Thursday 31 December 2015

2015 ...

As 2015 closes, it is fitting to remember the passing of the fabulous, talented Cilla Black, who passed away on 1st August :

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Saggar Street - "No Through Road" sign

Residents have complained to me that there is no “T junction” signage in Saggar Street and some visitors' vehicles go up the hill only to meet an unexpected dead end.    

I raised this with the City Council and am pleased with the positive response :

"A dead end "T" sign will be incorporated into new street name plates at the Saggar Street/City Road junction. 

There's no specific timescale for this being done but the new signs will be included in the next street name plate order to be prepared (probably early January) and erected approximately six to eight weeks thereafter."

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Xplore Dundee Bus Service 10

I have received a number of constituents' concerns about the reliability of the Xplore Dundee Service 10, particularly running from the Technology Park.

I took up the matter with the Managing Director of Xplore Dundee who has responded as follows :

"We are actively working towards a solution to the No. 10 Service, we are aware of the issues and are also unhappy that our customers are having problems with the service. We have had a number of staff monitoring the service to identify specific pinch points along the route to allow us to be sure any fix resolves the issues permanently.

We have had issues around a number of areas on the back half of the route, road works, faulty traffic lights and problems traversing the Forfar Road. All of these have simply compounded our passengers difficulties. 

Our scheduler is currently working on a resolution which should alleviate the problem long term.

Despite recent press suggestions we do not care, we have offered to engage with customers who have issues with service provision and always respond to complaints. Our aim is to resolve the issue permanently however we can not guarantee to increase levels of service in areas where there are insufficient customers to make a service viable.

Time scales for any permanent change will however be subject to legal constraints or at short notice if supported by Dundee City Council."

Monday 28 December 2015

Road safety - Blackness Road

I have received several constituents' concerns about the speed of a minority of vehicles and pedestrian safety on Blackness Road between Elm Street and Balgay Road - see right.

I raised this with the City Council's Head of Transportation who advises :

"I have looked to see what information we have and a recent speed survey undertaken last year between Elm Street and Balgay Road and it indicated that the average speed Blackness Road was about 27mph which indicates that most motorists are driving within the limit.

As you may be aware the junction of Blackness Road / Balgay Road / Blackness Ave has been identified through our Accident Investigation and Prevention processes (road safety) for investigation with possible low cost engineering measures being put in place. At this time we have yet to decide what will be undertaken at this site as investigations are at an early stage so I am not in a position to inform you what will be carried out at this location.

I will let you know once our investigations and design are completed."

Sunday 27 December 2015

New Year's Day Litter Pick

Saturday 26 December 2015

Good King Wenceslas

Friday 25 December 2015

Happy Christmas!

Thursday 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve

Wednesday 23 December 2015

On Wave 102 News - concern over licensing decision @wave102

I spoke on Wave 102 News yesterday about my concerns regarding a recent licensing decision regarding the proposed Caird Bar and Grill.

You can listen to the interview by clicking 'play' below :

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Flooding tackled - Perth Road

Residents recently raised with me flooding concerns on Perth Road opposite the junction with Riverside Place - at the bus stop and shelter.

I raised this concern with the Roads Maintenance Partnership and have now been advised :

"The Road Inspector for this area was out at this location has advised that a new pot is to be installed at this location.  He has raised an order to get works carried out by Tayside Contracts."

Monday 21 December 2015

Unfortunate licensing decision - Caird Bar and Grill

Caird Rest
I have called the decision by Dundee City Licensing Board to refuse an alcohol licence for the proposed Caird Bar and Grill as very unfortunate and not in the interests of the city’s economic growth and Dundee’s aspiration to have more top destination venues that will be attractive to the thousands of visitors that will come to Dundee to visit the V&A at Dundee when it is opened.

I am not a member of the Licensing Board, but understand the need for an alcohol ‘overprovision’ policy.   However, it should be used only as a guide and that when high quality applications came forward, exceptions had to be made, to ensure the growing quality of venues for local people and for visitors to the city.    

It is very unusual for me to get a flurry of complaints from constituents about a Licensing Board decision but that is exactly what has happened over the past few days.   Constituents are genuinely perplexed by this decision that they feel is not in the interests of Dundee’s visitor offering and of providing new high quality destination venues in the city.    I have written to licensing officers questioning the decision.    

I really don’t think this should be the end of the road for this application.     Dundee needs more facilities like the proposed Caird Bar and Grill and the decision taken last week was therefore extremely unfortunate.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Protecting People of all ages in Dundee

From the City Council :

The Protecting People in Dundee Communications Group has teamed up with Dundee Community Safety Partnership and created a new Facebook page.   If you have a personal Facebook page or are part of a service which uses Facebook, you can ‘ like’ this page - it can be found by clicking here.

By adding this page to your ‘likes’ you will be kept up-to-date with information about what Protecting People is doing to alert people to scams, door step traders, etc.

Help us to help you and those you care about – safe.

To find out more about reporting Protecting People concerns in confidence, visit

Saturday 19 December 2015

West End Surgeries

With the holidays approaching, my last ward surgery of 2015 takes place this Monday at 4.20pm at the Mitchell Street Centre - all residents welcome!   My other Monday surgery at the West Park Centre does not take place on Monday 21st December as the centre closes for Christmas earlier that day.

Surgeries recommence on Thursday 7th January 2016 at the start of the new school term, with my surgery at Blackness Primary School at 6.15pm.

Over the festive season, I can still be contacted on any local issues or concerns through my e-surgery - just e-mail

I can also be contacted at home at any time on 459378 and also during office hours (except public holidays) at my Dundee City Council office on 434985.

Friday 18 December 2015

West End Christmas Fortnight Winners!

If you click here, you can download the list of winners in the West End Christmas Fortnight shoppers' prize draw.

We had a huge volume of entries this year and we are very grateful to the many West End shops who participated by donating prize draw gifts.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Residents' meetings

Over the past couple of days, I have had three very positive meetings with local residents – with residents from the Tullideph area (Tuesday afternoon), Logie area (Wednesday morning) and the Corso/Abbotsford area (Wednesday afternoon).

The main purpose of these was for council officers to update tenants about the current housing rents consultation and also to give attendees details of the current consultation on 20mph speed limits in residential areas.

I am very grateful to all residents who attended and to the council officers who did such a good job presenting to the residents and answering questions.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Festive cheer at Magdalen House!

There was festive cheer at West End care home Magdalen House yesterday when bakery chain Greggs kindly donated 80 Christmas Pies to the residents to wish them all a very Happy Christmas.   The festive gift was part of Greggs' sponsorship of the recent West End Christmas Fortnight events.

We are very grateful to Greggs for this generous gesture for the folk at Magdalen House.   Here’s a photo below :

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Monday 14 December 2015

West End Christmas Fortnight - latest updates

Earlier today, the West End Christmas Fortnight Shoppers' Prize Draw took place at Blackness Library.   

Ann Prescott of the Community Council and Christmas Committee (see right) and the library staff kindly took part in drawing the winners - and also the winner of the Children's Window Spotting Competition.

The winners will be publicly announced later this week once we have notified them - and many thanks to the hundreds of people who participated!

The Rosebud is winner of the public vote for the best dressed Christmas shop window in the West End and here's Dilly Milne of the Rosebud outside the shop earlier today with her winner's certificate.   The Rosebud's shop window is beautifully festive so a very worthy winner!

Temporary Traffic Order : Abbotsford Street

Further to the previous Traffic Order in November at Abbotsford Street, the crane lifting job required here had to be cancelled at that time and so the City Council has now advised :


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of crane lifting works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Abbotsford Street (from its junction with Seymour Street to approx. 100 metres east), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Tuesday 15 December 2015 for up to 4 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.     Parking will be restricted for the duration of the work.

Alternative routes are available via Seymour Street / Blackness Road / Abbotsford Street.

For further information contact 433168.

Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Sunday 13 December 2015

Christmas Fundraising at Tesco Riverside!

Grateful thanks go to Dundee 330 Round Table and the folk at Tesco Riverside for their help yesterday.   A group of us from the Friends of Magdalen Green took part in a fundraising effort for the bandstand restoration.

Our thanks go also to the very generous Tesco Riverside customers!     Here's a couple of photographs :

Saturday 12 December 2015

Art in Dundee book launch

From Matthew Jarron, Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :

As many of you know, I have for some time now been researching the history of art in Dundee during its first ‘golden age’ in the late 19th and early 20th century. I’m delighted to announce that my book Independent & Individualist – Art in Dundee 1867-1924 is now being published and I would like to invite you to the launch event on Monday 14 December at 5.30pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee.

This lavishly illustrated book explores in detail the period when Dundee was recognised as one of the major art centres of Britain. In the late 19th century, the city staged the largest exhibitions of art outside London and hosted some of the most ambitious private art collections in Scotland. Following a significant development in art education, the number of professional artists working in the city increased dramatically. Thanks to the unique talents of John Duncan, Stewart Carmichael, George Dutch Davidson and others, Dundee developed a distinctive new style of art, a fusion of symbolism, decorative art and the Celtic Revival. 

The city also produced exceptional talents working in landscapes and portraiture, such as David Foggie, Frank Laing and W B Lamond. At the same time, there was a boom in commercial art as Dundee became an important centre for newspaper and magazine illustration. 

This is the first time that Dundee’s art culture has been studied in depth, placing the city’s artistic outputs in a social, economic and political context. One London critic described Dundee’s artists as a “fiercely independent and individualist school”, which has often led them to be overlooked by art historians. This book seeks to re-establish the significance of Dundee as “perhaps the most vital centre of art appreciation in Scotland.”

Guest speakers Clara Young and Jim Barnes will join me in giving short talks about some of the notable artists and exhibitions during this period, and the book will then be available to buy for the bargain price of £12 – the perfect Christmas gift! 

After the launch, you can also purchase this excellent new book here.

Friday 11 December 2015

Morven Terrace and Ancrum Place sheltered housing meeting

Yesterday, I had an excellent and enjoyable meeting with the tenants of the Ancrum Place and Morven Terrace Sheltered Housing.   

I am very grateful to the three council officers who attended to update the attendees about the current housing rents consultation and on the consultation on 20mph speed limits in residential areas.

There was a lively question and answer session and a number of other local issues were discussed and I am following up any problems raised that need attention.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Winter pictures of Tayside - Art Exhibition

West End-based artist John Stoa (pictured right) is exhibiting his latest paintings of winter landscapes and snow scenes.

The exhibition, running at John's studios at 17A Menzieshill Road, runs from 11am to 5pm each day up to Sunday - 13th December.

Entry is free of charge.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

West End Community Council meeting

Last night, I attended the first West End Community Council meeting following the recent elections to community councils in Dundee.

Congratulations go to the 12 newly-elected community councillors (8 new;  4 existing but re-elected) and to the new Chair Peter Menzies.   Also, thanks go to Andrew McBride who served as Chair over the past five years.

Last night there was also a presentation from Colin McCrae, the City Council's Private Sector Services Manager, who talked about HMO licensing.

The community council meets on the second Tuesday of each month (except January, July & August) at 7pm in Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall and all residents are very welcome to attend.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Sunday 6 December 2015

West End Christmas Vintage Motor Cavalcade - and Blackness Primary School's Christmas Fair

Yesterday saw the West End Christmas Vintage Motor Cavalcade take place as part of West End Christmas Fortnight.   Many thanks to Dundee Museum of Transport for arranging such an excellent vintage vehicles' cavalcade through the West End, Barnetts Mazda for sponsoring it, Ally Bally of Radio Tay for launching the cavalcade and the many folk en route who gave us a wave!

Here's a couple of photos :
Some of the folk taking part yesterday including Ally Bally (far left), Paul Barnett of Barnetts Motor Group (second right) and Matthew Jackson of Dundee Museum of Transport (to the immediate left of Paul)
The motorcade heads up Hawkhill!
... and Blackness Primary School had a superb turnout at its Christmas Fair yesterday too!

Saturday 5 December 2015

Visit to the One World Centre

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting the Old World Centre to hear about the latest work being undertaken by the centre.   

The One World Centre works to promote global learning, dedicated to social justice and learning for sustainability. 

It was good to hear about the recent developments in supporting local schools to engage in global citizenship through active learning through the Global Learning Programme Scotland.

You can read more about the centre's work here.

Also yesterday, I participated in the latest meeting of the City Council's Local Economy Monitoring Group.    As well as a useful presentation on progress with the city's role as a UNESCO City of Design, there was a presentation on inward investment, an area where I feel more should be being done to ensure greater investment and jobs for the city.

A Play in a Day Workshop

Friday 4 December 2015

Thursday 3 December 2015

The West Port Christmas Lights are on!

The West Port celebrated its Christmas Lights Switch On in style earlier tonight with the well-attended (despite the rain!) 'Westport Wonderland' - a fantastic Christmas Market in the former Westport Gallery, the Parlour Cafe hosting a second hand book sale, Hot Chocolate Bar, fresh waffles and apple pie and the Rep hosting a window spotting competition with the brilliant prize of a Family ticket to their production of The Witches.

And there was great music and the Christmas Lights being switched on too!

Here's a video and a few photos from tonight's celebrations :
The Christmas Market (above and below)

Mia switched on the Christmas Lights!
The West Port Christmas Tree

Artistan and Collectors' Fair - another event for West End Christmas Fortnight

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Hanging street sign - Blackness Avenue

Following concerns from residents about a loose street sign in Blackness Avenue, hanging on-high from a tenement, I raised the matter with the City Council :
I have been assured by the Roads Maintenance Partnership that this would be swiftly repaired.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Monday 30 November 2015

Temporary Traffic Order : Johnston’s Lane

From the City Council (this closure is to facilitate the superb West Port Christmas Lights Switch On events on 3rd December) :


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of the West End Christmas Event HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Johnston’s Lane (for its entire length), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Thursday 3rd December 2015 for one day.

Pedestrian access will be maintained.   As this road forms a cul de sac no diversion route is available.

For further information contact 433168.

Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Sunday 29 November 2015

West End Christmas Fortnight - more events yesterday!

Yesterday saw more excellent West End Christmas Fortnight events - including :

* A packed Children’s Christmas Crafts event at Logie & St John’s (Cross) Church this morning - hugely well-attended and many thanks to Lisa Earl of Create ... Kids Creative Craft Workshops, Sharon Dickie, Natalie Mackland and Lynne Cameron of the West End Christmas Committee, and all at the church for being so welcoming and providing refreshments :
Crafts event in full swing
Lynne Cameron, Rev David Gray and myself at the crafts event
* A well-attended (despite the weather) "Walk in the Dark" children's event at the Botanic Garden, organised by the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden :
* Pennycook and Sinderins Courts sheltered housing had their Christmas Coffee morning - a photo below of some of the stalls :
* Friends of Magdalen Green held their Soup and Pudding Lunch at Dundee West Church - a great success.

* St Margaret's Church in Ancrum Road held their Christmas Fayre in the afternoon.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Getting things done - graffiti removal - Rosebery Street, Pitfour Street and Benvie Road

Following residents' complaints about graffiti requiring removal in Rosebery Street, Pitfour Street and Benvie Road (see below), I raised this with the City Council's Rapid Response Team :

I have now been advised that disclaimers have been given to the property owners concerned to get their authority to allow the council to remove the graffiti (permission required as on privately-owned walls).

Friday 27 November 2015

West End Community Groups’ evening

Last night, as part of  West End Christmas Fortnight, we had an excellent community groups’ social event at the Vine in Magdalen Yard Road.

Some of last night's audience
It was a great opportunity for folk from residents' groups, local churches and other faith groups and other voluntary organisations in the West End to meet and discuss their activities.

Grateful thanks go to the Vine for their help and to Eddie Small who is gave an interesting and informative talk on “Darcy’s Dundee.”

Harris Academy Project Board

Yesterday, I took part in the latest meeting of the Harris Academy Project Board, which is overseeing the building of the new school campus on Perth Road.

The good news is that the building project is well on course to be completed on time, with the school returning to the Perth Road in August of next year.

We were updated on the planning for the move back to the site (which includes the move of both Harris from its decant site in Lawton Road and of Menzieshill High School whose pupils become part of the Harris Academy family from next August), travel arrangements for pupils at the Perth Road site and I raised the need for improved vehicle 'drop off' arrangements at the school.     I also updated the Board on progress towards getting a new adult learning/evening classes group together once the school has returned to Perth Road.

Friends of Magdalen Green Soup and Pudding Lunch - as part of West End Christmas Fortnight

Thursday 26 November 2015

Trixie Thomson

It was with great sadness that I learned earlier today of the passing of Trixie Thomson of Perth Road.

Trixie was well into her nineties was a much-loved member of the West End community over many years.

She was the daughter of Frank Thomson and granddaughter of James Thomson, both hugely renowned architects, who, between them, left a lasting and positive legacy in Dundee - the Logie estate, the City Square, the Kingsway, Blackness and Coldside Libraries being examples.

Trixie herself led an interesting and fulfilled life and travelled widely with her sister Gertie.    She will be sadly missed and long and fondly remembered.

Pennycook & Sinderins Courts Coffee Morning - as part of West End Christmas Fortnight

Wednesday 25 November 2015

A superb start to West End Christmas Fortnight!

Tonight's West End Christmas Concert, Lights Switch On, Fireworks and Carnival was a great success with a huge turnout of local families.

Many thanks to all local residents who attended and to all who participated - our local primary schools and Harris Academy, the Wighton Singers, Rev Andrew Greaves and all at Dundee West Church, Sheena Wellington who both sang and switched on the Christmas Lights, Robin Carstairs and his colleagues for great fireworks display, The Vine for the food and drinks stand, Scotmid and for selection box gifts for children, Mains of Fintry Pipe Band, PC Bob Forrester and other police colleagues, Scottish Fire & Rescue for having fire engine for children to see round, Elan Electronics for all the audio visual and all on the West End Christmas Fortnight Committee.

Here's a video of the start of the concert, introduced by Andrew Greaves :

... and some photographs ...
Just before the concert ...
A large turnout at Dundee West Church
Food and drink tent kindly provided by The Vine
With Ann Prescott of the West End Christmas Committee
Superb fireworks!
The Christmas Tree lights are on!