30/01/2015

Foul Water Leak on the Stony Beach in Broughty Ferry

Scottish Water Logo
On Thursday evening it was brought to my attention that there was a leak of foul water on the Stony Beach in Broughty Ferry.

At low tide the foul water could be seem flowing down the beach immediately beside the outfall pipe just below Douglas Terrace.

I have reported this to Scottish Water. 

This appears to be a recurrence of a more serious leak at the same location which I reported in August 2013.

Link to posting about previous leak: Following My Complaints, Scottish Water Respond to Leaks from the Sewers on Broughty Ferry Stony Beach

20/01/2015

Public Consultation - Reshaping the Dunes BFerry Beach - Drop In Wed 21 January 2 - 8 pm Castle Green Centre

Plan of proposed alterations to the dunes at Broughty Ferry Beach
Click on plan to enlarge
On Wednesday 21 January Broughty Ferry residents and traders have the opportunity to find out more about the City Council's planning application to alter the shape and reinforce the base of the dunes at Broughty Ferry beach. This is one of a series of coastal protection measures the Council is bringing forward to minimize the risk of flooding along the Dundee City coastline. 

There will be a drop-in Consultation Event at the Castle Green Leisure Centre, St Vincent Street, Broughty Ferry between 2-8pm on Wednesday 21 January 2015. The event will provide residents and other interested parties an opportunity to look through drawings and details associated with the proposals as well as the opportunity to ask questions on the day.  

The public consultation period for the application is to be extended until Wednesday 4 February at 5pm to allow for any further comments after this event.

The full details of the planning application are as follows:
Reshaping, increased height, planting and formation of access points on the existing Dune system at the Esplanade, Broughty Ferry. Works to include for screened defence works at base of dunes on seaward side. Planning Application Ref: 14/00761/FULL
Link to Planning Application Documents and Plans

Change to Free Parking in Gray Street - Consultation

Plan of proposed change to car parking restrictions in Gray Street Broughty Ferry January 2015
Click on plan to enlarge
The City Council is proposing to make some minor changes to waiting restrictions in Gray Street in The Ferry.

These changes would have the effect of extending some double yellow lines and reducing the space for 45 minute limited parking on the East side of Gray Street between Long Lane and King Street.

Any comments should be submitted not later than 9 February 2015 to:

Caroline Robertson

Dundee City Council, Legal Section
21 City Square, DUNDEE, DD1 3BY
Email caroline.robertson@dundeecity.gov.uk
Tel     01382 434062
Fax    01382 434182

13/01/2015

Update on Changes to Bin Collections and Recycling in Broughty Ferry

Communal Recycling Bin
Manufacturer's illustration of
1280 litre communal bins ordered
by the Environment Department
At the Environment Committee last night, the Committee approved the purchase of additional communal recycling bins for householders in Broughty Ferry and the West End at a cost of £106,940

Both areas of the city are in the planned first phase of the new fortnightly general waste black bin collections along with more collections of waste for recycling. These new collections are planned to begin in March of this year.

Along with two other opposition Councillors, I used the opportunity to quiz the Convener of this Committee, Councillor Craig Melville about progress with the promised consultation with community organisations and with householders prior to the switch to the new services. 

These consultations were meant to ensure that residents are given a choice about which of the new recycling containers they can accommodate. In addition, in flatted accommodation, householders as groups are meant to be able to choose the most acceptable communal recycling and waste bins for their close or block. 

I also asked the Convener whether there had been any progress with making up one calendar for all the Domestic Bin / Recycling Container Collections. I wanted to avoid householders having to check four or five calendars from the Council to work out which bin to put out each day. I reminded the Convener that I had raised this issue at a previous meeting. He assured the meeting that work was ongoing on this and this should be ready for the changes in Broughty Ferry.

With only eight weeks to go before these changes apparently are being introduced, I was not entirely satisfied by the Convener's assurances that the consultations are as thorough as promised and that it will all be fine when the fortnightly kerbside general waste collections along with more recycling collections are introduced in The Ferry.

Any residents who would like to be consulted about the new collections and which of the new recycling containers they can accommodate should contact the Environment Department via Dundee (01382) 433710

Community Open Day at Grove Swim & Sport Saturday 17 January 2015 10am-5pm

Grove Academy Swim and Sport Open Day 17 January 2015


12/01/2015

Claypotts Junction Roadworks Start Monday 12 January 2015

Work to refurbish traffic signals at Claypotts Road and Arbroath Road will take place from Monday January 12 2015.

Starting today, this will lead to several road closures over the next four weeks.

Traffic will not be able to travel from Claypotts Road onto Arbroath Road and vice versa.

An alternative route will be available for eastbound traffic approaching Scott Fyffe Roundabout via Strips of Craigie Road, A930 Dundee Road and Claypotts Road. Westbound traffic on Arbroath Road will be diverted via East Balgillo Road, Balgillo Road and Claypotts Road.

This is the second of a two phase programme in renewing the traffic signals at the linked Claypotts junctions, the first took place in October 2014. 

The Council's traffic engineers reassure us that inconvenience to road users now will be worthwhile in the long run. The current traffic controls are at the end of their useful life and prone to breakdowns. The new control systems at these linked set of traffic signals will be easier to maintain and will be 'adaptive', allowing the lights to change more quickly when traffic flows are low.

11/01/2015

Better Budget Management by SNP Government Ministers Could Have Avoided Cuts in Schools Last Year

Table of £444 million underspend by Scottish Government 2013-14
Click on image to enlarge
SNP Ministers at Holyrood underspent by almost half a billion pounds in 2013-14, according to a final out-turn report lodged at the Scottish Parliament the day after MSPs left for their Christmas holidays.

The government had £444 million left over from its £34.5bn budget last year, or 1.3 per cent of the total. This was the first time that an underspend had exceeded £350 million since the SNP came to power in 2007.

The underspend is usually less than one per cent. To get this into perspective, the projected underspend in the 20014/15 accounts for Dundee City Council is £45,000 (Dundee City Council, Policy and Resources Committee, 12 January 2014 - Revenue Monitoring Report). According to the Director of Corporate Services this represents 0.01% of the Council's net Revenue Budget for 2014/15. At a national level, the underspend by SNP ministers was proportionately 130 times larger. 

What a pity that these government ministers could not be as vigilant in deploying the cash that is available? 

Although the £444m will still be available for use this financial year, it means public services missed out unnecessarily on better funding in the last financial year.

The table above shows that, £165 million of the £444 million underspend by the Scottish Government in financial year 2013/14 was within the education budget. These were resources that could have poured into schools.

Across Scotland there are 4,000 fewer teachers in Scotland since the Nationalists took over and, in breach of their promise, primary school class sizes are bigger now not smaller. 

That £165m underspend on education was enough to employ 4,459 teachers, so they could have cancelled out their education cuts.

10/01/2015

Commenting on the Potential Designation of 20 mph Zones in Broughty Ferry

Earlier this week the Scottish Government published a Good Practice Guide on 20 mph Speed Restrictions. This was written in conjunction with the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), The guidance aims to provide clarity on the options available to local authorities and thereby aid greater consistency on setting 20 mph speed restrictions throughout Scotland, while encouraging local authorities to introduce them near schools, in residential areas and in other areas of our towns and cities where there is a significant volume of pedestrian or cyclist activity.

Last year, at a Council Meeting, I supported  a motion that would have led to a public consultation on which residential streets in the city might be suitable for designation as 20 mph zones. This was defeated at that occasion but I think it merits reconsideration. 

Over the last month, I have been recovering from a hip replacement and initially I was venturing out around The Ferry with the help of two walking sticks.  That certainly brought home to me the challenge of crossing the road when your speed of walking is restricted and traffic is moving fast.

I have been approached by a number of groups of residents in The Ferry who would support 20 mph zones in their area. For example, the Ferryfields Residents' Association requested this in their estate, in the interests of child safety. They would also point out that the speed bumps are already in place on Strathyre Avenue so that apart from the new 20 mph speed limit signs, there would be minimal cost to the Council to make this change in their area. 

Residents in Camphill Road and Hill Street and connecting streets had a meeting with me last year about road safety concerns, especially on the narrow and twisting section of Camphill Road between Queen Street and Panmure Street which they thought was an accident waiting to happen. Many of those residents thought that a 20 mph speed limit would help. 

Forthill Drive and Forthill Place, which is predominantly sheltered housing with narrow roads is another area where I think a 20 mph zone merits consideration.

To take this forward, I think, this matter should be delegated to the eight Local Community Planning Planning Partnerships to consult with residents in their areas to come up with proposals for 20 mph zones in residential streets.

I hope that now this national guidance has been published, the Director of City Development in Dundee will be more sympathetic to supporting a public consultation about this.