30/04/2016

Environmental Improvements at Reres Hill

View towards Tentsmuir Forest and Tayport from Reres Hill in Broughty Ferry
View towards Tentsmuir Forest and Tayport
Bracken cleared on approach to the summit of Reres Hill April 2016
Bracken cleared on approach to the summit
Bracken cleared from summit of Reres Hill April 2016
Bracken cleared from summit area
Recently staff from the Environment Department (formerly the Parks Department) have undertaken some cutting back of areas of overgrown bracken and brambles at Reres Hill. 

Improvements are most noticeable where paths to the summit are once again clear. With access to the summit, the viewpoint towards Tentsmuir Forest and Tayport is restored. 

Enjoy!

29/04/2016

Consultation on Draft Traffic Restriction Orders on Double Yellow Lines in Broughty Ferry

Double yellow lines.
DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL
ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984
DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL (VARIATION OF WAITING RESTRICTIONS) ORDER 2016

Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of varying the provisions of several Waiting Restriction Orders affecting the

City. The effect of the Order is to consider the city-wide requirement to alter parking restrictions over the last quarter.

Full details of the proposals are contained in the draft Order, which together with a Statement of the Council’s reasons for proposing to make the Order may be examined during normal office hours and without payment of fee at:

  1. Dundee City Council offices, Reception, 20 City Square, Dundee and 
  2. Broughty Ferry Neighbourhood Library, Queen St, Broughty Ferry,Dundee by any person, during a period of 21 days from 29 April 2016. 
A copy of the proposed plans can also be viewed by searching for "Traffic Regulation Orders (In Progress)" in the A to Z section of our website.

Any person may within 21 days from 29 April 2016 object to the proposed Order by notice in writing to the Head of Democratic and Legal Services, Dundee City Council, 21 City Square, Dundee. Objections should state the name and address of objector, the matters to which they relate and the grounds on which they are made.

Roger Mennie
Head of Democratic and Legal Services, Dundee City Council

27/04/2016

Is 20 Plenty for Broughty Ferry?

20 mph Street Sign
Dundee City Council is currently running a consultation on the proposed introduction of 20mph zones in 'residential areas' across the city including Broughty Ferry. 

In the Ferry this would involve introducing 20mph speed limits on most streets while retaining 30mph limits on main roads and bus routes. The consultation period runs until Thursday 30 June 2016.

The council recognise that 20mph limits have definitive road safety benefits and these can provide a basis where people feel safer to use more sustainable modes of transport such as walking and cycling.
https://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/20mphconsultation

The objective of introducing the 20mph limit is to improve the local environment in residential areas for all road users, including car drivers, by reducing the number and severity of collisions and casualties on the city's roads, making the city a safer and better place to live in.

The Council hopes that by making the streets safer and more pleasant to use this will encourage more cycling and walking, especially for local trips. This will not only bring road safety benefits, but will also help to improve overall health and wellbeing, reduce congestion and may improve air quality.

The council has launched this city wide consultation on 20mph limits and it is hoped that residents and local organisations participate in this consultation exercise. 

This consultation exercise relates to 20mph limits that will be signed only ie there will be no other physical measures to reduce vehicle speeds associated with any imposed 20mph limit.

The council would appreciate if you could consider the map which highlights areas where the Council feel 20mph limits may be appropriate and answer a few questions relating to 20mph limits in the city. Clicking on the link below will also take you to the online questionnaire.

Should you wish to complete the online questionnaire without viewing the map please go directly to the online questionnaire.

The map for this consultation exercise and a hard copy of the questionnaire will be available in Dundee House Reception as well as The East and West Housing Offices.

A PDF version of the questionnaire is available via this link. This should be printed off and the completed questionnaire emailed to 20mphconsultation@dundeecity.gov.uk (link sends e-mail) or submitted by post to: Roads & Transport Division, City Development Department, Dundee City Council, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee DD1 1LS.

Should you wish to submit comments above those given in the questionnaire, please email 20mphconsultation@dundeecity.gov.uk . Any email submitted will receive an automated receipt response but there will be no further communication to individual queries. However, any comments submitted in this way will be considered as part of the consultation exercise.

The consultation period will run until Thursday 30 June 2016.

26/04/2016

Dundee Scouts Benefit from Asset Transfer in The Ferry

Last night, at the City Development Committee, Councillors agreed unanimously to a number of Community Asset Transfers including one concerning a garage in Ellieslea Road in The Ferry. 

A community asset transfer is a mechanism whereby there is a transfer of assets from a public body such as the Dundee City Council to voluntary and community not for profit organisations in order to bring about long term community benefits. The 'asset' involved usually concerns a redundant building or land which is sold or leased long term to a not for profit, community based organisation.

In this case the Council agreed to sell the a garage in Ellieslea Road to the 26th Scout Group Dundee (Scottish Charity Number SC030644) as a storage depot with legal 'burdens' to limit the future use to support Scouting.

25/04/2016

Progress with Maintenance and Repairs at Campfield Square Shopping Centre

Campfield Square Shopping Centre, Broughty Ferry.
Campfield Square shopping centre is a thriving shopping centre but externally is looking a bit tired and not very well maintained. 

Last week I highlighted in my blog the cement rendering falling off the boundary retaining walls in the car park of the Shopping Centre. 

In my communication to the factor, I also raised issues about the worn parking lines in the car park. 

I have now received a positive update from the factor dealing with repairs and maintenance of the centre on behalf of the new owners:

"I am presently awaiting clarification on a quotation received from a local contractor to undertake the works and expect to have these instructed early next week.

My client has prepared a Planned Maintenance Programme of the Centre under which maintenance will be undertaken annually in order to deal with the inherited backlog of maintenance works, and to ensure that the economic life of building elements is maximised. The proposed works include the repair and redecoration of the canopy, paving repairs, and the re-lining of the car park."

I am sure residents and customers will appreciate these repairs and improvements when they have been undertaken.

23/04/2016

Take Part in the Early Years Learning and Childcare Consultation

Child playing with toys
Dundee City Council Children and Families' Service is undertaking a survey with Parents and Carers in the city about the future provision of early learning and childcare in Dundee.

Do you have children under 5 years old?  This may be of interest to you.

Did you know, currently in Dundee, all children are entitled to 600 hours of free early learning and childcare starting the term after a child’s third birthday. Some children are entitled to 600 hours of free early learning and childcare starting the term after a child’s second birthday.

More information can be accessed at www.dundeecity.gov.uk/childcare/childcareinfo

In line with legislation from the Scottish Government, the Council wants to offer more flexibility to families in how they access this entitlement.

Dundee City Council would like to gather the views of parents/carers in Dundee on how best we can do this.

Take Part in the Survey
Finish Date Tuesday, April 26, 2016

22/04/2016

Rendering Falling off Retaining Walls in the Car Park at Campfield Square Shopping Centre

Campfield Square Shopping Centre, Broughty Ferry Dundee
It was recently brought to my attention that sections of rendering had been coming away from the retaining wall in the car park at the Campfield Square Shopping Centre.

I think that this is potential hazard for members of the public and their vehicles. It is also unsightly and contributes to making the shopping centre appear run down.

I have written to the factors that deal with the maintenance of the Shopping Centre and asked them to attend to this. In the meanwhile, I have recommended that they cone off the area of car parking concerned.

I have also copied my email to the City Council engineers so that they are aware of this potential hazard.

In the meanwhile, I recommend to shoppers that when they park their cars they avoid parking in the bays that are adjacent to these walls.

21/04/2016

Litter Pick Broughty Ferry Beach Saturday 23 April 2016

Litter pick on Broughty Ferry Beach
A litter pick is being held by the Broughty Ferry in Bloom group at Broughty Ferry beach on Saturday 23rd April beginning at 10am.  The group will be tackling the litter at the eastern end of the beach.  Meet at the Bridge Street car park on the Esplanade, Broughty Ferry.

This event is being held as part of the Dundee 'Take Pride in Your City' campaign.

20/04/2016

Education Meetings Wednesday 20 April 2016

Baldragon Academy in Dundee as Planned 2016
Earlier today I had a series of three meetings about education in Dundee. 

The day began with a briefing I had requested about the financing of the building of the replacement Baldragon Academy currently under construction. The funding is referred to as DBFM which stands for Design, Build, Finance and Maintain. This is on the agenda of the Policy and Resources Committee next Monday evening.


Forthill Primary School, Broughty Ferry Dundee.
The second meeting was with Mrs MacGregor the Head Teacher at Forthill Primary School. Now in her second term at the helm, Mrs MacGregor was formerly Head Teacher at Victoria Park Primary School, Blackness Road. We had a wide ranging discussion including Curriculum for Excellence, Read Write Inc phonics based literacy programme, numeracy developments and computer coding. I also had a conducted tour of the school. While I was there one of the year groups were enjoying an African Drumming workshop. 



Micahel Wood, Executive Director of Children and Families' Service Dundee
The third meeting was back in Dundee House to meet Michael Wood, Executive Director of Children and Families' Service for a briefing about his reports coming up at the first meeting of the integrated Children and Families' Service Committee on Monday next. This new committee replaces the former Education and Social Work Committees. 

This is an important monthly meeting which helps to inform my role as Labour Education Spokesperson in the city. More specifically it will help inform how I, and my colleagues in the Labour group, might respond to the important issues that will be raised for decision at both the Children and Families' Service and Policy and Resources Committees next Monday evening.

All three meetings help to keep me informed about the policy and practice issues for our schools in the city in general and of course more specifically in The Ferry. There is a lot going on and it's important to keep abreast of it.

19/04/2016

Planning Committee Approval of Car Showroom Development at Former Valentine Works

Car Showroom and Workshop Planning Application Dundee 2016
Click on image to enlarge
At the meeting of the Development Management Committee last night, the committee approved a planning application for a new car showroom and workshop development adjacent to the Kingsway West. 

This approval will bring a Peter Vardy "Car Store", a large large scale car reselling showroom, to Dundee. 

At the same time, it will also make use of the former Valentines' factory site on the Dunsinane Industrial Park, which has lain empty for the best part of twenty years. 

16/04/2016

International Workers Day Memorial Lecture 29 April 2016



"Taking Control for Life and Work:
Young People Need to be Part of the Policies and Spaces that Shape Their Tomorrow"

23rd Annual Workers' Memorial Day Lecture - Friday 29 April 2016

International Workers' Memorial Day is the day throughout the world on which all those killed, injured or made ill through work are remembered.

As one of the major events in Scotland, Dundee City Council and Workplace Chaplaincy Scotland organise a free lecture in Dundee. This year Dr Rowena Arshad OBE will be giving a lecture on the Need for Young People to be Part of the Policies and Spaces that Shape their tomorrow.

Dr Rowena Arshad is Head of Moray House School of Education and Co Director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland. She has a particular interest in equity and anti-discrimination issues and how these issues are taken forward in education. She was the Equal Opportunities Commissioner for Scotland from 2001 to 2008 and was awarded the OBE for services to race equality in Scotland. 

The lecture will take place in the Steeple Church, Nethergate, Dundee on Friday 29 April 2016 and will start at 12.30 pm followed by a free finger buffet lunch. Please enter by the west door at the tower.

To reserve your place please fax (01382) 431557 
or email health.safety@dundeecity.gov.uk 
Places will be allocated on a quickest response basis.

Your View Counts with Police Scotland

Police%20Scotland




Your view counts and is valued – that’s the message behind Police Scotland’s new online public survey which takes just 15 minutes to complete and will help shape policing priorities throughout the country.

The responses to the consultation process will be continuously monitored and quarterly progress reports will be published on the Police Scotland website.

15/04/2016

All Dundee Schools Open Monday 18 April 2016

Grove Academy, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.
Earlier today on the City Council website the following statement was posted:

A Dundee City Council spokesman said:

“A survey of all eight PPP schools* in Dundee has been carried out and no safety issues have been found.


“All Dundee schools will be open on Monday April 18 following the end of the spring holiday.

“The council also carries out regular reviews of all its school buildings. A structural inspection is carried out at each school every three years by the council's City Engineer and this determines any remedial works required. There are regular reports on the condition of school buildings to councillors.”

* the eight PPP built schools in Dundee are
Secondary: Grove Academy and St Paul's RC Academy
Primary: Craigowl, Claypotts Castle, Fintry, Downfield, St Clement's RC/Camperdown** and St Joseph's RC/Victoria Park**.

** Shared campus Primary Schools

Dundee Sailing Club Making Environmental Improvements

Dundee Sailing Club, Grassy Beach, Broughty Ferry Spring 2016
If you take a walk or cycle along the coastal pathway at Grassy Beach, have a look out for the environmental improvements undertaken voluntarily by members of Dundee Sailing Club.

As well as tidying up the area around their slipway by their Grassy Beach Centre, they also been planting a beach hedge along the perimeter of their chain link fencing.

If you click on my image it will enlarge and make it easier to see the line of beech hedge plants.

In years ahead, when it is fully grown, this should help screen the rather stark appearance of the fencing to their two areas for boat storage.

Well done to the members of Dundee Sailing Club.

14/04/2016

See The Great Tapestry of Scotland at Verdant Works in Dundee Before 1st May 2016

Marvel at this extraordinary celebration of Scottish history captured in one of the largest embroidered tapestries in the world. 

Don't miss out on the opportunity to see 84 of the 160 panels of The Great Tapestry of Scotland on show at Verdant Works in Dundee until 1st May 2016. 

Admission is included in price of the Verdant Works museum entry.

Initiated by author Alexander McCall Smith, artist Andrew Crummy and historian Alistair Moffat, this remarkable exhibition is one of the biggest community arts project in the world. Consisting of 160 panels and running more than 140 metres in length, the Tapestry brings the history of Scotland to life in vibrant colour from the Ice Age to modern time.

Scotland’s Jute Museum @VerdantWorks is hosting this exhibition in the recently restored High Mill until 1st May 2016 and the combination of this exhibition with a visit to the museum will combine to produce a memorable and exciting day out for visitors of all ages.

Scotland’s Jute Museum @ Verdant Works 
West Henderson’s Wynd, Dundee DD1 5BT 
T: 01382 309060 
E: admin@dundeeheritage.co.uk 
W: Verdantworks.com

Open times – Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm (Sunday 11am) 
Tickets: £9 Adults, £7 concessions, £5.50 children 
Group rates are available for groups of 15+

13/04/2016

Scottish Water Advise Start to Planned Maintenance at West Ferry Waste Water Pumping Station

West Ferry Wastewater Pumping Station located underground
Yesterday morning Scottish Water contacted me to provide an update about the planned maintenance they were carrying out at the West Ferry Waste Water pumping station. This is located at the junction of Douglas Terrace and the coastal pathway that runs via Grassy Beach to the Stannergate.

Back in February, I was advised that "works were planned at the West Ferry wastewater pumping station, subject to a suitable weather window being available." These works were described "of a routine nature to replace pumps, internal guiderails and control cables."

On Tuesday morning Scottish Water advised that: "Preparatory works are commencing today, 12th April, and Scottish Water’s operations partner, Veolia, will be mobilised ready to commence the work thereafter. The weather forecast will be reviewed on a regular basis to make best use of dry weather and minimise the work programme. There will be some temporary equipment located on the walkway but our contracting partner Veolia will ensure that the general public are unaffected by the works. A local letter drop will also be undertaken. The work is likely to last up to a week."

This announcement of a start to this work is welcome if long overdue. The malfunctioning pumps located in the underground pumping station have necessitated the protective fencing and the trailing hoses above ground which are pictured above. Let's hope that the work is completed and effective and the rather unsightly fencing can be removed.

12/04/2016

Fort Street Bridge Damage - Follow Up from Council

Fort Street Bridge - damage to parapetEarlier this month, I reported the fact that holes had developed in the some of the panels on the parapet of the Fort Street rail bridge. It also looked as though some of the panels had been pushed or kicked in.  

I was unsure whether these holes represented a potential danger to the public especially young children, but I could see that they were unsightly. 

I am a Councillor, not an engineer. I therefore I err on the side of caution and refer things like this to experts in the City Engineers. 

I have received a very helpful and courteous email following a site inspection by one of our engineers. They wrote:

"Thanks you for the information on the above bridge. The defects to the inside face of the parapets have been picked up during an inspection and an order has been issued to deal with it. I am currently waiting on the date for the work to be carried out. It is intended to carry out repairs to all the panels which are damaged or showing signs of damage."

I think the message to public should be clear: Get it sorted get it reported!

11/04/2016

Cutbacks to Countryside Rangers in Dundee

One of my constituents contacted me about the closure of the Wildlife Club run by Dundee Countryside Rangers. He drew my attention to the Facebook page of Dundee Ranger Service.

On the 7 March, a reduction in activities including the closure of the Nature Club was announced.

"Some of you have been asking about the summer events programme for 2016. Recent cuts to City Council services have had a direct impact on the Ranger Service and have resulted in a reduction in our staffing levels. This means that we cannot commit to the full events programme we would normally deliver. However, we will continue to work with partners such as Dundee Libraries and Friends of Barnhill Rock Garden to attend and deliver a variety of events across Dundee. Please see our events tab for more details on upcoming events for the Easter Holidays."

In response, one parent wrote: 
"We too are gutted that our wildlife club will no longer be able to happen. So grateful my two children (children's first names omitted) had the opportunity to be part of it."

Another wrote: "That's very sad as we as a family and my sister and her kids often come to your events."

A third parent/carer wrote
"Oh no! My two boys love coming to your activities."

It is a matter of deep regret that budget cuts have led to fewer Countryside Rangers. They provide a range of valued services in our communities. Developing a love of wildlife and an experience of getting out in our parks and open spaces is important, especially when it helps to prise our young people away from their screens and get them outdoors. It is counterproductive to make these cutbacks. It is yet another example of the way services valued by the public are being whittled away by budget reductions year after year. These are short term cuts that are already damaging these front line services.

10/04/2016

BERA New Eight Week Programme of Evening Classes for Summer Term 2016

BERA have just launched their new eight week programme of evening classes in Broughty Ferry for the 'summer' term. These will commence in week beginning Monday 18 April 2016. 

Paper copies of the programme are available from Broughty Ferry Library and all the other usual outlets

Read the programme online at http://ow.ly/10ut9j

09/04/2016

Seafield Road Traffic Restrictions Monday 11th April 2016 for 5 working days.

Road Closed
The Dundee City Council as Roads Authority being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Telecommunications upgrade works being carried out
HEREBY PROHIBIT
the driving of any vehicle in a SOUTHBOUND direction in Seafield Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.


The section of road to be closed to SOUTHBOUND traffic is from its junction with house number 16 Seafield Road, to the north side of its junction with Camperdown Street.This is a distance of approximately 100 metres.

This notice comes into effect on Monday 11th April 2016 for 5 working days.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Seafield Road / Davidson Street / Claypotts Road/ Queen Street.

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

08/04/2016

Commenting on the Addition of Modular Classrooms at Claypotts Castle Primary School

Claypotts Castle Primary School Badge
I have been advised that the Council will be adding temporary modular classrooms at Claypotts Castle Primary School over the summer. This was surprising because it's one of our new schools that only opened its doors in June 2008I understand the extra classrooms are required to accommodate the increasing number of children who live in the school's catchment area. 

It is positive that the extra accommodation is to provided, because the alternative would mean improvising use of other areas within the school which would constrain the curriculum for our pupils. It is however very disappointing that a school that is just eight years old is too small. How did Council staff get their calculations so wrong? 

This is unfortunately not the first time that our new schools have proved to be too small. Craigowl Primary School was oversubscribed from the start and eventually the Council brought forward a restriction on the catchment area for Craigowl . 

Modular classroomsBoth examples call into question the reliability of the population projections that have informed decisions that the Council have made about replacing schools.  More worrying is that the same population projections have been used to justify the closure of Menzieshill High School this summer and the size of the proposed new primary school in Menzieshill. I think the new Children and Families' Committee (replacing the Education Committee) needs to be given the opportunity to discuss this at it's next meeting. 

We need to get it right for every child and avoid expensive mistakes like this.

07/04/2016

Dundee University Top in UK in International Ratings of Universities Under 50 Years Old


Earlier this month it was announced that the University of Dundee, which was founded in 1967, leads the UK’s representation, in 16th place, in the Times Higher Education world rankings of the best Universities under 50.



Congratulation to all the outstanding staff and students at the University of Dundee for this latest accolade. 



This follows University of Dundee being recognised as offering the best student experience in Scotland and joint 4th in the UK, according to the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) Student Experience Survey.

06/04/2016

No Change to Late Hours Catering Licences in The Ferry

On Thursday 31st March the Licensing Committee was presented with a review of late hours catering licences outside Dundee city centre. A licence is required for premises which wish to trade in hot food after 11pm. It was suggested to the Committee that the policy might be changed to make the late hours catering licenses in Broughty Ferry extend to 3:30am which would potentially bring them in line with the city centre.

I made the following contribution to the policy review:

"Convener, I do not think it is an anomaly that we have a different policy approach that applies to the granting of extensions to late hours catering licenses in Broughty Ferry. I do not think we should consider amending our policy for Broughty Ferry to bring it into line with arrangements that apply in the City Centre..

There are two main reasons why I think that the current policy should remain in place.

Firstly, I think it is largely unnecessary because the pubs and hotels with late hours liquor licenses already provide extensive onsite catering, including bar meals, hot food and in the case of The Fort and Wetherspoons for example, a restaurant.

This is not the 1960’s or 70’s when the most you could expect to buy with your drink was a packet of crisps or peanuts. 

It is therefore easy for those that are are enjoying a night out to combine drinking and eating out as the two are no longer segregated. Those leaving pubs at closing time don't need to look for a takeaway establishment on their way home because there has been no food available to them all night.

Secondly in Broughty Ferry it is indisputable that a significant number of residents live in the main commercial streets in homes over commercial premises or close by. It is recognised that hot food takeaways tend to lead to people lingering in the street as they consume their takeaways and this causes noise and nuisance for residents. 

On behalf of these residents therefore, I would ask that we spare them the imposition of even later hours licensing of hot food premises in Broughty Ferry.

In conclusion therefore I am strongly of the view that the current policy decision should be retained."

After the Licensing Committee Meeting, I made the following statement:

"I was please that I managed to persuade all the members of the Licensing Committee to back my proposal and leave things as they are. Surely midnight Sundays to Thursdays and 0100 hrs Friday/Saturday is late enough?

Link to Dundee City Council Late Hours Catering Policy

04/04/2016

Blocked Gully Reported in Torridon Road

While out delivering election leaflets in the Torridon Road area on Sunday afternoon, I noticed that this gully in Torridao Road was not draining properly. This is close to the western end of the road close to its junction with Morlich Gardens.

This morning I have reported the choked gully to the Roads Maintenance Partnership.

Same day update
This afternoon, I received the following email message:


"Cllr Bidwell
 
I refer to your email below and would advise that the Roads Maintenance Partnership inspector for the area has removed the leaves from this gulley just now and will arrange for it to be visited by the gulley sucker once the operatives return to work next week.
 
on behalf of Roads Maintenance Partnership
Dundee City Council & Tayside Contracts"


What an effective responsive service?
Want it sorted, get it reported!

01/04/2016

Safety Issues on Fort Street Bridge Reported

Fort Street Bridge Broughty Ferry March 2016
Earlier this week I alerted the City Engineer to the holes that have appeared in the infill panels on the east side of the Fort Street bridge over the railway. Whether this is a Council or NetworkRail responsibility I think it needs to be tackled sooner rather than later.

Signs of damage and deterioration like this, either from wear and tear or vandalism need attention before they become a more expensive eyesore.

Unfortunately minor damage like this, if not attended to, becomes a target for further vandalism.