Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Dundee City Council meetings

Last night saw the first City Council committees take place following the end of the council's summer recess.

At the Development Management Committee, there were two very positive - and unanimous - decisions - the approval of the V&A building at its slightly revised location and the approval of the new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the rail line at Seabraes.

There were, however, two applications I had concerns about and I attempted to move refusal of both.   Firstly, an application for a licensed off-sales shop in City Road had resulted in twenty valid letters of objection and two petitions against (with 29 signatures in total).   I moved refusal on the following grounds:

"Development Management Committee – Monday 12th August 2013
Item 1 – 116-118 City Road, Dundee, DD2 2PW   (13/00318/FULL)

The proposal is contrary to Policy 1 of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 as it is considered that the use of the premises as a licensed off sales shop would have an adverse impact on the environmental quality enjoyed by local residents because of potential noise disturbance and litter from the site and increase in parking and traffic movements.

There are no material considerations that would justify approval of the proposal contrary to the development plan.

Cllr Fraser Macpherson"

The vote was close but unfortunately I lost 13-11 (with one abstention).   The decision means that the unit can be converted into retail use but it would still require an alcohol licence and the Licensing Board will have to give that matter consideration should a licensing application come forward at a future date.

The other application I had concerns about was for an external cash machine on the front of the supermarket at 306 Perth Road.    Although the applicant applied for planning permission on 30th May, he went ahead and installed it without permission on 14th June, and we have already seen an increase in bad parking (such as parking on waiting restrictions and bumping up on the pavement) at this location.    There are already a number of other ATMs in this part of Perth Road (and the supermarket itself already had an ATM inside the shop).    I moved refusal on the following grounds:

"Development Management Committee – Monday 12th August 2013
Item 7 – 306 Perth Road, Dundee, DD2 1AU   (13/00312/FULL)

The installation of an ATM on the front elevation of this property fails to meet the requirements of Policy 1 (Vibrant and Sustainable Communities) of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 as it encourages very short-stay parking of vehicles adjacent to the site to the detriment of traffic safety, pedestrian safety and the free flow of vehicles in this location which is subject to periodic traffic congestion. 
There are no material considerations that would justify the approval of planning permission.

Cllr Fraser Macpherson"

Again, a close vote but unfortunately I lost 14-11.     There will be a real need for parking enforcement by City Council officers and the police here in the future to prevent parking on the pavement and congestion caused by parking on waiting restrictions.

At the Policy and Resources Committee, I asked a question of the local senior officer of the Fire and Rescue Service regarding the number of erroneous fire signal calls from non-domestic properties in the city and how these might be reduced in the future.

I also asked Police Scotland representatives about the intended expanded role for Community Police Officers.    We were advised by a police representative that the number of community police officers in local communities in Dundee will be increased but they will be given additional tasks.   Whilst the increase in the number of officers is to be welcomed, I questioned the type of additional work they will undertake and was given examples including road policing and dealing with domestic violence incidents.   Crucially, assurances were given that the community-based role of officers will continue.

In the West End, we are lucky to have excellent community police officers who have excellent local knowledge.   I am meeting our local police inspector for the West End and Lochee today to discuss the local policing changes in more detail.