Getting things done – Abbotsford Place #dundeewestend

As residents will gather, much of my large amount of current contact from constituents at present is around issues related to the current health emergency and I am always very pleased to assist anyone in the West End in any way I can.
 
I would, however, add that day to day issues unrelated to the current COVID-19 emergency continue and I am happy to report these.   Residents do appreciate that non-urgent matters will be attended to by council departments after the current health emergency has passed.
 
Residents have reported to me the need for a wee repair required to one of the street signs in Abbotsford Place :
 
 
As one resident put it, “On a lighter note perhaps when we get back to some normality we can have our street sign correctly spelt?       It reminded me when the Loons Road one was redone the foot of the road was Loon’s Road.”
 
I have reported the sign to the Roads Maintenance Partnership and it will be attended to once services return to more of a degree of normality after the health emergency is hopefully passed.

Getting things done – Abbotsford and Corso area

Just before Christmas, I had a well-attended meeting with residents in the Abbotsford and Corso area.
 
The residents asked when external wall insulation (EWI) was likely to be delivered for the area.   The council’s Housing Investment Manager has now advised :

Regarding (the) Corso Street (development), we are planning on carrying out EWI at this location around 2019/20.

This is of course subject to the usual caveats of available funding through HEEPs* and our own capital finance.

* (HEEPs is funding that goes to councils to develop and deliver fuel poverty programs – mainly solid wall insulation)

Slippy leaves tackled

A number of residents have contacted me recently regarding slippy leaves on pavements in parts of the West End.
 
I am grateful to the council’s Neighbourhood Services for promptly sweeping up leaves at the locations I have highlighted.
 
A recent example is at the steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue (see above right) and also in sheltered housing areas such as Abbotsford Place.

Residents’ meetings

Over the past couple of days, I have had three very positive meetings with local residents – with residents from the Tullideph area (Tuesday afternoon), Logie area (Wednesday morning) and the Corso/Abbotsford area (Wednesday afternoon).
 
The main purpose of these was for council officers to update tenants about the current housing rents consultation and also to give attendees details of the current consultation on 20mph speed limits in residential areas.
 
I am very grateful to all residents who attended and to the council officers who did such a good job presenting to the residents and answering questions.

Walkabout – Blackness/Corso/Abbotsford area

Yesterday, along with a representative from the Housing Department and a representative from the Environment Department, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness/Corso/Abbotsford area.

The six-monthly walkabouts take place in a number of areas (Pentland and Logie are other examples) and are a useful way to look at local issues and problems and ensure these are taken up and resolved.

Here’s a couple of photos of matters discussed yesterday, which also including bins/cleansing issues and overgrown trees in the area.

New improved street
lighting being installed
in the area
Pavement trip hazard at Peddie Street/
Abbotsford Place junction reported
for repair

Busy Monday …

A busy Monday started at Blackness Library where library staff, community councillors and I took part in drawing the winners of the shoppers’ prize draw and children’s window spotting competition as part of West End Christmas Fortnight – the full winners’ list will be published in the next couple of days.   Photo below!
Jo, Alan and Ann from West End Community Council undertake the prize draw!
The day also included my taking part in today’s Tay Road Bridge Board meeting, immediately followed by my chairing a residents’ meeting at the Corso Street Sheltered Lounge for residents in the area.   The meeting was primarily to discuss with tenants the council’s possible rents options for 2015/16 – two Housing Department representatives addressed the meeting – although we also had a very good discussion about sheltered housing and other issues.
 
After my two Monday surgeries at the West Park Centre and the Mitchell Street Centre, I took part in tonight’s Development Management Committee, which considers planning applications.   In a discussion about the renewal of planning consent (originally granted in 2011) for Tay Rope Works, I sought assurances on a number of issues raised by objectors including avoiding HMO use, parking and boundary walling.     
 
I supported both Western Gateway planning applications that would provide high-quality new housing and local facilities.   One application was lost by 2 votes, the other approved with the Convener’s casting vote.   
 
Oh, and we’re still missing Kevin unfortunately …
 

Tuesday meetings

Yesterday morning, along with the area Housing Officer and a representative of the council’s City Development Department’s Roads Team, I took part in a walkabout round the Corso Street, Abbotsford Street and Place, Blackness Road and Peddie Street areas, to look at local issues and ensure any problems are resolved.
 
Here are some of the matters we tackled yesterday :
Pavement repair required – corner of Peddie Street and Abbotsford Place – now reported for repair
Litter removal required – communal area – Peddie Street
Tree branches across pavement – Abbotsford Place – reported for trimming
Drain cover Blackness Road – reported for repair
Last night, I attended the October meeting of West End Community Council, at which there was an interesting address by Derrick Lang, the Dundee Airport Manager.   
 
My Update to the Community Council for October covered both West End Christmas Fortnight plans and also pavement improvements locally.   You can download the Update here.

Blackness area walkabout

Yesterday, along with council officers from Housing and Community Safety Wardens, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area.   The six-monthly walkabouts take place in a number of areas (Pentland and Logie are other examples) and are a useful way to look at local issues and problems and ensure these are taken up and resolved.
 
Here’s a couple of issues picked up from yesterday’s walkabout:
Eurobins in Peddie Street – I have raised the emptying schedule with the Environment Department
Tree bed in Blackness Avenue – now a muddy trip hazard since the removal of the tree – I have taken this up with the City Council

Blackness area walkabout

Abbotsford Street
This morning, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area officers from the City Development and Environment Departments and one of my ward colleagues, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area – in particular, Corso Street, Abbotsford Place, Blackness Road, Peddie Street, Blackness Avenue and Abbotsford Street – to look at any local issues.
 
We undertake these walkabouts in several areas every six months to ascertain any local issues or problems and ensure action is taken thereafter to deal with them.
 
A walkabout for the Logie area takes place later this week and one for Pentland next week.

Last couple of days …

On Tuesday evening, I attended the latest committee meeting of the West End Community and Sports Hub (WECSH) that took place at the Riverside Pavilion.   We had a hugely productive meeting, discussing future management of the pavilion and further improvements to assist sporting activity in the West End.
Yesterday afternoon, I firstly had a site meeting in Wilkie’s Lane with Rev Leszek Wiecaszek, Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Church, the Chair of St Josephs Parish Pastoral Council and two representatives of the City Council’s Roads Maintenance Partnership.   I recently raised concerns from residents including members of the church about the state of the footpath at the south end of the lane.   We had a useful discussion about the need to improve the state of the path.
 
Later yesterday afternoon, I chaired a meeting at the Corso Street Sheltered Lounge with residents from Abbotsford Place, Corso Street and Abbotsford Street.   Around 40 residents attended and we had a good discussion about numerous local issues.   Judith Clark of Solar Cities Scotland was guest speaker and gave a very interesting presentation on carbon reduction and steps to reduce your heating bill.
 
And, talking of well-attended meetings, last night I attended the AGM of WestFest, that took place at the Vine in Magdalen Yard Road.   It was a great night with an informative and interesting talk by Stewart Murdoch, City Council Director of Leisure and Communities, on the Dundee bid for UK City of Culture 2017.   Co-chair of WestFest, Paola McClure, gave a comprehensive and entertaining resume of WestFest’s past year and a new committee was elected.
 
With thanks to Peter Menzies at the Vine for hosting the AGM and the photography on the Facebook page, here’s a photo (right) from last night with me pictured bottom right in the photo!

Blackness Walkabout

This morning, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area and two community safety wardens, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area – in particular, Corso Street, Abbotsford Place, Blackness Road, Peddie Street, Blackness Avenue and Abbotsford Street – to look at any local issues.
A number were highlighted, including the damaged bin store behind the tenements on Blackness Road (see above right) bin collections and similar issues.

Getting things done … Abbotsford Place

I have welcomed news that the City Council’s Street Lighting Partnership will review street lighting at Abbotsford Place, following concerns raised by me on behalf of sheltered housing constituents that the lighting in this street is significantly lower than on nearby Blackness Avenue.
 
A number of sheltered tenants in the Abbotsford Place have pointed out to me that the street lighting is at a lower brightness level than in nearby Blackness Avenue and the lighting Abbotsford Place appears quite dim in places.   Given that this is an area of sheltered housing with a large number of elderly people, I was anxious that the City Council’s Street Lighting Partnership reviews lighting levels in the street with a view to improving this.
 
The Street Lighting Partnership has responded:
 
“I have carried out a lighting calculation for Abbotsford Place and would say it is a lower end of the lighting class for the area. at present all funding has been allocated for street lighting improvement for this financial year. 
I have ongoing a rolling programme of electrical testing my intentions is to test these columns in the next financial year, assess the condition and carry out remedial works if necessary including up grading the lighting where required.
I will also check with our Roads Maintenance section and try to coordinate works in line with their footway works.”
 
I welcome the commitment to test lighting columns and upgrade where necessary in Abbotsford Place to ensure that the street lighting here is satisfactory.

Getting this done … lining works across the West End

On behalf of constituents, I recently raised the need to have white lining renewed at several locations across the West End:
 
* Junction of Saggar Street with City Road :   The council has responded – “The Road Maintenance Partnership inspector has advised that these junction lines were re-done 17-1-13.”
 
* Give way lines at the junction of Perth Road at Riverside Drive (north of the Botanic Garden) :   The council has now advised – “For information, the Road Maintenance Partnership inspector has advised that these give way lines on Perth Road at the junction of Riverside Drive have now been re-painted.”
 
* Junction lining of both Abbotsford Street and Abbotsford Place with Peddie Street :    The council has responded – “The Road Maintenance Partnership inspector has included the worn junction lining in Abbotsford Place and Street in the next lining order and this will be done weather permitting as soon as resources are available and previously identified priorities have been dealt with.”
 
I also queried with the City Council’s Road Maintenance Partnership why the promised yellow box relining at the junction of Logie Street with City Road has still not been carried out.     The response is as follows and hopefully means this lengthy delay in having the yellow box repainted is coming to an end:
 
“The proposed patching to be done at the City Road/ Logie Street was further delayed because of planned works on Ancrum Road by Scottish Water. These works have now been carried out and the carriageway patching and subsequent re-lining of these junctions, is provisionally programmed for early February 2013.”

Action on slippy leaves …

Last week, following concerns from sheltered tenants, I asked the City Council Environment Department to clean up wet, slippy leaves at the Blackness Avenue end of Abbotsford Place and – with thanks – the department attended to this extremely efficiently.
 
On Sunday, an elderly lady slipped on leaves on Logie Avenue at the junction with Birchwood Place – see photo of the area – right.
 
Thankfully the lady managed to steady herself and was not injured, but I have asked the council to clean up the leaves here.
 
The City Council advises me that an instruction has gone out to all street sweepers to tackle leaves on pavements and this is to be welcomed.

Corso and Abbotsford area meeting

Me – outside the Corso Street Sheltered Lounge
Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of chairing a really well-attended meeting of residents from Abbotsford Place, Corso Street and Abbotsford Street that took place in the Corso Street sheltered lounge.
 
We had a good discussion on a whole host of issues – from seagulls to controlled entry systems – and dog fouling to communal grass maintenance.
 
I was also able to update residents on a number of West End projects, including the new primary/nursery schools project on the former Logie Secondary site on Blackness Road, changes to disabled parking legislation, residents’ parking, improvements to Blackness Library and the Harris Academy rebuilding project.

Walkabout – Blackness area

A foggy Abbotsford Street
Yesterday, along with Housing and Environment Department Officers and representatives of Blackness Area Housing Association, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area – in particular, Corso Street, Abbotsford Place, Blackness Road, Peddie Street, Blackness Avenue and Abbotsford Street – to look at any local issues such as graffiti, road condition, bins collection, buildings repairs and similar issues.

It was a very foggy and rather cold morning – see right! – but a most productive walkabout, with several local problems being highlighted.

Abbotsford Place

I have received residents’ complaints about the poor pavement condition on the north side of Abbotsford Place towards the Blackness Avenue end (see right).

Having raised this with the City Council, I am pleased to have received this response :

“A Roads Maintenance Partnership Inspector has visited the location and an order to fill 2 holes on the footway has been raised. The potholes should be filled within 28 days.”

Given that this is an area with a lot of sheltered housing and elderly people, I am pleased that this matter is to be soon attended to.

Blackness walkabout

This morning, I participated in the third of recent ‘walkabouts’ in West End estates – this time around the Blackness area – in particular Corso Street, Abbotsford Street, Peddie Street and Abbotsford Place.

There were various issues raised including graffiti, a broken gate, a steep drop in a back garden area, and wheelie bins left permanently on the street in Peddie Street (where there is a solution in sight).

I was pleased to be advised that the grit issue I raised with the City Council after yesterday’s meeting of Blackness Area Residents’ Association is being attended to.

Second estate walkabout of the week …

This morning, along with two of my ward colleagues, City Council officers and members of Blackness Area Residents’ Association, we had a “walkabout” around Corso Street, Abbotsford Place and Street, Peddie Street and parts of Blackness Road and Blackness Avenue to look at any repairs required and issues needing tackled in the area.   

Another useful and productive walkabout – and on a beautiful autumn morning too.

And Tuesday …

Today :

* I had a very useful meeting with the Director of Dundee Contract Services and a senior member of his team about garden and open space maintenance. This follows on from several issues raised with me by residents in the Corso/Abbotsford area and in the Logie Estate.

* This evening I attended part of the River Crescent Residents’ Association meeting at which I updated members on a number of local matters, including the proposed Harris Academy school buildings improvement.

* And … later this evening, I attended the Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting where we planned our Autumn Coffee Morning. It takes place at Dundee West Church on Saturday 25th September from 10am to 12 noon – don’t miss it!

Abbotsford Place & Corso Street – dropped kerbing

I recently wrote to the City Council as follows :
“An elderly sheltered tenant of Abbotsford Place has contacted me following a bad fall when she fell trying to negotiate the kerbing near her home (using a zimmer) to get to the sheltered lounge.

There seems to be a lack of any dropped kerbing in the street and I was wondering if this could be looked into.

Aa resident in Corso Street nearby has made a similar complaint – getting from Corso Street along to Annfield Street (across Peddie Street). For an area with sheltered housing the area seems to lack dropped kerbing.”

I have received the following positive response from the City Development Department :

“This area is being included in this year’s list of works for Dropped Kerb provision. … tackling dropped kerbs on an area basis is more cost effective and this west end area will be ordered this financial year.”

Tuesday news …

This morning, I was disappointed to hear from the City Council about vandalism to the paper recycling facility in Brook Street. The Recycling Projects Officer advised me :

“I am writing to inform you that unfortunately a paper bin within the Neighbourhood Recycling Point on Brook Street Dundee was burnt out at the weekend, now for the second time.

As you may remember was the case with the second act of arson to the NRP on Bankmill Road earlier this, that it is our standard policy to replace the burnt out unit for a second time. Any further incidents, however, will result in the removal of the paper bin from the NRP unit as these are very costly to replace, and could prove to be an ongoing fire hazard.

We have a replacement unit in stock and we will be looking to reinstate the paper bin as soon as our operations are able. We will continue to monitor this site closely in the forthcoming period and hopefully there will be no repeat of the previous vandalism.”

I am advised by the City Council that the replacement cost is £520 and as I point out in tonight’s Evening Telegraph, residents rightly deplore this sort of mindless vandalism that could end up resulting in the loss of a well-used and popular paper recycling facility. This afternoon, our local Police Inspector said he’d progress my request for use of mobile CCTV in the vicinity to deter further vandalism.

Also this afternoon, along with a representative from Blackness Area Residents’ Association (BARA), a fellow councillor and council officers, we undertook a walkabout in the BARA area (a rather wet walkabout as it was raining!) to look at local issues and problems. The walkabout covered Peddie Street (pictured above), Abbotsford Place, Abbotsford Street, Corso Street and parts of Blackness Road and Blackness Avenue.

This evening at West End Community Council, there was an interesting talk on the conservation of resources, given by Doug McLaren of the Tayside Foundation for the Conservation of Resources.

Water problems – update

I recently mentioned concerns about the discoloured water supply that occurred during part of last week in part of the West End, including Abbotsford Place – the matter was covered in today’s “Courier” including my comments about the issue.

I have now had the following feedback from the Regional Community Manager at Scottish Water, to whom I have given residents’ feedback :

“I understand there were operational problems with a service reservoir supplying the Logie area of Dundee. This issue was resolved on Thursday however as the supply returned to normal, it stirred up the sediment that is normally present in the main.

I appreciate the obvious inconvenience caused to customers and during such incidents we advise customers to run their kitchen tap for a couple of minutes until the water runs clear.”

Abbotsford Place and surrounding area

I have expressed concern that householders in part of the West End suffered a poor quality water supply for three days towards the end of last week. The area concerned included Abbotsford Place where many of the properties are sheltered housing for elderly people.
I received concerns from residents in the area that water in their kitchens and bathrooms was running discoloured brown for three days and I have contacted Scottish Water’s Community Manager about this as I am anxious to ensure that the problem is permanently resolved.

Two Friday updates

Update 1 : Replacement School Crossing Patroller for Blackness Primary School at Hawkhill – latest from Dundee City Council this afternoon :

“Good Afternoon Cllr Macpherson,

I am pleased to inform you that we have now been able to arrange for the above SCP to be manned with effect from lunch time on Tue 27 Oct. The individual concerned will be issued with his equipment/clothing on Tuesday morning and will receive the relevant training before taking up his post. I should point out that the new SCP has had previous experience as an SCP, which explains how we can have him in place within such a short space of time.”

Update 2 : As I indicated earlier today, I had raised residents’ concerns about slippy leaves on pavements at Abbotsford Place and Blackness Avenue. By lunchtime, I had received the following feedback from the Waste Management Department :

“Hi Fraser

I have arranged for these leaves to be swept up this morning.

The supervisor reports the job is now completed.”

I bumped into one of the Abbotsford Place residents who had complained about the issue in Tesco Metro in the City Centre this afternoon as she was well impressed with the quality of clean-up and the speed of response. The Waste Management Department is extremely responsive, so very many thanks!

Thursday

Very early start this morning (4.30am!) to go up to Pitlochry to help with early morning polling day leaflet deliveries in the Highland Ward by-election for Perth & Kinross Council. Lightly drizzling rain but otherwise a pleasant start to the day.

Back to Dundee in time for a site visit to Barnhill to see the new “rapid rhino” road pothole repairs system in action and very impressed with the finished result, creating a permanent repair rather than the traditional pothole repair which often fails, resulting in repeated patching over a period of time.

The other positive outcome is the financial savings that accrue from their being fewer overall repairs necessary over time. The City Council will spend some £1.7m revenue on cyclical road repairs in 2008/9, with a further £1.4m capital on road reconstruction (the latter a welcome improvement and one of the positive outcomes from the recent budget process). Although these are not inconsiderable sums, they should be seen in the context of several hundred miles of local roads within the City, and, through good initiatives like “rapid rhino” and the recent Roads Partnering agreement with Tayside Contracts, we can ensure funding is used to its best effect delivering the maximum improvements possible within budgets.

Held my usual three surgeries today – The Base at Mitchell Street Centre (5pm); Room 407 at Harris Academy (5.30pm) and the staffroom at Blackness Primary School (6.15pm). I hold these every Thursday, except during school holidays.

I’m a Board Member of Dundee Contemporary Arts – and as many residents are aware, DCA does a very useful weekly e-mail update of cinema e-listings. It has recently set up a facebook site where you can read all about their events, receive invitations to them and post comments, events and images of your own. You can join up at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7245911548

Lastly, every credit goes to Mr Arshad of the newsagents on the corner of Abbotsford Place and Peddie Street who tackled thieves in the shop earlier today, foiling the robbery, despite being cut during the attempted robbery. You can read more (from tonight’s Evening Telegraph) by clicking on the headline above.