30/11/2012

Selling Dreams: a century of image making - VandA Public Lecture Thursday 6 December 2012 at 6pm

On Thursday 6 December 2012, Susanna Brown will give a lecture called "Selling Dreams: A Century of Image Making" beginning at 7pm at the Dalhousie Building at the University of Dundee. Susanna is the Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London and has curated the exhibition of fashion photography which is currently on show at the McManus Galleries:

Selling Dreams: One Hundred Years of Fashion Photography

Free tickets available from: 
events@dundee.ac.uk and www.dundee.ac.uk/tickets
in person from Tower Building Reception at the University, or 
by calling 01382 385564 / 385108.

A free drinks reception will follow the event.

Citizenship Ceremony at City Council on Wednesday


On Wednesday afternoon, I was honoured to be invited to attend the citizenship ceremony of a friend and Broughty Ferry resident who was acquiring her British Citizenship.

The ceremony took place in the ornate setting of Committee Room One in the Council Offices in City Square. The ceremony was directed by a Registrar from the City Council who took the applicants through their oaths of allegiance and pledges to the United Kingdom (see below). Former Leader of the Council, Jill Shimi, was there in her new role as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the City.  In her role as Her Majesty the Queen's representative, she welcomed the applicants and individually presented them with their certificates and a commemorative medal from Dundee City Council.

The ceremony was concluded with the National Anthem.

It was truly a suitable occasion for individuals, their families and friends, to properly mark the acquisition of British Citizenship.

The oath is - I, [name], [swear by Almighty God] [do solemnly and truly declare and affirm] that, on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law.

The pledge is - I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.

29/11/2012

10.5% Fall in University Applications from Scottish Applicants

Click on table to enlarge
UCAS, the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK, has just reported their latest application figures for courses starting in Autumn 2013. 

Up to mid-November there were were 145,000 applications, compared with 158,000 at the same point in 2011 and 182,000 in 2010. That works out at 13,000 fewer applications in the UK, which is a fall of 8% compared with the same point last year and these are apparently the lowest figures for at least six years.

Many commentators had anticipated a reduction in applications to Universities from students living in England because of the introduction of much higher Tuition Fees with many Universities charging the maximum of £9000 per year. While this is the case, this doesn't explain why the reduction in applications in Scotland, where the Scottish Government pays the student's tuition fees, is larger than in England.

Percentage Fall in Applications to UCAS #
Scotland  - 10.5%
UK           -  8.0%

Behind these statistics there are clearly many individual applicants in Scotland who are holding back from applying to University. This is a disturbing trend. It means that there are other factors, most probably economic which are putting off well qualified potential applicants from taking the next step to improve their qualifications. This trend is also likely to reduce the demand for places at our two Universities in the City and might lead to empty places and a loss of income to the Universities.

I think the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mike Russell MSP needs to tell us what he is proposing to do to help reverse this trend?

# Note the final figures for University applications will be known after the main deadline on 15 January 2013.

28/11/2012

SNP Councillors Halved the Representation of Parents in the Planning of New City Schools

I was disappointed that at the Policy and Resources Committee on Monday night, SNP Councillors conspired to vote for a reduction in parental representation on the Project Boards that will be planning the new schools in Coldside, Menzieshill and Strathmartine. I think it is really important to have strong parental voices in these Planning Boards.

At the Policy and Resources Committee, I argued that we should retain having two members of the Parent Council of each school in the relevant Project Planning Board for the replacement schools and community facilities. This would have been in line with what has been the practice at the Project Planning Boards for the Balgarthno (Lochee-Charleston) and West End shared campus replacement primary schools. I was disappointed that what had been proposed in the report to the committee was a reduction to one Parent Council member per school. Despite my offering a constructive alternative to their proposal they would not budge.


I also pointed out to the Committee that when it comes to the appointment of head teachers, the law of Scotland provides that Parent Councils have a right to two members on an appointment committee selecting a new Head Teacher for their school. So if it is good enough for head teacher appointments it should also be the continuing standard of representation for the Project Boards planning our new schools in the city.


I was pleased that the Committee agreed with my proposal to involve pupil council members of the project boards but I remain puzzled why the non Labour members of the Committee should want to reduce the participation of parents.


While the Committee Convener said that the Project Boards can use their discretion to bring more people on, I have my doubts that they will do this if so many Councillors have expressed this level of resistance to my proposal.

27/11/2012

Dropped Cast Iron Drain Covers on Dundee Road Need Fixing

On the drive from Broughty Ferry to Dundee along the Dundee Road, I have noticed a number of clunks as my car drives over significant depressions in the road surface.  My bumpy ride in this instance, is caused by three dropped drain covers which are roughly in a line close to the junction of Dundee Road and Ralston Road on the southern carriageway.

Rather like pot holes, if dropped street ironwork is not sorted out, our car journeys can make for an uncomfortable ride and at worst they can cause damage to tyres and wheels.

I first reported these dropped drain covers two months ago. My picture shows a significant depression in the road but more ominously,  I noticed stress fractures in the surrounding tarmac which will only get worse when snow and ice get into them over the winter.

I think it's more than time this was sorted out by the Roads Partnership.

26/11/2012

Qualified Welcome for New Stagecoach Bus Service Linking central Broughty Ferry with Dundee City Centre from Monday 26 November 2012

Click on timetable to enlarge
The City Council Transport Department have just announced a new bus service linking central Broughty Ferry (Brook Street/Gray Street) and Dundee City Centre.

Starting today, Monday 26 November, Stagecoach will be running the new No 74 service Monday to Friday between 0900 to 1600 - every 30 mins. This bus service will operate via Broughty Ferry Road / Greendykes / Gardyne College /Strathern Road - and into central Broughty Ferry. This will increase the number of daytime buses coming along Brook Street from 3 to 5 buses per hour (4 from West Ferry direction and 1 coming down from Forthill).


I have no doubt that this bus route will be appreciated by residents living south of the railway line in central Broughty Ferry and those visitors that want a bus that delivers them right into the heart of the shopping centre. It's two years since the bus reorganisation when National Express withdrew their buses from running through central Broughty Ferry. At that time many residents, including some who live in sheltered housing, approached me with their concerns. I am sure they will make use of this new service.

One group of residents who won't be putting out the flags are those that live in Dundee Road who rely on the bus, especially some of the older folk who live in the Taypark apartments.

The limited hours for the new service also means that it will not be any use for those that work regular 9-5 hours in Dundee or The Ferry. Perhaps if this new service is a success, we can pressurise Stagecoach to increase the operating times?

25/11/2012

New Listening Ear Service for Older People Welcomed

Click on image to enlarge

There is a new telephone helpline, Dundee Information and Advocacy Helpline for Older People (DIAL-OP). This new service for older people and their carers in Dundee opened in August.

DIAL-OP information helpline is a fantastic resource which aims to help signpost callers to agencies and organisations that can help provide them with more detailed and accurate information in relation to their enquiry or concern. They also aim to be a practical point of contact for vulnerable and isolated older people who may not have anyone to talk to about their concerns, or perhaps a caller may be apprehensive about discussing certain issues with family and relatives. In a nut shell; if it matters to the caller, it matters to DIAL-OP.

DIAL-OP have ten friendly, local volunteers, who are keen to support callers to the service by providing ‘a listening ear’. All callers are accepted without prejudice and encouraged to talk and explore their options. 

The Dundee Information and Advocacy Line for Older People (DIAL-OP) service is provided Monday to Friday from 10am-1pm  (01382) 305757
Outwith those hours they have an answering service which is checked daily as well as an e-mail address: Dial-op@diasdundee.org

24/11/2012

Brian Taylor's Big Debate Live from Dundee Contemporary Arts Friday 30 November 2012

Brian Taylor’s Big Debate is coming to Dundee Contemporary Arts on Friday November 30 between 12 noon and 1 pm. It will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland. 

If you would like a seat in the audience book your place at brian@bbc.co.uk

Feel free to submit a question to the Panel by email to:
brian@bbc.co.uk


23/11/2012

Unemployment in The Ferry - October 2012 Update


In October 2012, there were 210 unemployed men and women in Broughty Ferry according to statistics released from the Office of National Statistics.

These figures are based on the claimant count; the number of people claiming Job Seekers' Allowance. These figures therefore exclude those individuals who are unemployed and seeking work but do not qualify for Job Seekers' Allowance. The official figures also exclude those individuals that are underemployed currently seeking more hours of paid work.

Unemployment in Broughty Ferry broken down into individual areas:
Broughty Ferry central  63
Balgillo                       73
Barnhill                       43
West Ferry                  31
                                         +

Total The Ferry  210

These figures are a stark reminder that unemployment hits areas such as The Ferry with the same force for the individuals affected and their families as it does elsewhere. As one Labour politician commented in the 1960's, 'for the unemployed person, unemployment is 100%'.

The unemployment figures for The Ferry do not sit in isolation. Alongside them are the figures for Dundee that show that the unemployment rate in the city continues to be higher than it is in Glasgow.

These high rates of unemployment result from the policies of a complacent UK Government. They urgently need to adopt Labour’s 5 point plan for jobs which includes a tax on bankers’ bonuses. Also responsible is an out of touch Scottish Government now permanently focused on its referendum for a separate Scotland that needs to re-order its priorities.

Weather Didn't Stop the Fun at Broughty Christmas Lights and Street Party

All the fun of the fair
The cold and wet weather didn't put off the crowds of families gathering in Brook Street and Gray Street last night to see the new Christmas Lights switched on by the Lord Provost.
A special thank you to Broughty Ferry Traders for once again organising the event with a wide range of voluntary, commercial and Council collaborators and sponsors.
A memorable night on the civic calendar for The Ferry.

Rachel Lindsay P7B Eastern Primary School
joint winner of the Bferry Traders'
Christmas Poster competition

Staff and pupils from Barnhill Primary School
 are presented with their charitable donation
from Broughty Ferry Traders

Gillies special Christmas window display

22/11/2012

Additional Traffic Safety Measures Committed for Ferry Schools

Last Friday afternoon, I attended a meeting of the School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group chaired by the Chief Executive, David Dorward.

The Committee received updates about progress with the implementation of safety measures already agreed. In the light of additional reports, some further safety measures were agreed.

The following safety improvements have been agreed for Ferry Schools:

Forthill Primary School
Work is ongoing in respect of traffic orders connected with the installation of a traffic barrier and use of Forthìll Sports Club Car Park (for staff parking) and would be completed by April 2013.

Grove Academy/Eastern Primary School
Work is progressing to implement the traffic order to make the northerly section of Church Street one way running north to its junction with Davidson Street.
The following additional measures were agreed:-
(i) Yellow box on Church Steet/Queen Street Junction.
(ii) Part-time 20 mph speed limit signage on Queen Street.
(iii) Re-locate Bus stop and Shelter on Claypotts Road (east side).

Barnhill Primary School
It was agreed that an updated risk assessment is to be carried out in light of the planned major building works at the school.

Annual Review
Finally, the Group agreed to meet again in June 2013 to review the effectiveness of the measures that had been introduced throughout Dundee to enhance road safety in the vicinity of our schools.

This has been an effective working group that has really got some things done at schools to hopefully enhance pupil safety in the vicinity of our schools. While some measures have taken longer to implement than we anticipated, I now recognise some of the complexities of introducing improvements that require traffic orders.

21/11/2012

ScotRail Fail to Reassure Passengers from Broughty Ferry About Fair Fares

At the Broughty Ferry Library on Tuesday 6 November, John Yellowlees
the External Relations Manager of First ScotRail talked to members of the Community Council and the public about the development of train services at our station. In response to two questions I had posed, which he was unable to answer on the night, he emailed the Secretary of the Community Council with his responses. 

I had first put to John Yellowlees a question about higher fares from Broughty Ferry which a constituent had raised with me. The fact is that in some instances the return fare from Dundee to Aberdeen is £4.20 cheaper than the equivalent but slightly shorter return journey to Aberdeen from Broughty Ferry. In fact when I inquired about this at the ticket office at Dundee Station, I was advised to buy a cheaper return ticket from Dundee and get on at Broughty Ferry. John Yellowlees replied:
"We have two levels of Advance fare. The lower of the two is available only on a small number of high demand flows where such deep discounting is viable. The higher level of Advance will be the same or similar for both stations." (Broughty Ferry and Dundee)

My second question was about under counting  of rail users journeys to and from Broughty Ferry if they were buying tickets to and from Dundee, and the potential effect on future investment. John Yellowlees didn't answer my question but warned:

"On the risk of undercounting, if passengers use a Dundee ticket to travel from Broughty Ferry, then they are liable to purchase a new ticket as it would not be valid."

I think it's nonsense to not make Broughty Ferry fares equivalent to the best fares to and from Dundee. It is disappointing to hear that ScotRail is not committed to look into these anomalies and sort these out. Even worse we are told that passengers that follow the advice of ScotRail staff at the booking office in Dundee might be penalised and have to buy another ticket if they are caught getting on at Broughty Ferry with a ticket from Dundee. This is Alice in Wonderland stuff.

I think that ScotRail should sort this out. 

On their website ScotRail claim that:
"Providing a safe and reliable service and continuous improvement to performance levels remain at the top of our agenda. We will continue to provide value for money services and to invest in train refurbishments leading to improve reliability and station enhancements to ensure a safer and more comfortable environment.
I think some of their fare paying passengers in Broughty Ferry may be doubtful about the commitment of ScotRail to live up to these bold claims.

20/11/2012

Long Suffering Residents of Albany Place to Have their Road Resurfaced

I know that the long suffering residents of Albany Place will be delighted that their Road is to be resurfaced early next month.

Work is programmed to commence at Albany Place on Monday 3 December 2012, and will last for approximately 3 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. 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 433558.

Policing Matters - Two Police Committees in One Day

Police Service of
Scotland badge
In April 2013 the national Police Service of Scotland will come into effect. In the meanwhile, there is intense work is going on organizing a smooth transition from Tayside Joint Police Board (incorporating Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross) to the new Scotland wide service. 

In parallel the City Council in Dundee is a Pathfinder working with Tayside Police to develop new reporting procedures and channels of accountability to the City Council for policing in our city. This is to ensure that there is continuing local accountability for policing once the new national force comes into effect next year. 

Yesterday, I attended two meetings about Policing which focused on that twin track agenda of preparing for the end of Tayside Police and the beginning of the Single Police Force for Scotland. 

In the morning I was at Forfar for a meeting of the Tayside Joint Police Board and in the early evening I attended a special meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee in Dundee, where we examined a report from Chief Superintendent Hamish MacPherson about the next steps in developing Councillor engagement in planning and monitoring policing in Dundee.

Both committees received performance reports about crime levels and policing responses. At the Police Board in Forfar, I asked Chief Inspector Justine Curran about about Police Officers having to be removed from front line policing duties to undertake back office activities formerly undertaken by non uniformed Police staff. In the reports we had received it was clear that non uniformed Police staff in Tayside had been reduced by 23% since 2009. I pointed out that my constituents were concerned that a visible Police presence was maintained on the streets. The Chief pointed out that the reduction in non uninformed police staff had been partly achieved by merging three separate administrative teams into one. She did however admit that some back filling had been undertaken by Police Officers being switched to working in the police control centre. Significantly, I also noticed in the reports that a growing proportion of public calls to the 0300 111 2222 non-emergency police number had taken longer to answer than the target time of 40 seconds. This phenomenon of 'backroom bobbies' is a worrying development as is the failure to answer the phone quickly and efficiently.

At the Dundee meeting we had reports about levels of crime and detection rates as recorded in the first half of the 2012/13 year. I asked a question about the future comparative statistics that would be provided in these reports in Dundee. Comparative figures would help us ensure that investment and police performance in our city is up to scratch. I hoped that working within the new national Police Service of Scotland, it would be possible to compare the policing performance in Dundee with other cities in Scotland such as Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as Perth and Kinross and Angus. I was told that this sort of issue was yet to be decided by the emergent Police Service of Scotland but would be borne in mind.

19/11/2012

YeAABA Dabba Dook - New Year's Day 2013 - Time to Enter

Click on image to enlarge
It's time to get your entry in for the New Year's Day Dook 2013 at Broughty Ferry Harbour. It's organised by Scotland's only open water swimming club; Broughty Ferry's 'Ye Amphibious Ancients Bathing Association'; the Phibbies

Yes the year is passing fast and as Christmas lights are switched on, it's time to fill in your entry form, especially if you want to be among the first 500 Dookers who sign up for the challenge and qualify for a special edition Gillies Dook Day Bather's Towel. This is in addition to the Dook T-shirt and Certificate of Achievement that all Dookers receive. Entry fee £15.

To enter either fill in the entry form in the printed Dook 2013 Official Programme available throughout the Ferry in shops and at the Library or apply online at:
YeABBA Dook 2013 Entry

18/11/2012

Christmas Poster 2012 - Winning Designs from each of our three Broughty Ferry Primary Schools

Click on image to enlarge













Congratulations to our three winning young designers:
  • Theo Romanowski Class P1A Barhill Primary School
  • Rachel Lindsay Class P7B Eastern Primary School and
  • Hannah Benns Class P6 Forthill Primary School

Switching on The Ferry Christmas Lights and Street Party Thursday 22 November Brook Street Starting at 6pm

The countdown to the switching on of the Christmas Lights and Street Party in the heart of The Ferry continues.

It's getting closer by the minute. Don't forget it's this Thursday, 22 November,
beginning at 6pm
in Brook Street. 

Don't miss out on the fun
and spectacle.

17/11/2012

Five and Ten Percent Savings Sought from Each Council Department Confirmed by Chief Executive

On Thursday evening I attended the quarterly meeting of the Local Community Planning Partnership (LCPP) for The Ferry. 

The Chief Executive of the Council, David Dorward, attended and gave an overview about Council's priorities and plans. He also emphasised the challenge of continuing to provide quality services whist also finding significant reductions in budgets. This was in the context of reductions in the grant from the Scottish Government and the Council Tax freeze amounting to a £18 million black hole. To meet this £18 million shortfall by the end of March 2015, he revealed that each council department had been asked to identify potential savings of 5% and 10%. 

I have calculated from figures provided in this year's budget that this would amount in Education to about £6.5 for a 5% saving and £13 million for a 10% saving. But the funding gap is really bigger in Education as SNP Councillors are committed to increasing nursery hours at an annual cost of £1.6  million. Potentially therefore savings in existing services in our schools will be cuts by up to £15 million spread over the next couple of years. 

This confirms the concerns that I have previously voiced about the impossible challenge of maintaining excellence in our schools while seeking even more significant cuts in budgets.

15/11/2012

Council Tenants in The Ferry Have Your Say on 5%+ Increases in Rents and Service Charges from April 2013


Tenants have your say about future rent levels and service charges before the end of the year!

This is the message from the City Council Housing Department to all its tenants throughout Dundee including Broughty Ferry. Now is the time to take the opportunity to respond to the consultation on the proposed increases in rent and service change from April 2013.

Every year the Housing Department looks at the rent and other charges that they need to collect so that they can continue to deliver the services that tenants have told them they want. They have looked at their budgets from 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014 and have developed three different options for rent and service charge increases which they want to gather opinions and feedback on. The three rent options range from an increase in 5% to 5.5%.

More details on the options for rent increases and what you would get for your money.

More details on the options for increases in service charges especially for tenants in sheltered housing. 


There are lots of ways to give us your views and feedback on the Council's proposals. All they ask is that you tell them by Monday 31st December 2012

How to give the Council your opinions and feedback

14/11/2012

Waste Mortar to be Removed from Pilot Pier in Broughty Ferry

Mortar in boxes observed on
pm Tuesday 13 November
Yesterday afternoon, I was alerted to two plastic crates containing lumps of waste mortar which had been left by builders at the Pilot Pier on Fisher Street in Broughty Ferry for the last week. 

On the morning of Tuesday 5 November, a constituent had first contacted me to a situation at the Pilot Pier in The Ferry. They had observed workers, now confirmed to be from Craigleith Masonry in Edinburgh. They were seen breaking up excess mortar which had been left to set overnight on protective sheeting on the cobbled area at the Pilot Pier. Subsequently they left the mortar in plastic boxes presumably for easy uplift. 

Picture from Resident am
Tuesday 6 November
This seemed to be satisfactory at the time, but one week later there are still two boxes awaiting uplift by the firm.

I have contacted Craigleith Masonry this morning who have confirmed that they will remove their boxes of waste building materials from our sea front on Friday when they are next working in The Ferry repairing the sea wall in the vicinity. 

13/11/2012

Improvements to Open Spaces and Play Areas in Broughty Ferry Approved by Environment Committee

At the meeting of the Environment Committee on Monday 12 November, the Committee approved a report on improvements to Open Spaces and Play Areas throughout the city. 

This is the list of improvements which is to be undertaken in five parks and open spaces in Broughty Ferry:


Gillies Park
Refurbish and replace children's sit-on-spring-mobiles and
Repair worn sections of safer surfacing in fenced children's play area

Dawson Park
Landscape area to create seating and also refurbish shrub beds. These works will improve the visual aspect to the park and make the entrances more welcoming, yet not affecting existing maintenance costs.

Castle Green
Repair worn sections of safer surfacing in children's play area and 
Refurbish shrub beds and plantings to improve visual impact and maintenance.

Barnhill Cemetery
Landscape area to create seating and also refurbish shrub bed areas. This will make use of an unused area for the installation of memorial benches.

Strathmore Avenue
Landscape area to create seating and also refurbish shrub beds.

I know that many constituents and visitors to The Ferry will appreciate these minor but significant improvements to be undertaken by The Environment Department.

11/11/2012

Service of Remembrance at Grove Academy Friday 9 October 2012


Rev Brian Talbot
On Friday morning I attended the annual service of remembrance at Grove Academy. As this was a continuous Professional Development (CPD) day at Grove, it was mainly teachers and a handful of senior pupils who were joined by clergy from Ferry Churches and Councillor Kevin Cordell and me.

The service was led at the memorial by Rev Dr Brian Talbot minister at the Baptist Church in The Ferry. After the laying of the wreaths, we went into the hall for the remainder of the service. In a short address, Rev Graham Taylor focused on former pupil Brian Murphy, who died thirty years ago during the Falklands War. Brian had been Deputy Flight Commander on HMS Ardent.

At the school's annual prize giving, a Brian Murphy Trophy is presented to two pupils who have tried hardest, but whose achievement might not normally be recognised.
This was a moving service of remembrance.

10/11/2012

Dundee City of Cycling?

In the last fortnight, three events have made me think about the possibility of our city being declared:

Dundee City of Cycling.
  1. Firstly, on Tuesday 30 October there was a Civic Reception for the folk who had raised money for charity while cycling the roads and paths round Dundee in the Annual Dundee Cyclathon back in early September;
  2. The Proposed Dundee Local Development Plan (October 2012) was issued for consultation and
  3. Bradley Wiggins was hospitalised after being knocked off his bike while out on a training ride near his home town of Chorley.
On Sunday 9 September, I took part in the annual Cyclathon organised by Claverhouse Rotary Club. I enjoyed the experience of cycling round the 26 miles of Dundee's Green Circular route and raising over £320 for my nominated charity Tushinde Children's Trust. Looking back, the ride was particularly enjoyable because a good proportion of the route is off road and of course I was cycling in the company of many others with the added reassurance of members of the Claverhouse Rotary Club acting as marshals at points where we crossed the road. I think these are important observations for our planners who are working to promote more sustainable transportation.

Survey's about Cycling identify that most households have a bike or two in the garage but all too rarely we take them them out on the road. One of the key reasons folk mention for not getting out on their bikes is the perceived sense of vulnerability on a bike on our roads. So when our Olympic Gold medalist and Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, gets knocked off his bike, it confirms our concerns while perhaps emphasising that something should be done about this to make cycling safer.

This made the launch of the Proposed Dundee Local Development Plan (October 2012) of particular interest, especially as it's out for consultation. How will that plan help develop cycling in Dundee when even streak of lightning Wiggo can't avoid a crash and crushed ribs? How will the plan help us to encourage the tenfold increase in cycling for journeys of under two miles that would meet the target set by the Scottish Government? The aspiration of developing more sustainable transport is mentioned clearly in the plan and a number of measures are proposed for major new developments. Whilst that is positive, is it enough? I hope cycling and environmental interest groups will examine the Proposed Dundee Local Development Plan and respond during the consultation period.
Let's hope that for the sake of our environment, our waistlines, and safer cycling, we might soon be able to celebrate Dundee City of Cycling.

09/11/2012

Dundee Christmas Light Night 2012 - City Centre Friday 23 November 2012 from 6pm

Dundee's Christmas Light Night- on Friday 23 November 2012 between 6 and 9pm- will see the whole City Centre opening up to become an event arena for one big family street party.

There will be performances from local groups and entertainers at outdoor locations and indoor venues. Stroll around and enjoy some of the city's unique talent
  • Magical Torchlight Procession
  • Switching on of the Christmas lights
  • One Big Ceilidh
  • The Dundee Nativity
  • Choirs and Dance Groups
  • Cartoon Characters and Facepainters
  • Heritage Walks 
  • Shopping
  • Projections and One Big Choir
  • Firework FinalĂ©
Link to Updates about the Programme for Christmas Light Night 2012

08/11/2012

Proposed Dundee Local Development Plan Published - Time to Make Your Views Count


The Proposed Dundee Local Development Plan has now been published.  This contains the spatial strategy that will guide future development up to 2024 and shows which land is being allocated to meet the City’s development needs and where new development should and should not happen.  The Proposed Plan contains policies and proposals covering the principal land use issues in the City and will provide the context in which decisions on planning applications will be made. 

The Proposed Dundee Local Development Plan together with associated supporting documents can be inspected on the internet at www.dundeecity.gov.uk/localdevplan or during office hours at 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee and in all council libraries throughout Dundee.

A period for making representation on the Proposed Dundee Local Development Plan starts at 12:00hrs on 5 November 2012 and ends at 12:00hrs on 19 December 2012. 

Representations should be made during that period via an online questionnaire at www.dundeecity.gov.uk/localdevplan.  Should you have any difficulties accessing the plan or in making representations please contact localdevplan@dundeecity.gov.uk or telephone  01382 433105 for advice. 

Further information regarding the Proposed Dundee Local Development Plan may be obtained from Dundee City Council by email at localdevplan@dundeecity.gov.uk or by telephone on 01382 433105. 

Local Development Plan Team
City Development Department
Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee DD1 1EQ

Jessie's Kitchen Win Garden Centre Cafe of the Year 2012

Jessie's Kitchen at Turriff's Garden Centre and Farm Shop in The Ferry have won another accolade and this time it's a UK national award:
Garden Centre Cafe of the Year in the Garden Retail Awards 2012.

Last night, at the Garden Retail Awards Ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London's Park Lane, they beat off stiff competition to bring back this well deserved award. This follows on their recent success last month as Scottish Homebaker of the Year Award 2012.

If you haven't tasted their delicious home baking and carefully selected teas and coffees you have been missing out!

Jessie's Kitchen
Monday - Saturday 08:30 - 16:30 Sunday 10:00 - 16:00 
3 Albert Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 1AY
Tel 01382 778 488  Facebook

07/11/2012

Scottish Water Commits to Permanent Repair of Sewage Pipe Under Broughty Ferry Beach


Last week, I met a senior engineer from Scottish Water for a site meeting on Douglas Terrace about the sewage leak on the beach, which I had first identified and reported to them at the beginning of October. This sewage pipe runs under the beach and close to the end of the raised walkway from Grassy Beach to Douglas Terrace. Out on my daily dog walk in last month, I could clearly see foul water leaking form the side of the concrete chamber which is buried in the beach with just the top protruding above the beach level. 

After two repair attempts, the visible flow has been stopped. At low tide you can see what amounts to a rather ugly repair with splodges of concrete lining the top of the junction chamber. The engineer from Scottish Water and a Manager from Veolia Water, the maintenance contractor, confirmed that it's a difficult site where they can only work in the few hours either side of low tide.

At our meeting, I was assured that what had been done was indeed a temporary repair.  I impressed on them the importance of making a permanent repair to the pipe. I was pleased to learn that an options appraisal is underway and that when the necessary permissions have been granted there will be a comprehensive replacement. This will need to be carefully planned because, while the old chamber and pipe is being dug up and replaced, a temporary bypass will need to be set up to divert the constant sewage and drainage water that flows down the pipe. They predicted a likely timescale of 6 months before the necessary permissions and contracts were in place and the more permanent repair is undertaken.

In the meanwhile, Violia staff are committed to monitoring the site to check for any new leaks breaking out and repairing these. I will also be keeping an eye on the site as I walk by every morning.

I have also written to the City Engineer to ask him to liaise with Scottish Water on the timing for the replacement of this length of sewer so that this does not clash with the the upgrading of the coastal pathway as both operations will require access to the beach down the same slipway.

06/11/2012

Countdown to 2012 Switching On Broughty Ferry Christmas Lights & Street Concert Thurs 22 November from 6:15 pm

Christmas Street Concert Brook Street
This year The Broughty Ferry Christmas Street Concert, sponsored by Gillies and supported by Radio Tay, will take place on Thursday 22 November 2012 and will feature music and entertainment from local groups including the Eastern School Choir, together with a special performance by a soon to be announced headline act.

There will be street entertainers, carnival rides, the famous Scott Brothers BBQ, together with complimentary mince pies, sweeties and hot mulled wine courtesy of the Broughty Ferry Traders. 

The Music and entertainment will start around 6:15pm and the Christmas lights will be switched on by The Lord Provost at 7pm.

This year’s Christmas celebrations in Broughty Ferry promise to be even bigger and better than before and Broughty Ferry Traders hope that you will join in and enjoy the wonderful festivities they have arranged.

05/11/2012

Agenda for Broughty Ferry Community Council Meeting Tuesday 6 November 2012 7pm

At the next meeting of the Broughty Ferry Community Council on Tuesday 6 November, there will be an opportunity to find out more about two important local issues:



Future Development of Train Services at Broughty Ferry Station




and


The proposed City Council's Draft Development Plan for Dundee October 2012 which has just been issued for public consultation.

A representative from First ScotRail and two senior Planners from the Council will be present at the meeting to brief members of the public and the Community Councillors about their respective issues.

Tuesday 6 November 2012 beginning at 7pm
Broughty Ferry Library, Queen Street, Broughty Ferry DD5 2HN

03/11/2012

Lest We Forget 11am on Sunday 11 November 2012


Ninety four years ago, precisely at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of 1918 the Armistice, which brought the end to hostilities in the First World War, came into effect.
Our two minutes silence at 11:00 on Sunday 11 November 2012 "commemorates the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts"

02/11/2012

Superstorm Sandy and Coastal Flooding Risks in Dundee

Click on map to enlarge
In a week when we see pictures of the devastation from flood damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in New York, I think it's certainly time to be asking how well prepared are we in Dundee to meet the potential challenge from storm damage and rising sea levels.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) have stated that:
'From the National Flood Risk Assessment we have found that one in 22 of all residential properties and one in 13 of all non-residential properties are at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea or heavy rainfall in urban areas.'


The extract (above left) from the National Flood Risk Assessment map, which is available online, broadly indicates that the City Centre and waterfront and central Broughty Ferry are the coastal areas of Dundee most at risk of flooding. But this map doesn't identify risks to individual homes and businesses. That will come from further studies.

I am relieved therefore to be informed that at long last the Stage 2 Coastal Flood Study which the council commissioned from external consultants will be presented to Committee before the end of the year and a briefing for all City Councillors has been arranged for later this month. Before the election in May 2012, I was assured that this survey report would be reported to Council after the election but before the summer recess. The recent storm destruction and disruption in the USA and in other parts of the UK remind us that we should not be waiting for a devastating storm to hit Dundee's coast before we make contingency plans and make improvements to protect the homes and livelihoods of our constituents.

At a recent meeting of the Planning Committee, when outline planning consent for the V and A was granted, I had asked senior planning officers at the meeting whether rising sea levels had been taken into account in determining the level of the proposed building on its site. We were informed that the site level had taken into account a potential rise in sea levels between 1 to 1.5 metres (3ft 3 inches to 4ft 11 inches in imperial measurements).

As a Ferry Councillor, I am obviously aware of the problems of flooding from high tides in stormy conditions that lap up close to properties near the Lifeboat shed. But add another four or five feet to sea levels and exceptionally at a spring tide with a following wind many more homes and businesses could be vulnerable to flooding and at depths that might necessitate evacuation. I think many folk in central Broughty Ferry living close to the river will be wondering what is in store, what the Council will be doing about this and when will they start work on beefing up our coastal protection.
 
I have written to the Chief Executive, David Dorward, about these issues and requested clarification about what improvements to coastal protection in City Quay and Broughty Ferry will be made."

Maryfield Councillor Georgia Cruickshank adds:
This will be worrying news for my constituents in City Quay who have bought properties or developed businesses close to the Tay. It would seem that that their homes and premises will be exposed to the risks of rising sea levels and an increased risk of coastal flooding. I hope the Council will be revealing adequate plans to reassure my constituents that they will be protected. Clearly as sea levels are rising there is a threat to coastal properties and my constituents and many local businesses will be in the front line.

01/11/2012

Barnhill Primary School Extension - Alternative Site Access

Narrow entrance roadway to
Barnhill Primary School

At the Education Committee on Monday evening 29 October, we considered a report on the proposed £1.9 million extension to Barnhill Primary School. This report spelled out the improvements to the school in addition to the original four classrooms that had been proposed.

I welcomed this report because I had backed the Parent Council in advocating that to adequately raise the capacity of this school, the Council would need to add more than four classrooms. I am delighted therefore that this report provides more nursery places and expansion to other facilities such as the dining hall which would otherwise be pinch points in a school with a higher intake.

While this is very satisfactory, I wanted to make a plea about safe access to the building site during the contract period. This had been informed by my prior meeting with the City Architect.

The entrance to Barnhill Primary School is on Falkland Crescent. The only current vehicular access to the school site is from Falkland Crescent and comprises a narrow roadway about the same width as a domestic driveway with just room for one car travelling one way. It runs parallel with a pathway for pedestrians which is fenced off. The roadway is currently used by staff to access their car parking spaces, the Janitor accessing his house, visitors to the school and parents dropping off children at the nursery. The pathway is the principal pedestrian access point for pupils and their parents/carers. The plan was apparently to also use this narrow road for the construction site access during the building works.

I requested that, in the interests of pupil safety, the design team should explore the feasibility of an alternative separate vehicular access to the building site in order to meet best practice advice arising from The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

The Education Convener agreed that this would be explored.