Free Guided Tours of the Old Steeple in Dundee Saturdays and Wednesdays in July and August 2016

The Old Steeple, St Mary's Tower, Dundee DD1 4DGThis summer’s programme of public access to one of Dundee’s unique historical buildings is not to be missed! 

This is a great opportunity to see the fascinating collection of Medieval Gravestones or discover the history of the building by pre-booking an informative Guided tour of The Steeple itself.

Saturdays 2, 9 and 30 July and 6 and 27 August 2016

Wednesdays 13 and 20 July and 10 and 17 August 2016

Ground Floor open from 10am-3pm

Guide Tours of The Old Steeple start at 10.30am and 1pm and last approx. 1 hour.

Please note that Guided Tours are strenuous and are not suitable for children under 5 or visitors with restricted mobility. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Admission FREE, but booking essential on 01382 307200

The Old Steeple, St Mary's Tower, Overgate, Dundee, DD1 4DG


John Swinney Announces Step Towards End of Council Responsibility for Schools

Earlier today the Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney MSP launched the Scottish Government's new plan, Delivering Excellence and Equity in Scottish Education.

In his plan John Swinney takes a further step towards removing the role of local councils in our schools by announching a consultation in the early Autumn:

 "We will launch a Governance Review alongside the Programme for Government in September 2016. 

This review will examine the system changes required to deliver our commitments to empower schools, decentralise management and the support through the encouragement of school clusters and creation of new educational regions. 

The reforms are designed to ensure that parents, colleges, universities and local employers can better support efforts to raise attainment and ensure that young people progress intopositive destinations. Our clear objective is to devolve decision making and funding to schools and communities. This process will run in parallel with the review of the impactof the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 by the National Parent Forum of Scotland."

Oor Wullie Makes an Appearance on Douglas Terrace

Oor Wullie Douglas Terrace Broughty Ferry June 2016
Over fifty 4ft unique Oor Wullie sculptures will be dotted around Dundee this Summer. This marks Oor Wullie’s 80th Anniversary.

Earlier this week I came across one perched on the pocket park at the western end of Douglas Terrace beside the beginning of the coastal pathway leading to Grassy Beach.

One down, more than 49 others to locate!

Link to Oor Wulllie Bucket Trail Website

Dudley D Watkins (1907-1969) who drew Oor Wullie and The Broons for the Sunday Post was a resident of Broughty Ferry. In 2013 his work received some official recognition when one of the first Blue Plaques awarded in Scotland was placed outside Winsterley, his former home in Reres Road.


Waterfest Saturday 2nd July 2016 - Broughty Ferry Harbour 10am to 4pm

Dundee Waterfest 2016
Come and experience a variety of watersports and activity displays.  A great day out for all the family!

Ancrum Outdoor Centre has teamed up with local watersport clubs & organisations including Dundee Sailing Club, The Royal Tay Yacht Club, The Dundee Sub Aqua Club, Tayside Sea Kayakers, Ye Amphibious Ancients Bathing Association, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, RNLIA, Outdoor Explore and other organisations to offer a range of activities you can come and try for FREE.

Come and get a taster in sailing, sea kayaking, powerboating and see some water displays.  Bring a towel and a sense of adventure!


Flood Risk Managment Plan for Dundee and Broughty Ferry Published

Local Flood Risk Management Plan: Tay Estuary and Montrose Basin Local Plan District June 2016
The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 required the relevant responsible authorities to work together to produce a Flood Risk Management Plan for their respective Local Plan Districts with the aim of reducing overall risk of flooding from whatever source.

Dundee is contained within the Tay Estuary and Montrose Basin Local Plan District and, as the appointed lead local authority, Angus Council are responsible for publishing our Plan.

The finalised "Local Flood Risk Management Plan: Tay Estuary and Montrose Basin Local Plan District" has now been published and is available to read or download from the link below:-


Dundee Armed Forces Day Parade Saturday 25 June 2016

Armed Forces Day Saturday 25 June 2016
Yesterday I attended the Armed Forces' Day Parade in the City Square in Dundee.

The main focus of the event, was a military parade made up of contingents from local reserve forces, veteran associations and cadets, who marched from Dundee High School at 12.30 via Reform Street to City Square.

It was an opportunity to acknowledge, past and current members of the armed forces and to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice.


Updated and Improved National Entitlement Card for Older People Due to be Introduced Autumn 2016

National Entitlement Card Poster for Over 60's Transport Scotland June 20016
Click on image to enlarge
If you are over 60 years old and your card has the OneScotland logo, a new style card will automatically be sent to your registered address before your current one expires. You don’t need to do anything.

Your current card may not be due to expire for several months however, new cards are being sent to everyone in advance of this and you should destroy any old bus passes now to avoid confusion.

The new style card has the mygovscot logo – replacing the One Scotland logo - see illustrations

You will notice that the new style over 60s card no longer has a valid to date. This means it is now a card for life. Cards issued on the grounds of disability will continue to display a “valid to” date.

If your current card has the mygovscot logo, then you already have the new card and will not need a replacement.

Card replacements
Please check that the photograph and personal details on your new card are correct.  If any are not, or if this card is for someone who is no longer at the address, telephone the number on the back of the card to report this. When you receive your new card you need to start using it immediately and destroy any old cards you have.


Overhanging Shrubs Reported on Path Between Beach Lane and Grassy Beach

Overhanging Shrubs, Beach Lane Broughty Ferry June 2016
Earlier in the week, a constituent contacted me to complain about the overgrown hedges and overhanging shrubs on the path connecting Beach Lane and Grassy Beach in The Ferry.

When I walked this stretch of pathway on Wednesday afternoon, I took some photos. Subsequently, I contacted staff in the Environment Department to ask that these shrubs and the hedging are cut back. 

On Thursday morning I received a positive reply to let me know that the cutting back would be scheduled in next week.


Baldragon Summer Concert Showcases Talented Pupils and Fine Quality of Instrumental Tuition

Last night I attended the Summer Concert at Baldragon Academy. This is always an entertaining evening, and last night was no exception.

A range of groups made music from a wide variety of genres; from the String Ensemble playing a movement from Dvořák's New World Symphony to the Soul Band's rendition of Jess Glynne's 'Hold My Hand'.  

Interspersed with the bands and groups, senior pupils played their Higher and Advanced Higher Music solo performance pieces.

The stand out solo performance for me was TJ Douglas Welsh's moving rendition of the song 'Defying Gravity' from the musical Wicked. TJ will be performing this later in the summer with Dundee Schools' Music Theatre.

It was also good to hear younger pupils performing including pupils from Baldragon's cluster Primary Schools. I was very impressed with the Trombone Solo from S1 pupil Natasha Borsch and the enthusiasm and pounding rhythms from the P7 Samba Percussion Group from Sidlaw View Primary School. 

Once again this concert demonstrated the strength of the Music Department at Baldragon Academy and the fine support from the peripatetic instrumental tutors and city wide bands and orchestras. They are clearly very effective at nurturing musicality amongst the pupils at Baldragon and its cluster primary schools.


Visit to VandA Dundee Construction Site

Councillor Laurie Bidwell at the V&A Dundee Construction Site
Earlier today, I took the opportunity to visit the VandA Dundee construction site with a group of City Councillors. This seemed important for three key reasons.

Firstly, when I was first elected in May 2007, I was an enthusiast for bringing the VandA Design Museum to Dundee when this idea was broached. I was therefore keen to see how the construction of this iconic building was progressing.

Secondly, this design museum, and it future role as the 'anchor project at the redeveloped Dundee Waterfront, embodies many of our hopes for a brighter economic and cultural future for our City. 
Thirdly, on Monday evening the Policy and Resources Committee of the Council will be considering a progress report on the VandA Dundee and the opportunity for a site visit brought this report to life and helped me prepare for the meeting. 

What I could see and was shown was the emergence of the Kengo Kuma and Associates' designed building. Appropriately, it is rising phoenix like with its foundations built using the recycled crushed rubble from the unloved Tayside House that was demolished on the other side of the waterfront site.

Dundee: One City, Many Discoveries.


Temporary Road Closure for Gas Main Renewal Forthill Road and Fort Street for Eight Weeks from 4 July 2016

Road Closure Sign
Dundee City Council (Forthill Road and Fort Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee) (Temporary Prohibition of Driving) Order 2016

Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating gas main renewal works.  The Order is expected to be in force for eight weeks from 4 July 2016.  Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in (Phase 1) Forthill Road from Fintry Place to Nursery Road and (Phase 2) Forthill Road from Nursery Road to Fort Street and Fort Street from Forthill Road to Queen Street.

Phase 2 will follow the completion of Phase 1 and both phases are likely to last for 4 weeks.

An alternative route will be available via Balgillo Road, Ballinard Road, Claypotts Road, Queen Street, Fort Street and Forthill Road.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to Mark Cobb, Network Management Team, City Development Department, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee  DD1 1LS, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date.  If you have any queries please contact Mr Cobb on 01382 433082.


Second Ferry Food Fayre Sunday 14 August 2016 Best Western Woodlands Hotel 12-4:30pm

The second Ferry Food Fayre has just been confirmed for 12-4:30pm on Sunday 14 August 2016, the last weekend of the school summer holidays.

After the great success of the initial Fayre, this year promises to be bigger and bettter with more space for the public to 'See, Do, Eat and Drink'.

Certainly a great afternoon out to put in the diary - more details to follow.


Broughty Ferry Flood Protection Scheme - Exhibition Material Available Online

Flood Risk Map Broughty Ferry 2016
Click on map to enlarge
If you missed the Drop-In Consultation day in Broughty Ferry, you can still find out more about the Council's initial proposals for Flood Protection Measures in Broughty Ferry (Grassy Beach to the Esplanade).

The Council's presentation to the community council meeting on 7th June and the exhibition material from the drop-in consultation on 1st June are currently on display at the foyer of Dundee House,50 North Lindsay Street Dundee DD1 1QE . The exhibition material will be on display until Friday 24th June. Any person wishing to view the material and requires further explanation should ask for Gavin Smith or Michael Sandeman at reception.

Staff have also uploaded a video of the 3D animation to YouTube at the following link:

They have also created a webpage on Dundee city Council's website where more detailed drawings can be viewed:


Forthill Out of School Club Celebrates 20 Successful Years

On Monday I visited the Forthill Out of School Club at Forthill Primary School. I held off writing about this until today to coincide with the Club's 20th anniversary. 

My meeting was with the enthusiastic and capable Manager of the Club. Margot Bruce, whose employment at the Club stretches back 19 years. 

The Club has consistently received some of the highest gradings available in their external assessments by the Care Commission. In the conclusion to their most recent report, the Inspector wrote: 
"The Out of School Club offered exceptional opportunities for children to learn and play in a safe and nurturing environment. The staff cared for each child as an individual, promoting a culture of friendship and respect for others. The children we spoke to said the club was 'fantastic', parents/carers also confirmed that the staff in the club were committed, conscientious practitioners. There was a wide range of learning and play experiences available to the children, which stimulated their imagination and creativity. The staff promoted the children's confidence by encouraging them to assess risks for themselves. Activities and resources were continually assessed by staff to ensure each child's interests were supported."

Clearly, the Forthill Out of School Cate Club provides exceptionally good quality pre-school, after school, and holiday services. Their 'wrap around' and quality child care and learning services are obviously appreciated and relied upon by many parents and carers. 

Best wishes to the Club for the next 20 years.


Nine Pavements in The Ferry to be Upgraded and Adopted in 2016-17

Pavement resurfacing in Broughty Ferry prior to adoption by the Council
I am pleased to announce that the Council's £0.5m programme of adopting footpaths is continuing for financial year 2016-17 and that the following pavements in The Ferry will be upgraded and then adopted at no cost to residents in these streets.

Stewart Street,
Hill Road,
Strathmore Street (63 Strathmore Street to Rosedale Crescent and Rosedale Crescent to Ellie Avenue),
Collingwood Street (south side),
Holly Road,
Lindsay Street,
Ardmore Avenue and
Kerrington Crescent (south side)

It is expected that the work will commence on these schemes on a phased basis starting approximately one month from now once the actual programming of the works has been discussed and agreed with Tayside Contracts as part of the Roads Maintenance Partnership.

I know that the residents in these streets will be particularly pleased when their pavements are brought up to standard. This will not only improve the underfoot conditions on the pavements concerned but also mean pedestrians are not tempted to walk in the road when the pavements are like a quagmire.


Changes to Xplore Dundee Bus No 5 – Planned from 15 August 2016

No 5 Xplore Dundee Buses
I have recently been provided with a briefing of changes to Bus Service in Dundee with effect from 15 August 2016

The one service that Xplore Dundee runs which would appear to directly affect residents in The Ferry is the No5 – Ninewells to Barnhill.

I am advised that Service no. 5 will be taken out of Tom McDonald Way and the western extremity of the Perth Road. Instead it will leave Ninewells Hospital and operate along Dickson Avenue and down Glamis Road. 

I have passed on my concerns on behalf of residents that work in the Technology Park and rely on this bus service to get to and from work. In my letter to Xplore Dundee, I have asked them to reverse these phanned changes.


City Council Rejects Recommendations from Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland

At the City Council meeting last night I was pleased to support the motion brought forward by the leader of the Administration, Councillor Ken Guild. His motion instructed the Chief Executive to write to the Minister for Local Government in the Scottish Parliament and urge him to reject proposals to increase Councillor numbers and change ward boundaries in Dundee. These discredited proposals are contained in the report to Scottish Government Ministers from the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland.

Here is the statement of support I made to the Council:

"Lord Provost since we last discussed this issue, as we all know, the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland has reported to Scottish Government Ministers. Very disappointingly they appear to have completely disregarded the most recent communication from the City Council about retaining the existing number of Councillors and Ward Boundaries in the City.

In fact, it would appear by the date recorded in the Boundary Commissioners' Report that this was in advance of the meeting of the City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee when we considered and responded almost immediately to their enquiry to the Council. A significant number of my constituents are aggrieved that their representations, like those of the Council at our last meeting, have been brushed aside.

Clearly however, the decision is now with Ministers in the Scottish Government and by law they are able to adopt, reject or amend the recommendations from the Local Government Boundary Commission as well as instruct the Commission to undertake a local inquiry.

Accordingly, I am supportive of the Motion to communicate to the Minister for Local Government in the Scottish Government in the strongest possible terms that he should reject the recommendations from the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland that apply to our City  and retain the status quo in relation to the number of Elected Members on the Council and the current Ward Boundaries. The huge number of objections from residents in the Ferry Ward especially in the West Ferry sector demonstrate how important community identity in Broughty Ferry is and should be respected."

The motion was supported unanimously. It is good that the Council is now speaking with one voice on this issue.

My constituents in West Ferry who are determined they want to stay in Ward 8 The Ferry should not however assume that the Council's letter will do the trick on its own. I recommend that they also communicate their point of view to the Minister for Local Government and Housing in the Scottish Government, Kevin Stewart MSP, and copy in Shona Robison the MSP for Dundee City East and also a member of the Cabinet. 

Any comments on the report or the recommendations must be submitted to the Kevin Stewart by 7th July, 2016. 

Kevin Stewart MSP
Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Tel: 0300 244 4000

Shona Robison MSP
Constituency Office
8 Old Glamis Road
Phone: 01382 903210


Road and Footway Planned Improvement in Dundee 2016-17

Map of the The Ferry Ward 8 Dundee, which indicates location for planned improvements to roads and footways.
Click on image to enlarge
Recently City Councillors have been issued with a list of the Roads and Pavements in Dundee to be upgraded in financial year April 2016 - March 2017.

A section of this map is reproduced. Click on the image to enlarge.

If you would like to see the full picture for the city please click on this link which will take you to the online Map of Roads and Footways in Dundee to be Upgraded in 2016-17.


Broughty Ferry Beach is Awarded 2016 Seaside Award by Keep Scotland Beautiful

Broughty Ferry Beach
Broughty Ferry beach has received external recognition for the 13th year in a row!
For the 2016 bathing season, our beach has been awarded the Keep Scotland Beautiful 'Seaside Award' and an “excellent” EU Bathing Waters classification.
It is good news that the bathing water quality there has been designated ‘Excellent’ under the stringent EU Bathing Water Classification.

To qualify for the Seaside Award from Keep Scotland Beautiful, 25 conditions need to be met including: community, access and facilities; information and education; environment management and safety. These criteria cover the provision of facilities, such as toilets, first aid, information boards and parking as well as appropriate safety management, community involvement and excellent standards of cleanliness.
The beach is a huge asset for The Ferry, the wider Dundee area. and of course the visitors from further afield.
Broughty Ferry is a designated, “bathing water” monitored by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) between June and September and is given its EU classification based on four years of data. 
The bathing season at Broughty Ferry runs from now until Sunday September 4.


LEPRA Edinburgh to St Andrews Cycle Ride Today

An early start today to ride the 68 miles from Edinburgh to St Andrews on the 36th annual LEPRA Cycle Ride. 

Each year up to 1,000 cyclists participate in this annual event which takes a lovely route via the Forth Road Bridge, over the Cleish Hills, swoops down to Kinross, skirts Loch Leven and then takes back roads from Falkland to St Andrews.

This year I'm riding with friend and former University colleague Geoffrey Wallace who is over from California for a holiday in the auld country.

LEPRA are a UK registered international charity focusing on leprosy, Their purpose is to enable children, women and men affected by neglected diseases to transform their lives and overcome poverty and prejudice. Working on the ground in India, Bangladesh and Mozambique they treat, educate and rehabilitate, and through this give a voice to people living on the margins of society. 


Temporary Closuse of Fort Street Bridge from Monday 13 June 2016 for up to 5 Working Days


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of bridge repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Fort Street (from Brook Street to Queen Street), Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 13 June 2016 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Brook Street / Westfield Road / Queen Street.

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


Braeview Academy Wins Scottish Education Award for Enterprise and Employability Across Learning (Secondary)

Congratulations to Braeview Academy for winning the Scottish Education Award for Enterprise and Employability Across Learning (Secondary). This national award was announced at a ceremony held in Glasgow yesterday. 

The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the hard work and success which takes place in Scottish education. They recognise the achievements of people who dedicate their lives to children and young people and showcase the valuable work and innovation in Scottish classrooms.

The Enterprise and Employability Across Learning award is recognition for Braeview's strategy to develop pupils' employability skills by offering careers education, opportunities for vocational courses and work experience. One of the impressive features of this has been their well developed partnership with Michelin in Dundee.

Braeview's enterprise and employability strategy will be a key part of their school delivering the entitlement for all pupils to be supported in their progression from school to a positive and sustained destination.


Programme Out Now for Broughty Ferry Gala Week 3-10 July 2016

Broughty Ferry Gala Week 2016
The programme for Broughty Gala Week 2016 has just been published by the Community Gala Committee. 

This year Broughty Ferry Gala Week will run from Sunday 3rd to Sunday 10th July. 

The programme includes many old favourites such as:
Children's Shop Window Guessing Competition Gala Fete on Castle Green, Pavement Artist Competition outside M&S and
Secret Gardens of Broughty Ferry (visits to).

For detailed information about each of the events - more than 50 from my count - consult the free Gala programme. Printed booklets are available to pick up from shops in the Ferry as well as the counter of the Library in Queen Street. 
Read/download 2016 Gala Programme


Possible Coastal Protection Measures between Grassy Beach and Broughty Ferry Castle - Flyover Simulation

Simulated View of Possible Coastal Defences Broughty Ferry June 2016
Simulated view of possible enhanced sea
defences for Broughty Ferry
If you missed the drop-in consultation on Wednesday 1st June 2016 about the proposed coastal protection measures between the Grassy Beach and Broughty Ferry Castle, you may the video flyover simulation of possible design for the scheme helpful - click on link below. 

Don't worry that you have missed out on the opportunity to respond to the Council. According to senior Council staff present at the drop-in event, this was an initial consultation which will be followed by the formal consultation. I'll try to keep constituents updated when we reach that point.

Link to video flyover simulation of possible changes to coastal defences Grassy Beach to Broughty Ferry Castle June 2016


Dundee Councillors Raise Sponsorship Donations for DofE Diamond Challenge

On Saturday morning I took part in a sponsored event with a cross party group of City Councillors as part of the Diamond Challenge to help extend the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme. 

Together we raised over £1300 to support the development of the award with children in our city. 

It was good to be involved in this fundraising event and, in a minor way,  put something back into the Award. I have been mindful that two of my four children gained DofE awards through Grove Academy. I would like many more young people in Dundee to be able to take the DofE  challenge and work towards their Awards.

I hear you saying, "If only all their (Councillors) meetings were so productive!"


Not on the Electoral register? You must register by 7 June if you want to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June

2 days left to register to vote in the EU Referendum
You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums.

If you aren’t already on the electoral register, you must register by 7 June 2016 if you want to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June.

You don’t need to register again in order to vote in the EU referendum if you live in the UK and both of the following apply:
You were registered to vote in the May 2016 elections to the Scottish Parliament or the 2015 General Election.

Use this service to apply to register to vote or to:
  • update your name, address or other details on the electoral register
  • change your voting preferences, eg to vote in person or by post
  • change whether you’re on the open register

It usually takes just 5 minutes.
You may need the following, if you have them:
your National Insurance number
your passport if you’re a British citizen living abroad

Link to UK Government Voter Registration Website