Pedestrian safety at Balgay Cemetery, Hill and Park

One of the roads running through Balgay Cemetery
I have recently received a number of constituents’ concerns about pedestrian safety at Balgay Cemetery, Hill and Park.    The following comment from a local resident is typical :
“I would … like to tell you about the speeding cars in Balgay Cemetery and the road leading up to the observatory, as I often walk in both places.   These drivers need to be more careful as there are children about.”
I raised this with a senior manager in the Environment Department of the council who has responded positively as follows :
“I can see how there are concerns from park users particularly if the have young children present. 
We can certainly look at improving the signage.   I  will copy this to both the Head of Transportation to see if he has advice on traffic calming measures and also Leisure & Culture Dundee in terms of a view to see if there is a message we should be sending to visitors. 
Finally I will also copy this to the area supervisor and we will remind staff of the need to repeat speed limits and generally look out for visitors to the park and cemetery.”

With specific regard to the road up to Mills Observatory, Leisure & Culture Dundee, who operate the observatory, has also responded, stating :
“We are presently looking at directional signage for The Mills to replace existing which is tired and in need of updating.
It might be worthwhile looking at incorporating something which indicates a speed restriction or advises caution for anyone in vehicles.”

Balgay Stakeholders’ Group meeting

Earlier today, along with representatives of the Friends of Balgay, two of my ward colleagues and a City Council Environment Department officer, I attended the latest Balgay Stakeholders’ Group meeting that took place in the pavilion at Lochee Park.
The group discusses projects and issues at Balgay Park, the Hill, Cemetery and Victoria Park and we had a really good meeting covering a number of positive developments – 3 new noticeboards being proposed for the area, 5 new benches (mainly for the Balgay Cemetery area) and I was pleased to see that the area at the entrance to the park at Scott Street where I had highlighted dumping and a broken fence earlier this year, has now been subject to environmental improvement.   See photo – above right.
I raised residents’ concerns about gates openings on the hill, slippy leaves on paths and the poor road surface at the entrance to Lochee Park.

Balgay Stakeholders’ Group meeting

Yesterday, along with representatives of the Friends of Balgay, two of my ward colleagues and a City Council Environment Department officer, I attended the latest Balgay Stakeholders’ Group meeting that took place in the pavilion at Lochee Park.
This group discusses projects and issues at Balgay Park, the Hill, Cemetery and Victoria Park and we had a very productive discussion on a number of issues including repairing the wall damage at the Jewish Section of Balgay Cemetery, proposals to replace the goalposts in Lochee Park and repairing damage to the hedging at the Victoria Park Bowling Green.
There was excellent news that environmental improvements, much needed at the park’s Scott Street entrance, are being scoped in the coming weeks.   This issue – of fence damage and fly-tipping – was raised at a walkabout I participated in back in April, so I am pleased at progress towards a solution.  As you can see from the photograph (right) action to improve the fencing is needed.

Welcome road resurfacing at Balgay …

I’ve welcomed the resurfacing of the whole stretch of road entrance to Balgay Hill and Balgay Cemetery at its Glamis Road entrance.
I have made various complaints about this poor road surface into Balgay Hill and Balgay Cemetery in the past on behalf of constituents so I am very pleased to see the whole stretch now being resurfaced.    It’s not only one of the routes to the cemetery and park – its also the main route to Mills Observatory, so the improvements to the entrance will be welcomed.
There are still some repairs required to the road as its leads up the hill itself but this is nonetheless a very welcome improvement.

Condition of Balgay Cemetery

The Evening Telegraph last week covered the concerns of a resident about the state of part of the cemetery and my comments about these and assurances I had obtained from the City Council about getting the situation rectified.

Here’s a couple of photographs:
Last week, I obtained assurances that prunings would be immediately removed and the Environment Department’s officer also advised :

“I will be looking to carry out repairs to the path in the very near future, once  I meet an engineer, as the site is on a steep slope.”

Earlier this week, I sought assurances as to progress in resolving the issues at the cemetery.

Unveiling of Memorial Plaque – Balgay Cemetery Poor Ground

At lunchtime today and along with representatives from Friends of Balgay, ward colleagues, the City Council’s new Environment Convener, council staff and local residents, I had the honour of  attending a photo call event to mark the competition of a memorial to around 10 000 Dundee people buried in unmarked graves at Balgay Common Ground between 1870 and 2004.

Works have involved selecting and placing a large boulder in the chosen corner of the grounds and installing a simple memorial plaque to the boulder face.    Leading to the boulder, a short path was created with an edging made of reclaimed cassie stones. Around the path and surrounding the boulder, 4000 spring and summer bulbs have been planted.  

This project  could not have been carried out without the generous donation of a sum of money collected by Ben Malone, whose enthusiasm for making the project happen made it all possible.    It was good to see Ben’s tremendous enthusiasm, fundraising and hard work recognised at today’s event.

Under construction some weeks ago
Detail of wording on the plaque


Ben Malone (left) with Environment Convener Cllr Craig Melville unveiling the Memorial Plaque

Balgay Stakeholders’ Group meeting

Yesterday, along with two representative of the Friends of Balgay, one of my ward colleagues and City Council Environment Department officers, I attended the latest Balgay Stakeholders’ Group meeting.

This group discusses projects and issues at Balgay Park, the Hill, Cemetery and Victoria Park and we had a very productive discussion about a number of matters including ranger-led events planned for the New Year such as path clearing, new signage for the Planet Trail and historic markers, and news that lighting improvements in the park should begin in the next week.

Balgay Cemetery vandalism

I have slammed those responsible for further vandalism at Balgay Cemetery that occurred overnight Sunday 30th into Monday 31st October and saw another 6 gravestones damaged within the graveyard along with ceramic pots and figurines.

This vandalism was utterly despicable and yesterday, I had a lengthy and useful discussion with our local police inspector about this latest incidence of  vandalism at Balgay Cemetery and I am assured that Tayside Police is putting in a lot of effort to catch those responsible.

However, it is vital that any resident who may have seen anything suspicious in the cemetery and surrounding area makes contact with the police to pass on any information they have – no matter how insignificant they think it may be.      

This sort of terrible vandalism causes great upset to families and it is vital that all steps are taken to stamp it out and apprehend those responsible.

Balgay Cemetery

Residents are aware that I have previously expressed concern about a number of terrible instances of vandalism of graves in Balgay Cemetery.   As reported in last night’s Evening Telegraph, I have condemned as appalling and mindless further recent vandalism affecting around 15 headstones.

I have been again in touch with the Tayside Police local Inspector and Sergeant about actions our local police are taking to apprehend those responsible.   The police have advised that :

“Unfortunately the incidents have been on a sporadic basis and there is no definite pattern.  We have increased high visibility patrols in the area using special constables to boost numbers, along with regular officers on foot and cyle patrols within the cemetary. Patrols shall continue for the foreseeable future, using CCTV where appropriate, and we are looking to conduct plain clothes patrols with a view to identifing whoever is responsible.”

I am pleased at the proactivity of our local police service and would urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to contact Tayside Police.

Balgay Cemetery – more dreadful vandalism

As reported in yesterday’s Courier and Friday’s Evening Telegraph, I have condemned the mindless vandals who have pulled over 23 headstones in Balgay Cemetery.   Their actions were extremely destructive and very upsetting for the families involved and come on top of previous vandalism a couple of months ago.

The police have promised high-visibility patrols in the area and that is to be welcomed.  I have been in touch with the Inspector for the West End also requesting that mobile CCTV be used as a deterrent and in detecting those responsible.

Yesterday, I visited the cemetery to see the vandalism for myself – its appalling and I hope Tayside Police will apprehend those responsible as soon as possible.   Anyone with information should contact Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222.

Shocking vandalism at Balgay Cemetery

Tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” highlights the utterly mindless vandalism at Balgay Cemetery that resulted in over 40 gravestones being toppled over.

As I am quoted in the Tele – “I hope the police get maximum cooperation from the public apprehending whoever is responsible.   It is a heinous thing to do.   It shows no respect for people’s families.”

Anyone who has noted anything suspicious happening at Balgay Cemetery over last weekend are urged to contact Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222.
Shocking vandalism at Balgay Cemetery

Commemoration to Caroline Martyn

Earlier this month, the Courier published an article about the fascinating life of Caroline Martyn, a leading social orator of the late Victorian period, who, having achieved much in the cause for the social and political advancement of working people, sadly died at the young age of only 29 whilst visiting Dundee, and was buried in Balgay Cemetery. On her death in 1896, Keir Hardie wrote that she was the leading socialist of her day, with ‘a power of intellect and moral-force that was unmatched.’

Today, I was pleased to attend a commemoration of her life at her grave, at the invitation of Dundee Trades Council. The Trades Council – and, in particular, Mike Arnott, their secretary – deserve great credit for having the grave tidied, the granite column in her memory beautifully restored (see above), and for organising today’s commemoration.

Mike gave an excellent and interesting introduction to today’s commemoration, followed by a civic oration by Lord Provost John Letford and a contribution from Rev Allan Webster, Dundee Workplace Chaplain. Thereafter, Vivienne Flowers, the great niece of Caroline gave a moving address on behalf the family – see below.

This was a touching and fitting commemoration of the life of Caroline Martyn and it was a pleasure to meet Vivienne and the others who attended today.