11/12 bus service – meeting with National Express Dundee agreed

I welcome today’s commitment from National Express Dundee that it is willing to review recent controversial bus service changes in the city.

In recent weeks, along with residents, fellow councillors and the Community Spirit Action Group, I have highlighted the deficiencies in the revised 11/12 service in the Ancrum, Pentland and Tullideph areas. Following my approach to the bus company earlier this week, a meeting with their Director, Lawrence Davie, has now been agreed to specifically discuss the 11/12 service. The meeting will take place on 11th August, in order to give all residents a little while longer to sign Community Spirit’s petition – available in local shops and on-line – the total signatures now amounting to over 500.

Community Spirit representatives, fellow local councillors and I will be meeting Lawrence Davie to hand over the petition and discuss ways that the service could be improved.


We are anxious to get back a bus service for Pentland, Tullideph and Ancrum that is fit for purpose.

11/12 bus service petition – photocall

Last week, I highlighted the campaign by Community Spirit, local residents’ group for Ancrum, Pentland, Tullideph and the Cleghorn area, to seek improvements to the 11/12 bus service. I have since spoken with many local residents who rightly believe that a bus service that doesn’t run after 3pm on weekdays and has no service at all at the weekend is a really poor service and not fit for purpose.

At lunchtime today, at Ninewells Hospital, I joined with Community Spirit representatives and my ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready at a photocall to highlight the excellent response to the petition – already around 500 signatures (including nearly 50 on the on-line version available at http://tiny.cc/communityspirit). We chose Ninewells Hospital for a good reason – it is impossible for residents who rely on the 11/12 to get to the hospital to visit friends and relatives in hospital using this bus service – as visiting hours start at 3pm.   We are grateful to “The Courier” for covering the photocall – to appear in tomorrow’s edition.

Local councillors and Community Spirit wish to present the petition to National Express Dundee during August – and at the same time discuss the concerns with the bus company.
 

Latest on West End buses …

As I have previously updated, residents in the Pentland, Ancrum and Tullideph areas are strongly against the National Express Dundee bus service changes in the area as these are highly detrimental to the local community.
The residents’ group for the area – Community Spirit Action Group – has raised a petition that is being distributed to local shops and I have set up an on-line petition in support of Community Spirit’s campaign. The on-line petition is available at : http://tiny.cc/communityspirit.

The revised 11/12 service poorly serves the area, with no buses before 9am or after around 3pm and absolutely nothing at the weekends. It is simply not a service that is fit for purpose – particularly for the elderly community. There are no buses to Ninewells Hospital during visiting hours and no weekend bus service at all.

I have been in correspondence with Lawrence Davie, Managing Director of National Express Dundee, who has promised that the bus company will monitor the situation and review the service in the coming months, but action to improve the service is needed promptly, given the concerns from residents – of which the following is typical :

“I am 77 years old and live in the Pentland area and am already missing the regular bus service we did have. I do, like many others in the area, have difficulties when walking any distance. There is now no bus between Ninewells Hospital and Pentland after 3pm when visiting hours start at 3pm”

Elsewhere in the West End, I welcome news from National Express Dundee that it has applied to the Traffic Commissioner to alter the 5A bus service timetable on its eastern leg to Broughty Ferry, to improve timetable reliability across the route. In the Perth Road area, the 5A has been really unreliable in terms of timetable so I welcome the bus company’s steps to address this, hopefully in the very near future.

Bus service concerns

As reported in today’s Courier, I have raised constituents’ concerns about the changes to bus services covering parts of the West End Ward from tomorrow.

These affect the 9/10/11/12 “Outer Circle” service and I have received numerous representations from residents in the Ancrum, Tullideph and Pentland areas, who feel that the removal of that service is detrimental particularly for elderly residents who used it and that the revised 11/12 service not adequate.

Across the West End, the bus changes are a mixed bag in that, in all fairness to National Express Dundee, there is an improvement in part of the ward with the replacement for the 9X – the new 5A service – being generally more frequent.   This is to be welcomed.

However, the people in other parts of the West End such as Pentland, Ancrum and Tullideph are rightly concerned at the revised 11/12 service that will only run from approximately 9am to 3pm on weekdays. People are naturally concerned about the loss of service outwith these times. In addition Service Number 2 is only hourly and often runs full.

I recently wrote on behalf of constituents to Lawrence Davie, Managing Director of National Express Dundee and specifically asked if the frequency of the new 11/12 service could be looked at again after it has been in operation and the demand can be quantified and hopefully increased if usage is good.

Mr Davie replied, “We have reduced the level of service to match the usage. The position will be reviewed in three and six months after commencement. I hope the 6, 11/12 in their new formats are used and that we can retain these in the future.”

It is important that the 11/12 and the new 6 service gets good usage in the months ahead and I will be continuing to argue for an improved service for the areas covered by these services.

Thursday news …

* This afternoon, after a useful meeting about improving liaison between the numerous West End community groups, I attended the latest meeting of the Best Value Review group on Child Protection Services in Dundee.

* This evening, after a busy surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended the March meeting of the Community Spirit group which does great work for the people in the Cleghorn, Ancrum, Pentland and surrounding areas. There was an interesting update from Liz and Kay from Dundee WestFest, as well as a good discussion on various local issues.

Tonight … and parking again …

A very informative meeting of the “Community Spirit” group for the north of the ward (Ancrum, Pentland, Cleghorn, etc) tonight with an excellent presentation from a representative of the Waste Management Department and a good discussion thereafter on cleansing, graffiti and recycling issues – to name just three.

Am meeting the parking consultants tomorrow morning (see yesterday’s item below) to ensure progress on the residents’ parking consultation process.

Review of the last few days

Wednesday

* Met with the new acting Managing Director of Travel Dundee, and raised the concerns of residents about the re-routing of the 9X bus service – this no longer serves the Ninewells Avenue area. She promised to review this.

* Attended the Deaf Awareness Open Day at the Central Library, organised by the Sound Sense project. It was good to see a number of organisations promoting their services to deaf people locally and the event was extremely well-attended.
* Attended the “Community Spirit” group evening meeting at Mitchell Street Centre. “Community Spirit” is the new residents’ group for the “north” of the West End Ward – including the Pentland, Cleghorn and Ancrum areas. Another good attendance and an interesting discussion on local issues.


Thursday

* A site visit with Scotland Gas Networks, Turriff (their contractors) and City Council Planning & Transportation at Perth Road to review road management issues, signage and other issues arising out of the continuing gas main replacement works on Perth Road.
* Along with my LibDem council colleague, Cllr Helen Dick, I attended the Best Bar None accreditation scheme 2008 awards launch at the City Chambers. This is an excellent scheme – recognising customer safety and good practice in Dundee’s licensed premises. Click on headline to view the full story in the “Evening Telegraph.”
* After a busy three surgeries at Mitchell Street Centre, Harris Academy and Blackness Primary School, I attended the evening board meeting of Dundee Contemporary Arts. A very positive review of the past year at DCA was presented, showing excellent visitor figures.

Friday

* A helpful site visit with Network Rail to Riverside Approach to allow me to point out graffiti and fly-tipping problems. Pleased at Network Rail’s willingness to tackle these issues, raised with me by West End residents.

* As one of the City Council representatives, I attended the opening of the Winston Churchill exhibition at the University of Dundee, making the 100th anniversary of Churchill’s election as Liberal MP for Dundee. An excellent and entertaining speech by Churchill’s daughter, Lady Mary Soames, who opened the exhibition and unveiled a plaque, commemorating Churchill’s connections to the City.

The event was extremely well-attended and it was good to see my former City Council colleague Neil Powrie (pictured at the event – right) and also my LibDem colleague Willie Wilson (Depute Provost of Perth and Kinross).
You can read the BBC news item on this at :

and the Churchill Centre web pages are very interesting :

http://www.winstonchurchill.org

And, lastly, here’s a photo from the event, during Lady Soames’ speech, showing that I have no photographic skills whatsoever.

"Community Spirit" launch

“Community Spirit” – a new community group for the “north” part of West End Ward, covering Ancrum, Pentland and the Cleghorn area launches tonight (Thursday 13th March) at the Mitchell Street Centre (6pm for 6.15pm). All local residents are invited.
A number of local residents in the area have been involved in developing a community group, assisted by Dundee City Council staff and local councillors. Following a successful initial public meeting at Balgay Church Hall last October, tonight’s meeting will see the group formally established.

I have produced an update newsletter for the meeting covering various local issues – you can download a copy of this by clicking on the headline above.

Thursday and Friday

Apart from very busy surgeries last night, I attended a meeting of the group that is planning to set up a community organisation for Pentland, Ancrum, Cleghorn and surrounding areas. A really enthusiastic group and I am really keen to see this group succeed as it would be great to have an active community organisation in the north part of West End Ward. I was pleased to advise of updates on a number of local issues – including controlled entry, road safety, road and pavement repairs. I also left the meeting with a number of local concerns to raise and address.
I was in Glasgow today (5.30am start!) running a conference with the “day job” at hotel attached to Central Station as the photo above right alludes to. Mightily impressed with the lovely “Christmassy” feel in George Square although my photo is a bit out of focus!

Last couple of days …

I attended the Blackness Area Residents’ Association meeting on Tuesday night, and amongst matters discussed was parking difficulties in Corso Street. I have raised this (and a number of other local issues) with the City Council.
Wednesday night saw the launch meeting of the community group for Ancrum/Cleghorn/Pentland and surrounding areas at Balgay Church. I am really pleased that the group is getting off the ground and will be planning a series of community meetings in the future. We had a good discussion about local issues including anti-social behaviour, road repairs, parking and a number of other matters.
A few more issues over past couple of days:
* Constituents have complained that the steel bollard at the east end of the South Tay Street car park on the Marketgait side is loose in the ground – clearly been hit by a vehicle. The City Council has promised me that it will be repaired.
* On the Hawkhill by-pass beside the PDSA, someone has bumped into the bollards. The Council has raised an Order to ensure repair, following my request.
* On the corner of Union Place/Perth Road, there’s a dug up an area of pavement and it requires repair. Following my request, Tayside Contracts has been instructed to upgrade the footpath.
* I have been promised that the channel grating on the footpath at Pinegrove on Perth Road will be replaced soon (part of it is currently missing).

20 mph zones and Germany …

Got back late yesterday from a couple of days running a Conference in Grangemouth (with “day job”) to the usual pile of phone messages, e-mails, etc… Thanks to Janet who stood in for me at my surgeries on Thursday (on basis that I can’t be in two places at once!) – photo of Conference (right).

Spent some time today delivering flyers for the folk who are trying to set up a community group for the Ancrum/Pentland/Cleghorn/Polepark area to advertise their public meeting next Wednesday to discuss local issues. Meeting is at Balgay Church on the 24th (6pm for 6.30pm) and all residents in the area very welcome.
Also attended the public consultation event for the West End Community Plan at Dundee West Church Hall this morning – a good turnout of residents and community representatives and good to speak with many local people.

Lastly, you will recall my article on 11th October about 20mph zones around schools in the City (see http://frasermacpherson.blogspot.com/2007/10/20-mph-zones-around-schools.html) – well, Marlyn Glen MSP has advised me that (apart from the article about this matter in the Evening Telegraph) it also appeared on a German website! Click on headline above to view. Bizarre.

Latest updates …

Yesterday included a meeting with the residents organising a community meeting for Pentland, Cleghorn, Ancrum & adjacent areas. They are holding it on Wednesday 24th October at Balgay Church … more on this later but do please attend if you live in the area.
After an informal meeting about West End Christmas Week matters, the West End Community Council meeting took place, including its AGM and a useful update from the Dundee Airport Manager.
Today, I received the following update about the Tay Street service road from the City Council:
“Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating building works.
The Order is expected to be in force for ten weeks from 22 October 2007. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.
The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicles in Tay Street Service Road from its junction with South Tay Street at a point 30 metres or thereby in a westerly direction.
Pedestrian thoroughfare and vehicular access to premises will be maintained.
An alternative route will be available via Tay Square.
Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, Planning and Transportation Department, Tayside House, Crichton Street, Dundee, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date. If you have any queries please contact the department on 433168.”

Ancrum Place/Morven Terrace

In the past few months I have had a number of complaints about the condition of the carriageway to the east end of Ancrum Place, immediately behind the Morven Terrace sheltered housing.
Although the footway of Ancrum Place itself is on the Planning & Transportation Department’s Unadopted Footways list, I have now been advised by the Department that the carriageway/parking area to the east is the responsibility of the Housing Department, linked to the sheltered housing complex.
The West District Housing Manager has responded to me promising to visit the area to inspect the roadway. I’ll keep residents advised of progress.
A busy couple of days, including meetings of the River Crescent Residents’ Association last night and Logie Residents’ Association tonight.

Busy couple of days …

A busy couple of days with City Council meetings resuming yesterday, after the summer recess.
At the Planning & Transport Committee, which I chair, we had news of useful progress towards getting the final section of that ugly old overhead walkway at the railway station end of South Marketgait finally removed. Earlier yesterday, in the comfortable surroundings of the Tartan Coffee House in Perth Road, we held the first meeting of the 2007 West End Christmas Week committee, with lots of useful new ideas to make the 2007 event special and different. Having been involved in organising the West End Christmas Week since it started in 2001, it is difficult to believe that we are already at Year 7!
Also yesterday, the Evening Telegraph again featured the graffiti problem in part of the West End (click on headline above to view) – I am pleased to note that the City Council advised me that they would tackle the removal of remaining graffiti in the Blackness Road area yesterday.
This afternoon, I attended the ‘Greater Balgay Stakeholder Group’ meeting, at which Friends of Balgay, Leisure & Communities staff and West End councillors meet to discuss issues affecting Balgay Park (including the cemetery) and Victoria Park. Later on, a very useful initial meeting between some residents of the Cleghorn/Pentland/Ancrum areas with the West End councillors and our local communities officer to discuss local issues and consider a possible community group for the area.

Community Organisation for Cleghorn/Pentland/Ancrum and other matters …

I have been speaking with a number of residents in the Cleghorn Street/Benvie Road (and surrounding streets), Pentland and Ancrum Drive areas about hopefully setting up a Community Council or community group for the area. The area is to the north of the West End Community Council area and seeing the good work that Community Council does, there’s no doubt that a community group for Cleghorn/Ancrum/Pentland would be good for the area.
We have now got enough interest for the Communities Officer to arrange an initial informal meeting to get the ball rolling. If you live in the area and are interested in attending, please contact me at community@frasermacpherson.org.uk or call me on 459378.
Yesterday, apart from attending a Board Meeting of Dundee Contemporary Arts (of which I am now a member), I met residents in one street in the West End where a utilities company has left the roadway in a mess, following recent “repairs” – I am on the case! I have also spoken with a number of residents about the extension of the refuse wheelie bins being undertaken as a number of residents have genuine issues arising out of this.

Graffiti on Utilities Boxes

Residents will be aware that I have raised with the City Council on numerous occasions the problem of graffiti on utilities boxes. The Council has spoken with the principal owner (a TV cable company) and agreement has been reached regarding removal.
The council surveyed the problem across the City and is now tackling them. I recently specifically sent reminders about Sinderins and also raised the issue at Ancrum Drive/Road (and some others), following residents’ complaints. I have received this feedback from Waste Management today, which is helpful :
“I’ve asked the team to prioritise the boxes at Sinderins and to rank the other boxes in order of priority. We are aware of the boxes at Ancrum.”

Trees issues, recycling proposal and shelters again

Had useful site visits this afternoon with residents in Ancrum and Pentland with a housing official about overgrown trees and damaged fencing.
Earlier on finished delivering a consultation letter to residents adjacent to the Roseangle car park about the proposal to install recycling facilities. Initial reactions have been positive, especially as there will be no loss of parking, but am keen to give all nearby residents the opportunity to feed back before the facility is installed.
Lastly, got feedback from Planning & Transportation to say that the smashed glass at the vandalised bus shelters (see Sunday’s entry) has been cleared away. The Courier carried the story today & I spoke on Wave 102 about it.