Thursday, 31 December 2020

A guid Hogmanay!


Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

Words adapted from a traditional song by Rabbie Burns (1759-96)

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Botanic Garden update #dundeewestend


Following the announcement on COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions, the University of Dundee Botanic Garden has advised that it will remain open for all local Dundee residents to visit, apart from the following dates:

Hogmanay - 31st December 2020

New Year’s Day - 1st January 2021

Staff, Friends and Students who are residing in Dundee can enter by showing their respective cards.

All non-members must pre-purchase a ticket via the Viator or Trip Advisor here.

The café is not open and this will be reviewed on 15th January as we learn more about the lifting or otherwise of Tier 4 restrictions.

With your continued support, the garden remains a safe site to exercise for those who live in Dundee. In planning your visit, patrons are asked to comply with the latest guidance on travel and social distancing at this critical time.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Blether Tay-Gither - Storytelling in Dundee


From Blether Tay-Gither, Dundee’s story telling club : 

We hope you can join us for our December blether tonight on Zoom – 7pm to 9pm :

The theme is ghosts. 

It's that time of year when it's a bit colder outside and we are huddled up in the warmth. More huddled up that usual this year with our enforced prolonged hibernation. Some festive events are still happening and we at least have the chance to meet in a cyber way to share stories. These long dark nights evoke the haunted and eerie things that dwell in the shadows. Even a very well-known Christmas tale tells of these creatures that may come unbidden to reveal the troubled ways of our lives. We are talking about ghosts. 

Tonight’s Zoom event is an opportunity to share and listen to stories around the theme of ghost stories. There is plenty of them out there so have a look and see what you can find and bring one to share - but if you would just prefer to listen that is ok too! 

Event link:

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 896 9759 6631

Monday, 28 December 2020

Helping to Spread the Festive Cheer!

Loneliness and isolation has been magnified for all of us this year and particularly at Christmas.

Meal Makers’ volunteer cooks have been going the extra mile to do something special for an older neighbour. 

Meal Makers is a subsidiary of the award winning Scottish Charity Food Train. It is a local neighbourhood food-sharing project that connects people who love cooking, and who are happy to share an extra portion of home cooked food, with an older neighbour who would really appreciate a freshly prepared meal and a friendly chat. 

By turning an everyday activity into a volunteering opportunity, Meal Makers strengthens connections within communities and provides a flexible way for people to volunteer their time and skills locally in a way which suits them. 

Meal Makers is looking for volunteers in our area – postcodes DD1 and DD2 – you can find out more and sign up at www.mealmakers.org.uk/Account/Register

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Dundee in Level 4


As of yesterday, Dundee entered Coronavirus Protection Level 4. 

The City Council has a useful summary of the guidance which you can read here.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Happy Boxing Day!



(with thanks to Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action for the image and photographs!)

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Important energy information over the festive period



With thanks to Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Getting things done - Magdalen Green #dundeewestend


Many thanks to the residents who contacted me about the directional pole apparently falling over on Magdalen Green.

I have asked the City Council to rectify this.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Help or advice over the Christmas period

The opening hours for welfare advice and other support services over the Christmas period can be downloaded here.


Monday, 21 December 2020

Weekly Road Report – West End Ward #dundeewestend


DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL - WEEKLY ROAD REPORT

REPORT FOR WEST END WARD - MONDAY 21 DECEMBER 2020 – FRIDAY 8 JANUARY 2021

Hawkhill – lane closures until mid-week for street lighting column installation works.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Another bus services update | Christmas Holidays 2020


Further to my update yesterday on Xplore Dundee Christmas bus services, you can read details of Stagecoach festive season bus services here.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Bus services update | Christmas Holidays 2020


Xplore Dundee has published a summary of bus service levels and public holiday timetables.

This is now available here to help plan bus journeys this Christmas.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Pen Friends Project!


From Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action :

"We are pleased to announce a collaboration with the Companionship Society at the University of Dundee and are overwhelmed by the number of students keen to be pen friends with older people.  They have their pens and notepads poised but we need pen friends for them to write to.   Can you help?  

Why not make it our New Year's resolution to sign up to something completely different and make friends with someone you wouldn't normally be in contact with.  

Do you know someone who might like to do this?  Why not sign up yourself or refer a friend.  You will be matched up with people bases on your hobbies and favourite pastimes.  

We will provide you with paper and stamps and you can reply at your own leisure.  

Get in touch on with Clare on 07983 707168 or Jordan on 07983 706626 if you would like to find out more."

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Ancrum Road Primary pupils connect across the miles this Christmas!

With thanks to Mary McGowne, a great update about Ancrum Road Primary School pupils!

The Overgate Centre is keeping the Christmas spirit alive this year with a heartwarming initiative to connect local children with new friends in twin city Alexandria in the USA.

Overgate Air Mail has seen 76 pupils aged between six and twelve years old from Ancrum Road Primary School in Dundee write a letter of festive cheer to new pen pals at Charles Barrett Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia. The campaign is part of Overgate’s DUNDEE’S 7 CITIES initiative which aims to strengthen ties between Dundee and its twin cities across the world. 

The pupils from Ancrum Road Primary, guided by teacher Kayleigh Anderson, have been busy writing their letters and documenting their experiences of the last twelve months to share with their new American pen pals, along with how each plan to celebrate Christmas this year.

The recurring themes throughout many of the letters demonstrate that no matter if in Scotland or the USA, children share the same dreams for Christmas (mainly presents from Santa!) and have been faced with similar challenges throughout lockdown (annoying siblings, the Scottish cold weather and remembering to socially distance) but remain optimistic for a brighter 2021. 

The letters have been collected by Overgate’s Christmas elves who, by the magic of Overgate Air Mail, are ensuring safe delivery to Charles Barret School in Alexandria. Once the pupils in Alexandria return their own letters to their new Dundee pen pals, a display of the letters that is sure to bring much festive cheer will be created in Overgate for all to enjoy. To complete the campaign, three local winners from Ancrum Road Primary will be selected at random to each win a £30 Overgate gift card.

Picture 1 (two boys standing in red)
Jack Campbell, Joshua Lee, Ailey Mathieson, Gracie Gollan and Chloe Doig.
 
Picture 2
Hannah McInnes, Lucas Sword, Millie Garrick-Orr, Emily Mitchell and Halle McKenzie.



Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Getting things done - Osborne Place and Magdalen Yard Road #dundeewestend

I have had numerous complaints about the extent of mushy, wet leaves around Magdalen Yard Road and Osborne Place and some blocked road drains.

I had reported this to both the environment team in relation to the leaves and the Roads Maintenance Partnership in relation to the drains - and have also raised similar issues at other locations :

Monday, 14 December 2020

Weekly Road Report – West End Ward #dundeewestend


DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL - WEEKLY ROAD REPORT

REPORT FOR WEST END WARD - WEEK COMMENCING MONDAY 14 DECEMBER 2020

Hawkhill – lane closures for one week for street lighting column installation works.

Riverside Drive (Tay Rail Bridge to Tesco roundabout) – eastbound nearside lane closure until mid week for new water connections.

Lower Pleasance (at Lochee Road) – closed overnight (9.00pm – 6.00am) from Monday 14 December for 3 nights for BT works. 

Lochee Road (at Polepark Road) – overnight temporary traffic lights (9.00pm – 6.00am) from Monday 14 December for 3 nights for BT work.

Thomson Street (Perth Road to Seafield Lane) – closed from Monday 14 December for 5 days for BT work.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Latest update during the COVID-19 health emergency


Further update - for Sunday 13th December from Councillor Fraser Macpherson (West End) and Councillor Craig Duncan (Broughty Ferry) :

BUSINESS GRANTS

Businesses across Scotland will benefit from a new £185 million package of support including: 

• Tourism including self-catering - £60 million

• Hospitality - £30 million 

• Wedding venues and supply chain including photographers - £15 million

• Mobile close contact services, such as hairdressers - £15 million

• Taxi Drivers - £19 million

• Travel agents - £5 million

• Coach companies and tour operators - £6 million

• Visitor attractions - £1.5 million

More detail on the package will be announced soon and businesses can expect to apply for all the new grant schemes in January.


SELF ISOLATION CUT TO 10 DAYS

Anyone required to self-isolate, due to contact with someone who has had a positive test for coronavirus or as a result of quarantine rules on arrival from overseas will need to do so for 10 days following updated clinical advice.

Currently the self-isolation period for international travellers and for contacts of positive cases in Scotland is 14 days but this will change from Monday 14th December. 


TRAVEL QUARANTINE

Travellers arriving in Scotland from the Canary Islands must self-isolate. However, travellers arriving from Botswana and Saudi Arabia will not have to self isolate.


UK AND IRELAND TRAVEL


Travel to and from Jersey is banned but the ban on travel to the Republic of Ireland has been lifted. Infection rates in Donegal remain high so people should not travel there. Travel restrictions remain in place between Scotland and England, Northern Ireland and Wales except for essential reasons.



HIGHERS AND ADVANCED HIGHERS CANCELLED


Higher and Advanced Higher exams will not go ahead and will be replaced with awards based on teacher judgement of evidence of pupils’ attainment. The assessment model will be based on the approach already agreed for National 5 awards.


A higher proportion of pupils from more deprived areas having to spend time out of school because of the pandemic. Holding exams would run the risk of translating the unequal impact of COVID into unfair results for our poorest pupils, leading to their futures being blighted through no fault of their own.




UNIVERSITY STAGGERED RETURN 


Universities will stagger the return of undergraduate students to campuses over at least six weeks. When students return, they will be offered lateral flow testing. All students are being asked to restrict their social interaction for a fortnight before they return to university and for the same period after they get there. 


College students – who largely do not move away from home to go to education – should return as planned. 




HOSPITAL AND CARE HOME VISITING


Visiting arrangements for hospitals and care homes will remain in place over the Christmas and New Year period. However, the special Christmas relaxation for the general public will not apply.


Christmas and New Year guidance has also been published for the adult care home sector, recommending that indoor visiting should continue to be supported where it is safe to do so, as well as setting out specific safeguards that care homes can put in place to safely support festive activities.


SUPPORT FOR TENANTS


A £10 million fund which offers interest-free loans to tenants who are struggling with rent arrears has opened.




NURSERY RATE RELIEF


Qualifying day nurseries will continue to benefit from 100% relief on non-domestic rates until at least June 2023.




SHORT TERM LETS


Existing hosts of short-term lets will now have until April 2023 to apply for a licence. There is considerable concern in the sector about the implementation of these measures when it is facing considerable economic challenge.




SPORT FUNDING


A £55 million emergency sports funding package to tackle lost ticket revenue includes :


• Scottish Football - £20 million
• Scottish Rugby - £15 million plus £5 million loan 
• Basketball - £300,000
• Netball - £100,000
• Motorsport - £400,000
• Ice Hockey - £200,000 
• Ice rinks - £2 million 
• Horseracing - £2 million




INFORMATION



Scottish Government Updates: www.gov.scot/news

Dundee City Council updates: www.dundeecity.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19


NHS Tayside website: www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk

Helpline for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice Tel: 0800 028 2816.

Health Protection Scotland Guidance - www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/covid-19

Federation of Small Businesses: www.fsb.org.uk/coronavirus

Helpline for small businesses, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm. Tel: 0300 303 0660.

Ready Scotland Information - www.readyscotland.org/coronavirus

Tayside Cares - www.taysidecares.co.uk


SUPPORT AND ADVICE

This has been an anxious and uncertain time but we want you to know that we are here to try to help constituents in whatever way that we can.


CONTACT DETAILS

WEST END WARD – Bailie Fraser Macpherson

Phone – Dundee 459378 (home)


Saturday, 12 December 2020

Western Cemetery Memorial Garden #dundeewestend

It is great to see progress with the planting of the new memorial garden at the Western Cemetery, with the first phase now completed :



Friday, 11 December 2020

Getting things done - Ancrum Road and Lochee Road #dundeewestend

A number of residents recently contacted me about blocked road drains in parts of Ancrum Road and Lochee Road.    As one resident advised :

"I was driving up Lochee Road and Ancrum Road earlier this afternoon and the road gullies were all choked and the roads and footpaths were all severely flooded."

I raised this with the City Council's Roads Maintenance Partnership and have received the following helpful reply :

"The roads inspector has raised an order for five gullies to be cleared as soon as resources are available."   

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Temporary Traffic Order - Thomson Street

From the City Council :

THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 - SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of BT duct repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Thomson Street (between Perth Road and Seafield Lane), Dundee

This notice comes into effect on Monday 14 December 2020 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Perth Road / Step Row / Magdalen Yard Road.

For further information contact 433082.

Executive Director of City Development

Dundee City Council


Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Lighting issue - steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue #dundeewestend

Over the years, I have had numerous requests for better lighting at the steps from Pentland Avenue down to Scott Street.

This has always proved a difficult site to provide a solution at as this earlier response from the Street Lighting Partnership Manager indicated :

“I have looked at several option for lighting these steps over the past year or so and I cannot find a suitable option for these steps. Having looked at solar powered light for the steps and subsequent talks with manufacturers, they all come to the same conclusion (that) there is insufficient sun light during the winter months to sustain power for the light at this latitude.

The cost of excavating and powering a light by the normal means on the steps would run into the thousands of pounds, providing I can get a way leave to track in to the adjacent ground."

However, I have had more requests from residents recently to see if a solution can be found and went back to the street lighting team about this.

I was advised by the Street Lighting Partnership Manager at the end of last week as follows :

"We did change the lantern on the column at the bottom of the steps in 2017 in order to try and throw some light onto the steps but the practicalities of installing lighting in the vicinity are very difficult.

Let me discuss with colleagues and I will come back to you. 

In the meantime, I wonder if the trees at the top need cutting back again? I recall they were a problem before."

I have raised the need to thin tree foliage with environment services at the council and will keep residents update on the lighting issue here.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Speaking Volumes – a Miscellany of Artists’ Books


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

Speaking Volumes – a Miscellany of Artists’ Books is a free online event featuring live talks and discussion with four artists represented in abcD (artists’ book collection Dundee) taking place on Wednesday 9th December at 2.30pm.

The University of Dundee holds one of Scotland’s leading collections of artists’ books, housed in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. 

In this special live event, museum curator Matthew Jarron will introduce abcD and then four artists whose books are included in the collection will speak about their work and why the medium of artists’ books holds such a fascination for them. The artists are:

• David Faithfull (Scotland)
• Julie Johnstone (Scotland)
• Priya Pereira (India)
• Mark Addison Smith (USA)

There will be time at the end for Q&A with the audience.

Places must be booked in advance and you can do so here.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Weekly Road Report – West End Ward #dundeewestend


DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL - WEEKLY ROAD REPORT

REPORT FOR WEST END WARD - WEEK COMMENCING MONDAY 7 DECEMBER 2020

Hawkhill – lane closures for 2 weeks for street lighting column installation works.

Riverside Drive (at Railway Station) – layby and taxi rank closed from Monday 7 December for 5 days for SGN service connection.

Blackness Road (at Rosefield Street) – off-peak temporary traffic lights Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 December for BT work.

Riverside Drive (Tay Rail Bridge to Tesco roundabout) – eastbound nearside lane closure from Wednesday 9 December for one week for new water connections.

Forthcoming Roadworks

Lower Pleasance (at Lochee Road) – closed overnight (9.00pm – 6.00am) from Monday 14 December for 3 nights for BT works. 

Lochee Road (at Polepark Road) – overnight temporary traffic lights (9.00pm – 6.00am) from Monday 14 December for 3 nights for BT work.

Thomson Street (Perth Road to Seafield Lane) – closed from Monday 14 December for 5 days for BT work.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Temporary traffic order - Riverside Drive - access road at train station

From the City Council :

THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 - SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by Gas meter relocation works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Riverside Drive (drop off / pick up access road at train station), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 7 December 2020 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

No alternative routes for vehicles are available.

For further information contact 433082.

Executive Director of City Development - Dundee City Council


Saturday, 5 December 2020

Dundee Green Flag and Beach Awards!


Dundee has again been well represented in the national Green Flag Awards and Scotland’s Beach Awards, with the city receiving eight awards in total.

The Green Flag Award project is run by Keep Scotland Beautiful and aims to recognise and reward well managed parks and green spaces.

Dundee has improved on its total number from last year, with Riverside Nature Park winning in its first year of entry.

Chair of Friends of Riverside Nature Park, Ian Ford, said: "All of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park are delighted to gain a Green Flag Award at our first attempt and with high marks.

"The Friends have contributed greatly to enhancing the biodiversity here and we work in partnership with Dundee City Council.

"Greater Yellow Rattle flowered for the first time and Skylark numbers increased again to 16 singing males, up 40% from last year.

"The wildflower meadows have now all been mown using the Cut & Lift regime recommended by Plantlife and that should increase wildlife more each year."

This is great news and you can see more about winners across the country using this helpful tool here.

Friday, 4 December 2020

Improvements at West End Tennis Club #dundeewestend

Many thanks to West End Tennis Club for this fabulous update :

"Our Courts at the West End Tennis Club are now all re-surfaced, pristine and smooth; and we have our new accessible pathway in place.   It looks amazing.

The timing could not have been more fitting, as the courts were available very shortly after the release of Lockdown in July, and have seen non-stop action ever since. Fortunately, tennis is a sport people have been able to enjoy despite Covid, and with appropriate measures in place, the Club has never been busier.

We are delighted to have continued our links with Abertay University, and to have established new ones with Dundee University and Harris Academy, whereby students use the courts for tennis practice.

Because of Covid however, we have not been able to have a Grand Opening, as first planned. We do hope that 2021 will allow a delayed event.

Our main sponsor is the Fife Environment Trust."




Thursday, 3 December 2020

Lochee Road update #dundeewestend

I have welcomed a commitment by Dundee City Council to ensure a redesign of the Lochee Road junctions at Polepark Road and Dudhope Terrace is undertaken, something I have long called for.     This would help to make improvements in air quality in an area of significant air quality concern.

As residents know, I have long campaigned on air quality issues, particularly in relation to Lochee Road, where, as recently as January 2020, I again highlighted my deep concern that, yet again, Friends of the Earth had highlighted air quality concerns in Lochee Road in its Scotland’s most polluted streets survey with Seagate in the city also highlighted in the January national air quality survey.   

At the council’s Community Safety and Community Protection Committee in September, I again called for the council to look again at the design of the junctions of Lochee Road at Polepark Road and Dudhope Terrace because more efficient vehicle movements will stop the tailbacks that have plagued the area over many years, and so help reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality.

I am very pleased to be have been recently advised by the council that it is now to look at redesigning the junctions here.      

Although there has obviously been a reduction in vehicles using Lochee Road during the COVID-19 health emergency and a resulting improvement in air quality measurements, it is vital that, as we hopefully see the health emergency end in the not too distant future, we don’t see a return to large tailbacks of vehicles at rush hour at Lochee Road, Dudhope Terrace, Polepark Road and Rankine Street, resulting in the air quality gains in 2020 being lost.    

I am therefore pleased the council has taken on board my request to tackle the roads issues at this busy location.

The council’s Head of Sustainable Transport & Roads advised councillors : 

“The Dudhope Terrace and Polepark Road junctions are constrained in their efficiency by junction configuration and road space, which combined govern the junction capacity.  To achieve increased capacity, reduce congestion, and improve air quality, it is considered a junction redesign is required which can also accommodate improved bus priority and active travel provision. Enhanced capacity and traffic flow through the junctions will improve air quality through reduction of vehicle queuing and associated waiting times. 

Investment in junction improvements on this principal route corridor will redress displacement of traffic on adjoining roads seeking to deviate from the route at points of congestion.  In addition to road safety and place making considerations, enhancing the favourability of the Lochee Road corridor arterial route over adjoining roads will benefit the overall network traffic flow and resultant neighbourhood air quality.

Due to the urban constraints of the site, upgrade of the junctions would require significant engineering works and a preliminary road layout improvement proposal is being prepared which will be reported to the City Development Committee in mid-2021.  The progression of an improvement project would be subject to the Council securing sufficient funding to develop a proposal.”

Additionally,  an earlier commitment to look at the functioning of the nearby Cleghorn Street/Lochee Road junction following vehicle accidents is also welcome.

Redesigning these junctions is not the only way the air quality issue can be helped – the proposed low emission zone in the city centre should also assist streets like Lochee Road adjacent to it.   

We all agree it is vital there is a proactive approach to tackling the air quality issue.   A significant number of constituents live in the tenement flats on the south side of Lochee Road near to the junction where nitrogen dioxide are unacceptably high.   

It is therefore important that the council has a clear strategy for improving air quality here and the commitment to redesign junction and improve traffic management on a road that usually sees thousands of vehicles using it every day is to be greatly welcomed.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Bus changes proposed for the West End – and across the city

There is currently formal consultation period being undertaken by Xplore Dundee.   The company recently announced a major review of its commercial network which will see changes in the number of routes served and frequency of services.  

The changes to the bus network are detailed here.

The changes would come in effect on 24th January and the affected routes include the 4, 5, 9/10, 17 and 28/29.

I recently had an on-line meeting with the Managing Director of Xplore Dundee and one of her colleagues about the proposed changes.    The most significant aspects affecting the West End are :

Service 4 - Xplore Dundee does not intend to bring back Service 4 at this stage which has a real impact for the Scott Street/Logie area and also for Windsor Street/Magdalen Yard Road/Roseangle.    

Service 17 – Xplore Dundee intends to re-route the 17 away from Tullideph Road and Ancrum Road.

The situation for the 4 and the 17 concern me a lot and already numerous constituents have been in touch with me about these.   Xplore Dundee advises me that it will discuss with the council possible “infill” services to cover gaps like these but whether or not this proves possible will depend on the council supporting such services and, as we know only too well from the axing of Service 204 in 2019, funding for this is limited.

Please note the consultation formally ends on Thursday 10th December – do please give Xplore Dundee your views.