31/08/2012

Education Review Group Meeting Secrets

Yesterday morning, I attended a meeting of the Education Review Group in the Council's Committee Room 1. This was Chaired by the Chief Executive, David Dorward, and involved a wide range of people with an interest in the Education of young people in the city. This included, amongst others, the Director of Education and Head Teacher representatives and two other Councillors. 

I found this to be a very positive meeting at which we discussed a number of important educational issues for nearly two hours. I think many parents, carers and teachers would be interested in our deliberations and decisions. Unfortunately, I can't reveal any further details about the agenda, or the papers issued for this meeting because the papers were stamped: 
"NOT FOR PUBLICATION IN TERMS OF
PARAGRAPHS 3.14 AND 3.15 OF THE CODE
OF CONDUCT FOR COUNCILLORS"

I regret that I am curbed from extending these discussions by writing about them here. I think, in this instance these restrictions are disproportionate and unnecessary and arguably a gagging clause is counter productive. I have written to David Dorward, to suggest these restrictions are lifted. 

30/08/2012

Visit to NE England Regional Viewpoint Team

A Tenant Led Inspection Group in Falkirk

On Wednesday I spent the day with tenants of Home Group from the North East of England meeting in Durham. These tenants are involved in the North East Regional Viewpoint Team who have been reviewing the policy and practice of Home Group, in their areas, on void properties; properties that have been vacated, abandoned and repossessed and are empty until relet. This viewpoint team perform similar functions to the tenants of the City Council here in Dundee who have recently been involved in undertaking tenant led inspections of the housing service. 

It was enjoyable and informative visit which was connected to my role as Chairperson of the Dundee Area Committee of Home Scotland. Home Scotland are part of Home Group and are a registered housing association who own and manage 1600 homes in Dundee. Home Scotland are currently considering the best range of ways to involve tenants. This visit will help inform planning for the future on the Dundee Area Committee of Home Scotland. It will also help inform my contributions as a member of the Housing Committee of the City Council. 

For those who are worried about who might be financing this activity, my train fare to Durham was arranged by Home Scotland so there will be no drain on the council tax payers in Dundee.

29/08/2012

Open Lecture on Leonardo's Art & Science 6pm Sat 1st Sept Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee - Free Tickets in Advance

Martin Kemp, one of the world's leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci, will give a public lecture in Dundee on Saturday 1st September to mark the arrival in Dundee of a new exhibition of Leonardo's drawings.

Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration from the Royal Collection is at The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum, from August 31st to November 4th. It is the only Scottish venue hosting the exhibition.

Martin Kemp is Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford and one of the world's leading experts on Leonardo. In his public lecture at the University of Dundee on Saturday September 1st he will explore the ways in which Leonardo's art and science can both be understood as a remaking of nature on the basis of deep understanding of cause and effect.

Free tickets for this event are available from events@dundee.ac.uk, www.dundee.ac.uk/tickets, Tower Building Reception at the University, or by calling 01382 385564/385108.

A drinks reception will follow this event. Please note that overflow theatres may be in operation.

Coastal Pathway Drainage Improvements Underway

Out dog walking yesterday and it was good to see the work to improve the drainage on the coastal pathway underway. This is on the section of the raised pathway which lies to the west of Dundee Sailing Club's Grassy Beach Centre beneath Ravenscraig Gardens. 

At the end of July, I had reported to the Council 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.'

In early August, the Council's Environment Department, arranged for a thorough cleaning of the path to remove the slime. Feedback from walkers, joggers and cyclists has been very positive. Now the Council is helpfully undertaking the work that should mean there is a longer term solution. In the photo you can see that they are making provision for a drainage channel to take the water away preventing it spreading out across the path.

28/08/2012

Tayside Police Board Meeting in Forfar Monday 27 August 2012

Yesterday morning I attended my first regular meeting of the Tayside Police Board. I had previously only attended meetings of the Board as a substitute for colleagues. 

A really informative item for me was a briefing from Andrew Laing, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland. He overviewed the role of the Inspectorate which was very helpful to a new member like me. He also reminded Board members of the importance of ensuring that as preparations are made for the introduction of the Single Police for Scotland in April next year, we weren't distracted from ensuring that tangible improvements to fighting crime are maintained. 

We also discussed the Tayside Police Performance Quarter 1 April - June 2012. This report included an analysis of recorded crime which indicated that there had been a significant reduction in violent crime and vandalism compared with earlier quarters. Over the same period there had been an increase in Domestic House Breaking and Break-ins to business premises.

There was also an item taken in private about anonymous allegations which had been sent to some members of the board and local and national newspapers. Our response as a Board to this are covered in an article in the Courier.

27/08/2012

Beach Lane Brambles and Nettles Cut Back - Good Job by Environment Department Staff

Before
Just over a week ago, I wrote to the Environment Department and requested clearance of the core pathway that runs from Beach Lane over the railway footbridge to Grassy Beach. 

I reported that it had become badly obstructed by brambles and nettles which blocked the way to all but the most determined walkers. I also observed that stretches of the path had become muddy.

I am pleased to report that my email and photograph sent to the Environment Department triggered a good strimming of the margins of the path, which is now well and truly cleared. 

I think my 'before' and 'after' photographs tell their own story. 
After

Well done to the staff of the Environment Department for acting so promptly. 

I will continue to press for some action to improve the underfoot conditions, where the Beach Lane path is muddy. 

I am mindful that when the £0.5 million contract work is undertaken to rebuild the raised walkway connecting Grassy Beach and Douglas Terrace, that section of the coastal pathway will be temporarily closed. When that happens, Beach Lane will be the alternative main access route, from central Broughty Ferry, along which pedestrians, joggers and dog walkers will be diverted. 

26/08/2012

Summer Holiday Supreme by Dundee Schools' Music Theatre

As we arrived at the Whitehall Theatre last night, the rain started again. We needn't have worried because we were 'going where the sun shines brightly, .... going where the sea is blue'.

We were there for the final show in the run of 'Summer Holiday' as performed by the multi-talented members of Dundee Schools' Music Theatre (DSMT).

After an indifferent summer, four London Transport bus mechanics went off to the the south of France in a double decker bus to have a holiday in the sunPlus ca change!

The show maintained a lively pace with the indefatigable dancers keeping in time and in unison; particularly impressive since there were often 30 or more performers on the stage. Their performance was enhanced by the colourful period clothes and the groovy music from the band under the direction of Paul Clancy.

The chief singing parts were all very well cast and were ably supported by the chorus. I must mention Don, played by Jack Pedersen from The Ferry. He was one of the stand out singers and dancers with a good stage presence.


As I sat there with my grand daughter, I was reminded nearly forty nine years after the film Summer Holiday was released that, 
'And some day
When the years have flown
Darling, then we'll teach
The young one of our own'


The Megamix finale had the audience clapping and almost dancing in the aisles. During the curtain calls, the audience rose to offer a sustained standing ovation.

A great night of entertainment from a company of very talented singers and dancers; all outstanding ambassadors from our nine secondary schools and from our city.

25/08/2012

Broughty Ferry Development Trust AGM 11 am Saturday 1st September 2012 Castle Green Hall

The AGM of Broughty Ferry Development Trust will take place in the Castle Green Hall at 11 am on Saturday 1st September.

The order of business will be as follows:

Introduction and welcome. (By committee member Hugh Begg standing in for Chairman Andrew Nicoll who has been ill.) (Chairman’s Statement attached)

Minutes of the last AGM (attached)

Matters Arising from these Minutes

Report by the Chairman on the activities of BFDT (attached)

Consideration Annual Accounts (attached)

Election of Andrew Nicoll as Honorary President

Election of Management Committee: Clause 20 of the Constitution (attached)

Any Other Competent Business

Andrew Nicoll (Chairman of Broughty Ferry Development Trust)

24/08/2012

Cllr Laurie Bidwell Announces a New Rota of Surgeries from 27 August 2012

Click on image to enlarge
I have extended my regular programme of surgeries for my constituents and these come into effect from Monday 27 August 2012. 

I have added a new weekly surgery at the Forthill Sheltered Housing Complex on a Tuesday afternoon beginning at 3:30 pm. I have also added a surgery at the Barnhill Community Centre on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month beginning at 5pm.

I also confirm that I am continuing with my weekly surgery at the Broughty Ferry Library but this will now begin at 6pm.

You can read full details of my new surgeries and my contact details in the poster displayed.

I think it's important that I am available to my constituents on a regular basis.  It is also important, in a large ward like The Ferry, that I am available to constituents in different parts of the ward and I have tried to do this through the premises where I have located my surgeries.

However, the shortage of suitable premises in West Ferry, Panmurefield, Balmossie Brae, Ferry Fields and Clearwater Park means that not everyone can have a surgery in their neighbourhood. I am also aware that many problems and issues can't wait for one of my surgeries, I am therefore very happy to hear from constituents by phone, letter or email.  It is important to me as a Councillor to hear the views of people in Broughty Ferry and respond as quickly as possible.  If you think that I can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Leonardo da Vinci Drawings - Exhibition at The McManus Friday 31 August to Sunday 4 November 2012

To celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum is showing ten of the Royal Collection's finest Leonardo da Vinci drawings.
In these remarkable works the visitor can witness the remarkable breadth of Leonardo's interests - ranging from hydraulics and engineering to anatomy and map making - and his use of different media - pen and ink, red and black chalks, and metal-point.

The McManus is the only venue in Scotland for this exhibition.

Exhibition Dates Friday 31st August to Sunday 4th November 2012
Venue The McManus - Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum Admission is free.

McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum
Albert Square
Meadowside
Dundee
DD1 1DA
website

23/08/2012

Additional Members of Education Committee Denied a Vote


At the meeting of the City Council on Monday night 20 August 2012, SNP Councillors blocked attempts to give voting rights to the proposed three additional members of the Education Committee. 

Councillors had been asked to approve proposals for two parental members drawn from the Parent Councils (one from nursery and primary school Parent Councils and one from the secondary school Parent Councils. Additionally, one senior Pupil drawn from the members of the city wide Pupil Council were to be invited to join the Education Committee. 

In the the Agenda Note before us, it was pointed out that 
"Having regard to the non-statutory status of the parent representatives and the pupil representative, they will be non-voting members of the Education Committee." 
In questions to the Senior Council staff, it became clear that there was no statute or regulation to prevent the proposed additional parent and senior pupil members of the Education Committee having a vote. It appeared that this form of words had been an attempt to deflect the blame for not granting voting rights from the majority SNP group of Councillors to some legal restriction.

In the light of this revelation, I asked the Education Convener, Councillor Hunter, to reconsider his stance and retain an equality between all the members of the Education Committee. As he was not willing to change his stance, I proposed an amendment that 


3(b) COMPOSITION OF EDUCATION COMMITTEE (AN140-2012)

The parent representatives and the pupil representative will be voting members of the Education Committee.

I made the following contribution to the debate:

"Convener, I welcome your proposal before us this evening as far as it goes but it is falls short in one key aspect.I think it is a sound idea to provide a pupil voice and more parental voices on the Education Committee. Our pupils are at the sharp end of many profound changes as a result of introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence and SQA examinations and it is a progressive idea to make a clear link between the City Wide Pupil Council and the Education Committee. While some Councillors are also parents of children currently in our schools, I think it is right to increase the number of parental voices on our Education Committee and through them make links with the multiple viewpoints from our network of parent councils. Convener this is very close to your sentiments published in the local press earlier today.

Of course, I could not but welcome this extension to the membership of the Education Committee, because a very similar proposal was contained in the Dundee Labour Manifesto, which we put before the voters in May 2012 elections in Dundee. I am glad that the SNP administration have been prepared to seek out good ideas, wherever these reside.

Where we differ is over the voting powers of these new additional members. The motion seeks to deny the additional members the opportunity to vote on matters of importance. I am worried that your proposal will disappoint the potential participants who may be loath to be second class members of the Education Committee. 

I once heard the accusation that some local government participation schemes might be likened to a toy phone. You may speak or shout down the phone but as it's not connected it does make much of a difference, it just allows the speaker on the phone to get whatever is perplexing them off their chest but of course it remains unresolved. 

Your proposal amounts to that kind of participation, appearing to be opening up avenues of influence for our parents and pupils but ensuring that on the 
occasions where we vote on an issue their views will not count.

I ask you therefore to support our amendment and make this a better proposal."

Unfortunately, all the SNP Councillors and the Conservative Councillor voted together and had enough votes to defeat the Labour amendment. The new additional members of the Education Committee will still have their places on the Committee but have been denied their votes.

22/08/2012

Unemployment Soars Throughout Dundee Including Broughty Ferry

Figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics show an alarming rise in unemployment across Dundee as measured by the number and percentage of claimants of Job Seekers' Allowance area by area.

In Lochee West the percentage rate is 11.5%, in Stobswell 11.2% and Douglas 9.3%.

The table on the left shows that number of unemployed people and percentage rates of unemployment in The Ferry are proportionately lower than neighbouring areas in the City I have referred to. Nevertheless, it is a shock to see 254 of our fellow citizens in Broughty Ferry are unemployed and claimed Job Seekers' Allowance.

Unfortunately these figures understate the level of unemployment  and the jobs gap by not counting all those who are seeking work but are not entitled to claim Job Seekers' Allowance or those seeking longer working hours.

Of course for the person who is unemployed in Broughty Ferry, it is little consolation to know that the unemployment rate here is lower than other parts of Dundee because, for each individual unemployed and seeking work, unemployment is 100%.

Clearly we need a comprehensive response by the UK Westminster Government, the Scottish Parliament and the City Council to try to pull the economy out of the current double dip recession. Unfortunately, if we continue with the current deflationary policies, many more of our citizens will be suffering the consequences of lengthening periods of unemployment and the negative effect of this on their living standards.

25 Evening Classes to Choose from in Bferry - Enrolment Monday 27 August 2012 6:30pm Grove Academy

Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association have recently published their popular programme of evening classes for the autumn. On offer this year are 25 classes which range from Zumba to Bridge, Yoga to Guitar, Spanish to Italian, Woodwork to Floral Art, French to ESOL, Local History to Creative Sewing and Cookery to Ballroom Dancing.

The programme of classes will run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Grove Academy but with the Zumba, Body Fit, and Ballroom Dancing classes at Forthill Primary School.

All the classes will start in week beginning Monday 3 September 2012.


No classes between 8 and 19 October 2012.


Enrolment night is on Monday 27 August at Grove Academy beginning at 6:30pm.

Further information. 
Pick up a leaflet from the Issue Desk at Broughty Ferry Library or take a peek online.


Please DO NOT telephone the school. 

You can e-mail BERA at info@beradundee.org.uk
BERA website http://www.beradundee.org.uk

21/08/2012

Respite Care for Carers - More Clarity Needed on Council's Performance


Carers are some of the unsung heroes in our society, providing vital support to a family member for many hours a week and in many instances over a sustained period of time. In fact the caring duties provided to a loved one are often open-ended with no restriction on caring hours and no regular days off. This restricts the life of the carer away from their caring responsibilities.

For example, recent research on the lives of young carers by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Scotland has revealed that:
"only 11% of young carers see friends every day, as opposed to 37% of young people who participated in Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS). 49% of young carers said they visited friends’ houses less than weekly or never."
"Of the young carers responding, 60% cared for more than 20 hours a week, whilst 20% cared more than 50 hours a week. The majority cared for their mother."
In such circumstances, the provision of respite care weeks is a real lifeline for the carer allowing them a rare opportunity to depart from their daily routine and ties as a carer and to recharge their batteries. It is hoped that this would help sustain them so that they can continue their roles and responsibilities as a carer.
It was with this in mind that I quizzed the Director of Social Work at the Social Work Committee last night. In the statistics in the progress report on the Social Work Strategic Plan, there were figures for the number of weeks of respite care provided but no detail about the number and characteristics of the carers who had benefitted from these. It was therefore impossible to know how many carers had benefited from this vital service. As this information would currently take weeks of staff time to provide, I suggested that this should be incorporated in the new plan and the statistics gathered so that Councillors and the public can be in a better informed position to make a judgement about Social Work services in our city such as the provision of respite care weeks. 

Forthill Tenants' Group Grant Approved by Housing Committee

At the Housing Committee last night (Monday 20 August 2012) a grant of £255 was approved for the Forthill Tenants' Association. This was awarded towards the administrative costs of running the group. 

The group meet every month on a Monday evening in the Communal Lounge at the Forthill Sheltered Housing Complex 3a Forthill Drive. They are a very active and effective group focusing particularly on the housing and environment in Forthill Drive and Place, Anton Drive, Forthill Road, Nursery Road and Archer Street.

Further details about meeting times from Rita Smart, Secretary, Forthill Tenants' Association c/o the Forthill Sheltered Housing Complex.

20/08/2012

Commenting on Proposals for Additional Pupil and Parent Members of the Education Committee


At the Full Council Meeting on Monday 20 August 2012, there is a proposal to extend the membership of the Education Committee by adding three further members; two parent council members and one senior pupil. 

One of the parents, would be nominated from the members of Nursery and Primary School Parent Councils while the other would be chosen from the ranks of the members of the Secondary School Parent Councils. The senior pupil member would be nominated from the members of the City Wide Pupil Council.

I think it is a sound idea to provide a pupil voice and more parental voices on the Education Committee. Our pupils are at the sharp end of many profound changes as a result of introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence so it is a good idea to make a clear link between the City Wide Pupil Council and the Education Committee. While some Councillors are also parents of children currently in our schools, I think it is right to enhance the voices of parents at the Education Committee and make a link through them with multiple viewpoints from our network of parent councils. 

Of course, I could not but welcome this extension to the membership of the Education Committee, because a very similar proposal was contained in the Dundee Labour Manifesto which we put before the voters in May 2012 elections in Dundee. I am glad that the SNP administration have been prepared to seek out good ideas, wherever these reside.

I do however have a question about the way the proposal has been framed. I wonder for example what these three additional members will think about their status as the only non voting members of the Committee unlike the two trade union and three religious representatives on the Committee?
  
I also think that to make a success of this development, we will need to think more about the agendas and the formality of the meetings. 

Often the Education Committee agendas are very thin and avoid matters that are really crucial. For example, the Agenda of the Education Committee on Monday night contains only two items; the approval of a £10,00 grant to the Prince's Trust Fairbridge Programme in Dundee and the reporting of contracts for school taxis which has already been approved during the recess. Important as these are, it's not very compelling stuff to come in for or what parents and pupils might most aspire to influence. Why isn't there a report on Monday about the SQA examination results in our schools? The pre-appeal statistics are apparently available and were quoted in the press by the Education Convener more than two weeks ago but are not being presented to the Education Committee on Monday. Now items like that might really interest and engage the parental and pupil member of the Committee.

I think the Council should also give consideration to relaxing the formality and procedures in our meetings if we want to really involve the new additional members. The way standing orders are rigidly enforced by Conveners often seems to be designed to stifle rather than facilitate a rigorous examination of proposals and a lively debate.

19/08/2012

Balmossie Fire Station Has Busy Open Day

Earlier today fire fighters at Balmossie Fire Station hosted their Open Day celebrating the thirtieth  anniversary of the station opening in 1982.

Unfortunately when I arrived I had just missed the fire and rescue demonstrations which apparently went down well with children of all ages.

There were also stalls from other organisations involved in community safety work. I especially appreciated meeting the volunteers from the new team of Community First Responders who provide defibrillation and other life saving techniques until an ambulance arrives.

The 24 x 7 on call availability of our fire and rescue crews make it easier for us all to rest easy in our beds at night confident in their readiness to attend a fire incident.

Lifeboat Open Day Very Well Supported

Broughty Ferry Lifeboat opened its doors and decks today to a public that usually observes their work from the shore line or from reading a newspaper article or watching a TV news bulletin. 

Many members of their admiring public were clearly interested to take advantage of the all too rare opportunity to see round the lifeboat shed and the lifeboats.

I think we appreciate why the volunteers crewing and supporting the busiest lifeboat in Scotland have to prioritise rescues over arranging and staffing open days. 


I am delighted they opened up the lifeboats and shed today and gave their supportive public a closer peek into the kit they deploy to rescue those in peril on the seas.

It was a great family afternoon out and a good opportunity to gain a closer insight into their rescue work.

CATS a Remarkable Performance from Dundee Schools' Music Theatre

On Friday night I attended a spell binding performance of CATS at Dundee Rep performed by the Senior Group of students of the Dundee Schools' Music Theatre.

The musical score by Andrew Lloyd Webber with words based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T S Eliot; does not feature any spoken dialogue. This makes the show very demanding of the company of performers because it comprises two Acts of almost non stop singing and dancing. 

The performers drew and maintained my attention with impressive ensemble dancing and cameo athletic and balletic solos. The lead voices were confident and expressive and were well supported by the other players. The costumes were brilliant supporting the feline movements of the dancers in the creation of the personas of the various 'cats'.

I expect to see more than a few of these performers, on stage in the Rep again but next time as part of the professional repertory company.

Overall this was another very impressive performance from our own Dundee School's Music Theatre. 

18/08/2012

Jungle in Beach Lane Pathway Must Be Cleared and the Path Should be Upgraded

I have received three recent complaints from constituents about the state of the Beach Lane pathway which runs from Dundee Road over the railway footbridge to the coastal pathway at Grassy Beach. 

One of the constituents was out for a walk last week and observed that 
"I found it (the path) to be in a terrible state with grass, nettles, brambles etc and, determined to get to the bridge, I struggled through but found it a very unpleasant experience and ended up with a few nettle stings and muddy feet into the bargain." 

I checked the core paths map produced by the Council which confirms that the Beach Lane pathway is clearly indicated on the West Ferry map of core paths; so this is recognised as an important pathway.

I have written to the the Environment Department and asked them arrange for the brambles, nettles and other plants blocking the path to be cut back and removed.

This pathway will become the main access route to the coastal pathway from the Ferry end, when work to upgrade the eastern end of the raised coastal walkway/cyclepath is undertaken.  I think therefore that Beach Lane also deserves some improvement, especially drainage where surface water collects and makes the underfoot conditions muddy. 

I have also written to the Transportation Department to request that the surface of this pathway should be treated to get rid of the muddy patches where the surface water currently collects. This will necessarily take more time to schedule than the cutting back of the overhanging plants and shrubs.

17/08/2012

Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Open Day Sunday 19 August 2012 12:30-16:30

Broughty Ferry Lifeboat are holding an open day on Sunday 19 August 2012 at the Life Boat Station at the foot of Fort Street, Broughty Ferry.  12:30 - 16:30.

There will be opportunities to see round the lifeboats as well as souvenirs, stalls, teas, coffees and a bar b q.

Support our local lifeboat service and our wondeful volunteer lifeboat crew members.

16/08/2012

Grove Academy Visit for School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group


Yesterday I had a lunch time visit to Grove Academy to meet Depute Head Lesley Elder and members of the Council's Working Group on School Parking and Pupil Safety. 

As part of our ongoing programme of school visits, we were there to observe a number of issues including the 'surge' of Grove pupils as they nip down to the centre of Broughty Ferry to purchase their carry out lunches. 

Most pupils leaving the school at lunchtime were seen to proceed in an orderly manner down Church Street and cross Queen Street with the help of the skilled Crossing Patroller.

As a result of our observations and discussion on the hoof, a number of road safety measures were explored including:

  • making the Queen Street/Church Street intersection into a box junction;
  • moving the bus stop currently adjacent to the main vehicular entrance to the school on Claypotts Road to a site closer to the segregated pedestrian entrance to the school;
  • moving the flashing school warning lights further up Claypotts Road to provide more advance warning to drivers and
  • inserting 20 mph flashing school warning lights on Queen Street.

If I had to prioritise these, I think the 'box junction' at the Queen Street/Church Street junction is the most urgent. This would I am advised provide a better separation of the road traffic from our pupils and our Crossing Patroller at the Church Street/Queen Street Crossing point. In the mornings, when traffic flows are heavy, cars driving west towards Dundee on Queen Street form a continuous queue sometimes leaving the children and the Patroller at the Honda Garage (see picture) without a clear passage across the Queen Street. 

This was a most constructive and worthwhile 'meeting'. At the next 'formal' meeting of the Working Group, I shall be pressing for these measures to be implemented to enhance pupil and public safety in and around Grove Academy. 


15/08/2012

Temporary Road Closure Fairfield Road Between Strathern Road and Arbroath Road) Road - Resurfacing from Monday 20 August 2012, and will Last for About 10 Days.


Fairfield Road (Strathern Road to Arbroath Road) – Carriageway Resurfacing

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

The Contractor for the works is Tayside Contracts.

In the interest of public safety, a road closure will be implemented and through traffic will be diverted via Strathern Road, Victoria Road, Claypotts Road, Arbroath Road and reverse for the duration of the works.

Seaforth Road and Dawson Road junctions at Fairfield Road will also be closed for the duration of the works, with access being maintained from Strathern Road via Crawford Place. Vehicular access will be maintained to Fairfield Road residents, 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. No on-street parking will be allowed on the section of carriageway being worked on.

Please note that a 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.

Support for Granting Planning Permission for the Final Section of the Coastal Path Between the Stannergate and Douglas Terrace

On Monday evening 13 August, at the Development Management meeting, the Committee approved the planning permission for:

'The refurbishment of a multispan structure which carries a public footpath and will include the removal of an existing parapet, installation of a new post and rail barrier, infilling under the structure and surfacing in asphalt and' on land adjacent to Douglas Terrace.'

The committee report from the Director of City Development recommended approval.

At the Committee, I sought assurances that the Council as developer would ensure that the building works were phased in the manner which would reduce restrictions on public access to the cyclepath and footpath throughout the contract period. In particular that access was maintained where practicable via Beach Lane over the footbridge which joins the coastal path just adjacent to western end of the final section of the raised section of the coastal walkway that remains to be upgraded.

I emphasised the value of this existing right of way to walkers and cyclists using National Cycling Route 1 and this section of the Dundee Green Circular whether for fun, fitness or commuting. I also requested clear signage for the diversionary routes that would need to be in place for cyclists and pedestrians. 

I was pleased to receive a comprehensive reassurance from the Director of City Development, Mike Galloway, that maintaining access to the remaining section of the coastal pathway during the upgrading works and signalling diversionary routes would be undertaken.

Notwithstanding these temporary difficulties, I also emphasised that we should not lose sight of the prize of an upgraded coastal pathway all they way between the Stannergate and Douglas Terrace which should enhance the experience of walking and cycling along the river safely segregated from motorised road traffic. This pathway and the southerly views it affords over the river to Tayport and Tentsmuir Forest and to the East towards Douglas Terrace and Broughty Castle is one of the veritable jewels in the Broughty Ferry Crown. 

I also said that I trusted that this planning permission would trigger the subsequent contract to undertake the construction work and that I hoped to see the upgraded coastal pathway completed and open to mark the centenary of the annexation of Broughty Ferry in 2013.

14/08/2012

More Trains Stopping at Broughty Ferry Station Please ScotRail


On Monday I was notified by Broughty Ferry Community Council that John Yellowlees, the External Relations Manager at ScotRail, will be attending their meeting on the evening of Tuesday 6 November. Apparently, one of the items he will be covering will be the new timetable for Broughty Ferry begining in early December.

I understand passengers number using trains to and from Broughty Ferry have risen significantly since the  increase in the number of stopping trains on the timetable that came into force from 12 December 2011. 

What would make a significant boost to passengers number is the development of a consistent hourly service to Glasgow and Aberdeen with changes in Dundee for services to Edinburgh. This would not only be more predictable for the travelling public, but good for ScotRail revenues and kinder to the environment.

I hope John Yellowtrees won't be coming empty handed to The Ferry.  We could do with some good news about more stopping trains at our station on new timetable coming into force a couple of weeks before Christmas.

Folk in Broughty Ferry deserve a regular train service to match the improvements on the platform such as the digital information screens.

We also need a regular and frequent train service between Dundee and The Ferry so that, when the V and A opens in 2015, visitors can easily extend their visit from the water front site in Dundee to the centre of Broughty Ferry.

13/08/2012

Balgillo Road East Potholes - Council Action Required

Residents in Balgillo have complained to me about the poholes on Balgillo Road East. 

Balgillo Road East is the busy road that runs between Balgillo Road and the main A92 Arbroath Road. It runs down the western side of the Sandy Park.

From my observations the potholes are worst on the stretch of the road from its junction with Balgillo Road going north as far as the junction with Rossie Avenue. 

Potholes are more than a nuisance to drivers who experience a bumpy ride and worry about their suspension; they can be a real danger especially to cyclists and other road users with two wheels.

At this specific location, many cyclists are crossing the road while using the Dundee Green Circular route for part of their journey.

I have written to the Transportation Department to request an inspection of this stretch of road and early action to fill in these potholes. 

11/08/2012

Dare ProtoPlay 2012 Games Dundee 10-12 August in City Square and the Caird Hall 10:00 - 18:00 each day


The free Dare ProtoPlay computer games festival opened on Friday morning 9 August in City Square and the Caird Hall and continues through Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 August 10:00 - 18:00 each day. The organisers invite us to come to Dare ProtoPlay to play and vote for the Dare to be Digital 2012 games.

When I visited yesterday, there was a real buzz in City Square with a linked series of tents stretching between the edge of City Square up to the steps of the Caird Hall. Inside the tunnel of tents, in subdued lighting, were numerous computer screens and gaming consoles displaying the games which have been selected as finalists in this years Dare to be Digital video games competition. Visitors were studiously playing each of these games and then could vote for which they think is best. 

Its a great day out for folk who enjoy computer games and a really fine demonstration of the creative and commercial opportunities arising from developing computer games. 

I hope in subsequent years it might be possible to include an additional schools category in the Dare to be Digital competition. I have written to the Director of Education, Michael Wood and the organisers of the competition at the University of Abertay Dundee, to make that proposal.

10/08/2012

Sailing Cadets Enjoy Regatta Week on Tay

This week is Regatta Week for sailing cadets from the Royal Tay Yacht Club and this year they appear to have been enjoying fair winds on the Tay.

The RTYC actively encourage youth sailing with a cadet section (age 10 to 18) with sailing/training on Wednesday evenings throughout the sailing season. Normally during the last week of the Summer school holidays - this week - there is a Cadet Regatta Week to test all the theory learned but with a high ‘fun’ element. 
In a week when our Team GB sailors have been winning Olympic medals in Weymouth, it is good to see the next generation of sailing cadets on the water.

09/08/2012

Next Meeting of The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership Thursday 16 August 2012 6pm at Barnhill Community Centre

The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership Meeting
Thursday 16th August 2012 at 6.00pm
Barnhill Community Centre Campfield Square

Local Community Planning Partnerships have been established in each Dundee City Council Ward since 2008. The main purpose of these bodies is to ensure that Community Plans are devised and implemented in response to the locally identified needs in each Ward and to improve the co-ordination of Dundee City Council services with those of our other public and voluntary sector partners.

The meetings are open to members of the public where issues of community concern can be raised in relation to items on the agenda through the chair of meeting.

If you wish to attend and would like further information about the meeting or the Community Planning Partnership, please use the contact details shown below.

Agenda

Welcome and Apologies

Previous Minute and Matters Arising

Community Plan 2012-2017 Update

Sub Groups

  • Engaging young people - Gwen Bowles Senior CLD Worker (Youth)
  • Mental Wellbeing
  • Community Safety - Bruce Farquharson Local Risk Manager Tayside Fire & Rescue
  • Community Facilities
  • Environment
  • Community Centenary Group
  • Work and enterprise
  • Economic Regeneration/Development

Department/Agency/Organisation Update

Community Issues Raised By Members of Public

Date of Next Meeting

15th November 2012 - Centenary Wing, Camperdown Street.

Carole Jenkins, Communities Officer
Tel: 436929 (Tues, Wed, Thurs only)
carole.jenkins@dundeecity.gov.uk

Questionnaire on Forming a Friends of Broughty Ferry Library Group

Our Library in The Ferry is currently looking to support the formation of a Friends of Broughty Ferry Library Group. Library staff have prepared a short questionnaire which is available at the library issue desk for library users and supporters.

I think our Librarians are hoping that what might emerge will be more active than being Facebook virtual friends. Friends of libraries groups are independent groups of volunteers who support and promote their local library through various activities which the group define and develop.

There are of course positive examples of the added value of friends groups right here on our dooorstep such as the Friends of Barnhill Rock Garden

I hope that there is sufficient interest in moving to a public meeting to explore further how residents might give practical expression to their support for our very well used and much appreciated library.

More information from our library staff.

Contact Details
Broughty Ferry Community Library
Queen Street Broughty Ferry
Dundee DD5 2HN
E: broughty.library@leisureandculturedundee.com
T: 01382 436919
F: 01382 436913

Library Opening Hours
Monday, 9 am - 7 pm
Tuesday, 9 am - 7 pm
Wednesday, 10 am - 7 pm
Thursday, 9 am - 1 pm
Friday, 9 am -7 pm
Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm 

08/08/2012

One Day Closure of Fort Street at its Junction with Fisher Street - Friday 10 August 2012


PUBLIC NOTICE
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 Scottish Water maintenance works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Fort Street (at its junction with Fisher Street), Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Friday 10 August 2012 for one day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via King Street / Church Street / Fisher Street.

For further information contact (01382) 433168.
Mike P Galloway
Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

07/08/2012

Commenting on SQA Exam Results in Dundee 7 August 2012

This morning there will have been mixed emotions among the many hundreds of pupils and students in our city who will have been opening their SQA exam results. Whether reading their results in a text, email or in the contents of their SQA envelope received through the post, this will be a 'red letter day'. 

For many candidates there will be tears of joy and sighs of relief that hard work has been rewarded with passes and grades that will open doors to continuing studies at School or new opportunities and challenges at College, University and in the world of work. For some there will inevitably be disappointment with the results achieved and the necessity for a rethink.

I warmly congratulate pupils and students on all their successes in their various SQA examinations and assessments. Like many of our medal winning athletes in the Olympics, these successes will not be a flash in the pan but will be based on hard work over a sustained period of time. And of course I should not forget to credit  the support of the equivalent of the coaches and supporters. In this case, the inspiration and encouragement of the teachers and parents and carers as well as the wider network of friends and family will also have been part of the story behind these successes.

For those that are disappointed with their results, I would encourage taking to heart the proverb that my late Father used to repeat on those occasions when I hadn't excelled: 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.' 

For those who have missed their grades to meet a provisional offer for a place at University, this will be anxious time to see whether their grades are still acceptable or whether an alternative place or course might be available through clearing. Clearing 2012 opens today http://www.ucas.ac.uk/ 
for applicants in Scotland.

Later this week or next, analyses be available from the Director of Education about how the results of our school pupils add up across the city and how these city wide results compare with previous years and with other areas in Scotland. But for today, the focus should be on celebrating the positive results of our pupils who deserve their day enjoying their successes; their medal winning performances. Well done!

Temporary Road Closure in Gray Street to Facilitate Maintenance Work by Scottish Water

PUBLIC NOTICE
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 Scottish water maintenance works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Gray Street (from King Street to Beach Crescent), Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Wednesday 15 August 2012 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via King Street / St Vincent Street / Beach Crescent.

For further information contact (01382) 433168.

Mike P Galloway
Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

06/08/2012

Comprehensive Response by Council to Potential Underfoot Hazard on Coastal Walkway/Cyclepath

On Sunday 29 July I wrote to the Council about my concerns about the very slippery underfoot conditions (see photo) on a stretch of the coastal cyclepath/walkway midway between the Stannergate and Grassy Beach. 


On Monday 30 July I received a positive and detailed response from the Environment Department. They undertook to send in staff to remove all the vegetation along the southern side of the walkway which would be followed up by a mechanical sweeper.


They had also undertaken to clarify the responsibility for the cleaning of the small drains on this section of the walkway/cyclepath which they agreed were blocked and needed to be flushed out.


On Friday 3 August, I received a further update from the Environment Department confirming that the footpath had had the weeds removed from the Stannergate through to Douglas Terrace on Friday 6 August, the sweeping machine had been programmed for Monday 6 August prior to new drains being installed on Tuesday 7 August.


Well done to the staff at the Environment Department for a prompt and comprehensive response.