30/10/2012

Kemback Street Closure Pushed Through by SNP Councillors

At the Social Work Committee on Monday 29 October, SNP Councillors used their majority to push through their proposal to close down two key services for adults with learning disabilities; the Kemback Street Resource Centre and the Out and About Service.

Despite well reasoned opposition by the service users represented by three deputations, despite a tabled petition with more than 4000 signatures in support of retaining the Kemback Street Centre, despite the warnings from the combined Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Independent Councillors, the SNP Councillors ganged up together to close down these services.

This was my contribution to the debate:
"Convener, we have heard on behalf of a significant number of service users tonight that they are not happy with the outcome of this review; they are not happy with the individualised care programmes that the review recommends and the outcome that Kemback Street Centre and Out and About will close and any remaining group activities will be accommodated at an alternative centre and with alternative agencies. I also note that these alternative agencies and services are not directly mentioned, nor described, nor assessed in the committee report.

So this is a strange distortion of personalisation, a kind of Alice in Wonderland back to front world, where personalisation leads to unhappy service users who don't get what they want. The prescription is this report is perversely justified in terms of what is claimed to be best practice in terms of social work theory for people and what emerging fashion in social work claims is best. 

Now if all the service users wanted to go with the flow, then elected members would have little to quarrel about. But it is clear from the report, the deputations and the petition that many vulnerable service users are not happy, nor well served, by these changes.

Additionally, the equality impact assessment referred to in the Committee report was not available in advance of the meeting. In fact I was informed in an email from the Council's Chief Legal Officer at 4pm that it was to be put on the Council's website later this afternoon (Monday). This is unacceptable. Furthermore, the Chief Legal Officer told me that the new Equality Impact Assessment was exactly the same as the previous Equality Impact Assessment which had been written to accompany the Committee Report in March before any of the assessment of needs had been carried out with with service users. It is unacceptable that there is apparently no analysis offered in the light of decisions on the planned new services for the service users. Checks should have been run to see whether the collective effect of individual assessment of service users' needs is prejudicial under the Equality legislation. 

It is clear from the briefing that elected members received a short while ago from the Council's Equality Officer that we should have before us data that would allow us to be assured that inequalities in outcome are not prejudicial to a specific  age, race, gender, disability or geographical group. From the lack of information and analysis provided in the Committee Report and the absence of the Equality Impact Assessment in advance of the Social Work Committee, I find it is impossible, to give 'due regard' to the potential equality issues as we are required so to do under the legislation.

Accordingly I support the amendment calling for the retention of Kemback Street Centre and the Out and About service."

I hope the Carers and Parents of the Service users will find ways to continue to assert their preferences for services and to continue their fight for what they  know to be best for their loved ones. 

29/10/2012

Jessie's Kitchen Win Scottish Homebaker of the Year 2012

Jessie's Kitchen in Albert Road, in Broughty Ferry has just scooped the prestigious Scottish Homebaker of the Year Award 2012.

The Broughty Ferry Café opened in June 2011 and has quickly established itself as a regular haunt of locals and visitors who appreciate its warm welcome and delicious food.

The independent professional reviewer who visited the Café and sampled its wonderful range of home made cakes made the following observations:

"On entering Jessie's you find a bright, airy and definitely 'Pink' room by by- passing the extensive display of cakes in the inner hall. The young and attentive staff give this place a trendy feel. Very clean and a good light lunch and high-tea menu. I was overwhelmed with the not one but two boxes of cakes I was given to sample at my leisure and this alone proved confidence in their bakers' ability. Three bakers take responsibility for the excellent cakes, Mary-Jane, Alison and Nicola. ...... They (the cakes) were wonderful particularly the blueberry iced sponge and the Florentine-FAB. The Apple and Caramel iced cake was a new one to me and was incredible."


Congratulations to staff at Jessie's Kitchen for this national award. Their Café is another fine example of the outstanding excellence of shops and local services in Broughty Ferry. By my recokoning this is the fifth such national award this year for Ferry retail businesses. This is one of the reasons why central Broughty Ferry is such an attractive place to access shops and local services.


Jessie's Kitchen
3 Albert Road
Broughty Ferry
Dundee DD5 1AY
Tel 01382 778 488
Facebook

27/10/2012

Commenting on £18 million Cuts in Council Budget Over the Next 2 Years



I was very disappointed to hear on Thursday that more cuts are on the way in Dundee schools as the Council seeks £18 million of cuts over the next two years and the Leader of the City Council, Ken Guild, is not ruling out potential school closures and mergers. 

It seems that once again the SNP administration will not be protecting school spending from the brunt of their cuts. With perhaps up to £8 million, of these new cuts falling to Education, it is hard to see how these can be made without making damaging changes that reduce the opportunities for our young people and undermine the progress we have made in improving pupil attainment and achievement.  

At a time when we need our school staff  to be focused on developing the Curriculum for Excellence and preparing pupils for the new examinations, these cuts will further undermine the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms.

Unfortunately, the cracks are already beginning to show in Education before this new round of cuts are applied.

26/10/2012

Dundee Free Fireworks Display and Bonfire Monday 5 November 2012 at Lochee Park and Baxter Parks

Click on image to enlarge
On Guy Fawkes night 2012 there will be two public Fireworks Displays and Bonfires in Dundee. One will be held at Lochee Park and the other at Baxter Park.  Both events will run from 6pm - 7:30pm.

There are no admission charges.

Radio Tay Roadshow with live entertainment and on air countdown.

Watch the Lighting of the Bonfire at 6:15pm
and
Don't miss the beginning of the Fireworks display at 7pm

In the interests of public safety, you are asked NOT to bring Fireworks, Sparklers or Chinese lanterns to the display.


No parking within each of these parks.


Link to Baxter Park Location Map

Link to Lochee Park Location Map

25/10/2012

Taxi Drivers Soon to Accredit their Competences

At a special meeting of the Licensing Committee on Tuesday afternoon, we considered proposals for the introduction of a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level 2 for Taxi Drivers in the City. 
A deputation from Unite the Union over viewed the framework for this vocational qualification which included a list of key competences in taxi driving. This would encompass observed taxi driving and emergency first aid. Unite also clarified that they would sponsor their own Taxi Driving members through the programme. 
We were also told by other deputations that some experienced drivers were apparently wary about the cost of undertaking such a programme in terms of the registration fees payable and the length of time when they were off the road undertaking the NVQ and therefore not earning.
Drawing on my experience of vocational qualifications, I was able to point out that experienced drivers should find that their progress through the NVQ would be accelerated as they would predominantly need to evidence their existing taxi driving competences.
The Committee unanimously agreed to recommend that the Council proceeds towards more detailed planning for the introduction of the NVQ level 2 Taxi Driving. This would hopefully involve a number of providers in the City as well as Unite. I think this vocational qualification is an ambitious but necessary step in helping to make Taxi Driving in our city more professional. 

24/10/2012

Crazy Paving in Brook Street is Accident Waiting to Happen

Section of Uneven Pavement Outside Hosie Electrical Store 302-4 Brook Street
The poor state of the pavements in central Broughty Ferry is often a source of complaint to me by constituents and local businesses.

On the basis of these accumulated complaints and my observations, I think the worst sections of pavement are more likely to be concrete rather than tarmac. Many sections of these pavements are cracked and the top surface is flaking off leaving an uneven profile. In both these instances, the fractures and the dips in the surface make these sections of pavement prone to further damage from water ingress and frost action.

My photograph features a section of pavement outside Hosie's Electrical Store at 322-4 Brook Street. This pavement is clearly uneven, damaged and unsatisfactory. Unfortunately this is not dissimilar to many other sections of concrete pavement in the centre of The Ferry.

While pavement surfaces like this are undoubtedly unsightly, it is also potentially dangerous, especially for those already prone to falls. Tripping over on such a surface can easily lead to fractures which are costly to the individual casualty and the NHS.

I have written to the Director of Transportation requesting a credible response. In my view, in the long term it is not very effective for the Council to merely do small scale and superficial patch and mend. While this kind of repair may remove an immediate danger by filling in the worst of the potholes, the Council needs a comprehensive resurfacing programme in central Broughty Ferry. The current occasional patch and mend is in the long term a waste of our council tax payers' money.

23/10/2012

Halley's Mill Planning Application Approved

Halley's Mill from Broughty Ferry Road October 2012
Click on Image to Enlarge
William Halley's Mill and the associated site was the subject of a planning application that was approved at the Council's Development Management Committee last night.

It's a prominent building on Broughty Ferry Road and has long lain empty awaiting an alternative use.

During the meeting, I asked the Director of City Development about the potential reuse of the stone on site from the demolition of the former office building. I thought that this might be used as facing stone on the vertical extension of the Category 'B' listed old Mill Building to accommodate an additional floor. I was informed that this would be borne in mind by Council Planners when they deal with the forthcoming Listed Building consent.

22/10/2012

Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Coffee Morning

Lifeboat Jam and Cake for Tea
On Saturday I attended the Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Coffee Morning at Stephen's and West Church Hall. My wife Rowena and I enjoyed the home baking and coffee as well as the opportunity to chat with friends and acquaintances. You can see that we also took advantage of the opportunity to buy some takeaway cakes and jam.

This was a well supported event by members of our community who clearly appreciate the admirable work of our volunteer lifeboat crew and all those that work in the background to ensure that the lifeboat and its crew are well equipped and funded. It's often not appreciated that our Lifeboat does not receive City Council or Scottish Government funding; is relies entirely on donations and fundraising to operate their boats and undertake their rescues. 

21/10/2012

Brown Bins in The Ferry Not Emptied on Friday

Some residents in the streets close to my home have complained to me that their Brown recycling bin for garden waste has not been emptied on the programmed day. 

According to the timetable, Friday 19 October was a day to put the Brown Bins out. Looking into this. it would appear that this has affected households in Dundee Road, East Home Street and Home Street.

Residents and I, wonder when their brown bins will be emptied and whether these few streets have been missed out or are the Cleansing staff just behind with this collection? Either way, they are wondering whether these bins will be emptied tomorrow? 

I have written to the Director of the Environment Department alerting him to this issue and asking that it is resolved.

New Holland and Barratt Store in The Ferry Prepares for a Halloween Opening

Click on image to enlarge
Yesterday, fitting out of the new Holland and Barrett store in Brook Street seemed to be well advanced. 
Holland and Barrett is apparently Europe's leading retailer of vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements. In the United Kingdom and Ireland they operate over 620 outlets.

A poster stuck on the shop window announced that their new store in The Ferry would be opening on Halloween, Wednesday 31 October.

I am pleased that this vacant shop unit has been leased, demonstrating a good level of health in our main street. 

When I checked Holland and Barretts' list of job vacancies online yesterday, there were two permanent part time posts as Store Associates (4.5 and 16 hours) advertised. I hope there will be some more new posts to recruit before the new store opens.

20/10/2012

Welcome for Sunday Trains Serving Broughty Ferry from 9 December 2012


I welcome the latest announcement from Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership (TACTRAN) and First ScotRail that a Sunday service is to be introduced in the new timetable at Broughty Ferry Station beginning on Sunday 9 December.

Currently no services call at Broughty Ferry on Sunday and this will increase to 7 calls as follows:



Northbound
09:37 Glasgow - Aberdeen service will call at Broughty Ferry at 11:18
16:05 Edinburgh - Aberdeen service will call at Broughty Ferry at 17:28
21:00 Edinburgh - Aberdeen service will call at Broughty Ferry at 22:28

Southbound
09:24 Aberdeen - Glasgow service will call at Broughty Ferry at 10:34
12:47 Aberdeen - Edinburgh service will call at Broughty Ferry at 14:00
19:07 Aberdeen - Edinburgh service will call at Broughty Ferry at 20:13
22:27 Aberdeen - Perth  service will call at Broughty Ferry at 23:38

This announcement follows confirmation in September that Broughty Ferry Station is to receive an increase of 2 additional calls from Monday to Saturday with effect from December 2012.

I have written to TACTRAN to request the reissuing of an updated timetable for Broughty Ferry Train Services to coincide with the new timetable beginning on Sunday 9 December 2012.

I shall continue to press for a regular hourly train service on Northbound and Southbound trains from Broughty Ferry station. This will be more convenient and predictable for rail travellers and good for the environment. I will also continue to campaign for Fair Fares for local rail users

19/10/2012

Scottish Water Fail to Repair the Sewage Leak on Broughty Ferry Beach



The Photo Evidence of the Original Sewage Leak
On Wednesday morning I was informed by a reporter from the Evening Telegraph that the sewage leak on the beach in Broughty Ferry which I had first identified on 2nd October had been repaired. I had reported to Scottish Water by email and with photos that I could see foul water leaking out of the side of the concrete mound that apparently protects an inspection hatch.

This leak was is the main sewer pipeline which runs under the beach just west of of where the raised coastal pathway joins Douglas Terrace.  I also reported that the action of the sea had clearly undermined part of the structure. I requested that Scottish Water organise an urgent and comprehensive response.

Imagine my disappointment, when I went to check this out myself at midday on Wednesday, and I found that the leak had not been stopped. There was evidence indeed of an attempt to fix the leak but it appeared to be a quick and rather bodged job. There were tracks on the beach from a digger and some pebbles and stones that had clearly been shifted as well as concrete which appeared to have had been poured near the source of the visible leak. In view of the apparent lack of any protective shuttering of the concrete laid or poured it had already been shifted by the rising tide. Furthermore there had been no proper attempt to remove the sea weed that covers the visible structure so that a comprehensive inspection of the leaking structure could take place. 

I have complained to Scottish Water that this is just not good enough. Council tax payers in The Ferry ward will wonder what their Water Charge pays for if not for the provision of adequate and well maintained drainage and sewerage.

I think Scottish Water need to live up to their public statement that:
'Our job is to bring clearer, fresher drinking water to your tap, we supply 2.3 billion litres of drinking water per day and remove nearly a billion litres of waste water daily – treating it carefully before returning it to the environment.'

This is clearly NOT a job where I shall be nominating a Scottish Water employee for a GEM Award, Going the Extra Mile

I have also copied my latest report to Scottish Water to the Director of the City Council's Environment Department. This is because the Council's Environmental Health Officers may need to suspend the harvesting of shell fish from the beach and warn folk to stay away from this section of the beach while the sewage leak persists.

18/10/2012

Dundee Labour's Call for Commitment to Rebuild Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School is Answered


I welcome the announcement by the City Council that it is now committed to funding Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School as part of the proposed Strathmartine Campus along with Baldragon Academy. 

On 2 October, Strathmartine Councillor Kevin Keenan joined me in calling for such a commitment. To ensure that this issue was aired, I placed this item on the Agenda of the next Education Committee later this month. I am pleased to have received a positive response from David Dorward, the Council's Chief Executive late on Tuesday afternoon.

I note that the current intention is to rebuild Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School after the rebuilding of Baldragon Academy. This would be disappointing as the new Baldragon is to be rebuilt on the north side of its current campus close to Harestane Road. This should allow the rebuilding of Baldragon to take place with minimal disruption to the education of the current pupils. If the rebuilding of Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School takes place later on as the Education Convener claims, there will be a building site next door to the new Baldragon Academy for a couple of years. 

These are of course questions Councillor Keenan and I will pursue at the Education Committee and also at the Policy and Resources Committee when the Capital Plan is revised to find room for the the Council's share of funding these three new schools.

Note there is no provision in the exiting approved capital plan for any of the Council's costs for rebuilding Baldragon Academy, Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School.

14/10/2012

Open Studios in Dundee 3/4 November 2012

Around 40 Artists based at the refurbished Meadow Mill Studios in Dundee will be opening their doors to the public over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th November between 11am and 5pm.

This is an opportunity to meet artists and talk to them directly about their work.

Click here for details of the participating artists.


The main objectives of the weekend are to:
  • Invite the public into artists spaces to see the tools of their working trade.
  • Create opportunities for artists to show their work directly to the public.
  • Give artists the opportunity to receive direct feedback about their work.
  • Create sales and commissioning opportunities for artist tenants.

13/10/2012

Cedar Road Flooding Demonstrates That Ferry Drains Can't Cope Again

After the heavy rain yesterday (Friday 12 October), Cedar Road in the Ferry has been flooded again at its junction with Forthill Road.

This was brought to my attention by Community Councillor David Hewick, who passed on his photographs and observations to me.

He is concerned not only about the temporary inconvenience of large pools of water obstructing the roads and pathways but also the unhealthy side-effects. More specifically, he is rightly concerned about effect of raw sewage being washed out of the sewers. When the water level subsides, unpleasant residues are left on the road and pavement.

David and I have contacted Scottish Water about this and asked them to organise a clean up.

I think this regular flooding of Cedar Road, is also indicative of overloaded sewers in this part of Broughty Ferry. This is part of the infrastructure in Broughty Ferry that needs to keep pace with new housing developments.

11/10/2012

Fair Fares Please for Broughty Ferry Trains

Recent publicity about the Tay Train Tax has highlighted the complexity and unfairness of the train fares from Dundee to Glasgow and Edinburgh. But there are some other unjustified differences in local train fares. 

As a Ferry Councillor, I am concerned about complaints from rail passengers from Broughty Ferry who report other unjustified and unfair anomalies.

One I double checked on Scotrail's website earlier this week is the difference in the cost of an advanced single taking the 16:03 Aberdeen train either to Dundee or Broughty Ferry. As the journey south as far as The Ferry is slightly shorter, one might expect the fare would be a bit less or the same cost. It was disappointing to find that the slightly shorter train journey on the same train service is significantly more expensive.
Advance Single specified train only 16:03 Aberdeen - Dundee             £ 6.60
Advance Single specified train only 16:03 Aberdeen - Broughty Ferry £10:80

The £4:20 difference is clearly unfair and unjustified.

Of course the savvy train traveller who regularly uses this route will be inclined to buy a ticket to Dundee and just alight one stop early. This may however have the effect of not crediting Broughty Ferry with a passenger whose journey accrues to Dundee instead.

I would be interested to hear from passengers about any other such pricing issues on train fares to and from Broughty Ferry.
laurie.bidwell@dundeecity.gov.uk


In the meanwhile, I have written to Scotrail to ask that they add this to the list of issues about fares to be sorted out. If they are really serious about building up the volume of passengers using the trains directly to and from Broughty Ferry they will need to fix differential fares like this. Fair's Fare!

10/10/2012

Visocchi's Caffe Launching SOON their new Pizza & Ice Cream Delivery Service

Visocchi's Caffe in The Ferry are shortly to launch a delivery service for their authentic Italian Pizza and their lip smacking Ice Cream. What a tempting offer!


Visocchi’s Caffe has been trading in Gray Street in The Ferry since 1954. It continues to be run by members of the Neapolitan Caira family. Down the years their family business has developed a formidable reputation for their award winning ice creams, their authentic Italian cuisine, their hospitality and not forgetting their fine coffees. I know my visiting family and friends always make point of including Visocchi's on their itinerary. 

It's perhaps only surprising that Visocchi's haven't extended into offering a delivery service before. I know I am not their only customer who buys boxes of their fine ice cream to take home to eat later. There must therefore be lots of potential demand for such a service with pizza to precede the ice cream.

More details about their launch date and opening offer are available on their Facebook page. I know my family will want to make use of this!

Visocchi's Caffe
40 Gray Street Broughty Ferry
Dundee DD5 2BJ 
tel 01382 779297
facebook https://www.facebook.com/Visocchi

09/10/2012

Railtrack Warning Should be Taken to Heart in Broughty Ferry


This is Railtrack's TV advert which aims to persuade people that they need to be as careful crossing railway tracks as they would be on a busy road.

Railtrack have recently spent £130 million to improve safety at crossings. They warn that 46 people have been killed on railway crossings in the past five years.

In the Ferry we have two level crossings. The one at Gray Street is for vehicles and pedestrians and has automatic barriers and warning lights and sounds. 
There is also the added safety feature of the pedestrian underpass. Despite all these safety features, this has not been without incident with drivers and pedestrians trying to beat the closing barriers and British Transport Police having to monitor the crossing.

Perhaps less well known is the level crossing at Grassy Beach which is much more like the crossing featured in the TV advert. There are no warning bells nor barriers just warning signs, and gates with a simple catch. Usually train drivers sound a warning as they approach but trains not due to stop in The Ferry can flash by at speeds up to 100 mph.

I therefore hope folk who use this crossing take note of the advert's important and sombre message.

06/10/2012

Broughty Ferry Library Children's Activities Programme October Holiday 2012

Click on programme to display full size
Over the October school holidays,  Broughty Ferry Community Library are organising a series of activities for children. These start on Monday 8 October 2012.

These include six sessions of Count Me In -Stories and Rhymes for Under 5's - no booking required.
and
Two Friday afternoon activities - Make a Skeleton and Make a Toad Pencil Holder for children aged 5-10 years. Pre-booking of a place at these two sessions is required.

The dates and times of each session are on the yellow timetable.

Please note:
All children under 5 years old must be accompanied by an adult
and 
All activities and material are provided free of charge.

Broughty Ferry Library
Queen Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 2HN
E: broughty.library@leisureandculturedundee.com
T: 01382 436919

05/10/2012

Condemnation of Repeated Damage to Bus Shelter on Balgillo Road

I was appalled to be informed that that another glass panel had been smashed on the Bus Shelter on Balgillo Road near the junction with Elcho Drive on Wednesday. Infuriatingly, this was only the day after a contractor had replaced four panels at the same Bus Shelter. Since August this makes three cases of broken glass panels at this bus shelter. 

I am sure residents will join me in condemning this series of deliberate acts of criminal damage which is wasting public money. It is also diverting council cash from funding transport improvements such as the demand for a bus shelter further up Balgillo Road at the stop close to the junction with Marlee Road.

I appeal to residents to keep an eye out for and to report any suspicious behaviour to the Police. I think the residents who live on the north side of Elie Avenue are probably in the best position to keep a watchful eye out as their homes face the Balgillo Road and this bus shelter; so let's have some neighbourhood watch!

04/10/2012

Leak in the Sewerage Pipeline Running Under the Beach in Broughty Ferry

Yesterday I reported  a leak I had observed in the main sewerage pipeline which is buried beneath the beach near Douglas Terrace. About 50 metres west of the pumping station at the end of Douglas Terrace, I could see foul water leaking out of the side of the concrete mound that apparently protects an inspection hatch. 

I also noticed that the action of the sea had clearly undermined part of the structure. This can be glimpsed in my picture.

I think this represents a health hazard and source of pollution of our beach. Perhaps this is the cause of the sewage smell that has occasionally been wafting about the area recently.

I have requested Scottish Water organise an urgent and comprehensive response. 

I must say, from the time when this sewerage pipeline was constructed, I had my reservations about the wisdom of routing it under the beach. I imagined it would be hard to protect the pipeline from the destructive forces of the sea. I had also thought that it would be difficult to spot a leak when there is so much water around and the beach above the pipeline is covered by the tide for many hours a day. Unfortunately, what I had feared seems to have come to pass.

I copied my report to Scottish Water to the Director of the City Council's Environment Department and to the City Engineer.

03/10/2012

Issues Arising on a Busy Tuesday

There may not be any Council meetings this week, but yesterday was a very busy day for me as a Ferry Councillor. 

On Tuesday morning, I received two well reasoned and detailed emails from constituents.  One was requesting action about damaged trees in Gillies Park in Barnhill. The other inquiry was about the road safety issues arising  from dropped cast iron drain covers in Balgillo Road

On my daily dog walk along to Grassy Beach, I investigated the source of the sewage pong which was wafting around the western end of Douglas Terrace.

In the afternoon I had two surgeries, one at Forthill Sheltered Housing Complex 15:30 - 16:00 and one at the in Broughty Ferry Library 18:00-18:30.

I then attended and reported to a meeting of Broughty Ferry Community Council. Our Community Council meet in the Library at 7pm on the first Tuesday of each month.

In the course of the surgeries and the Community Council meeting, I received five more issues to follow up:
  • to check the frequency of cleaning of Broughty Ferry Beach by staff from the Environment Department;
  • to represent the concerns of a constituent in connection with an educational issue at a Primary School in The Ferry;
  • to follow up pupil safety issues raised by a school crossing patroller;
  • to convey concerns about the non enforcement of section 70 agreements by the Council's Planning Department and
  • to discover how restrictions might be lifted for flying the Broughty Ferry flag more often in 2013, the centenary year of Broughty Ferry being incorporated into Dundee.
There will be lots of letters and phone calls to follow up these issues complaints and concerns.

02/10/2012

Calling for a Commitment from the Council to Rebuild Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School


Last week I was delighted to hear about the success of the Council's bid to the Scottish Future's Trust (SFT) for funding towards the cost of rebuilding Baldragon Academy. In about five years time pupils and teachers should be moving into their new Baldragon subject to a number of important formalities such as local consultations and gaining planning permission.

The Council's Education Committee approved a bid at their meeting on 25 June 2012 for 'a new build programme and shared campus in the Strathmartine area to include:
• a new Baldragon Academy and
• a new Sidlaw View Primary School, integrated with Jessie Porter Nursery School.'
Unfortunately, only part of the Council's bid was approved; that part for Baldragon Academy.

So while those folk associated with Baldragon Academy will have been feeling upbeat on hearing their positive news, it must have been very disappointing for those associated with Jessie Porter Nursery School and Sidlaw View Primary School to hear that their schools had lost out.

But I don't think we can just leave it there. 

I have written to the Education Convener, Stewart Hunter and Education Director, Michael Wood, to ask that they report back to the Education Committee at our next meeting in October. I think we are under an obligation to work out how we will fund that part of the Strathmartine Campus which has not been supported by the Scottish Government. 

01/10/2012

Council Organises Heating, Kitchen and Bathroom Upgrades for Fifteen Homes in Broughty Ferry


The Housing Department are organising a contract for Heating, Kitchen and Bathroom improvements in Broughty Ferry. Fifteen homes in Fort Street, Anton Drive, Nursery Road and King Street are part of this phase of work.

The contractor will be McGill Electrical and work is targeted to commence in December 2012 and complete in January 2013.

All of the tenants have now been visited by Housing staff to discuss the works and any arrangements which may be necessary to allow the improvements to be carried out. Meantime arrangements have been made lo provide a site display container which all tenants are welcome to come along and visit. The container is laid out with a display kitchen and bathroom allowing
tenants to see the different units, worktops, doors and handles available. At this time, The Project Team to answer any individual questions.

The display container will be located In Anton Drive next to the lock-up garages. 

While the tenants concerned are looking forward to their replacement kitchen and bathrooms and upgraded heating systems, I have written to the Housing Department to ask for some reassurances about the management of the contract. My concerns arise because many of the tenants are elderly and the contract period is programmed to be either side of Christmas and New Year. 

Frankly, If I could avoid it, I wouldn't choose to have my heating system upgraded at a time when one anticipates that the weather will be cold.  Neither would I choose to have my kitchen and bathroom upgraded just before the Christmas New Year holidays. I should be worried that some of the work would be left incomplete or that there might be some niggling fault and then the contractor's staff would be off for the best part of a fortnight.