28/05/2010

Temporary Traffic Order - Long Lane, Broughty Ferry


Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under Section 14 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating construction works. The Order is expected to be in force for twenty seven weeks from 14 June 2010. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Long Lane from Brown Street to Fort Street.


Pedestrian access will be maintained.


An alternative route will be available via Brown Street, King Street and Fort Street.

27/05/2010

Lightning Strikes St Stephen's & West Church Spire

Around about 5pm tonight a mighty thunder clap and crashing sound gave me a shock as I sat at the kitchen table emailing on my laptop computer. The intensity of the lightning flash and the volume of the thunder bolt made me think it had been a close call. When I emerged from my house a few minutes later, I realised how close the lightning had been! Six doors down from my home, the spire of Saint Stephen's and West Church was being doused by fire fighters. The smell of burnt wood wafted in the air. The roof of the spire had obviously been badly damaged with sarking and slates torn off. The arcing lightning seems to have run down the spire and then bounced onto the main roof, grounding through the cast iron roof gutters and down pipes, some of which were hanging out of position precariously. I hope the Kirk Session have good insurance cover for their church roof.

25/05/2010

Mayhem at Castle Green Play Area

I was appalled to learn about the damage done to the children's play area at Castle Green late on Saturday evening. The fires set to the climbing and balancing structures was no accident but a deliberate and dangerous act of vandalism. Until replacement equipment can be installed, many young children will be deprived of the opportunity of playing on the equipment that has been destroyed.

Ironically, the City Council was considering a report on Monday evening about the next stage in the development of the Masterplan for Castle Green. It is a matter of regret that money from future improvements will need to be diverted to pay for the replacement of the damaged equipment in our award winning play area.

The littering on the beach over the weekend is, I think, another matter altogether. Residents of Broughty Ferry are proud of their Green Flag beach and are pleased that it is a popular place for recreation. We are not pleased however when visitors of any age leave behind their litter for others to clear up.

I have asked that both of these issues can be discussed at The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership meeting on Monday 7 June.

22/05/2010

Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership Next Meeting Monday 7 June


The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership


Next Meeting

Monday 7 June 2010

Forthill Sheltered Housing Complex
3a Forthill Drive
B/Ferry DD5 3DY
5.00 pm for 5.30 pm start


Agenda

1. Welcome and Apologies


2. Presentation from Neil Gellatly

Head of Trnasportation City Development Dundee City Council
Re Grove Office Conversion and Associated Parking/Traffic

3. Previous Minutes and Matters Arising

4. Local Community Plan Update

4.1 Working Groups
a) Community Facilities and Open Spaces
b) Community Safety/Youth Issues
c) Mental Wellbeing
d) Beach Management Group
4.2 New Developments Update
a) Friends of Sandy Park
b) Broughty Ferry Development Trust
4.3 Community Plan Monitoring 2009-2010

5. Department/Agency/Organisation Update

6. Open Forum on Community Issues

7. Any Other Competent Business

8. Date and Time of Next Meeting

21/05/2010

Proposed Biomass Energy Plant, Dundee - Public Exhibition Overgate Centre, 21st-22nd May

Forth Energy are holding an exhibition today and tomorrow in the Overgate Centre in Dundee about their proposals for a Renewable Energy Plant (Biomass) at the Port of Dundee. There will be an opportunity for local people to comment on the proposals at the exhibition, and all these comments will be carefully considered and reflected in the Statement of Participation that will be submitted with the application for planning consent.

Details of the exhibition are as follow:

  • Friday 21st May - 9am to 6pm; and
  • Saturday 22nd May - 9am to 4pm

Overgate Centre, Upstairs Mall outside Debenhams

Forth Energy staff and project team members will be at the exhibition to answer people’s questions.

Read or download Forth Energy's recent bulletin about their developing proposals for a Renewable Energy Plant at the Port of Dundee.

19/05/2010

Minister Confirms No Funding Yet for Harris Academy Rebuilding


In yesterday's Evening Telegraph, it was reported that Mike Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Government was in Dundee. He took the opportunity to visit Kingspark School and comment on the funding of the refurbishment of Harris Academy.

Unfortunately, the Education Minister's comments about his government's part funding of the refurbishment of Harris Academy served to confirm that the start date may be further away than predicted.

I think many folk connected with Harris Academy will be concerned that Mike Russell not only confirmed that, seven and a half months after the announcement about Harris Academy, no overall budget for the project has yet been agreed. Furthermore, he also appeared to be introducing another reason why this project will be delivered late, when he said 'Exactly at what time the money will become available depends on the present financial circumstances, but I think you can take it that it’s going to happen.'

I am glad the Education Minister came to Dundee to admire the new Kingspark School; our school providing education for young people between five and 18, who have a wide range of additional support needs. I should like to make it clear that the new Kingspark Special School he viewed while in the city is not funded by the SNP government's programme of school building but was funded principally by prudential borrowing by the Council. Furthermore, the contract to build the school was brought forward by the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat administration in the city during the time I was Education Convener. In fact this plan to rebuild Kingspark first appeared on the Education Committee's agenda in June 2008 and two years later the school will be ready for occupation. I regret his government has insisted that the Harris Academy refurbishment will need to go through the, yet to be established, new Hub Co for its procurement. Our Chief Executive, David Dorward has confirmed in an recent email to me, 'I would envisage that for the Company to be in a legal status that it could procure construction contracts may be during mid to late 2012.'
I remain committed, with my Labour colleagues on the Council, to look at any reasonable way of speeding up the refurbishment of Harris Academy and await an approach from the Education Convener to engage in discussions that might ease the path of this project.

18/05/2010

Adult Learners' Achievements Recognised at Civic Reception


Earlier this evening I attended a Civic Reception in the Council Chambers to recognise and celebrate the learning achievements of adult learners in Dundee. This event was part of the European wide Adult Learners' Week.

Among the adult learners whose achievements were honoured were 'The Menolej Experience'. In the picture, above right, the men can be seen leading the singing of some popular songs from wartime Britain. This group of men, who meet at the Mitchell Street Centre, have drawn together and published an impressive volume of their reminiscences of life during World War Two. They have also been nominated for national recognition at the Scottish wide awards ceremony to be held in Dumfries on Thursday evening.

The Committee of Broughty Ferry Education & Recreation Association (BERA) were also given an honourable mention for their work organising an annual programme of adult learning classes at Grove Academy.

There was also special mention for the Adult Learning staff of the Leisure and Communities Department who support and facilitate the learning groups whose learning achievements were celebrated tonight.

16/05/2010

Foster Care Fortnight Monday 17 to Sunday 30 May 2010

Do you have the skills to foster? The Fostering Network’s annual awareness campaign Foster Care Fortnight takes place from Monday 17 to Sunday 30 May 2010. To find out more visit www.couldyoufoster.org.uk

15/05/2010

Dundee United Lift the Scottish Cup

Scottish Cup Final

Dundee United 3 - 0 Ross County

After a subdued first half, Dundee United found the net three times in a more dominant second half display to comfortably lift the Scottish Cup for the second time in their history. It rounds off a great season after finishing third in the Premier Division.

Tonight their convincing victory over First Division opponents Ross County will be well celebrated in the city. On Sunday there will be a Civic Reception following a procession through the city centre by the victorious team and the trophy.

14/05/2010

Schoool Inspectors to the Rescue Over Curriculum for Excellence

HM Inspectors of Education are to be diverted from their work inspecting secondary schools beginning next school session. For five months from August to the turn of the year, inspectors will drafted in to support the roll-out of the controversial curriculum for excellence. This unusual move took place against a background of growing concern that secondary schools not being ready for the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence in August.

According to a recent HMIE report, half of secondary schools are only at an early stage of introducing the changes.

And a survey of Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) members found 89% needed more subject resources, while 84% said training was inadequate.

The suspension of inspections in our secondary schools will apparently free up to 100 inspectors to help introduce the new curriculum.

This seems to be a panic measure ‘papering over the cracks’ over the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence. Mike Russell Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning is not dealing with the problems. Inspectors can’t deliver CfE, that responsibility rests with the teachers. By telling the inspectorate to suspend inspections and set aside their other responsibilities, such as progressing government policy on bullying in schools, the government is effectively abandoning its commitments to monitor the state of school buildings or improving school standards. The government is desperate, as the evidence of its mismanagement of the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence accumulates, to be seen to be doing something. But to stop HMIe from doing its normal job and send the inspectors in as the cavalry to ‘rescue’ the Curriculum for excellence just shows unfortunately how bad things have become.

12/05/2010

Gas Main Replacement Torridon Road - Temporary Traffic Restrictions Proposed

Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating gas mains replacement works. The Order is expected to be in force for five weeks from 31 May 2010. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Torridon Road from Nursery Road to Leven Street.

Pedestrian access will be maintained and vehicular access to properties will be maintained where possible.

An alternative route will be available via Nursery Road and West Torridon Road.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to Mark Cobb, Network Management Team, City Development Department, Tayside House, Crichton Street, Dundee, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date. If you have any queries please contact Mr Cobb on 433082.

11/05/2010

Potholes in Path at Forthill Flats

















At a recent meeting of the Forthill Tenants' Association, I received a complaint about the very poor state of the path to the front door of the block of flats at 14 Forthill Road in the Ferry. The path surface has become distorted with significant variations in level. Most significant, and potentially dangerous, is a pothole just outside the front door. I have reported this to the Housing Department with a request that they rectify this as a matter of urgency.

Bridging Missing Links in the Cycle Network in Broughty Ferry


On Monday evening at the City Development Committee Meeting councillors considered a report entitled, 'Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets (CWSS) Projects Commencing 2010-2011. (Item two on the Agenda) The report details the allocation of £249,000 to a variety of programmes including a project to enhance accessibility for cyclists by inserting some of the 'missing links' in the cycling network in the city. I asked about the inclusion of a north-south link between Baligillo Road (cycle lane and green circular) and Grove Academy which had been requested by the Grove Academy Parent Council to help facilitate more pupil journeys to school by bike thereby supporting the school's travel plan. The Chairman of the Committee, Councillor Will Dawson, conceded that not all the spend had yet been identified and agreed that my proposal could be considered for inclusion in the scheme by officers managing the CWSS.

10/05/2010

Performance by Samuel Singers

On Sunday evening I attended an inspiring performance by the Samuel Singers in Dundee West Church on the Perth Road.

The group performed a variety of mainly a cappella religious works composed by a variety of composers including Tallis and Bach.

The concert was in aid of the Dundee West Church's Coffee Shop.

08/05/2010

M & Co New Shopfront Unveiled in Broughty Ferry

This week the wraps came off the M & Co's new shop front in Broughty Ferry. The former Woolworth's store in the Ferry is visibly shaping up as the local flagship store in the M & Co chain of shores. M&Co. has been selling clothing for more than 50 years with nearly 300 High Street stores selling women's and fashion clothing. The existing Broughty M & Co store will move a mere five doors along Brook Street when building and interior-fitting work at the new store is complete. This is a welcome development in our main trading street demonstrating the enduring strength of our shopping centre.

06/05/2010

Election Night Statement by Katrina Murray following her Narrow Election Defeat in Dundee East


Katrina Murray, Scottish Labour's candidate in Dundee East constituency at the UK General Election on 6 May 2010 said:

"I am very disappointed that I have not won back Dundee East for Scottish Labour tonight. But the battle of ideas will continue and I know that my colleagues and I will continue to contest the distracting nationalism of the SNP and the enduring relevance of our agenda of social justice for people in Dundee East constituency and throughout Scotland; a Scotland that draws on and contributes to the mutuality and strength of the United Kingdom.

To all those voters whom I met on the doorstep, whom I spoke to on the phone and to whom I wrote replies to their emails; be assured that your issues have been clearly heard. Furthermore, our very capable Scottish Labour team of Councillors, MSPs and MPs will work with me to pursue the issues that you so obviously feel strongly about and which your have referred to the Labour party for resolution.

I should like to thank my opponents who have fought fairly and with good humour throughout the campaign. I should also like to thank the Returning Officer, David Dorward, Chief Executive of the City Council and his staff for a very well organised and well run election.

Behind my candidature is a hard-working team of unpaid party workers without whom I could not have fought this campaign. In particular, I owe a debt of gratitude to my agent Lorna Ward, to Councillor Brian Gordon the Chairperson of Dundee East Labour Party, Vice Provost Peter Murphy Chairperson of Carnoustie and Monifieth Labour Party and Stephen Massy my Campaign Co-ordinator.

So be assured that Scottish Labour in the Dundee East constituency will live to fight and win another day."

05/05/2010

BERA AGM

On Tuesday evening I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association (BERA) held in the staff room of Grove Academy. For more than 30 years, BERA have organised evening clases at Grove Academy as well as swimming sessions at the sport centre at the Gardyne Road College campus. BERA is a non-profit-making organisation and a charity registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, registration number SC007245. During the 2009/10 session, the BERA committee, all volunteers, had to endure uncertainties arising from Grove Academy moving mid-session from the old Grove buildings to the new PPP school campus on the other side of Camperdown Street. As a consequewnce, BERA had to decant its activities, across the road to the new Grove. As a consequence, the committee, tutors and adult learners had to adjust to their new environment, sometimes at very short notice. I think they are to be congratulated on persevering with their programme of classes throughout the autumn, winter and spring terms. Now their move to the new Grove is complete, BERA can focus on how they might take advantage of the extended range of first class facilities for teaching and learning available in the new Grove Academy. Like many Ferry folk, I look forward to the next BERA programme of classes.

2 year Delay in Harris Academy Rebuild - Labour Offers Support to Speed Up Process


Commenting on the delayed time-scale for rebuilding Harris Academy in Dundee, three years later than forecast, as a result of the Scottish government direction that this contract is put through the East Central Territory Hub for procurement of schools and hospitals.



Seven months after the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Government announced, that Harris Academy is to receive Government funding for it major refurbishment, I am concerned that we are now no closer to starting work on this major building contract in the city. The Chief Executive, David Dorward, yesterday clarified for me that the new organisation for procuring schools and hospitals will not be set up and ready to progress this contract until mid to late 2012.

I would envisage that for the Company to be in a legal status that it could procure construction contracts may be during mid to late 2012.”

This means that work is unlikely to start on site at Harris Academy until financial year 2012/13 with a finish unlikely before early 2014. This delay will be disappointing news for parents, carers and teachers at Harris Academy and for the building industry in Dundee. Education Convener in the city. Elizabeth Fordyce, should be confident of my support for any reasonable way of speeding up the rebuilding of Harris Academy. I know that the council's financial contribution to the rebuilding works is already committed in its capital plan, so I hope she can find some way of bypassing this procedure that the SNP government in Holyrood has introduced.

Jim McGovern Labour's candidate for re-election in the Dundee West parliamentary constituency said:
I know how many parents have been looking forward to the rebuilding of Harris Academy. This would mean that the school's facilities would match its proud history and reputation as one of the leading schools in Dundee. I also know we need more construction opportunities in the city. I would be delighted to provide my support to any efforts to make an earlier start to rebuilding works to make Harris Academy's facilities fit for 21st century teaching and learning.”

01/05/2010

May Day march and rally Dundee

On a cold and blustery day in Dundee, I joined the annual May Day march through the city centre streets to Albert Square for a rally. The march and rally were organised by Dundee Trades' Council. Secretary of the Trades' Council, Mike Arnott, introduced the speakers at the rally (Mike is featured in the picture - centre beside the statue) who emphasised the importance of solidarity; especially when and where public services are under threat.