Tuesday 31 January 2017

Friends of Wighton Lunchtime Recital

From Sheena Wellington :

Wednesday 1st February, 1.15pm (admission free) - Lunchtime Recital at the Wighton Heritage Centre.    

For their first Lunchtime Recital of 2017 Friends of Wighton are delighted to welcome Just3Folk!

Just 3Folk (J3F) got together when they helped to start up a folk club called Sunday Sessions in Monifieth.  The group:  Liz Crawford, Maggie Douglas and Anne Hamilton share a common love of folk music and have been on an exciting musical journey over the past two years.

The group has taken part in many Folk sessions in Tayside, Angus, and Fife, and are regular performers at Sunday Sessions in Monifieth.   They are bowled over by the friendliness of all the singers and musicians they have met in the different venues and love learning new songs and music from these talented performers.

The highlight of 2016 was when they went on tour in Donegal, enjoying 5 gigs in 5 nights.   On one memorable occasion J3F found themselves performing to a bus load of American and Swedish tourists in Leo’s Tavern, the home of Enya and Clannad .  

J3F have developed a varied repertoire of traditional and contemporary folk music, arranging the songs in three part harmony, and performing them accompanied by guitar, banjo and occasionally ukulele. 

Liz, Maggie and Anne have been incredibly busy in musical pursuits since retiring from full time employment.   Anne, as well as teaching classical guitar in Broughty Ferry, runs a very popular folk singing group and co-runs a unique string group for Dundee U3A.   Liz leads the very successful Dee Ukes, a Ukulele band who play in many different locations throughout Dundee and further afield.   And Maggie is busy developing her ukulele and guitar skills. 

J3F are keen to perform wherever and whenever possible and thoroughly enjoy every minute of their musical experience. They plan to do another tour this summer on the West Coast of Scotland.   They are delighted to be playing at the Wighton Centre lunchtime concert.

Monday 30 January 2017

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Blackness Road/Glamis Road – temporary traffic lights for 2 weeks for gas main renewal.

Greenmarket – prohibition of right turn into South Marketgait on Thursday 2 February from 9.00pm   6.00am for BT cabling works.

Nethergate (eastbound from South Tay Street to West Marketgait) – closed on Thursday 2 February from 9.00pm   6.00am for BT cabling works.

Hyndford Street – temporary traffic lights from Thursday 2 February for 3 days for water main repair.

Sunday 29 January 2017

Saving our Bumblebees

Lecture on Tuesday 31st January at the Dalhousie Building Lecture Theatre 1, University of Dundee  :

Bumblebees are amongst the most important of wild pollinators; many wildflowers would not set seed without them, and they are the main pollinators of crops such as tomatoes, blueberries and raspberries. Concerningly, many bumblebees are in decline, with 3 species now extinct in the UK and the first global extinction recently occurring in USA.

Dave Goulson, Professor Of Biology (Evolution, Behaviour and Environment) at the University of Sussex, will discuss the drivers of these declines, and the many things we can all do to halt and reverse them, at the Biochemical Society sponsored lecture.

Dave has published over 200 scientific articles on the ecology of bees and other insects, and is author of 'Bumblebees; their behaviour, ecology and conservation' (2010, Oxford University Press) and 'A Sting in the Tale' (2013, Jonathan Cape), a popular science book about bumblebees.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  

In 2010 he was BBSRC "Social Innovator of the Year" and in 2013 he won the Marsh Award for Conservation Biology from the Zoological Society of London.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception from 5-6pm, giving the opportunity to meet with Dave in a more informal setting.

Tickets are free but should be booked in advance here.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Progress for the campaign for free public wi-fi

As reported in the press earlier this week, I have welcomed progress towards the provision of free public wi-fi for the Waterfront and City Centre, something that has been a long time coming.

The City Council’s Head of Customer Services & IT has now confirmed to me that a working group involving the council’s IT and City Development Departments along with representation from the Scottish Futures Trust has now been established to drive the initiative forward.      The Head of Customer Services & IT advised :

“A Public Wireless project is still being investigated by Dundee city council for the waterfront development and city centre and we are actively  working with the Scottish Futures Trusts Public Wireless program to get best value for the city given the financial implications.    The discussions are on-going and I attended a meeting with them … and have established a short working group to take this forward.”

Going back as far as 2014, I highlighted the need for Dundee to progress free public wifi for the City Centre.   Many cities are discovering free wi-fi is a good way to attract more visitors.   Already local businesses from coffee shops, hotels and restaurants, churches and bars are among the locations discovering the value of offering free wireless but a city centre wide wi-fi facility would be a boon for our city.

Other cities in Scotland are already providing free public wifi such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness and I am anxious that Dundee does not fall behind.

I am pleased that the council now has a working group with the Scottish Futures Trust whose remit is to deliver a free-wifi offering for Dundee City Centre and the Waterfront area.    I wanted to see momentum behind this and delivery of free public wi-fi for Dundee.

Friday 27 January 2017

Temporary Traffic Order - Nethergate

From the City Council :


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of water service works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Nethergate (from its junction with West Marketgait  to its junction with South Tay Street), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on  Sunday 29th January 2017 for one day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Access to premises will be maintained where possible

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via West Marketgait/Hawkhill/Hunter Street/Old Hawkhill/South Tay Street and reverse

For further information contact 433168.

Director of City Development          
Dundee City Council

Thursday 26 January 2017

Friends of Riverside Nature Park meeting

Last night, I attended the latest Friends of Riverside Nature Park committee meeting, held at the Mitchell Street Centre.

There was a useful update from environment officers from the council's Neighbourhood Services about proposed landscape improvements on Riverside Drive and Avenue running from the nature park, eastwards along to the Riverside Pavilion east of the airport.     At the east end of this area, there will also be parking improvements I highlighted yesterday.

The landscape proposals will be discussed a the council's Neighbourhood Services Committee in the coming weeks to obtain necessary approval.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Improvements at the Riverside area

I am pleased to report a number of proposed improvements in the Riverside area to the road surface and parking situation as follows :

+ Parking improvement :  On Monday evening, the council's City Development Committee agreed to a waiting restrictions at the parking area near the Bridgeview Station Restaurant.    This will restrict parking to 2 hours meaning the car park will be used for people using the playing fields and visiting the restaurant and stop all-day parking.    I have long campaigned for this at the request of the football pitch users and residents who are patrons of the restaurant.

An additional disabled bay will be provided and the long unmade parking area to the west will remain without parking restriction.

It will not be possible to undertake the change until after the new flooding defence works take place in the summer.

+ Surface improvement 1 :  A positive by-product of the flooding defence works in the summer is that my request to have the long unmade parking area to the west of the above area will be properly surfaced for the first time, greatly increasing the amount of parking with a quality surface.

+ Surface improvement 2 :   The surface in front of the nearby Riverside Pavilion on the north side of Riverside Drive has become very uneven again, with numerous potholes, including a large one at the entrance.       I raised this with the council's Neighbourhood Services and the Projects and Development Manager has responded positively as follows :

"I have ... arranged the entrance of the car park to addressed and we will look to fill in more of the larger pot holes.  ... We are looking to do more works down at Riverside and are looking to put an item to Committee in the Spring." 

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Improving parking for the West End - some progress

Residents will recall that, last March, I attempted to get Dundee City Council to undertake a new consultation with residents and local businesses on ways to improve West End parking.    My motion then attracted 12 votes but I was outvoted by 15 SNP and Conservative councillors so nothing has been done since to tackle this vital issue. 

Last night, at the City Development Committee, I revisited the issue and proposed the following new motion :

"Committee notes with concern that, following the consultation exercise in 2012 in part of the West End Ward relative to a possible residents’ parking scheme, the parking situation for residents and local businesses in the area concerned has worsened.

Committee therefore instructs the Executive Director of City Development to undertake a further informal consultation with community groups including West End Community Council, local residents, the business community and other stakeholders such as the University of Dundee, to ascertain views as to measures that may have public support for possible future introduction.    

The outcomes of this informal consultation should thereafter be reported back to this committee to determine which measures have public support and are viable;  and the potential scope of any residents’ parking scheme or schemes.  

Committee also instructs the Executive Director of City Development to undertake this exercise and report back on his findings and recommendations to this committee as soon as staff resources allow."

I am pleased to say that, after an excellent deputation by two community representatives - Peter Menzies and Elaine Kuwahara - speaking in a personal capacity - and debate at committee, it was agreed that the possibility of progressing this through the Economic Development working group that is working on supporting new initiatives to support the Perth Road district shopping centre.    This will be discussed at its next meeting and, if there is no swift progress, I have reserved by right to take the motion above back to City Development Committee.

This is the first positive move by the council to sort the parking situation since the failed 2012 consultation exercise and I am pleased that at last some progress has at least started.   We now need momentum to really tackle and improve the parking situation.

Monday 23 January 2017

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Blackness Road/Glamis Road – temporary traffic lights for 2 weeks for gas main renewal.

Nethergate (West Marketgait to South Tay Street) – closed on Sunday 29 January for water main installation works.

Forthcoming Roadworks

Greenmarket – prohibition of right turn into South Marketgait on Thursday 2 February from 9.00pm   6.00am for BT cabling works.

Nethergate (eastbound from South Tay Street to West Marketgait) – closed on Thursday 2 February from 9.00pm   6.00am for BT cabling works.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Getting things done - Morven Terrace and Ancrum Place sheltered housing

I had a meeting with residents of the Morven Terrace and Ancrum Place sheltered housing just before Christmas at which residents asked when the external stairwells would be repainted as part of external cyclical maintenance (ECM) works.    Tenants also asked about possible insulation improvements.

The council's Housing Investment Manager has since updated me as follows :
We are planning to commence ECM works at Ancrum / Morven at the tail end of the 17/18 Financial year and I would confirm this will include a repaint to the stairwells and landings. Unfortunately this development is of a traditional build so is not a priority for External Insulation as it will have received cavity insulation in the past.
I have since been in correspondence with him regarding the properties' Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing ratings to ensure all properties meet current standards.    

All properties meet minimum standards apart from two properties where old electric heating has since been improved with the provision of new gas central heating.  I am particularly concerned to ensure end terraced properties have efficient insulation as a number of tenants here have highlighted end terraced properties appear to be less warm.

Saturday 21 January 2017

Blether Tay-Gither - Storytelling in Dundee

Our January meeting will be held on Tuesday 31st January in Madigan's Tea Emporium, Castle Street at 7pm

The theme this month is Rogues and Fools.

Hope to see some of you there – all welcome!

Friday 20 January 2017

Police Community Surgeries in the West End

Last night, at my weekly ward surgery at Blackness Primary School, I had the pleasure of meeting the West End's new Community Police Inspector, Martin Pattie, and discuss some local matters.    The introduction of locality-based Inspectors is a good initiative by Police Scotland that I discussed with Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Anderson, at a meeting just before Christmas.

The West End already has an excellent Community Police Sergeant in Elise Wilson and she advised me yesterday about another positive initiative in the West End - regular police community surgeries - to quote Sergeant Wilson :

"We are due to launch a police community surgery next month which will then be held every month thereafter: 
Location : Mitchell Street Centre (Room 1)
Time: 1300-1600 hours
Date: 1st Tuesday of every month 
(includes 7/2, 7/3, 4/4, 2/5, 6/6, 4/7, 1/8, 5/9, 3/10, 7/11 and 5/12)
Location : Blackness Library 
Time: 1300-1600 hours
Date: 2nd Monday of every month 
(includes 13/2, 13/3, 10/4, 8/5, 12/6, 10/7, 14/8, 11/9, 9/10, 13/11 and 11/12)
The aim of this will be to engage with the public outwith a police environment which may encourage more people to speak with their local officers in relation to the ongoing issues effecting them directly within their community."

You can read more about our local West End police team here.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Getting things done - City Road/Logie Street junction

Residents have pointed out to me that the white and yellow lining (including the yellow box markings) at the City Road/Logie Street junction are badly worn.

I have therefore asked the council's Roads Maintenance Partnership to have these refreshed.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

One World Centre event

Please join the One World Centre on Monday 23rd January 2017 to hear renowned author Colm Regan's presentation: Food is Power.

It takes place at the University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building Room 1F01, from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Food recycling extension in the West End - map

Last week, I advised that there will shortly be an extension to the food waste collection service to the Perth Road Lanes and surrounding areas.     

The update also contained details of a drop-in event at Blackness Library for residents – you can read the earlier update here.

A number of residents have asked the precise area covered and therefore please note this map and boundary below :
This extension of the food waste recycling to this area (plus Brown Street) in the West End completes the roll out of food recycling in the West End Ward.

Monday 16 January 2017

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward



Blackness Road/Glamis Road – temporary traffic lights from Monday 16 January for 3 weeks for gas main renewal.

Also – from Scottish Water :

“As Scottish Water’s £5 million mains upgrade continues in Dundee work will resume in the Blackness Road area next week.

When the initial work began there in the autumn to reline the pipes it was discovered some of the pipes were not able to be relined due to their condition so a full upgrade was required.

This will be done over the next few weeks with work beginning in Blackness Street and Annfield Street on Monday 16th January for around 3 weeks.

There will be some roadworks during this phase with localised traffic management and some access and parking restrictions but there will be NO road closures during this work.

Local access will be maintained where possible and pedestrian access at all times.

Work will also be required at a later date in Blackness Road with temporary traffic lights at the junction with Glenagnes Road for around one week followed by temporary traffic lights at the junction with Rosefield Street.

Dates for this section are yet to be confirmed however signage will be in place in advance of the work starting there.

During the work our alliance partner Caledonia Water Alliance, who are carrying out the project on our behalf, may need to turn off the water supply for some customers for a time, but anyone affected will receive at least 48 hours’ notice of this, with the timescales involved.”

You can read my comments and further update regarding the Scottish Water work that I posted on my Facebook page at the weekend here.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden event today

Botanic Garden Education Centre
Later today, the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden have an event taking place.

David Rodley of the School of Science and Engineering, University of Dundee, will speak about “The energy landscape in Scotland.”

It takes place in the Botanic Garden Education Centre in the Garden at 2pm. 

Free to members of the Friends;   others - donations welcome.

Saturday 14 January 2017

Consultation on Not Just A Roof - A Housing Options and Homelessness Strategic Plan 2016 -2021

Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership are seeking your views about Not Just A Roof - A Housing Options and Homelessness Strategic Plan 2016-2021.

The Strategic Plan has been developed around outcomes which people who have experienced homelessness have identified as important.   It aims to enable citizens of Dundee to be able to live a fulfilled life in their own home or homely setting.     If people do become homeless, they will be able to access quality information, advice and support which will enable them to live a fulfilled life and gain and maintain their own home. 

The Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership wants to hear your views to help us ensure our plan is fit for purpose as it moves forward. 

What matters to you is important to us and this is your opportunity to influence the way supports to prevent and respond to homelessness are delivered.

You can provide your views by completing a survey here by 30th January 2017.

Friday 13 January 2017

Standing Up 4 Sitting Down

A West End constituent has kindly highlighted this great campaign with me :

Charity Anchor is “Standing Up 4 Sitting Down” as it calls on shops to do their bit to reduce older people’s loneliness and subsequent health issues by providing seating for those who need it. 

The new campaign aims to tackle findings that older people aren’t getting out of the house as much as they’d like to, with one in five aged 70+ visiting their local shops less often, specifically because of a lack of seating.

Boosting the economy, too, providing seating would help unlock up to £3.8 billion that is currently being lost on the high street each year due to a lack of accessibility for many older people. 

If you would like to support Standing Up 4 Sitting Down, visit www.su4sd.org.uk, call 0800 731 2020, or follow on Twitter using #su4sd.

Thursday 12 January 2017

Getting things done - Abbotsford and Corso area

Just before Christmas, I had a well-attended meeting with residents in the Abbotsford and Corso area.

The residents asked when external wall insulation (EWI) was likely to be delivered for the area.   The council's Housing Investment Manager has now advised :
Regarding (the) Corso Street (development), we are planning on carrying out EWI at this location around 2019/20.
This is of course subject to the usual caveats of available funding through HEEPs* and our own capital finance.
* (HEEPs is funding that goes to councils to develop and deliver fuel poverty programs - mainly solid wall insulation)

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Environmental improvements - Seabraes

Further to my article earlier this week about environmental improvements in the Hawkhill area, I am pleased to say that the City Council is also to be undertaking similar improvements to the area of the Seabraes steps, just down from the high quality plants and grass seating area at the top of Seabraes.

An indication of the proposals is given below and you can see the detailed plans here and here :

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Food recycling - Perth Road Lanes

There will shortly be an extension to the food waste collection service which will be sent out this week to householders in the Perth Road Lanes (as well as some other areas outside the West End including the City Centre, Docks, Hilltown, Lawside, Coldside and parts of Stobswell).

The poster below gives details of Drop In sessions (including one at Blackness Library) that will be manned by staff from the council's Waste Section, who will be happy to answer any queries and pass on further details relating to the new service.    

Ahead of the service launch at seek commencing 27th February, a detailed service information leaflet will be delivered to all households, along with their new food waste caddy. 

Monday 9 January 2017

Environmental improvements - Hawkhill area

A number of residents have contacted me concerned at what appears to be the removal of foliage on Hawkhill at the Bellfield Street junction (opposite the Whitehall Theatre) - see above.

The good news is that this older, tired shrubbery is being replaced with a new planting schedule that will have high quality environmental improvements from that junction down Hawkhill to the Hunter Street junction.     See below and a more detailed PDF of the planting being undertaken can be accessed here.

Sunday 8 January 2017

Road Report - West End Ward



Perth Road (at Springfield) – temporary traffic lights on Sunday 8 and Monday 9 January for Scottish Water mains repair.

Perth Road (at Farington Terrace) – off-peak temporary traffic lights from Monday 9 to Wednesday 11 January for BT cabling.

Forthcoming Roadworks

Blackness Road/Glamis Road – temporary traffic lights from Monday 16 January for 3 weeks for gas main renewal.

Saturday 7 January 2017

West End playpark improvements

Having long campaigned for an upgrade to the Victoria Park playpark, it is good to see the proposals for the impending improvements agreed by the council's Neighbourhood Services Committee - here's a couple of images of the plans that should be completed before the end of March :

Last July, I raised with the council residents' requests to make improvements at the playpark in Milnbank Road/Bankmill Road and I am pleased at the positive response to my request.   On Monday, the council's Neighbourhood Services Committee will consider the following proposal :
Milnbank Play Area - Improve all surfacing within the play area. This includes removing slabbed surface and replacing with rubber mulch safety surface and additional ground restoration works.
I am also pleased that the following proposal is also being considered on Monday :
Magdalen Green Play Area - Improve stability of the well-used banking by installation of a Scramble net to enhance play for users and additional restoration to safety surfacing.

Friday 6 January 2017

Harris Community Swim and Sports Facilities Update

Further to my item yesterday about the Harris Academy evening classes enrolment on 11th January, residents have requested an update about the Community Swim and Sports facilities at the school.

The lease for Leisure and Culture Dundee to operate the Community Swim and Sports Facilities at Harris Academy has been progressed by Dundee City Council and Leisure and Culture Dundee.    Additionally, there were some minor works have been undertaken to allow for community access to the building.      The Harris Swim and Sports Centre will be open to the public from 16th January.

Services include :

Adult Fitness Classes
Children’s Activity Classes
Fitness Suite
Sports Hall – suitable for 5 a side Football etc.
Gym Hall – suitable for Badminton etc.
Dance Studio
Family Fun Swimming
Lane Swimming

Full details are available here.

Thursday 5 January 2017

Harris evening classes - enrolment evening

A reminder about the Harris Education and Recreation Association enrolment evening :

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Getting things done : Logie improvements

Last year, I highlighted the poor condition of the east footway of Ashbank Road and had been promised reconstruction of the pavement would take place.

I am therefore pleased to see the necessary work started before Christmas :
I also asked for improvements to the north pavement of nearby Logie Avenue at the lock-ups and outside the lock-ups themselves and this work was also undertaken just before the festive season :

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Alec Muir retrospective exhibition

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :

The next exhibition in the University of Dundee’s Lamb Gallery will be a retrospective of the Dundee painter Alec Muir. It features over 30 paintings produced over a period of nearly 70 years. A star student of James McIntosh Patrick at Dundee College of Art (now Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design) in the 1940s, Muir is now 86 and continues to paint.

Alec’s work is meticulous in its technique, with some of his paintings taking several years to complete. Some are detailed recreations of particular places and times in Dundee and elsewhere, while others are more surreal flights of the imagination. Throughout the exhibition we see an absolute dedication to the art of painting, combined with a quirky sense of humour that is distinctively Dundonian.

Muir was born in Dundee in 1930 and enrolled at Dundee College of Art at the age of just 15 in 1945. He recalls this as a particularly exciting time to be at the College due to the number of Polish servicemen studying there – 11 of the 36 students that year were from Poland. 

In 1950 Muir was awarded a travelling scholarship and had his first work (a sculpture) exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy. Although head of sculpture Scott Sutherland tried to persuade him to continue in that medium, Muir chose instead to concentrate on painting.

Following his National Service, Muir worked for British Road Services before joining the process department of D C Thomson where he worked for six years. In 1963 he became an art teacher, working in both Linlathen High School (1963-68 and 1973-88) and Morgan Academy (1968-73). 

Muir retired in 1988 and began to devote himself full-time to painting. With greater freedom he was able to travel more and began painting colourful scenes in Italy, Spain and Portugal. At the same time, he has continued to document the ever-changing face of Dundee from his own unique perspective.

The paintings on show cover his entire career, from early student works up to some of his most recent compositions. The exhibition will run from 7th January until 25th March 2017 - see poster below :

Monday 2 January 2017

Christmas Card recycling

People are being urged to recycle Christmas cards and wrapping paper to help plant trees across the UK.   

A scheme run by the Woodland Trust saw 600 million cards recycled in recent years and stores including Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's have set up similar projects.

Recycling boxes will be in stores throughout January (from today), with a tree to be planted for every 1 000 cards recycled.

The M&S stores in Murraygate and at the Gallagher Retail Park are participating and you can read more about the scheme here.

Sunday 1 January 2017

Happy New Year!