30/09/2015

Welcome for Additional Bus Shelter on Balgillo Road

Relocated bus shelter on Balgillo Road, Broughty Ferry
This morning Council staff have advised that: "a bus shelter has been installed on Balgillo Road near to its junction with Forthill Road.

The shelter was previously located on Dundee Road opposite Ralston Road but apparently saw very little usage, therefore the decision was made that its new location was of far greater benefit to bus users. 
Currently there is no power to the shelter but this will follow in the next weeks as part of an electrical installation programme at various bus shelters."

Bus users who contacted me about the need for a bus shelter had complained about the lack of protection from the weather at this well used stop. Hopefully they will be pleased with this relocated shelter.

27/09/2015

WW100 Events in Dundee Saturday 26 September 2015

WW100 Scotland logo
On Saturday I attended two of the events that had been organised in Dundee to mark the centenary of the Battle of Loos in which men from Dundee died. 

Like so many of the battles waged along the Western Front in WW1, only a short distance of territory was gained at the cost of the lives of so many young men from our city.

Commemorative Parade & Service
On Saturday in City Square, in Dundee over 1,000 people attended the service at 12 noon which which has been preceded by a parade of around 250 from the current armed services and 300 veterans.  Members of the public lined the parade route and watched the service on a large screen on the High Street. 


Special guests included Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. The service was particularly poignant for The Prince of Wales – who is Royal Colonel of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, which suffered significant losses at Loos, and his Great Uncle (brother of the late Queen Mother) – Captain the Honourable Fergus Bowes-Lyon – who died on the third day of fighting. 

The Guns of Loos
At 7pm I was at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) for a special screening of ‘The Guns of Loos’, a silent film which hadn’t been shown since the 1930s. The Great War Dundee partnership, in association with DCA, had commissioned a new live musical score for the film by one of the UK’s leading silent film composers and performers, Stephen Horne. I think the performance of the musical score was the world premier.

Link to commemorative booklet about the Battle of Loos

25/09/2015

Broughty Ferry Lifeboat Open Day Sunday 27 Sept 2015

Broughty Ferry Lifeboat
Murray Brown, Coxwain of Broughty Ferry Lifeboat said:

"We invite everyone to come to our open day this Sunday 27 September 2015. 

There will be lots to see and do, including a chance to see round the lifeboat itself if the weather is fair enough for this to be safe. Folk can also meet the crew and enjoy refreshments and a barbecue. 

It is vitally important to us to establish and maintain close links with the local community. Just like Wave 102, we are here to serve the local community and we appreciate the support we get from Dundee’s local radio station, helping us to keep in touch with the people of Dundee. 

It is only through community support that RNLI volunteers can provide the essential service of saving lives at sea."

24/09/2015

SQA Admit That 2015 Higher Maths Exam Was Too Hard

SQA pass mark for May 2015 Higher mathematics exam reduced to 34%
The fairness of the Higher Maths examination, which pupils sat in May 2015, is an issue that won't go away. The Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) gave evidence to the Education and Culture Committee meeting at the Scottish Parliament this week.

Dr Janet Brown, Director of the SQA informed the Committee that the Higher Maths paper had been written along the same guidelines as exemplar and specimen papers, and the "structure and nature of questions within it was part of the course and was explained to teachers"But, she added, it became "very obvious" that the exam had been "a standard which was over and above what we had anticipated". She also confirmed that the pass mark had been reduced to 33.8% to compensate.

Scottish Labour’s Opportunity Spokesperson Iain Gray said the statement showed the SQA “still don’t get it” and that parents and students affected will take “no comfort” in the fact the results were adjusted. He called for the Government to review what had gone wrong.

“They now need to face up their responsibility and ensure that people can have confidence in the SQA and its exam system,”
he said.

23/09/2015

Traffic Restrictions Brown Street, (Brook Street to King Street) for Road Resurfacing Work September 2015

Road Closed and Diversion road signs
The City Council has recently notified householders and businesses in Brown Street, Broughty Ferry (Brook Street to King Street) that their street will be closed for Carriageway Resurfacing Work from Saturday 26 September 2015 and will last for approximately 2 weeks. 

The Contractor for the works is Tayside Contracts. 

In the interest of public safety, a road closure will be implemented and through traffic will be diverted via Brook Street, Fort Street, King Street and reverse. 

On-street parking will not be allowed on the section of carriageway being worked on. Vehicular access to properties with driveways and off street parking areas will be maintained although they ask for vehicular traffic movements to be kept to a minimum and advise that delays may be experienced. 

I am advised that weekend working should minimise any restrictions on access to and from the Brown Street Health Centre car park Monday to Fridays during the contract period.

Please note that pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained throughout the works.

If you have any queries regarding this matter please contact Les Grubb, Road Maintenance Partnership, by telephoning 01382 434000.

20/09/2015

Dundee University Scottish University of the Year

On Friday the University of Dundee was named Scottish University of the Year in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. 

This annual award was based on an in-depth review of higher education in Britain.

Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, wrote:
“The University of Dundee is the epitome of what a good university should be. It provides an outstanding education and university experience for its students, is a key driver in the regional and national economy, and its researchers – particularly in the medical field – are pushing back the boundaries of knowledge and the treatments available to the wider benefit of society.”


Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee said:
"Our success follows a sharp rise in our overall ranking in the Good University Guide’s league table, we have risen eight places to 37th in the UK rankings and to fourth in Scotland. We are now the top university in Scotland under The Times and The Sunday Times analysis of the National Student Survey outcomes for teaching quality, ranking ninth-equal in the UK."

This is a significant and well deserved accolade for the University of Dundee and is another positive indicator of the renaissance of Dundee. Congratulations to the all the academic and support staff on their collective achievement.

17/09/2015

BERA Grant from the Council Approved

BERA Evening Classes at Grove Academy
At a meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of the Council on Monday evening 14 September, the Committee agreed a grant of £3000 to Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association (BERA) for 2015/16.

I was pleased to take the opportunity to address the Committee and make a short statement in support of the continuing work of BERA and their contribution to promoting adult learning in Broughty Ferry. I also reminded the Committee that, while most welcome, much if not all of this of grant would return to the Council in rental payments for school premises.

The following extracts from the Committee Report clarify the grant and the valued service that the BERA volunteers contribute to our community:

"This contribution towards the running costs of the organisation (BERA) will enable them to continue to provide a wide ranging evening learning provision in local community areas, which is very well attended.

3.0 FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS 3.1 The grants can be met from the Department’s 2015/16 Revenue Grants Budget (Adult Learning Support Fund). 

4.1 Broughty Ferry Education and Recreation Association is a voluntary Adult Education Association. The volunteers work in partnership with Dundee City Council to provide evening education, recreation and leisure opportunities for the residents of Broughty Ferry and the wider environs. 2014/2015. .... The group are running three evening sessions across two venues, Grove and Forthill Schools, not only does this organisation provide learning opportunities it also promotes community access to Schools."

12/09/2015

Temporary Closure St Vincent's Street between King Street and Beach Crescent Beginning 21 September 2015

Road Closure Street SignsTHE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY 
being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of carriageway resurfacing works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in St Vincent Street (between King Street and Beach Crescent), Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 21 September 2015 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
Alternative routes are available via King Street / Gray Street / Beach Crescent.

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

11/09/2015

Congratulations to Broughty Ferry in Bloom Awarded a Siver Gilt Medal 2015

BroughtyFerry in Bloom Logo
Congratulations to Broughty Ferry in Bloom whose efforts gained external recognition at the Beautiful Scotland award ceremony yesterday. 

These annual awards reward those community organisations whose efforts improve the quality of their local environment with horticulture and the participation of their communities.

Our local group's efforts beautifying Broughty Ferry with flowers in hanging baskets and planters was recognised as very high quality earning a Silver Gilt Medal in the Coastal Towns category of the award ceremony in Perth. 

This is at least the third year in a row that the group have achieved a Silver Gilt award. Next year, I am sure the group will once again be striving for Gold!

The Broughty Ferry in Bloom Group meets on the second Tuesday of the month in Broughty Ferry library at 7.00pm.

Link to Broughty Ferry in Bloom Facebook Page

10/09/2015

Blocks to the Rebuilding of Baldragon Academy Should be Resolved

Baldragon Academy, Dundee.
A year after the Council gave planning permission for the new Baldragon Academy, the contract for the construction is still not signed and the planned entry date in the Summer Term 2017 is presumably no longer feasible.

This is a serious blow to the integrated operation of the planned Baldragon Campus, incorporating the replacement Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery that are already under construction on the next door site. Legal details that are delaying the signing of the contract for the building of the new Baldragon should be resolved. 

Unfortunately the latest announcement from John Swinney MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, suggests that no early resolution is in sight for an issue that is holding up numerous public procurement contracts.

With a public announcement today of work starting soon on the dualling of the A9, I hope our school rebuilding programe in Dundee is not being pushed back in the queue to make way for capital projects elsewhere.

I have asked that this item is discussed at the next Education Committee.

09/09/2015

A Day in the Life of Your Local Councillor

Tuesday 8 September 2015 was a day full of meetings and activities.

My working day began at about 09:30 at home reading and writing emails and making phone calls on behalf of constituents. On average I receive more than twenty emails a day about constituency and Council matters as well as letters and reports including papers for Council meetings.

At 11:15, I joined residents from Forthill sheltered housing on their annual estate walkabout with staff representatives from Housing, Environment, Roads, Tenant Participation and Communities. As we walked around the area we noted action points based on our observations and the complaints and comments made by residents who we met us at their gates and doors. At 12:25 I left to go to my next meeting which was in Dundee.

I picked up my post from my Council pigeonhole at my City Square Office and then walked over to Dundee House where i was due at 13:00 to join an interview panel for appointing a Head Teacher for St Joseph's Primary School. The vacancy arose following the death of Marion Myles, the very popular and effective Head Teacher. After a series of interviews, the panel selected a 'preferred candidate' who, following formalities such as references, should be confirmed publicly to Parents, Pupils and Staff in due course.

I arrived back home in time to take my dog Milli for a short walk, before going to Broughty Ferry Library for my weekly surgery. Two constituents came in and reported a recurring parking and road safety issue in their street. We discussed possible solutions and agreed actions I would take. This will need some follow up communications with the Transportation Department.

Back home at about 18:20 with time for a mug of tea and collecting my papers for the next meeting. At 19:00 I arrived at Staff Room in Grove Academy for the AGM and termly meeting of the Grove Academy Parent Council. Penny Lewis was re-elected as Chairperson together with other office bearers. The meeting received a detailed report from Head Teacher, Graham Hutton, which included reference to the very positive but provisional 2015 SQA examination results for Grove pupils, the international sporting achievements of pupils, the school trips under consideration for the 2015/16 session as well as changes in staffing.

Home again at 21:30 and time for a late supper with my wife Rowena.

Not every day contains such a full schedule of 'meetings' and everyday is different; that's what I find so interesting and absorbing about the office of City Councillor.

08/09/2015

Endorsement of the Stick Your Labels Pledges by Dundee City Council

Stick Your Labels Campaign Orgnanisational Pledges 2015
Click on image to read the pledges more clearly
Yesterday lunchtime, I met Peter Kelly, the Director of The Poverty Alliance who was in Dundee to promote involvement in the Alliance's 'Stick your Labels; Challenge the Stigma of Poverty' campaign.

As a Councillor and Fairness Commissioner, I was pleased to join the Leader of the Administration, Councillor Guild and Councillor Sawers in City Square to symbolically sign the organisational pledges (see above) on behalf of Dundee City Council.

I hope that the Fairness Commission that the Council has established will help the Council and partner organisations to set out clearly our practical contributions towards tackling Poverty in Dundee. In addition that the way we respond to poverty in our city does not stigmatise those people living on the lowest incomes. Finally I think we should be more robust in challenging the negative stereotypes applied to people experiencing poverty and which tend to blame those folk for their situation. This campaign is, I believe, much needed.

07/09/2015

50+ mile Glasgow to Edinburgh Pedal for Scotland 2015 Completed

Laurie Bidwell at Glasgow Green prior to the start of the 2015 Glasgow to Edinburgh Pedal for Scotland
I did it! Leaving Glasgow Green at 10:25 on Sunday 6 September, I went over the finish line at Murrayfield Stadium at 16:05. 

The thousands of riders enjoyed favourable weather along the roads and miles and up and down the hills between Edinburgh and Glasgow. The coned off route made it a real pleasure to be cycling along many roads that would otherwise have been busy with cars and other vehicles on a Sunday.

Thanks are due for all the encouraging messages of support I received to help me on my way.

Thanks too are due to my very generous sponsors, they know who they are, who collectively helped me to raise £485 plus £91.25 Gift Aid at the last count.


But it's not too late to donate and help me exceed my target fundraising for the Tushinde Children's Trust; helping vulnerable children thrive in the sprawling Mathare slums in Nairobi, Kenya https://www.justgiving.com/Laurie-Bidwell7/

05/09/2015

Temporary Closure Torridan Road to Facilitate BT duct laying works Beginning Monday 14 September 2015

Road Closure and Diversion Traffic Signs
THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 SECTION 14(1)

THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY 
being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of BT duct laying works being carried out 
HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Torridon Road (west entrance) (northbound between Nursery Road and Morlich Gardens), Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 14 September 2015 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
Alternative routes are available via Nursery Road / Torridon Road (east entrance).

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

04/09/2015

West Ferry Residents Have Their Say About Proposed Local Govenmernt Boundary Changes

Proposed new local government ward boundaries in Dundee July 2015
Photo copyright Dundee Courier
On Tuesday evening upwards of three hundred residents attended a public meeting organised by Broughty Ferry Community Council. The meeting had been called to discuss the proposals by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland to exclude West Ferry from 'The Ferry' local government ward.

As part of their review of all local government boundaries in Scotland, the Boundary Commission, have proposed changes to ward boundaries in Dundee which they have issued for a ten week period of public consultation from the end of July 2015. 

At the meeting, it was confirmed that if the Commission's proposals were implemented, the City Council ward eight, 'The Ferry', would shrink in size by transferring that part of West Ferry west of Victoria Road and Claypotts Road to the East End Ward. 

Adjustments to ward boundaries are designed to help reduce differences between the number of electors in each ward area in the city. This is based on the principle that every elector's vote should have the same influence in an election.

The changes proposed for Broughty Ferry would transfer most residents living in West Ferry from The Ferry to the East End ward. This would not however lead to changes in residents' postcodes and addresses nor the boundaries for schools that their children can attend. Neither do I think that this would adversely affect house prices in West Ferry nor increase home insurance premiums.

But I do concede that the proposals, as they stand, cut across the boundaries of Broughty Ferry as a whole and that many, if not most, residents living in West Ferry  have a strongly felt sense of identity as part of Broughty Ferry. 

Find out more about the proposals at http://www.lgbc-scotland.gov.uk/reviews/5th_electoral/dundee_city/ or by visiting the exhibition of the maps and documents in Broughty Ferry Library. 

Paper copies of the proposals are available at the Library.

Comments on the Commission's proposals should be submitted by Thursday 22 October 2015: 

03/09/2015

All Singing and Dancing Performance of Grease by Dundee Schools' Music Theatre

Dundee Schools' Music Theatre perform the finale of Grease: The musical
I am just back home after attending a fun night out at the Whitehall Theatre. I had been tapping my toes to the thoroughly entertaining all singing and dancing performance of "Grease".

This was the third of the summer musicals performed in successive weeks by Dundee Schools' Music Theatre. This time it was the turn of the Back to Back older group of pupils and immediate FPs making their final appearance before heading off to pastures new.

The company maintained a high standard of singing and dancing with the chorus complementing the lead players. There was a strong standout performance from Michael Strachan, ex School Captain at Grove Academy who played Danny and Zoe Heggie who played Sandy.

02/09/2015

Head Teacher Selection Short Leeting and Interviews

Earlier today (Wednesday 2 September 2015), I was involved in a selection panel short listing applicants for a Head Teacher post in the city.

As part of my role as Labour Education spokesperson, I am invited to selection panels along with the Education Convener or his nominee, the Director of Children and Families' Services, a peer Head Teacher and two members of the Parent Council of the school for which a head teacher is being selected. In addition to these six voting members, there are two advisers to the panel; one from HR and the Head of Secondary or Primary Education as appropriate.

I think it is an important responsibility being part of the process of selection of the learning leaders of our schools.

01/09/2015

Public Meeting on Proposed Local Government Boundary Changes in The Ferry TONÍGHT Tuesday 1st September 2015

Broughty Ferry Community Council Special Meeting September 2015
Tonight, Tuesday 1st September 2015, Broughty Ferry Community Council, will be turning over their entire meeting to consider the proposals from the Boundary Commission for Local Government in Scotland. 

The Commission have proposed to remove West Ferry, west of Victoria Road and Claypotts Road, from 'The Ferry' local government ward.  This is in conjunction with other ward boundary changes in Dundee.

More details about these proposals are contained in my earlier post.

NB This public meeting will be held in The Gym Hall of Eastern Primary School with access from Claypotts Road at the back of the School. Please note, due to other events on at the school, parking in the immediate vicinity of the school will be limited and restricted.

Broughty Ferry Community Council meet on the first Tuesday of every month (except July) in Broughty Ferry Library.