30/09/2013

More Vandalism in The Ferry

Vandalised street furniture in Brook Street Broughty Ferry
Outside Greggs on Brook Street, one of the bike racks fixed to the pavement is damaged and appears to have been deliberately vandalised. As you can see it is bent over and unusable. On closer inspection, one end of the stainless steel rail has been severed at ground level by what appears to have be repeated bending over and back until the metal snapped.

Unfortunately, this is another example of deliberate and sickening property damage. This not only undermines the appearance of our main street but also diverts cash from vital Council services to pay for needless repairs and replacements.
I have informed the Transportation Department and Roads' Maintenance Partnership to ask that the broken rack is removed immediately and subsequently replaced. I have also informed Tayside Division, Police Scotland. As this happened in direct line of sight from the CCTV camera, I hope the perpetrators will be easily identified and apprehended.

This deliberate damage of public property follows a spate of spray painting of unsightly graffiti tags in numerous locations in Barnhill including garage doors which happened on
Thursday night and through to the small hours of Friday morning.

29/09/2013

Work Starting on Extension to Barnhill Primary School in October Holidays

Proposed site layout for Barnhill Primary School Extension
During the forthcoming two weeks of the October school holidays, work will begin on the £2.2 million contract to extend Barnhill Primary School.

This contract will deliver much needed additional classrooms and facilities to help the school cope with the rising demand for places.

The construction work, during the holiday fortnight, will include moving the Nursery building to its new location with the help of a crane. In addition the site compound will be fenced off and a temporary access road from Abercromby Street put in.

After the October 2013 holidays, work will proceed in a number of phases.

It is hoped that with regular communication between the contractors, the school and residents, the building of this extension will not be too disruptive. Hopefully it won't be too long before school pupils and staff can enjoy their enhanced and extended school.

28/09/2013

Word Wide Biggest Coffee Morning in Broughty Ferry Today


As part of the World's Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Support, there is a drop-in event today - Saturday 28th September - at St Luke's Church Hall on West Queen Street, Broughty Ferry.

Drop in anytime between 11am-4pm for unlimited tea and coffee for £1 all going to help this worthy cause. Home Baking and Sandwiches, Fiddlers and Piper, Tombola, Book Stall and even Face Painting for the kids!

27/09/2013

Police Appeal for Help to Track Down Vandals That Spray Painted Property in Broughty Ferry

Police Scotland, Tayside Division is looking for the public's help in trying to track down the vandals who spray painted graffiti on a number of cars, garages, walls and phones boxes in the Broughty Ferry area of Dundee.

The vandalisms happened sometime between 10pm on Thursday, September 26 and 6am on Friday, September 27.

The green-coloured paint was sprayed on property in Montague Street, Strathmore Street, Hamilton Street, Abercromby Street, Fettercairn Drive and Guthrie Street.

Vandalism is unacceptable no matter what form it takes. It creates unnecessary expense for individuals and organisations. Where offences are reported to Tayside Division it will carry out appropriate enquiries and where offenders are identified they will be robustly dealt with. 

Police Scotland urges people not to tolerate vandalism but to report them immediately.

Anyone who can assist Police Scotland with their inquiries should get in touch with Tayside Division on 101 or speak to any police officer.

Alternatively information can be passed anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

26/09/2013

Phased Pavement Upgrading in Gray Street Gets Underway

Gary Street Broughty Ferry Pavement Upgrading September 2013
Contractors began work this week upgrading the pavements in Gray Street between King Street and Brook Street. The work will be phased over the next six weeks and began on the east side section between King Street and Long Lane.

My photo also shows the replacement street lights that match those in the central part of Brook Street. These are low maintenance lights and the more elaborate posts should help support bunting for the Gala and Christmas decorations.

The work should be complete before the switching on of the Christmas Lights in November.

In the meanwhile, parking spots will be be more limited in the vicinity of the construction work and traffic is restricted to one way south on the section of Gray Street between Brook Street and King Street. Temporary diversions are in place.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

25/09/2013

Overfull Rubbish Bin Reported


Rubbish Bin Grassy Beach Broughty Ferry
While out on my dog walk, I have noticed that this rubbish bin at Grassy Beach is stuffed full. 

I have reported it to the Environment Department. I have also reminded them that I previously requested a larger bin for this location. It's a busy spot on the green circular and coastal pathway close to the sailing and yacht club premises.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

23/09/2013

You’re Never Too Old - Fun Day for Older People in Dundee - Thursday 3 October 2013

Celebrate Age Network Forum and the Older People Engaging Needs Project in Dundee are celebrating International Day for Older People with an event in the Central Baptist Church, Ward Road on Thursday 3rd October from 10.00-16.15.

You’re Never Too Old is a fun day out where older people can find out about positive activities that they can take part in. 

Copies of the brochure are available from the Number Ten Reception.

The event is free and transport can be arranged by phoning Susan Gunn on Dundee (01382) 305745

22/09/2013

Rutted Section of Reres Road Needs Resurfacing

Ruts in a Reres Road in Broughty Ferry
This picture shows the badly rutted section of Reres Road close to to its junction with Monifieth Road opposite Orchar Park.

As well as the ruts, there is an accumulation of grit on both sides of the road. As this comes at the bottom of a steep hill and drivers are having to slow or come to a stop, the accumulated grit and debris on the road, together with the pot holes, would make braking less effective. 

I think this represents a road safety hazard. I have sent my picture and report to the Roads' Maintenance Partnership.

19/09/2013

Residents in Camphill Road have Mounting Concerns about Road Safety

Camphill Road Broughty Ferry at the bend in the road close to the junction with Dick Street
Driver navigating the corner close to
the junction with Dick Street
Many residents in Camphill Road have mounting concerns about road safety issues and want a solution. These have been heightened by two recent car crashes in their street which have involved the Police. One of these was in the last week at the junction with Panmure Street and Bughties Road. The earlier one was close to the junction of Camphill Road with Dick Street. 

A resident described this earlier crash as follows:

'There was a pretty bad smash on Saturday night 17th Aug around 6.30pm between a BMW and a campervan at the junction of Dick Street / Camphill Road, at the location where all the near misses happen daily.'

Between the junctions with Panmure Street and Queen Street, Camphill Road is narrow and twisting with limited sight lines at the corners. The bend in the road at the junction with Dick Street, is probably the most challenging for drivers.

Residents claim that at peak rush hours in the morning and evening the road is used as a rat run with drivers avoiding the two further sets of traffic lights on Queen Street.

Certainly I can confirm that when I drove down Camphill Road last week at about 5:30 pm a car coming at some speed in the opposite direction missed taking off my door handles by inches having just driven off Queen Street at the traffic lights.

To discourage the rat run and reduce traffic passing at the worst pinch points in the road, residents have come up with a proposal for a short stretch of one-way only down Camphill Road heading towards Queen Street. This would begin from the top of Panmure Street on Camphill Road down to Dick Street, with a no entry sign at the bottom of Dick Street on Camphill Road. They anticipate that this would still stop the rat run coming up from Queen Street (which is their main complaint) and also coming down from Maryfield Road via Hill Street, thus not only pleasing Camphill Road residents  but also those living in connecting streets.

I have written to the Head of Transportation on the Council and asked him to evaluate this proposal an any other feasible options to meet the residents' concerns. Subsequently I hope he will agree to meet residents with me to discuss some options for change.

18/09/2013

Long Awaited Upgrading of Kerbs and Pavements in Gray Street Starting Monday - 100 yards better but miles to go!

The long awaited next phase of upgrading the cracked and uneven pavements in central Broughty Ferry will begin on Monday 23 September 2013. The kerbs and pavements of both sides of Gray Street between King Street and Brook Street will be replaced this time.

Council Officers advise that, to minimise disruption, the work will proceed on one side of Gray Street at a time. While the work is going on, traffic in that section of Gray Street will be restricted to one way going south (Brook Street to King Street) with no traffic allowed to drive north (King Street to Brook Street). It is proposed to start work on the east footway, with the west footway to follow. 

They also advise that the work is programmed to last six weeks  and the contractor for the works is Tayside Contracts, assisted by Kilmac Construction. Apparently, if the pavement upgrading is incomplete by 8 November, it has been agreed with the Broughty Ferry Traders that work will stop then to allow unrestricted access to shops and businesses in the lead up to Christmas. Apparently, works not completed by 8 November will be undertaken in March 2014.

During the period when Gray Street is restricted to one way, drivers will be diverted via King Street/ St Vincent Street and Brook Street. In addition, parking will be suspended on one side of Gray Street for the duration of the works while pedestrian access will be maintained to both sides of of the street.

While this upgrading is to be welcomed, many constituents and businesses in Broughty Ferry have drawn my attention over the years to the poor state of the pavements in central Broughty Ferry which I have reported to the Council. To name but three stretches of pavement:

  • Brook Street, between Fort Street and Westfield Road; 
  • King Street between Gray Street and Westfield Road and 
  • Brook Street between St Vincent's Street and Gray Street.
So this long overdue upgrade will be:
100 yards better but there are still miles to go!

16/09/2013

Job Done! Replacement Sign Post for Grassy Beach

New metal post installed for signage on Grassy Beach Broughty Ferry
Council staff in the Transportation and Environment Departments are to be commended for a speedy replacement of the rusted and leaning sign pole beside the coastal pathway at Grassy Beach.

The new pole with the warning signs and the Dog Poo Bin attached is pictured.

We Completed the Cyclathon Despite the Wind and Rain

David Zwirlein and Laurie Bidwell at the finish of the 2013 Dundee Cyclathon
Despite the rainy and windy weather conditions, all four of the Cleghorm Crusaders completed our sponsored ride round the Dundee Green Circular yesterday.

In shot at the finish is David Zwirlein (yellow jacket) and me. The banana and bottle of water I am holding, as well as my medal, had just been issued by helpers from Claverhouse Rotary Club. And before you ask we didn't need the services of the ambulance which you can see in the background.

The other team members, Charles Aitkenhead and Karen Wollstencroft, were not far behind David and me. They had been delayed after Karen's bike picked up a puncture.

To all our sponsors, we send a big thank you. If you haven't yet donated it's not too late to pledge some support for our good cause, the Cleghorn Charitable Trust (Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC008372). The Trust provides support to tenants in Dundee who are living on some of the lowest incomes in the city and are setting up their first home. Cleghorn helps with items such as essential floor covering for which grants are not available.

 

15/09/2013

Riding the Dundee Cyclathon Today Whatever the Weather

Councillor Laurie Bidwell
Later today, I will be taking part in the Dundee Cyclathon 2013 organised by Claverhouse Rotary Club. The Cyclathon follows the 26 miles of the Green Circular route round the city starting and finishing at Camperdown Park. 

The weather forecast is not that great but, as I am committed to fundraising for a good cause, I shall be riding round whatever the weather.

This year I shall be riding with Charles Aitkenhead, Karen Wolstencroft and David Zwirlein as part of the Cleghorn Crusaders team and we are fundraising for the Cleghorn Charitable Trust  Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC008372

Cleghorn Charitable Trust provides support to tenants in Dundee who are living on some of the lowest incomes in the city and are setting up their first home. This trust help with items such as essential floor covering for which grants are not available. 

Please donate and help make a house a home!

14/09/2013

Doors Open Days in Broughty Ferry This Weekend Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September 2013

Claypotts. Castle, Broughty Ferry.
Doors Open Days Dundee is this weekend, Saturday 14 – Sunday 15 September 2013.

More than thirty five buildings across the city will be throwing open their doors and welcoming the public in at the weekend. Fire stations, places of worship, theatres, art centres and community centres are just some of the Dundee landmarks that will be participating.

In Broughty Ferry, the buildings specially open this weekend are:
  • Claypotts Castle Saturday and Sunday 10:00 - 16:00
  • Royal Tay Yacht Club Sunday 12:00 -16:30 and
  • St Stephen's and West Church Sunday 12:00 - 16:00
Saturday 14 September 2013 – Sunday 15 September 2013

Shortage of School Crossing Patrollers for our Pupils at Barnhill Primary School

Stop Children Crossing
There is currently a shortage of School Crossing Patrollers for pupils attending Barnhill Primary School. 

I was particularly concerned to hear on Thursday that the crossing point for children over Balgillo Road close to the junction with Falkland Crescent is currently unstaffed.  This is compounded by road safety issues in Falkland Crescent caused by house building opposite the front entrance to the school.

Balgillo Road is a very busy spine road and a bus route. Unfortunately it seems many drivers ignore the 30 mph speed limit. I would appeal to all road users to take extra care in the vicinity of Barnhill Primary School especially during this time when some crossing points are not staffed. I was reassured that all parents and carers have received a letter to warn them about the absence of a Patroller at this particular crossing point.

Barnhill Primary School has a good record of children walking or cycling to school. We don't want to undermine that because of a shortage of Lollipop men and women. I have been informed that interviews are already scheduled for the coming week with a view to making further appointments of Lollipop men and women. Let's hope that these gaps in service can be covered soon.


Finally, I written to the Education Department to ask again about progress with my previous proposal to explore combining the role of School Crossing Patroller with other paid duties in and around our schools to make this a more attractive part time job.

13/09/2013

Annual General Meeting of Broughty Ferry Development Trust Saturday 14 September 2013

Logo of Broughty Ferry Development Trust
The Annual General Meeting of Broughty Ferry Development Trust will take place in the Castle Green Hall at 11 am on Saturday 14th September 2013


The order of business will be as follows:
1. Introduction and welcome by Chairman John Dobbie.
2. Minutes of the last AGM
3. Matters Arising from these Minutes
4. Presentation by the Chairman of Committee Members Statement of Activities on the activities of BFDT
5. Consideration Annual Accounts
6. Election of Management Committee: Seeking election are, Jeremy Linskell, Jim Duthie and Suzi Fox all of whom are co-opted members of the Committee. The Committee may make further recommendations prior to the AGM.
7. Any Other Competent Business
8. Discussion of future plans by members for the proposed Beach Pavilion and a further Graveyard Project.

Fracking in Dundee and The Ferry

Frack free Dundee?
Several constituents have written to me voicing concerns about the potential negative effects of Hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' in Dundee. 

The publicity surrounding the public protest to the test drilling by Cuadrilla at Balcombe in Sussex and the application by Dart Energy for exploratory drilling in Airth near Stirling seems to aroused many conversations about fracking and the environmental costs and benefits of this.

My constituents' concerns focus on the environmental effects triggered by the fracking process. Firstly, they commented on the earth tremors and the effects of these on private and public property. Secondly the potential for pollution of water supplies from the chemicals introduced to help release the gas trapped in the shale beds underground. Finally they wanted know whether the City Council would have a say in granting licenses for exploratory drilling and subsequent extraction of shale gas on land in the City.

On the last matter, I wrote to the Planning Department of the City Council. 

In their response my attention was drawn to a useful Frequently Asked Question on the website of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) http://www.sepa.org.uk/customer_information/energy_industry/unconventional_gas/frequently_asked_questions.aspx

FAQ Who else regulates this industry?

The other regulators (other than SEPA) involved in the control of these operations include:

  • The Department of Energy and Climate Change - responsible for issuing a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence.
  • The Local Planning Authority - Responsible for granting planning permission under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 for surface works associated with borehole construction, fracturing operations and wellhead development.
  • The Health and Safety Executive - The Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations 1995.
  • The Coal Authority - Any activity which intersects, disturbs or enters coal seams.
The City Planner also confirmed that:
"we have had no applications or indeed enquiries about surface works associated with borehole construction, fracturing operations and wellhead development. I am not aware of any licences having been granted for Dundee (by the Department of Energy and Climate Change)."

12/09/2013

Broughty Ferry in Bloom Awarded Their Silver Gilt Certificate 2013 from Beautiful Scotland

Stan Nutt and mary Saunders from Broughty Ferry in Bloom  received a Silver Gilt Award 2013
All rights retained by Graham Clark www.grahamclarkphotographer.com
Congratulations to Broughty Ferry in Bloom for another successful year. Their efforts to work with community groups and businesses to beautify The Ferry have gained further recognition at the Beautiful Scotland Awards earlier this month. 

In the picture are officer bearers Stan Nutt (left) and Mary Saunders receiving the Silver Gilt award in the Coastal Towns 2013 category.

Link to Broughty Ferry in Bloom Facebook Page


11/09/2013

Eastern, Grove and Forthill 20 mph Warning Lights Not Turning Off to be Sorted

20 mph Flashing warning lights close to Eastern Primary School and Grove Academy
The timers that control the 20 mph warning lights that flash to warn road users to slow down in the vicinity of Eastern and Forthill Primary Schools and Grove Academy have been not working properly. 

These warning signs are designed to establish 20 mph traffic calming at critical periods for child safety around the beginning and end of the school day without disrupting traffic at other times.

My picture shows the set of warning lights in Claypotts Road, close to Eastern Primary School and Grove Academy. They were still flashing at 09:15pm last night. There are also similar problems with the lights at Forthill Primary School.

Clearly this set of lights has not turned off after the pupils have left in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of such signage is diluted when they operate at the wrong times.

In response to my writing to the Transportation Department of the Council I have received the following response from the Street Lighting Partnership:

"The project to convert the signs so that they can be controlled from a central point and so we can harmonise with term times  has hit a few technical problems which has resulted in some signs operating 24hrs.  Work is continuing to get the remaining signs which are not working correctly, on line."  

I have been reassured that these unfortunate technical issues should have been resolved by the end of next week.

10/09/2013

Demolition of Broughty Ferry Boating Club Building at Grassy Beach

Broughty Ferry Boating Club in the early stages of demolition September 2013When I walked along Grassy Beach earlier today, I noticed that contractors had fenced off the Broughty Ferry Boating Club boat shed. They had begun the task of demolishing the building prior to reconstruction of a new building on the same site. While the wooden building was clearly looking unloved and in need of maintenance and repair, it's clearly been on Grassy Beach for some time.

I am sure many folk will regret the loss of the distinctive shape and traditional decoration of the Broughty Ferry Boating Club building. To my mind it was a bit superior to some of the more utilitarian sheds and garage like structures further along the beach.

I hope that the replacement building will better support the boating and sailing interests of the BFBC without detracting from the beauty of Grassy Beach. I am reminded of the chorus from Joni, Mithchell's song, Big Yellow Taxi:
'Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?'

The applicant for planning permission for the replacement building was the Tay Sailing Training Association. As there were no reported objections, this planning application was approved by Council Planners under delegated powers.

09/09/2013

Martin Goodfellow Leads Campaign for Protected Status for Dundee Cake

Martin Goodfellow holding a Dundee cake beside the statue of Desperate Dan in Dundee City Centre
Martin Goodfellow of Goodfellow and Steven's Bakery in Broughy Ferry has joined forces with other leading bakers in the city to secure official Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the European Commission for Dundee Cake. 

If Martin and his colleagues are successful, they could follow the example of the Arbroath Smokie in gaining the right to special protection from the European Commission. This would prevent Dundee cake being produced anywhere else in Europe and still calling itself Dundee Cake.

I congratulate Martin and his colleagues for their initiative and enterprise not only protecting the integrity of Dundee Cake but also drawing attention to what is distinctive and worth celebrating about Dundee; 'One City Many Discoveries'.

08/09/2013

International Literacy Day 2014

UNESCO International Literacy Day 2013
Today, 8 September 2013, is International Literacy Day. Through this day UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

Despite many and varied efforts, literacy remains an elusive target: some 793 million adults worldwide lack minimum literacy skills, which means that about one in six adults is still not literate; 67.4 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

In Scotland, literacy remains a critical issue with one in five children at Primary School struggling with literacy. This disappointing statistic came from research commissioned by the Scottish Labour Party in 2008. They commissioned a group of writers, academics, educationalists and business people to investigate child literacy standards in Scotland. The final report, published in December 2009, found that as many as 25 percent of Scottish pupils were leaving primary school without the basic literacy skills to function in a modern society.

To successfully tackle the problem of low literacy levels, the commission urged the adoption of a policy of zero tolerance to illiteracy across the board. The commission’s zero tolerance of illiteracy is a far stronger commitment than the UK Government’s policy of 95 percent of adults having functional literacy by 2020.

The Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies 2009 is the official source for information on adult literacies skills. Their findings show:
  • Around three-quarters of the Scottish population aged 16-64 (73.3%) have a level of skills that has been recognised internationally as appropriate for a contemporary society.
  • Around one quarter of the Scottish population aged 16-64 (26.7%) may face occasional challenges and constrained opportunities due to their skills but will generally cope with their day-to-day lives;
  • Within this quarter of the Scottish population aged 16-64, we find that 3.6% faces serious challenges in their literacies practices.
This year’s International Literacy Day is dedicated to “literacies for the 21st century” to highlight the need to realize “basic literacy skills for all” as well as equip everyone with more advanced literacy skills as part of lifelong learning. In Scotland, in the context of the growth in many public and private services defaulting to electronic submission, functional literacies might include 'reading' a web page, conducting a web search and applying for a social security benefit online.

In Dundee, adult literacy and numeracy classes and help with using a computer are organised by staff based at the Mitchell Street Centre.
Mitchell Street Centre, Mitchell Street Dundee, DD2 2LJ
Telephone 01382 435808

Opening Times: Monday, 9 am to 7 pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9 am to 9 pm Friday, 9 am to 5 pm

07/09/2013

Consultation with Parents and Carers on the Future of Early Learning and Childcare in Dundee

Early learning Teacher and child
Dundee City Council's Education Department is undertaking a consultation with Parents and Carers on the future of early learning and childcare in Dundee. If you have have a child between the ages of 1 and 3, this may be of particular interest to you.

Did you know? The Scottish Government has promised to increase the number of hours for 3 and 4 year old children to early learning and childcare from 475 hours per year to 600 hours per year from August 2014. 

Dundee City Council wants to know what you think about this about how it should be delivered.

A survey is available online at:
http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/content/future-early-learning-and-childcare-dundee

Or you can go to your nearest City Council Early Years Establishment to complete a paper questionnaire.

The consultation will be open until Monday 14 October 2013 for you to give your views.

Maintaining Vibrant Communities and Houses in Multiple Occupation

Disagree or disagree
On Thursday morning at the Council's Licensing Committee, I voted twice against the granting of licences for a number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the Westend of Dundee. In both instances, Councillors had been advised that the number of HMOs had already exceeded the perviously imposed limit for the relevant census area.

I hope future potential HMO owners do their homework and take cognisance of the limits that have been applied to the number of qualifying HMO licenses in specific census areas in Dundee and the number of licenses that have already been granted. This information is readily available to potential owners on application to the Council. 


Students from our two Universities and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art are most welcome in our city and add significantly to the life of our city. But the over concentration of students in houses in multiple occupation can strain the good relations between the term time dwellers and the permanent residents.


Whilst I will continue to treat every application of its merit, in general, I think the Licensing Committee should not be granting licenses when there is no capacity left for additonal licenses in a census area and where we think that to do so would be detrimental to maintaining a balanced community.

In parts of the Westend of Dundee, I think we have already reached that point.

06/09/2013

Dundee Flower and Food Festival 6-8 September 2013

Dundee flower and food festival
This weekend - Friday 6 to Sunday 8 September 2013 - you will find the outstanding Dundee Flower and Food Festival in full swing at Camperdown Park.

Read or download the diverse and interesting programme of events for the weekend.

Further details including booking tickets for paid events
http://www.dundeeflowerandfoodfestival.com/

05/09/2013

Proposed Change to Pay of Short Term Supply Teachers is Not Comprehensive Enough

Teacher with primary pupils in classroom
In a bid to head off further shortages of supply teachers, the Scottish Government and local council body, CoSLA have offered a 'pay rise' to supply teachers as part of a pay package which will be offered to teachers. Yesterday, Scotland's largest teachers' union, the EIS confirmed that it would ballot all its members on the pay package.

Under a deal imposed in 2011 by the Scottish Government, the daily rate paid to supply teachers for five or fewer days was halved, leaving many schools unable to find supply to cover absences. Teachers' Unions report that one in three councils is still struggling. In Dundee during periods of seasonal illness, many Head Teachers found that there were very few teachers to call on from the supply list. As a result they were pulled away from their management roles to take classes.


The new agreement will see “short-term supply” redefined, meaning teachers will be paid the full rate after three days, rather than the previous five. It is also proposed that teachers receiving the lower rate will also be paid ten per cent extra for preparation and correction.

Of course this may just shift the problem with supply teachers avoiding covering teacher absences not likely to be sustained beyond two or three days.

Education: Short term cuts, long term damage.This mess was one of the SNP government's own making. I warned then that this would lead to difficulties in recruiting short term supply teachers and that it would be the children who suffer as their teachers are run ragged covering for absent teachers. Unfortunately, I think the SNP led Scottish Government are not making a good job of responding to the rising tide of criticism about the shortage of supply teachers, especially for short term cover. This proposed change may be an improvement but it does not remove the disincentive for supply teachers to turn down demands for short term supply teaching. Who would want to work for half pay for up to three days, when there are better offers available for four or more days work?

This is another example of short term cuts and long term damage.

03/09/2013

Redundant Road Sign Reported for Removal

A constituent complained to me that it was time the "School" traffic warning sign on Camphill Road at the corner of Dick Street was removed. 

The School to which this referred was Eastern Primary School on Whinny Brae and the school moved to the refurbished 'old' Grove Academy buildings on Camperdown Street just over two years ago.

I have asked the Transportation Department to arrange for the removal of this sign which is unnecessarily cluttering this corner of Camphill Road.

02/09/2013

Scottish Water Updates on Responding to Foul Water Leaks on the Stony Beach

In response to representations I made to Scottish Water in early August about foul water leaking onto the Stony Beacha spokesperson for Scottish Water confirmed the ongoing actions they had and were taking:

Temporary pumping had been continued at the end of Douglas Terrace. Due to local concerns about noise, Scottish Water's operators, Veolia, have stopped using a diesel generator and installed an electric pump to support flow transfer through the pumping station.

Work to fix the leak at the Douglas Terrace manhole was completed over the weekend of 10 August. The temporary pumping mentioned above has also been successful in stopping any further leaks from the walkway manhole.

With regards to the permanent repair of the walkway manhole, it’s anticipated that a contractor will be appointed by the end of September, early October.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have continued to inspect the area and no further concerns or issues have been raised.

I previously reported similar leaks to Scottish Water in November 2012.

01/09/2013

Record Low in House Building in Scotland Is Bad News

Chart of New House Building in Scotland 1920-2012
Statistics published last week by the Scottish Government reinforce what we can see with our own eyes that housing building in Scotland is at an extremely low ebb.

The figures published in Housing Statistics for Scotland 2013: Key Trends, show that:

New housing supply:

New housing supply (new build, refurbishment and conversions) decreased by 14% between 2011-12 and 2012-13, from 16,922 to 14,629 units. This was mainly driven by a drop in both private and housing association house building. Local authority completions also fell slightly from the previous year from 1,114 to 965.

New house building

In 2012-13, there were 13,803 completions in Scotland, a decrease of 13% on the previous year, when 15,940 had been completed. At the same time starts decreased by 9% from 13,791 in 2011-12 to 12,596 in 2012-13.

Affordable Housing

In 2012-13 there were 6,009 units completed through all Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) activity - this figure is 13% down on the previous year and represents the 3rd consecutive decrease since the peak in 2009-10.

Public sector housing stock: At 31 March 2013, there were 318,160 local authority dwellings in Scotland, a decrease of 1,224 from the previous year.

Sales of local authority dwellings: Sales of local authority dwellings fell by 9% in 2012-13, from 1,125 to 1,020. This continues the declining trend in sales observed over recent years, following the introduction of the modernised Right to Buy, which came into effect on 30 September 2002.

By 2025, it is estimated that 465,000 new homes will be required in Scotland. This is to meet demand generated by projected household formation. By this measure, the current rates of construction will see a substantial shortfall of as many as 160,000 houses by 2025. This may be good news for those selling their homes, as shortages fuel price rises. It is not good news however for first time buyers as rising prices may mean that they are priced out of becoming owner occupiers.

Not only is this bad news for those on a housing waiting list with the Council or Housing Associations or folk renting and trying to save a deposit, but also it bad news for the numerous unemployed building workers.

The SNP government in Edinburgh should hurry up introducing their equivalent to the help for first time buyers available in England. When this was announced, equivalent additional money was granted to the Scottish Government. They seemed to have dragged their feet and taken their time. While the property market in England is showing signs of recovery, unfortunately this is not the case in Scotland.