Latest updates …

  • Tonight I attended two of the stakeholder meetings on parking issues in the West End. A very useful presentation from the consultants and productive discussion thereafter.
  • I recently successfully moved refusal of the Tay Rope Works latest planning application (16th June – click on headline above to view). I learned today that the developer has made an appeal against refusal to the Scottish Government’s Reporter. I will be strongly arguing at the appeal that the planning application is inappropriate for the site and does not have the support of the community.
  • I had another series of phone calls from residents today to express support for my campaign to save the 72 bus service. The support from the West End community has been excellent.

Busy Tuesday …

This morning, I chaired (most of the) TACTRAN Board meeting in Stirling and I am most grateful to Councillor Alan Jack (the Vice Chair, a member of Perth & Kinross Council) who kindly chaired the final item so I could get back to Dundee …

Why ? There was a packed meeting took place at the Paton’s Lane sheltered housing complex this afternoon where local residents voiced their concerns at the proposal by Stagecoach Strathtay to remove the Number 72 bus service.

I arranged the meeting so that the bus company could hear the specific concerns from residents about the effect of the bus service being lost. The Operations Manager from the bus company also attended to hear residents’ views. The fact that over 40 residents attended the meeting arranged at short notice shows the strength of feeling in the local community about the need to keep the 72 bus service.

I have no doubt that this point was not lost on the representative from Stagecoach Strathtay and he did promise to take back to the company the issues residents raised and thereafter feed back to me the company’s response. He has also agreed to attend a further meeting to discuss the company’s response after the company has had the opportunity to discuss all the issues raised. At this stage, Stagecoach Strathtay has proposed that, rather than their original decision to completely remove the 72 bus, they had reconsidered to an extent and would provide a more limited service, with only four buses each day and only travelling as far west as Windsor Street.

Whilst it is better than the original decision to simply take the service away completely, residents pointed out at today’s meeting that it fails to provide anything like the service of the current 72 in terms of the western part of the route, the links to Royal Victoria and Ninewells Hospitals and shopping facilities at Tesco Riverside. The company representative did say he would take back these concerns to the company. I think it should be stressed that the 72 provides a lifeline service for many residents, particularly elderly people, and its removal would be a real blow to the whole community. I really sincerely hope that Stagecoach Strathtay can come back with a better proposal than that currently on offer to help ensure that this lifeline service is not lost.

Tonight, I attended two meetings – firstly a public meeting on the Post Office closures (click on the headline to view the article in tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” covering my formal objection to the proposed closures of Lochee Road and Nethergate Post Offices) and thereafter a meeting of the Friends of Magdalen Green committee. The Friends are organising a petition against the proposal to withdraw the 72 bus service – good for them!

Number 72 Bus Service

Following today’s news from Stagecoach Strathtay that they intend to withdraw the Number 72 bus service from 18th July, I have spoken with numerous residents who are very surprised and dismayed by the bus company’s decision to remove this local bus service.

I understand that Stagecoach Strathtay’s proposal to remove the 72 service is part of a bus service restructuring operation which will see a number of bus service changes. I understand it is not the only service being cut back or removed, but I am deeply concerned at the proposal in relation to the 72 service as it provides a vital service for local people, especially the elderly, linking streets that would otherwise not have a bus service with the City Centre, Ninewells Hospital and Tesco at Riverside.

The loss of the service would be a real blow to the communities it serves and that is why I have written to the operations manager at Stagecoach Strathtay asking that the decision is reviewed and that this vital service continues for the area. You can read my letter below and the article in tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” by clicking on the headline above.

Speaking with residents today, it is clear that they are united in their opposition to the axing of the 72 bus service. Residents of one sheltered housing complex have told me that they are extremely dismayed at the news and we hope there will be a rethink on the part of Stagecoach Strathtay.

My letter to Stagecoach Strathtay:

Martin Hall
Operations Manager
Stagecoach Strathtay
Seagate Bus Station
DUNDEE
DD1 2HR

20 June 2008

Dear Martin

72 Bus Service

I write to express great concern at the proposal by Stagecoach Strathtay to withdrawn the No 72 bus service with effect from 18 August 2008.

The 72 service serves a number of communities who otherwise would not have a nearby bus service. Particular examples include the sheltered housing area to the north of Magdalen Yard Road and also a number of elderly residents in the Newhall Gardens area.

I am very concerned about the effect on particularly the elderly population in these parts of the West End. For example, the residents of the sheltered housing in the Paton’s Lane area would be faced with an uphill walk to Perth Road to catch a bus into town (and this will be particularly difficult during the remainder of the Perth Road gas mains replacement works as buses are currently running along Hawkhill).

Given the real concerns about the effect of the withdrawal of the 72 service upon vulnerable elderly members of the community, I would be grateful if Stagecoach Strathtay would give the matter some further consideration, with a view to either continuing the service in its current form or introducing some form of alternative provision, rather than simply withdrawing the service.

I would be very grateful if you would give this your consideration, and I look forward to hearing further from you.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Fraser Macpherson
Councillor for the West End

West End Bus Matters …

There have been quite a few bus related queries this week.
Firstly, with regard to the roadworks at the roundabout at Blackness Road/Glamis Road/Glamis Drive (see right), residents had contacted me to complain that, although there was a temporary bus stop in location on the inbound route at the roadworks, no such facility exisited for outbound jorneys (ie to Ninewells Hospital, etc) leaving some residents a lengthy walk from either end of the roadworks after coming off the bus.

I am pleased to say that, following my contacting the Planning & Transportation Department about this, an outbound temporary stop has now been arranged.

The other issue raised by residents was the lack of diversionary signage marking clearly how to get to the Hillside area. I have now had the following feedback from the Director of Planning & Transportation :

“My staff in Road Maintenance and Road Network have reviewed the signage for the diversion to the Hillside area. Two extra temporary signs have been ordered and will be placed on Perth Road either side of Invergowrie Drive junction by this afternoon. The good news is that the works are due for completion by early Wednesday morning ahead of schedule.”

Nearby, in Ninewells Avenue – another issue. On 8th April, the bus routes for the 9X and 13 services changed slightly, meaning they now miss out this street. Residents in the area east of Ninewells Avenue have contacted me given the inconvenience of fewer services now serving the area and I have had the following feedback from the City Council :

“With regard to the Service 9x and Service 13 they have diverted onto Tom McDonald Avenue from Ninewells Avenue primarily to follow the most direct route to Ninewells Hospital and to provide additional drop off points within the Ninewells Hospital estate which offers a large number of work and health destinations. Ultimately these are commercial decisions made by the bus operators. At this moment the half hourly 42 and 96 will continue to serve Ninewells Avenue.”

The feedback has also gone to the bus companies, with whom I have also raised this concern. Meantime, if you look below, you can download the timetables for the 42 and 96 services, which still serve Ninewells Avenue.

And the next issue – residents have, in the past, raised with me the lack of bus services to Ninewells Hospital on a Sunday, for those living in Perth Road west of Blackness Avenue. Until recently, there was no Sunday service (except for services going via Blackness Avenue) but in the recent timetable changes Stagecoach Strathtay introduced a service via Ninewells Hospital several times on Sunday (approximately every two hours) serving the western part of Perth Road.

It is badged as the 16B service and you can obtain the full 16 service timetable from the Seagate Bus Station or by clicking on this link : http://www.stagecoachbus.com/timetables/16pckttt07042008.pdf

Lastly, I recorded an interview with Wave 102 earlier today regarding the impending roadworks on Perth Road that start on Monday. Part of this covered residents’ concerns over bus services and I paste below part of my most recent news release on the subject. I should add that clearly labelled notices should by now be placed on all affected bus stops on Perth Road, and you can see a copy of these by clicking on the headline above :

Following concerns expressed by constituents over the potential effect of impending gas main replacement works in Dundee’s Perth Road, West End Councillor Fraser Macpherson today advised that he has sought assurances regarding residents’ concerns about the need to keep local bus services as accessible as possible.

The roadworks – starting Monday (21st April) – will see no through traffic along Perth Road east of Sinderins, resulting in bus diversions.

Councillor Macpherson said, “During the period of no through traffic getting right along Perth Road, I have been advised that the main bus services will be re-routed via Hawkhill. I have spoken with transportation staff in the City Council about ensuring there is good information posted on bus stops along the affected route, clearly advising of alternative arrangements. There are also bus timetables affixed to bus stops on the diversion stops on Hawkhill, to aid public information.

“Many residents have also asked about the 72 local bus service as it runs south of Perth Road on Roseangle and Magdalen Yard Road.

“I have been assured that it will be able to cover most of its route one way or another for all of the roads disruption period. This is particularly important as many elderly people can’t manage the full uphill walk to Hawkhill. At a meeting earlier this week with Scotland Gas Networks, I was also advised that access to the sheltered housing complexes for the Friendly Bus Shopping Service would also be maintained.”

Latest West End & City Centre news

An extremely busy week dealing with issues right across the West End and City Centre areas.
On Tuesday, we had a site visit to Magdalen Green with residents, representatives from the embryonic “Friends of Magdalen Green” group, the Police and Leisure & Communities staff to look at the parking problems.
Additionally, good news – the Planning & Transportation Department has agreed to my request for a further speed/traffic safety survey in Magdalen Yard Road, following up on that last one carried out in 2004.
I also asked that the bus shelter on Perth Road at the Invercarse get side panels as the current shelter (at an exposed site) affords little protection from the elements. Here’s the positive response back from Planning & Transportation …
“We adhered to ensuring a remaining footway width of 1500mm at all sites, however we have been given clearance to reduce this to 1000mm at certain locations and intend to revisit all shelters with no side panels (which also means no seats!) and consider installing small 600mm returns. The shelter maintenance contractor has been asked to provide quotations and we will take it from there …I will ask … to ensure that this location is considered early days.”
And with regard to the need for real time bus information in the Commercial Street shelters that I had requested, the department continues …
“Also as a brief update, Adshel (Clearchannel) have now been approved by P&T committee as advertising shelter partners and I have asked them to consider the Commercial Street shelters for inclusion of Real Time Information and poster panels.”
Lastly, a very useful meeting with Stagecoach Strathtay and Planning & Transportation on Thursday about the No 72 bus service (along with Cllr Nigel Don, part of whose ward – Gowrie Park – is served by the service as well as my own West End area). It is hoped to review the service later in the Spring – I am very keen to see it serve Richmond Terrace/Court and that the mid-afternoon ‘gap’ in the service issue is resolved.

Dumped Rubbish Sorted, 72 bus service

Productive Community Council meeting in the West End tonight with useful presentations from Tayside Fire & Safety and Tayside Police. And good to see that the Community Council proposal for an “Ultimate” field has been agreed by the Leisure & Communities Department, subject to approval at next Monday’s Leisure & Arts Services Committee.
Pleased to learn today that the rubbish dumped at the back of a Perth Road tenement (see story from 27th December by clicking headline above) has been removed.
Concerned that, due to changes to the Number 72 bus service (linking it to the service to Tayport) it failed to run this morning because the road bridge was closed. I have e-mailed the Planning & Transportation Department about this; this is no reason the “Dundee leg” of the service should not run in such circumstances and the people who called me (all of whom live in the Millhall Crescent/Newhall Gardens area) rely on this bus service. Will advise of feedback.

West End Christmas Week, No 72 bus service

Useful meetings this morning with the Head of Finance and the Council Leader. This afternoon we had an excellent final meeting of the West End Christmas Week Committee before next week’s activities. At the end of this blog entry, I’ll list some of the activities – but do please look at www.westendpyro.com for full details!
Just before my surgery tonight, I met with two Richmond Terrace residents who made the point that the Number 72 service could be extended to Richmond Terrace – a helpful addition for elderly residents in the area – have taken up with the City Council Planning & Transportation Department.
So Christmas Week main events:
It’s the West End Christmas Week 2006!

This year’s West End Christmas week takes place soon! The following events are taking place
– please come along – fun for all the family!

Saturday 2nd December at 10.30am – Christmas Week starts!

The sixth West End Christmas Week will be launched at 10.30am in the grounds of Blackness Primary School by Lord Provost John Letford and the children of Park Place Primary, St Joseph’s Primary and Blackness Primary Schools. The children will be displaying their Schools’ Christmas Trees in the Blackness Primary playground and the winner of the schools’ “Wish for the World” Christmas competition will be announced. Also meet Santa and other characters (many thanks to Utopia Costumes and Party Wizard!) There will also be a street football competition in the Blackness Primary School Grounds and Dundee Instrumental Band will be playing Christmas Carols!
Also on 2nd December :
  • Blackness Primary School – Christmas Fair – including raffle, cake and candy, games, face painting & teas and coffees. All welcome!

Wednesday 6th December – West End Christmas Concert, Christmas Lights Switch On and spectacular fireworks extravaganza!

This year’s West End Christmas Concert takes place at Dundee West Church at 6.15pm. All local residents are very welcome to attend. There will be musical contributions from all local primary and secondary schools and we are also delighted to welcome the Dundee Hindu community’s contribution.

At 7pm, following everyone taking part in a lantern procession, the West End Christmas Lights will be switched on at Seabraes by Window Twankie from the Downfield Musical Society Panto. The children can see round a fire engine at the switch-on and members of the Tayside Police Band will play too! This year’s fireworks display after the lights switch-on will be much more spectacular than before. We would like to thank the West End shops whose financial support has made the larger fireworks display possible and to Robin Carstairs for his help in organising the fireworks. This is a super family Christmas night – don’t miss it!

Also on 6th December :

  • After the fireworks, why not go onto Verdant Works where a Victorian Christmas evening is taking place with carol signing, roast chestnuts, Mulled wine and children’s activities?

  • Dundee City Council is running a West End youth Christmas event at Blackness Library from 7.30pm to 9pm, including a Christmas arts workshop, DJ workshop, digital music and guitar tuition.

    Other Christmas Week Events!

  • Children’s Window Spotting Competition – spot the Christmas snowflakes in shop windows and win a radio station tour – thanks to Wave 102 – and a gift voucher! Runners-up prizes of huge soft toys – thanks to Horne’s Carnivals!
  • Adults’ Christmas Card making competition – see the details in West End craft shops!
    Battle of the Bands! – taking place in the Shore on Friday 8th December, Harris Academy pupils are taking part and Tay FM is sponsoring the West End entries as part of the Christmas Week!
    Christmas Recipe Booklet – Dundee West Church is distributing this Christmas booklet to many local elderly citizens during Christmas Week. Copies of the recipe booklet will be available at the Christmas Concert on 6th December.
  • Christmas Crackers! – taking place at Logie St John’s Church Hall on Thursday 7th December between 9.30am and 11.30am, this is a fun learning activity run bu Dundee City Council’s Leisure & Communities Department – for parents and pre-school children – including songs, stories and Christmas crafts.
  • Corso Street sheltered lounge – At 1.30pm on Thursday 7th December, Christmas items made by local children will be handed out to local elderly residents.
  • Seasonal creations for children and families – On Sunday 3rd December between 1pm and 5pm, Dundee Contemporary Arts is running this festive event. At £3 per person, you can make your own cards, wrapping paper, posters and tags, using a whole host of printing techniques.
  • Dundee University Students’ Association – is running a campaign against “drinks spiking” during Christmas Week.