Dundee Choral Union Concert - Messiah - Caird Hall 7:30pm Sunday 18 December 2016

Dundee Choral Union
Christmas Concert
Sunday 18 December 2016 7:30pm

Caird Hall, City Square Dundee

Handel - Messiah
Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Sarah Power - Soprano
Beth Margaret Taylor - Alto
Mark Wilde - Tenor
Andrew McTaggart - Bass

Musical Director - Derek Clark
Tickets from Dundee Choral Union members when available and also from the City Square Box Office
£15.00 and Students and Unemployed £5.00.
Accompanied School Pupils FREE
Further information contact Mrs Kay A S Simpson, tel: 01334 870277


Grove Academy Christmas Fayre Saturday 3rd December 2016 from 10:30-14:00

Jingle on down to Grove Academy’s Christmas Fayre this Saturday - 3rd December from 10:30-14:00 in aid of the school charity, Macmillan Cancer Support Dundee and Grove Academy's School Fund.   

Come along and browse over 40 Christmas stalls, visit Santa’s grotto and support this festive fundraiser.

Special guest appearances from Disney’s Belle and The Beast! 

Entry fee is only £1 and can be made at the door on the day. Under 5's go free. 

Festive Fun for all the family! 


BBC Black History of Britain Features Dundee

 BBC2 A Black History of Britain visits Dundee
Dundee featured in the episode of the BBC2 series ‘A Black History of Britain’, which was broadcast last night.

We learned that in 1845 the African-American Abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass began a speaking tour of Britain which lasted for 19 months.

One of the places he visited in 1846 was Dundee. He made his speech against slavery in the US in the Bell Street Baptist Church which has more recently been used by the City Council as a music centre.

As part of the documentary Dr Brunache, from the University of Dundee, was interviewed at the centre, where Douglass once stood.

The plaque commemorating Douglass's visit was unveiled outside the Music Centre.

Catch up with this programme on BBC iPlayer


Book Week Scotland Free Event at Broughty Ferry Library 7pm Wednesday 23 November 2016

Book Week Scotland 2016 at Broughty Ferry Library
Book Week Scotland runs from 21 - 27 November 2016.

Broughty Ferry Library are hosting one of the events planned in Dundee.

The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick: Wednesday 23rd November 7.00-8.00pm, Broughty Ferry Library, Queen Street, Broughty Ferry DD5 2HN

Helen Sedgwick has an MLitt in Creative Writing and won the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2012.

Described as One Day meets The Time Traveller’s Wife, this debut novel from a former research physicist uses comets as a way of bridging time in a scientific romance that follows its characters from 1066 to present day Antarctica.

This is a free event for adults, refreshments will be available. Helen’s book will be available for sale.

To book your place
either email

or call 01382 436919


Monthly Meeting with Michael Wood Executive Director of Children and Familes Service

Yesterday morning I had my regular meeting with Michael Wood, Executive Director of Children and Families' Service, along with my colleague, Councillor Georgia Cruickshank. 

This is an opportunity to have a briefing on the Agenda Items for the Children and Families' Service Committee meeting next Monday 28 November 2016.

In our meeting in Michael's office, we discussed each item but we paid most attention to the items about the Attainment Challenge Update and the Teacher Numbers in Dundee Schools. 

The Attainment Challenge Update is essentially a progress report on Dundee school projects funded by £4 million from the Scottish Attainment Challenge. As this update is reporting on the first full year of this programme, the report maps out more about the additional staff appointed and the arrangements in place for future evaluation of 'closing the attainment gap' rather than detailing rising attainment.

Th item on Teacher Numbers in Dundee Schools reports to the Committee and the general public on the number of teachers in post in our primary and secondary schools in the designated census week in September 2016. These figures are meticulously reported to the Scottish Government. Additionally I think the figures should be reported more widely, thus my insistence at an earlier meeting of the former Education Committee that these details should be reported annually in the Autumn. This year the report records a creeping up of the pupil teacher ratio. While the report refers to some indicators of improvement in the recruitment and selection of teachers, it continues to be a shortage of teachers. While we should be vigilant in tracking the number of teachers in our schools, we should also be concerned about the learning outcomes achieved from this investment.


Homelessness: Far From Fixed

Homelessness: Far from Fixed Campign City Square Dundee 21 November 2016
This morning I joined Shelter Scotland in City Square Dundee to show support for their campaign, 'Homelessness: Far From Fixed'. 

This campaign is calling on the Scottish Government to urgently develop a National Homelessness Strategy to ensure:

#There is a safe and affordable home for everyone; #There is help available for everyone to keep or find a home;
#There is a strong housing safety net to catch people if they do lose their home and
#That no-one should ever have to sleep rough on Scotland’s streets.

On a freezing day like this, the dangers of rough sleeping are especially apparent.

I think, we should be ashamed that, 50 years after the founding of Shelter, homelessness is far from fixed.

Christmas Light Night in Broughty Ferry from 6pm on Thursday 24 November 2016

Christmas Light Night in Broughty Ferry Thursday 24 November 2016
Organised by Broughty Ferry Traders' Association, the evening of events leading up to the switching on of the Christmas Lights in The Ferry has become a firm favourite in our community. It marks the start of the festive season with fairground rides and street entertainment.

The funfair and Radio Tay stage will be running from 6pm, while local traders including Scotts Butchers and Visocchis will be on hand to offer food and drink throughout the event with some shops staying open throughout the evening.

The event, held on 24 November 2016, gets under way with live entertainment from 6pm. Dundee Lord Provost Bob Duncan will then switch on the lights at 7.30pm.

Motorists should note that the central sections of Brook Street and Gray Street will be closed to traffic from 2pm until 9pm although shops in Broughty Ferry will remain open as usual.


Visit to New Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery

New Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School November 2016
On Friday morning, with Councillor Kevin Keenan and Councillor Georgia Cruickshank, I had the opportunity to visit Sidlaw View Primary School and Jessie Porter Nursery School in their new school buildings on Harestane Road.

This two-stream, two-storey primary school has a co-located but separately managed nursery school which incorporates the Young Mothers’ Unit. Overall, the new building was designed for an anticipated maximum of 400 pupils, with 100 FTE nursery places and nine places for babies / under two year olds, for mothers attending Baldragon Academy next door.

Mrs McCaffery, Head Teacher of Sidlaw View and Mrs Ferrier of Jessie Porter showed us round. Their two co-located schools have admirable facilities and well defined approaches to learning that are already taking advantage of their enhanced facilities.


Reporting on Quarterly Meeting of The Ferry Community Planning Partnership held on Thursday 17 November

The Ferry Local Communjity Planning Partnership
On Thursday afternoon, I attended the Quarterly meeting of The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership which was held in Broughty Ferry Libary beginning at 17:30.

I always find this a useful meeting to attend because the agenda includes updates from voluntary, council and community organisations as well as presentations and consultations about new and proposed developments.

At our meeting on Thursday, the LCPP heard a formal presentation and consultation from Council staff about the proposed enhanced facilities for charging electric vehicles in the Queen Street Car Park. I have previously reported about this in this blog. Folk who want to hear this presentation may do so when it is repeated at the next meeting of the Broughty Ferry Community Council to be held on Tuesday 6 December 2016 beginning at 7pm in Broughty Ferry Library. 

The LCPP also had a presentation on initial results of the Engage Broughty Ferry survey and the implications of the 'A Fair Way to Go: Report of the Dundee Fairness Commission'. A follow up event to tease out the way forward for partners will be held in early 2017.

Two new PCs from the local policing team for Broughty Ferry introduced themselves and committed to resuming their regular attendance at further meetings of the LCPP and other community organisations.


Commenting on Community Meetings I Have Attended This Week

On Tuesday evening, after my weekly surgery at the Library, I attended a meeting of the Broughty Ferry Development Trust. It was good to hear about the projects which they are working on. I am sure their efforts will help to enhance The Ferry.

On Wednesday evening, I divided my time between the Parent Council meetings at Barnhill and Forthill Primary Schools as their meetings had been arranged for the same night. To my mind, both groups are positive examples of involved parents and carers leading to inspired children. At both meetings I heard about issues that are important in connection with their children's primary schooling. Unfortunately, there remain road safety issues in relation to the dropping off and picking up of children around Barnhill and Forthill. I will raise these issues at the next meeting of the School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group.


Potholes at Entrance to Car Park on the Esplanade Reported

Potholes at entrance to the Car Park on the Esplanade in Broughty FerryConstituents have complained to me about the very uneven surface at the entrance to the car park located midway along The Esplanade. As can be seen in the picture, a number of potholes have developed and are getting worse. 

This is a well used free car park which offers visitors and residents alike a good place to park with easy access to the beach and the grassy margin between the dunes and The Esplanade.

I have asked the Environment Department to arrange for the potholes to be filled in and a more even surface restored.


Support Our Local Charity Timebank Pop-Up Shop

Merry Ferry Time Chris"tmas Pop Up Shop November - December 2016Starting next Monday, 21st November, our own Timebank in The Ferry will be running a Christmas Emporium at 69 Gray Street Broughty Ferry. 

As a local charity, Ferry Time, need to raise funds so that they can continue to operate the time bank and thereby enable skills exchange between folk. 

This pop up shop will be selling hand made crafts, donated new items as well as vintage and previously enjoyed goods. Teas, coffees, biscuits and home baking will also be on sale. Tombola.

One Day Traffic Restrictions Junction of Reres Road and Abertay Street Thursday 17 November 2016

Road Closed Street Sign


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water manhole repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Reres Road / Abertay Street junction (prohibition of left turn into Abertay Street and right turn into Reres Road), Broughty Ferry.

This notice comes into effect on Thursday 17 November 2016 for 1 day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.

Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Panmure Terrace / Abercromby Street / Hamilton Street and Abertay Street / Monifieth Road / Reres Road.

For further information contact (01382) 433082.
Mike P Galloway Executive Director of City Development Dundee City Council


Commenting on Homework Policy for Dundee Primary Schools

The recent news that a Primary School in the Highlands has opted to stop setting homework is one which I think we should take notice of in our Primary Schools in Dundee. I am not suggesting that we abandon homework as a Council policy but that each of our schools review its value and place especially in the early primary years. 

Many parents and carers may be surpised to know that the research evidence that regular homework is effective and beneficial is at best mixed. If there are no clear benefits, then the potential damage it can do in adding to pressure on our young people already makes homework not worth doing at that point. Sometimes less is more. 

It is also argued that the role of ‘homework policing’ by parents creates tensions in the family. I can certainly remember 'issues' when having the responsibility to sign off the homework tasks when these had been completed.

"Whether you're pro- or anti-homework, keep in mind that research gives a big-picture idea of what works and what doesn't, and a capable teacher can make almost anything work. The question isn't about homework vs. no homework; instead, we should be asking ourselves, 'How can we transform homework so that it's engaging, relevant, and supports learning?' "

I am sure that many pupils, parents and carers would say 'yes' to that.


Request for Additional Rubbish Bin to Close the Gap

Rubbish bins on coastal pathway in Broughty Ferry
Readers of my blog know that I often enjoy a walk along the coastal pathway between Douglas Terrace and the Stannergate.

Earlier this week, some other regular dog walkers asked me to try to get another rubbish bin installed. I think they have some sound reasoning to support their proposal. 

Between the rubbish bin at the Stannergate end of the path (top picture) and the two bins beside the sailing clubs (bottom two pictures), you pass three dog poo bins but no general rubbish bins which is a gap of at least half a mile. While they don't think the lack of a bin excuses littering, they do think some folk might be more inclined to bin their rubbish if one were nearer to hand. 

More specifically, they recommend that an additional bin is installed close to the Sea Eagles sculptures and the group of wooden benches beside the interpretation board close to the flight of contrete steps that run down to the river. 

I have passed on this request to the very helpful staff at the Environment Department.

Please contact me if there is a 'missing bin' in the vicinity of your home or on your favourite walk.


Harbouring Tourist Information on a Touch Screen Display

Harbour Cafe Tayport with Touch Screen Tourist Information
I was over in Fife for a dog walk in Tentmuir Forest on Wednesday morning. On the way home, I dropped in for a coffee at the Harbour Community Cafe in Tayport.

Apart for the coffee and cakes and the wonderful view over to The Ferry, I noticed that they also host one of the Fife Local Information Points.

As you can see it like a giant iPad on a stand and provides online touchscreen access to information for residents and tourists.

I think this is the standard of dispersed Tourist Information we need across the water in Dundee and Broughty Ferry. For many folk, leaflets just won't cut it in a digital age.


Grove Academy Cycling Team Awarded Dundee Cyclathon Fundraising Cup 2016

Grove Academy Cyclathon Team win Fundraising Cup
Congratulations to the pupils from Grove Academy who last night were awarded the Fundraising Cup for the most money raised by a team who entered the Dundee Cyclathon. 

Back in September, this young team of cyclists completed a circuit of the 26 mile Green Circular route starting and finishing in Camperdown Park. Last night they were presented with the Fundrasing Cup by Lord Provost Bob Duncan at a Civic Reception for the cyclists/fundraisers and the organisers of the Cyclathon, Rotary Club of Claverhouse.

This is not the first occasion that a team of cyclists from Grove Academy, with staff support, have won this fundraising award. 


Tayberry Restaurant Makes Michelin Guide 2017

Tayberry Restaurant Review in Michelin Guide 2017Congratulations to Tayberry Restaurant on their recommendation in the 2017 edition of the Michelin Guide. 

The Tayberry Restaurant is owned and run by head chef Adam Newth. Adam has previously won many awards including Young Seafood Chef of the Year as well as Young Scottish Chef of the Year in 2013. 

More recently the Tayberry restaurant has also been awarded two AA Rosettes.


BBC Reveal Broughty Ferry Police Station Under Threat

Broughty Ferry Police Station
Yesterday there were revelations from the BBC that 'The future of dozens of police stations across Scotland is under threat.' This list included our Police Station in Broughty Ferry.

The BBC report is extremely worrying. I had been informed that the lease on the current Police Station buildings in Brook Street was coming to an end but that Police Scotland were proposing to move over the road to the former Police Station premises next to the Burgh Halls.  If that move is reneged on and Police Scotland are proposing to pull out of Broughty Ferry, I know there will be will be sustained resistance to that.

I am sure that the Broughty Ferry residents would once again demonstrate their opposition to a proposal that they judge to be detrimental, in the same way we saw off the proposal of Tayside Fire and Rescue to downgrade Balmossie Fire Station. 

I am certainly determined to resist any reduction in Police Scotland presence in and service to The Ferry.


Proposed Recharging Hub at Queen Street Car Park

Proposed Recharging Hub for Broughty Ferry Autumn 2016Last month Ferry Councillors had a site visit to the Queen Street car park opposite the Library. We were there to examine proposals for an enhanced number and variety of electric vehicle recharging points. This is to be funded from a share of a £1.86 million grant from the UK government's Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). As well as more rapid recharging points for cars, there would also be provision for the recharging of electric bikes and electric mobility scooters. 

I think many older folk in The Ferry who have extended their bike riding by shifting to an e-bike or those that rely on a mobility scooter will be pleased that their needs have been recognised in the plans for this proposed facility.

Proposed Recharging Hub for Broughty Ferry Autumn 2016The two pictures show an artist's impression of what the new Recharging Hub might look like; it would be sited where the recycling bins are currently lined up. To accommodate the Recharging Hub, the recycling containers would be moved to the western side of the car park closer to the railway.

This project is subject to consultation with the Broughty Ferry Community Council and The Ferry Local Community Planning Partnership.


Free Fireworks Displays in Dundee Tonight - Saturday 5 November 2016 - Lochee Park and Baxter Park

Free Fireworks Displays in Dundee - Saturday 5 November 2016
Lochee Park and Baxter Park Dundee

6.00pm - Tay FM Roadshow
6.15pm - Lighting of The Bonfire
7.00pm - Fireworks Display
7.25pm - End

In the interests of public safety, please DO NOT bring fireworks, sparklers or Chinese lanterns to the displays.

Please note: there is no parking on site at Baxter Park and Lochee Park. Please use public transport or walk.


School Capacity Issues in Dundee Raised in Children & Families Service Estate Review 2016

Agenda for Novenber 2016 Meeting of the Dundee City Council Children and Families
On Monday night, I spoke at the Children & Families' Service Meeting item 3 'Review of the Service Estatae.'

"Convener, there a number of very positive features in the Children and Families’ Service Estate Review which we are considering tonight.    In particular, I would like to commend the Executive Director for including the section in the Report on the safety of our school buildings and the regular inspection of these by the City Engineers’ Department.   You will recall that this was something that I brought to this Committee’s attention at a previous meeting when I brought forward in a Motion on this specific issue.

It is also positive that many of the schools that are in 'C' condition “showing major defects and/or not operating adequately” are either part of a planned programme for up-grading or new facilities soon to be available.

There are, however, a number of issues which I want to raise tonight and in the spirit of being committed to continuous improvement, I hope the Committee would want to support the matters I raise which are part of my Motion.

Firstly, in relation to school capacity, I think the figures especially for secondary schools in paragraph 5.5 are rather misleading.

As you are aware, Convener, saying that there are spare places in a school because the total number of pupils is less than the total capacity of the school doesn’t take us very far.

I think it would be fair to say that every one of our secondary schools including Harris Academy which in this Report is detailed as running over capacity, all of these schools may have places in S5 and S6.   This is because it is beyond the minimum school leaving age and not everyone of our secondary pupils stays on for S5 and S6. The fact that a place is available in a school in S5 and S6 is no help to the parent or carer that wants to secure a place for their child into S1.

My Motion has requested that this Committee receives a follow up Report which elaborates the year by year S1 to S6 spare capacity in each of our Secondary Schools.   I think that will give us a clearer picture of how much spare capacity we really have to cope with the predicted rise in the City’s population over the next 10 to 20 years.

Secondly, while this Report provides information about the quality of the Council’s nursery school buildings, it does not provide any statistics or any figures about pre-school pupil numbers and the capacity for the Council’s nursery pre school sector.

I think this Committee needs this information bearing in mind the reference in the Report to the commitment of the Scottish Government to almost double the entitlement hours for 3 and 4 year olds in Scotland to pre school education and care.   Clearly it is important to know what capacity we already have for such a major expansion in Education provision in our City.

I think therefore it’s perfectly reasonable to request that future Reports from Children and Families’ Service on the Estate include the additional statistical data on pre-school provision that my Motion calls for.

Convener, I therefore move my Amendment and hope you and colleagues on the Committee would support these two measures which I have proposed."


Commenting on Tree Felling at Criagowan, Corner of Camphill Road and Whinny Brae Broughty Ferry

Craigowan, Camphill Road, Broughty Ferry.
On Monday morning I was contacted by a constituent who lives in Rowanbank Gardens. He was very concerned about whether the felling of trees in the garden ground of Craigowan adjacent to his home and wanted to know whether this was incordance with the planning permission for the site. 

Following this phone call, I contacted the Council's Duty Planning Officer and urged an immediate site visit. The Council Officer who deals with Tree Preservation Orders and trees in Conservation Areas visited the site on Monday afternoon and spoke directly with the contractors. 

On the basis of his brefings to me, there are three trees to be retained at Craigowan: 1 lime, 1 beech and 1 holly tree. As part of the planning conditions, twelve trees will be planted on the bank close to the boundary with the properties in Rowanbank Gardens. It was therefore clarified that the trees that were being cut down on Monday were neither protected by tree preservation orders nor planning conditions. For the avoidance of doubt, I have asked Council Officer to provide the consitituent concerned and me with a plan that clearly indicates the location of the three trees that are to be retained.

While this was not the outcome that my constituent wanted, at least his intervention has helped to clarify the number of trees protected by planning decisions on this development. 

I hope that the envirnomnental works in the gardens will be swiftly followed up with work on this iconic property. I know many residents in the area have been concerned that it has lain empty and neglected for many years.


One Day Closure of Brook Street at Junction with Church Street Sun 6 November 2016 for Scottish Water Repairs

Road Closure Streeet Sign


THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water manhole repair works being

carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Brook Street (at its junction with Church Street), Broughty Ferry.

This notice comes into effect on Sunday 6 November 2016 for 1 day.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained. Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Westfield Road / King Street / Brown Street.

For further information contact (01382) 433082.
Mike P Galloway Executive Director of City Development Dundee City Council


Car Crash in Dundee Road Demolishes Street Light and Damages Parked Vehicle

Car Crash Dundee Road Broughty Ferry
Early yesterday evening, while I was attending a series of Council meetings, the tranquility of the neighbourhood was disturbed by a road traffic accident in Dundee Road.

My wife Rowena reported to me that the vehicle involved demolished a street light and extensively damaged a red Golf saloon car parked beside the road. The car that crashed appeared to have been written off. 

Emergency services attended and there was a short power cut. Power was restored after the damaged street light was disconected and removed. Luckily no one was injured in the accident. Thanks to Rowena for the photographs.