Getting things done – Ancrum Drive lock-ups #dundeewestend

Last year, at my request, Hillcrest Enterprises as factors undertook a clean-up, graffiti removal, weeds removal and guttering works at lock-ups in Ancrum Drive.
I have also asked Hillcrest if it will consider improving the road surface around the lock-ups as it is very potholed and muddy.
Hillcrest’s Housing Manager (Operations) has postively responded as follows :
“I’m aware the surface at the lock ups is not ideal and this is clearly backed up by the photo you have supplied.    … The cost of tarmac would be prohibitive but we can of course look at some practical repairs and maintenance.
I will ask my Maintenance colleagues to gather quotations with a view to having some improvements carried out after the worst of the frosty weather is behind us, perhaps around March. 
I will contact you again to outline the work we propose to undertake and give a clearer timeframe in due course.”

Getting things done – Ancrum Drive #dundeewestend

I recently received concerns from residents about the state of the area around the lock-ups in Ancrum Drive.
These are managed by Hillcrest Housing Association and, having contacted the association, I have been advised that it has agreed to :
• Strim back overgrown weeds around the site
• Remove graffiti from two garage doors
• Attend to leaking downpipe and clean out gutters 

Residents’ meeting – Ancrum Drive

Part of Ancrum Drive
Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing a well-attended meeting with the residents of Ancrum Drive – over 20 folk attended on a lovely summer’s evening.
I am most grateful to Sharon Bain of Solar Cities Scotland who spoke with residents about home insulation options and PC McKay, who contributed to a discussion we had with residents about the on-going parking issues in the street.
We also spoke about speed limits and bin collection matters.

Road safety concerns – Ancrum Drive at Tullideph Road

Following residents raising concerns visibility exiting Ancrum Drive at the junction with Tullideph Road, I raised the matter with the City Council and have received the following feedback from the Team Leader in the Network Management Team :

I have carried out an initial inspection of this location and from my initial observations there are no sight line concerns exiting Ancrum Drive on to Tullideph Road. 

When exiting there is a bus stop to the north of the junction which will make reduce visibility whist the bus is stopped for a short period for pick up and drop off of passengers. Vehicles would have to pull in behind the bus until it pulls away. 

To the south of the junction there are mature trees in the footway which may affect visibility but I will consult with our Environment Department to clarify if there would be a tree preservation order for these trees. 

I have consulted with our Road Safety Team and there are no records of any safety issues for this junction. 

I will arrange for a more detailed site inspection … for this junction.

Morven Terrace and Ancrum Place sheltered housing

Towards the end of 2013,  I expressed concern about the Housing Department’s decision to decommission two sheltered properties at the Morven Terrace/Ancrum Place sheltered housing without advising the sheltered tenants or local councillors.   Amenity Housing is being considered for a relatively small number of sheltered housing properties that the Housing Department is finding hard to let and is offered (without warden services) to persons over the age of 50.
Following a meeting I organised with the tenants at Morven Terrace/Ancrum Place that senior housing department also attended, there was a view from tenants that there is a need to exhaust all possibilities to get new sheltered tenants before any conversion to amenity housing.   These included clarity on the right of existing sheltered tenants aged under 75 to their sheltered TV licence, the position regarding council house sales and amenity housing and the possible viability of providing external lifts to the first floor properties at the Morven Terrace/Ancrum Place sheltered housing to make the upstairs flats more accessible [and therefore attractive] to sheltered tenants.
On the lifts proposal, the Housing Department has now advised me of the estimated costs the council’s architects have come up with:
Cost per block
1. Builder work to form shafts £ 9,900
2. Steelwork, lintels, render etc £ 5,200
3. Roof £ 4,000
4. Lift Car £30,000
5. Power etc £ 4,000
6. Prelims £ 8,000
7. Contingencies (10% as @ budget stage) £ 6,000
sub-total £67,100
8. Fees @8.5% £5,700 
Total £72,800
In response, I expressed astonishment at the cost and received the following feedback from the Housing Department:

The costs provided by City Architects are based on tender rates for similar works for recently competitively tendered projects.

These are substantial works including the need for 6.5m high rendered blockwork lift shaft, foundations and pit for the lift motor, the new lift shaft would have a mono pitch timber and single ply membrane roof. Allowances must be made for integration with the existing stairwell and the existing access deck at first floor level. Alterations to the existing access deck would also be required. 

Within the cost there is an allowance for a new three phase electrical supply required to power the lift, also links to telephone line and fire detection.  An allowance has been made for contractors preliminaries i.e. site set up and ongoing site running costs based on current pricing.   An allowance has also been made for contingencies to cover unforeseen costs which is standard estimating procedure. Design fees etc must also be included.

In addition to the installation costs there would be significant ongoing running costs associated with lifts including health and safety monthly maintenance visits, emergency call out response and reactive maintenance. 

There is no capital or revenue budget provision for such works. These are significant costs. Given that there is an overall surplus of sheltered accommodation within the City, from which the needs of those requiring sheltered housing can be met, it seems it would be difficult to justify such expenditure.

I have replied to the Housing Department stating that over £70k per block appears ridiculously high and the council should be seeking alternative quotes from the private sector.   The department has now agreed to do this and I will keep the tenants of Ancrum Place and Morven Terrace sheltered housing updated as I hear further from the department when alternative quotations are received.

Getting things done … Road to lock-ups off Ancrum Drive

Ancrum Drive
Residents have pointed out to me that the private stretch of roadway up to the lock-ups off Ancrum Drive is very badly deteriorated.
I asked the factors on behalf of owners Northern Housing Association if the worst of the potholes can be filled.
The factor’s representative has responded positively as follows:
“I am trying to have works authorised and carried out.
Once I know what action we are to take I will let you know.
My thoughts are to fill pot holes, level out the area to stop the rain water running down into the garages.”

Parking issues across the West End

This morning, along with two of my ward colleagues and City Council officers, we had a useful discussion at Dundee House about the parking problems residents in the Ancrum Drive experience.    Having already held a number of meetings with the residents of the street and organised a walkabout with residents and Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, around the area, it is clear that there is a real issue to be tackled.    

I made a number of suggestions this morning about possible additional parking off-street and involving the local residents group Community Spirit Action Group in terms of moving things forward.   City Council engineers will also undertake some survey work.
Also today, Dundee City Council finally got round to launching the consultation on a possible residents’ parking scheme for part of the West End – primarily the area round the Perth Road shopping area (and slightly wider) and as far north as around Blackness Road.     The plan below indicates the area covered by the consultation.   You can download a higher-quality PDF of that plan here.
Improving residents’ parking is an issue I have campaigned for for many years.   As the Planning & Transport Convener in the previous council administration, moving on from a report by Buchanan transport consultants in 2008, it was my intention and that of the previous administration to move swiftly to consult with residents on detailed proposals to improve parking in West End given that the Buchanan report indicated there was real difficulty for residents getting parked and possible support for some form of parking scheme.
The current administration that took over in early 2009 has moved with all the pace of a snail on taking the matter forward but – more than three years late – at last there will be a public consultation on proposals about the parking issue.
I would urge residents to take part in the parking public consultation.    There is no magic simple solution that will resolve the parking problems many in the West End face but getting the views of all local residents and businesses will be vital in terms of bringing forward solutions that the community feel will be of benefit.   A key issue will be cost – I cannot see West End residents accepting an £80 annual charge when Menzieshill residents are charged only £5 a year – clearly equality in parking charges across the city is required.
The information given to councillors today about the consultation had some confusion in e-mail return addresses (2 different ones – but also a web link error on the questionnaire that is going to residents and I requested to the City Development Department that these be urgently resolved.
I have been advised by the City Council:
“IT have confirmed that both email addresses are live and can be used for this consultation exercise.
With regards to the link at the bottom of the questionnaire, we have arranged that the press release that is going out will include a note that this link is incorrect and that all residents/consultees will be directed to the main DCC web address where the consultation is on the front page.”

You can read more about what is being proposed at