31/07/2012

Slippery Hazard on Coastal Walkway/Cyclepath Between Stannergate and the Grassybeach

Water running over the coastal footpath/cyclepath running between the Stannergate and Douglas Terrace has created what I think is a hazard, especially for walkers. 


Over the weekend, I could see that there was a short but very slippery stretch of green slime stretching across the path just beneath Ravenscraig Gardens. Water is usually oozing out of a cleft in the wall beneath the railway line at this  point. The unusually high levels of rainfall in June and July have presumably led to a greater volume of water running over the path. This in turn has created the conditions for a more extensive area of green fungal slime. This has created very slippery under foot conditions which for an unsuspecting person might lead to a serious slip or fall.


On Sunday, I wrote to the Environment Department to notify them about what I think is a potential hazard and ask that they clean off the surface of the path at the point I have indicated as well as unblock the drains on the seaward side of the path so that running water drains away more efficiently.

30/07/2012

Concerns About Continuing Access to UK Research Council Grants for City's Universities

The contribution of our two Universities in Dundee to the economic renaissance of the city is widely acknowledged. Underpinning the success of, for example, the Univeristy of Dundee's outstanding work in the bio-sciences is research funding. I believe that a significant proportion of the income of the University of Dundee, Abertay University and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art comes from awards from the UK wide Research Councils. 


Each year the combined Research Councils UK invest in research throughout the UK. This research apparently covers the full spectrum of academic subjects from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, environmental sciences and the arts and humanities.

In Scotland on Sunday (Sunday 29 July 2012), Alan Trench, a senior research fellow at University College London, has warned that post independence, university level institutions in Scotland would no longer be able to access grants from the UK Research Councils from which they currently receive a disproportionate levels of funding.

In 2010-11, Scottish institutions received £232 million from the councils, or 15 per cent of its overall £1.56 billion funding pot available for 
research grants to all UK universities whereas Scotland has only about 8.5 per cent of the UK’s population. 


It was also reported, in the same article, that the Scottish Government has commissioned 
Professor Ian Diamond, principal of Aberdeen University and a former chair of Research Councils UK’s executive group, to look into this issue.


I hope Ian Diamond's report will not be shrouded in secrecy when it is has been submitted to the Scottish Government. It is vitally important to have some straight answers to issues that potentially affect the future success of our Universities and economic prosperity of the city. Bearing in mind that many of the larger research grants are for longer than one year, I think it is also important that Professor Diamond's report is not unduly delayed.

27/07/2012

Quest to Correct Open Street Map Covering Dundee Road in Broughty Ferry

Click on map to enlarge
In 2009 I took up a mapping error with Google Maps, which wrongly labelled the section of Dundee Road where I live as Brook Street. Two years later I was able to report that my suggested changes had been incorporated into Google Maps. This seemed like job eventually done. At last taxis and parcel deliveries didn't need elaborate directions.


Yesterday, I was referred to Open Street Map who provide free access to world wide maps down to street level. When I checked their website, the same error I had detected in Google Maps three years ago was evident in their maps - see above. Since Open Street Map provide maps for a number of organisations and websites, I wrote to them to point out the error and hoped a member of their not for profit community would make the change in less than 20 months. Imagine my delight to receive an email twenty minutes later to say the change had been accepted and was already visible online


When my issue with Google Maps was publicised in 2009, I was teased by a number of my Councillor colleagues who offered to lead me back home in their cars if I couldn't manage without a sat-nav. Of course I took this in good part; but having an online mapping error affecting your street is really no joking matter in an age when so many commercial deliveries, businesses and individuals rely on online mapping.

26/07/2012

Graduate Unemployment Figures Very Disappointing

In April this year Citizens' Advice Scotland recognised that for some time their advice bureau advisers across Scotland had been reporting an increase in the numbers of graduates who were facing financial problems because they could not get work.   Citizens' Advice Scotland decided to undertake a survey to investigate the extent of these problems, and to give those affected a platform to have their say.


Yesterday Citizen's Advice Scotland revealed the results from this survey of  Scottish graduates.  Their report records that over half of respondents said they had experienced a period of unemployment after graduating with 20% reporting to have been unemployed for over a year.


Most Scots graduates went to university to get an education, to enhance their skills and to enhance their employability. It is therefore very disappointing to hear that so many graduates are experiencing long periods of worklessness.

Unfortunately this picture was not unexpected to me. Running up to the May 2012 local government elections, a number of unemployed graduates living in Broughty Ferry wrote to invite my response to their graduate unemployment. Others were disillusioned to find that their only option, job wise, was to return to their holiday employer doing a job for which they are now over qualified. 


Significantly this generation of young people is referred to as 'the boomerang generation', leaving home to go to University and College but returning to the parental home when they couldn't find work and had clocked up mountains of student debt now weighing heavily on their shoulders.

25/07/2012

Cautious Welcome for Proposed New Sheltered Housing Development

Yesterday the City Council Planning Department confirmed that, under delegated authority to planning staff, Dundee City Council had granted planning permission for a development of retirement housing in land to the north of Arbroath Road in The Ferry.


The development comprises 60 homes for older people in a courtyard development that incorporates a former steading.


The site is on the northern edge of Broughty Ferry between the A92 Arboath Road and Drumsturdy Road just north of the Dighty Burn.


In their application the developers refer to this as "new build supported living community comprising 60 flats and communal facilities."


While many aspects of the development seem well designed and carefully conceived, I do wonder whether this is an ideal site for what is apparently a sheltered housing development? The relative remoteness from the shops and other services in central Broughty Ferry and the lack of a local shop mean that the residents would be reliant on their own transport or the developer's promise to provide a minibus service to central Broughty Ferry until a bus service is established. 


I also have questions about any large scale housing developments in Broughty Ferry and the capacity of our local public services to cope with increasing levels of demand for drainage, doctors and social care.

Link to more information about this planning application that preceded the granting of planning permission.

23/07/2012

Torridan Road Car Park Impasse Needs to be Resolved

 
Residents in Torridan Road have contacted me to query why the short section of road/car parking between numbers 54 and 58 Torridan Road and the adjacent row of shops remains very badly potholed and untouched by the recent road resurfacing of their road.  
Staff in the Transportation Department have helpfully clarified that this is an unadopted section of road whose ownership is apparently retained by Bett Homes, the original developers of the estate.
 
I agree with residents that this is an unhelpful anomaly which should be resolved once and for all. I hope the owners of this strip of road/car park can sort this out with the Council so that folk parking at the shops, including parents dropping off their children at the nursery, can do so without worrying about damaging their car's suspension or experiencing a jaw jangling ride.

20/07/2012

Concerns About Planned Closure of Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre

A number of constituents have contacted me expressing concerns about the planned closure of the Kemback Adult Resource Centre in Dundee. Their relatives are regular service users of the Centre and they value what it offers to their loved ones. Some of the current service users have been going to the centre on several days a week for more than twenty years. Understandably, the relatives and carers of the service users are very concerned that the replacement of the Kemback Street Centre and it's services with individualised care packages will be an inferior and cut price experience. They also express disappointment about the way the closure decision was taken and how the consultation which preceded the decision was not very inclusive of service users and their carers/relatives.
 
Sign the petition to stop the closure of Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre

Link to the petition
 
It's text reads:
 
To Dundee City Council
 
We the undersigned want you to stop the closure of Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre. Some of the most vulnerable people in our society will be massively affected by this closure. We understand that the council has to save money but to do so at the expense of the most vulnerable in our society is, at the least, reprehensible. Please stop this closure.

 

17/07/2012

Old Burial Ground Improvements Orchestrated by Broughty Ferry Development Trust

 
Over the last few weeks, folk walking along Fisher Street may have noticed the colourful and informative new story boards about the Fisherman's Burial Ground - see above. This will hopefully raise interest in what lies behind the fence and the handsome new gates just erected round the corner. Hidden from general view for so long, the burial ground contains some fascinating insights into the history of Broughty Ferry.
 
These small but significant improvements are the work of the Broughty Ferry Development Trust. They had identified the old burial ground as one of their first projects deserving some minor improvements to enhance access and information for potential visitors. This is the first more tangible outcome from a number of projects that the Trust has been quietly undertaking on behalf of the community.
 
Follow Broughty Ferry Development Trust on Facebook.
 

12/07/2012

Anton Drive Retaining Wall Fenced Off As a Precautionary Measure

 
On Monday 11 July, I was emailed by the City Engineer, as one of The Ferry Councillors. I was informed that a safety inspection of the retaining wall which runs down one side of Anton Drive had been carried out that morning by one of the Council's Senior Engineers. Due to the poor condition of the wall and the continuing heavy rain, as a safety measure it had been necessary to erect safety fencing along the length of this wall. Furthermore, I was informed that the Council are currently designing and pricing alternative options for the wall strengthening/replacement and will consult with residents and Ferry Councillors on potential solutions 

While I welcome this precautionary measure, I share the concerns of tenants and residents about the potential threat from what is pushing over the retaining wall. In recent weeks there have been many reported land slips in Scotland on railway embankments and other places with steeply rising land which have become saturated with rain. While the protective fencing errected may prevent passers from getting near to the retaining wall, I think residents and tenants in Anton Drive will want to be reassured that there is no potential danger of a land slip and trees toppling over damaging homes and putting lives at risk.
 
As the retaining wall is built on council land and is the responsibility of the Housing Department, I shall be looking to the Council to get on with the replacement in weeks rather than months.

(Photograph DC Thomson)
Link to press coverage of this issue in The Courier
 

11/07/2012

Proposed Temporary Closure in Panmure Terrace from 27 August 2012 for Road Resurfacing

 
Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating carriageway resurfacing works. The Order is expected to be in force for ten days from 27 August 2012. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months. The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Panmure Terrace, Barnhill between Abercromby Street and Montague Street. Pedestrian thoroughfare and vehicular access to premises will be maintained where possible. An alternative route will be available via Abercromby Street, Hamilton Street, Montague Street and reverse. Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to Andy Scrimgeour, Network Management Team, City Development Department, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee DD1 1LS, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date. If you have any queries please contact Mr Scrimgeour on 01382 433168. 

10/07/2012

The Fort Hotel - Sunday Mail Pub of the Year 2012

 
In Glasgow last week, the winners of the 2012 DRAM Scottish Licensed Trade Awards were announced. The Fort Hotel in The Ferry scooped two prestigious national awards:
  • Sunday Mail Pub of the Year 2012 and
  • Tennents Quality Award - Gold Winner.
Congratulations to John and Marion Black (pictured above) for winning two of the pub industry's Oscars. These awards provide well earned recognition for The Fort and the quality of what they, and their team of staff, offer to their customers.
 
Additonally, they bring prestige to Broughty Ferry as a place with enterprising and outstanding shops and local services. They join more more than a few of our local businesses that have scooped national awards in their particular business categories this year.
 

07/07/2012

Torridan Road Temporary Closure for Road Resurfacing Beginning Monday 9 July for 10 days


Torridon Road - Carriageway Resurfacing

Work is programmed to commence at the above location on Monday 9 July 2012, and will last for approximately 10 days.

The Contractor for the works is Tayside Contracts.

Vehicular access will be maintained to residents throughout the works, although we ask for vehicular traffic movements to be kept to a minimum, and some minor delays may be encountered during some phases of the works.  Various junctions with Torridon Road will require short term closures to enable surfacing works to progress, but vehicular access will be maintained via alternative routes, with appropriate signing in place.  No on-street parking will be allowed on the section of carriageway being worked on.

Please note that pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained throughout the works.

If you have any queries regarding this matter, please contact Mr R Mackenzie, Senior Engineer, Roads Maintenance Partnership, by telephoning 01382 434000.

05/07/2012

Opportunity to Apply For or Nominate a Community Group or Organisation for a Community Award 2012

Applications are now being invited for the 2012 Dundee Partnership Awards which recognise groups and organisations which are making a difference to the lives of people in Dundee. The awards recognise voluntary groups and organisations which are making a real difference to the lives of people in Dundee and the communities in which they live and work. The awards are intended to recognise the commitment and achievement of volunteers and participants, rather than paid staff, so the work done by volunteers and participants should be highlighted in the nomination form. It is they who would receive the award if successful.


I am sure that many community groups and organisations that operate in The Ferry might benefit from the recognition that these awards provide. I know their volunteers deserve recognition for their committed and effective unpaid work and the consdierable and successful achivements of their particpants, so I hope that the leaders of these groups will give some thought to applying or nominating this year.

Download the application form here.

More details of the award categories and criteria are given in the information sheet.


If you would like to apply, or to nominate a group or organisation for one of the awards, please complete the nomination form and return it no later than Friday, 24th August 2012 toPeter AllanCommunity Planning ManagerDundee City Council 21 City Square DUNDEE DD1 3BYemail: peter.allan@dundeecity.gov.uk

04/07/2012

Broughty YMCA Window Boxes Brighten Up Brook Street

The window sills of the YMCA in The Ferry have been enhanced by new window boxes containing colourful displays of geraniums. The front of each window box proudly display the distinctive YMCA logo. I think these window boxes make a positive contribution to 'lifting' the appearance of the Y's section of Brook Street. Where the YMCA have led, I hope others might follow.

02/07/2012

Temporary Closure of Fairfield Road is Proposed for Road Resurfacing Beginning Monday 20 August 2012


Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating carriageway resurfacing works.  The Order is expected to be in force for ten days from 20 August 2012.  Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in Fairfield Road from Strathern Road to Arbroath Road.

Limited access will be maintained for frontagers (residents).  The junctions of Seaforth Road and Dawson Road with Fairfield Road will be closed for the duration of these works.

An alternative route will be available via Strathern Road, Victoria Road, Claypotts Road and Arbroath Road.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to Mark Cobb, Network Management Team, City Development Department, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee  DD1 1LS, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date.  If you have any queries please contact Mr Cobb on  01382 433082.