Thursday 15 December 2011

Thursday tune ...

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster on TV tonight ...

As an active member of the trustees of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust, I am pleased to advise of a fascinating TV programme to be first screened tonight.

Molly Brown, Peter Yolland and Jennifer Leigh explore how their ancestors were all involved in the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879. 

It is on the Yesterday channel at 9pm tonight - Thursday 15th December - Freeview channel 12, Sky 537, Virgin Media 203.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Getting things done ... Polepark Road

On behalf of tenants in Polepark Road, I recently asked the Housing Department of the City Council to tidy up the very untidy areas to the back of the flats on the east side of the street.

With thanks to the department, the area is now looking a lot better :

Wednesday music - a little more festive ...

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Latest in music season - Tuesday Tune ...

Barney's Fund food parcels donation for Christmas

Today, along with others on the Barney's Charity Fund committee and volunteers from the Discovery Food Programme, I took part in a photocall to mark the handover of a donation of food packs to this excellent charity.   Here’s a couple of photos and the news release from Barney’s Charity Fund :
The group with the food parcel donation
Us sorting out the food parcels

Discovery Food Programme has received a welcome boost from Barnetts Motor Group’s “Barney’s Charity Fund” with a donation of around 75 food packs to help provide emergency food relief to individuals and families experiencing financial hardship in Dundee.

Barney’s Fund committee member, Sandra Myles, was very keen to brief the rest of the committee on Discovery Food Programme’s urgent requirement for support over the festive period.  

“With such a worthwhile cause the committee had no hesitation is supporting their plea for emergency food packs and with the addition of a few Christmas puddings and selection boxes we hope to bring some festive cheer to those in need.” said chairperson Cllr Fraser Macpherson. 

Registered Scottish Charity, Discovery Food Programme has assisted over 4,400 men, women and children in 1,437 households over the past year.  However they are still in great need of assistance to continue providing this emergency food relief to those in need.  Anyone can make a donation whether it’s a bag of pasta, boxes of cereal or indeed a cash donation, the Discovery Food Programme Team would be delighted to discuss how you can help simply contact them on 222372. 

Monday 12 December 2011

Tonight's City Council meetings

Following my surgeries late this afternoon at Harris Academy and the Mitchell  Centre, I attended tonight's City Council meetings at which :

* I sought (and obtained) assurances at the Education Committee about the continued independence of Park Place Nursery School as a 'stand alone' school.   A report on a review of the school estate rather implied it would be integrated into the primary school at the new Blackness Road campus, but, having already corresponded with the Director of Education on this matter, he agreed, in response to my questions, tonight that the nursery will remain as an independent school with its own Head Teacher and with its school roll intact at 110 pupils.

* At Housing Committee, I praised the hard work and quality of service delivered by the City Council's sheltered housing wardens.

* At City Development Committee, I supported road speed limit cuts - in particular on Riverside Avenue and Riverside Drive and asked about the possible provision of pedestrian crossings in the future.    I have had a large postbag on this issue, the vast majority of residents supporting a cut in the speed limit.

* At Policy and Resources Committee, I spoke out against Scottish Government cuts in Dundee College's budget and asked that Scottish Government uses £67m in consequentials due to the English Council Tax Freeze to help Scotland's colleges.

December West End Community Council Update

West End Community Council meets tomorrow evening at 7pm at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall and all local residents are welcome to attend.

I have today published my monthly update to the Community Council, covering :
*      Perth Road pavements
*      Bus Stop Perth Road at Shelter Shop – just west of Step Row
*      Riverside Drive at Riverside Approach  
*      Recycling – Seafield Road area

Another in the Fraser festive list ...

Sunday 11 December 2011

McCheyne Memorial Church - falling masonry concern

Residents have contacted me following masonry dropping from the steeple area of the former McCheyne Memorial Church building and landing on the area to the front of the church - see right.

This occurred on Thursday during the very windy period and residents are concerned that other masonry may be loose.

I have contacted City Council Buildings Safety and Planning Enforcement staff regarding this, asking that the owners are contacted and that appropriate safety action is taken.

Sunday favourite ...

Another of my music selection in the run-up to Christmas (although zero Christmassy about this!) :

Saturday 10 December 2011

Balgay Parish Church's Advent Calendar

Balgay Parish Church has a lovely online advent calendar again this year - and the 2011 calendar has pictures, verses and colouring sheets.

You can see the advent calendar at

Fraser's Christmas Tunes ...

A few of my musical favourites (some Christmassy, some not!) will follow over the next few days - you have been warned!

Friday 9 December 2011

Blackness Library December Update

December update from our local library :

Christmas Closure                                                        

The library will be closed from 1pm on Thursday 23rd December until 10am on Wednesday 4th January 2012.

Toy Library

Blackness Library has a small toy library which can be accessed by any adult eligible for library membership. There is a small one off fee, costing £1 and for this charge up to 4 toys can be borrowed for a period of 3 weeks.   We will have some brand new toys available after the Christmas and New Year holiday.
Computer Tuition

The library is running a 4 week beginners’ computer course in conjunction with the BBC.   It is called First Click and it is aimed at people who have no computer skills.    It deals with email, internet and online safety.   Alternatively, if anyone has some knowledge of computing and would maybe like a taster session on a specific subject - eg internet shopping, word processing etc - then please contact the library.

St John's High School Christmas Concert

Reproduced, with thanks to the school :

Thursday 8 December 2011

Community Spirit Action Group

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the December meeting of Community Spirit Action Group, that took place at the Mitchell Street Centre.

The meeting took the form of a social event and it was thoroughly enjoyable.   What's more, I won a bar of chocolate in the raffle - Janet - later in the evening - enjoyed every bite!

Community Spirit does great work as the residents' group covering  Polepark, Pentland, Cleghorn, Ancrum, Tullideph and surrounding areas and you can read more about its work at

New Community Police Officer

Yesterday afternoon, at the Ryehill Police Station, I met with PC Jim Mitchell, the new community police officer for the Perth Road area.   Jim is a very experienced officer and is a great addition to the team of community police officers in the West End.

We have a superb policing resource in the West End and it was good to speak with Jim today about local issues.  You can read more about Jim and his role at

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Icy roads and pavements

This morning, I have had many calls from constituents about icy roads and pavements across the West End and I have taken these up with the City Council,requesting urgent action.   

I'm particularly concerned that access around sheltered housing areas is difficult and the Tullideph Sheltered Lounge has had to cancel today's activities as the path down to the lounge and neighbouring streets' pavements are in a very icy condition.   I have asked the City Engineer if Tayside Contracts can give areas like this urgent attention.

The City Engineer advised me at about 11am :

"The priority carriageway routes within Dundee were treated by around 7.30 this morning and then gritting started on the secondary routes. Gritting of the secondary carriageway routes takes approx 3 hours so hopefully (many of these) carriageways will have been treated by now or will be shortly.

The priority footway routes take longer to do at approx 3 to 5 hours depending on routes. Thereafter, the mini ploughs will be going into secondary footway routes throughout Dundee."

Shaftesbury Place - an update

Back in August, I met with Shaftesbury Place residents and a member of the City Development Department of the City Council regarding the extremely poor condition of the unadopted Shaftesbury Place's combined road/footway.

Since then, I have been in correspondence with the council's legal officers to ascertain what might be possible by way of getting this extremely poor conditioned road/footway upgraded and adopted by the local authority.

However, another aspect has been the poor condition of the lighting and I am pleased to report some progress with that.   The City Engineer has advised me as follows :

"The Street Lighting Partnership is in the process of upgrading the existing Street Lighting at this location due the electrical and structural condition of the existing equipment.    The Road Scotland Act 1984 grants legal powers to the Council to install lighting on unadopted roads which the Council feels in its opinion should be lit.   There has been street lighting installed in this street for over 40 years, hence the need for the Council to maintain it."

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Road traffic notice - Artillery Lane

Received today from Dundee City Council :


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of carriageway repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Artillery Lane (from Cross Lane to approx. 100 metres south),  Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Tuesday 13 December 2011 for 4 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

No alternative routes are available

For further information contact (01382) 433168.

Mike P Galloway
Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Upcoming Friends of Wighton events

Forthcoming events this week from Friends of Wighton :

Wednesday 7th December, 1.15 to 1.45pm  :   Lunchtime Recital.   The traditional December concert by the wonderful Wighton Singers!  Admission free, donations welcome!

Saturday 10th December, 10.30 for 11am : Cappuccino Concert.   Alastair McDonald, Singer, Raconteur, Banjo player, TV and recording star!    "Alastair has the rare ability of lifting a song directly from the written page & into the hearts & minds of the listening public."   (Alistair pictured above right).

Tickets, price £5 (includes coffee and newspapers) from, 07792 336804 or at the door.

Monday 5 December 2011

Getting things done ... Pleasance Court - street lighting

I have received complaints from residents at Pleasance Court about the poor street lighting behind the housing at Lower Pleasance, due to overgrown trees.
I raised the matter with the City Council and the Forestry Section has responded as follows:
"I am writing to you to keep you up to date regarding your enquiry about trees located in the southern section of Lower Pleasance and the south side of Brewery Lane. As you are aware I had contacted City Development to ascertain if it held any responsibilities here, but it does not.   I also contacted the roads maintenance section asking if there was anything it could do to assist with the matter.    The department has since inspected the site and decided that due to the difficulty in determining ownership of all the derelict grounds upon which the offending trees are growing, it will - under public safety - issue an order to cut/prune back the offending trees.
I have now received this order of instruction to carry out the pruning works to prune from the lamp posts and prune back the overhanging branches to improve headroom for pedestrians and vehicles. 

I will programme this work into our current work schedule. I will arrange for the works to be carried out as soon as reasonably practicable."

A good result.

Day in Edinburgh ...

I have been in Edinburgh today at Scottish Government with the "day job."

Despite it being incredibly cold, it was a lovely day - here's a couple of photos!
River Forth from the rail bridge
A real Christmas feel around Princes Street!

Sunday 4 December 2011

Update on the Food Train project

Last month, I mentioned the forthcoming launch of the Food Train service in Dundee.  

The Food Train is a Scottish charity providing a vital grocery delivery service to older people.  This service is run by volunteers and it is recruiting for volunteers to come forward to help across Dundee.

The Social Work Department of Dundee City Council has now given me an update on progress in providing this very useful service :

"The manager has been appointed as is completing his induction. Premises at Market Mews have been secured, and a vehicle purchased.

The recruitment of volunteers in now underway, and discussions are taking place with the Community Planning Partnerships and with Dundee Volunteers Centre.   The Food Train Manager is to attend the Older People Strategic Planning Group.

Negotiations are underway with supermarkets.  Morrisons has already agreed to support the service.

The service will begin on 23 January 2012. There will be a publicity event to mark the launch of the service.

A communication strategy is in place which will cover the following:

* notifying/updating relevant stakeholders
* service users who are currently on a waiting list for our shopping service  will all receive a visit from a member of DCC staff to explain the food train to them
* service users who currently use the DCC shopping service will be given information regarding the food train, and they will be given a choice as to continue with the DCC shopping service or move to the food train
* All relevant DCC staff will be informed/updated on the service
* The Health Partnership will be notified of the service and will promote the service to older people in the community who are not known to Social Work."

I am very pleased at the progress with the Food Train project.   It is vital that the City Council supports the ability of the third sector to help elderly and vulnerable people and the Food Train will be a boon to the many local people who will benefit from this shopping service.

Saturday 3 December 2011

X Factor tonight ...

In what has been, in my view, a weak series of X Factor (Marcus Collins is best, however!), Amelia Lily gave a superb vocal performance tonight covering 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough':

Russian School's New Year Party!

I was delighted to attend the Russian School's New Year Party at Harris Academy later today to give a few words of welcome and see the children perform with such talent and enthusiasm.   

The children from the Russian School also made an excellent contribution to the West End Christmas Concert last Thursday.

Here's a short video from today's event :

Blackness Primary School Christmas Fair

Today saw the last day of this year's highly successful West End Christmas Week and it was great to see the large turnout of pupils, teachers, parents and local residents at the Blackness Primary School Christmas Fair this morning - see picture (right).