Last couple of days and Magdalen Green update

Yesterday I had organised a site visit with Leisure & Communities and Planning & Transportation staff to Hillcrest Road following a resident’s concern at the proposal to remove some trees (one is diseased, another causing damage to a resident’s wall and the roots from these and four others are causing significant damage to the pavements, creating trip hazards).
It is a real shame to see lovely mature trees having to be felled in this extremely pleasant street and I was anxious that the officers fully explained to both the resident and myself the detail of the survey of the trees to assure us that the minimum number of trees possible would be affected. Apart from six identified as causing damage or diseased, the other trees in the street remain unaffected. I am equally anxious that where removing a tree is absolutely necessary, a replacement is planted whenever possible (although in this particular street, the extent of underground cabling in recent years makes this problematic).
At council committees last night, there was the very difficult decision regarding Bellfield Nursery and I sought assurances from the Director of Education that a nursery place can be guaranteed in the future for all 3 and 4 year olds in the West End. The long-awaited report on consultation on residents’ parking schemes for not just the West End but other parts of the city was approved (click on headline above to view the earlier story on this).
This morning I chaired the TACTRAN Board in Stirling (see www.tactran.gov.uk) and will attend Blackness Area Residents’ Association this evening.
Friends of Magdalen Green have issued a very useful e-mail update to friends and supporters and, with the permission of Sheila Roy, the Chairperson, I paste it below:
This is the first of what I hope will become regular updates about the Green and “Friends of Magdalen Green”.
I would like to thank you for the interest you have shown in Magdalen Green and in our activities – your support is very much appreciated.
Containers on the Green
You may have already noticed that several large containers (the type found on container lorries) have appeared on the Green at the bottom of Step Row. These are there with the permission of Dundee City Council; they are providing a support base/storage facility for contractors renewing the kitchens of the sheltered housing in Patons Lane. It is anticipated that they will be there until early December.
Complaints to the Council
If you see activities on the Green which you feel the Council should do something about or are concerned about Council services you can contact the council directly to complain or make suggestions using their electronic complaints/suggestions system at http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/adminservs/complaining/ The Council are good at responding to these complaints, and we have had some success in getting bins emptied and preventing council workers driving across the Green unnecessarily.
Friends Coffee Morning
We are having a Coffee Morning on Saturday 27th October in St Peter’s Hall, St Peter Street (off Perth Road) 10am – 12 noon. Entry is £1.50 for adults, £1 for children. There will be cake and candy, craft and cards stalls. Please come and support us – any donations for the stalls will be very much appreciated.
Friends Christmas Cards
We are very grateful to local artist Pauline Murray for donating art work for the first ever “Friends of Magdalen Green” Christmas cards. These will be on sale at the Coffee morning. You can view the cards at the blogspot http://magdalengreen.blogspot.com/ If you would like to buy cards but can’t come to the coffee morning please email your order to friendsmagdalengreen@yahoo.co.uk
Donation for the Special Olympics
A big thank you to everyone who was at the September meeting, when we raised £100 to support Tayside athletes in the Special Olympics in Shanghai. Andrew Gray from the West End (whose father spoke at the meeting) won a gold medal in the 25 m butterfly with a personal best time and he came 5th in the 100m freestyle, again with a personal best time. The full results for the British team can be found at http://www.teamspecialolympicsgb.org.uk/
Finally if you have any suggestions you would like to make about Friends or about the Green, or if you want to become more involved with Friends of Magdalen Green, please email us at friendsmagdalengreen@yahoo.co.uk.
Best Wishes
Sheila Roy (Chairperson)

On behalf of Friends of Magdalen Green

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Bellfield Nursery School

As I indicated in a previous blog entry, I have spoken with many parents of children at Bellfield Nursery School recently regarding the Education Department’s consultation over a proposed merger with Park Place Nursery School. I have urged all parents to make their views known to the Education Department.
I was very concerned that, with the report on the consultation going before the Education Committee on 13th August, the day before the start of the 2007-8 academic year, parents are given reassurances about the continuing educational provision at the start of term. Neither I do not think changes (should the Education Committee agree to any) be implemented during a school year.
After discussion with the Council Leader, he has issued the following news release, which means that, although the consultation period continues, parents are given the reassurance that, for continuing pupils, the Bellfield site is guaranteed to remain open until August 2008.
I promised parents that I would raise with the Director of Education any issues they have raised with me – car parking at Park Place Nursery School, for example, has been raised by many parents. I am continuing to raise all such matters with the Education Department.
Here is the news release issued by the City Council earlier today :
BELLFIELD AND PARK PLACE NURSERY SCHOOLS

After listening closely to concerns being expressed by parents over the proposed merger of Bellfield and Park Place nursery schools, the Administration of Dundee City Council is putting forward an amended plan for the nursery schools.

The Administration will be proposing that the two nursery schools would come together in a merged nursery school to be known as Park Place Nursery School from August 2007. The nursery school would be based across the two current Park Place and Bellfield buildings with one head teacher in charge.

Children entering their second year of nursery education would remain in the current Bellfield building off Blackness Road and would complete their nursery education there. The Bellfield building would then close at the end of June 2008.

Children aged 3 entering nursery school for the first time in August 2007 would be based in the building in Park Place.

The Education Department has also been asked to investigate and implement improved “drop off” arrangements at Park Place.

The proposed consultation meetings will continue but the Administration wished the parents of the children at Bellfield to be aware of the new proposal.

Leader of the Administration Councillor Kevin Keenan said, “This is a sensible solution that would mean that children already at Bellfield would enjoy a continuity of nursery education with the same staff that they have grown up with over their first year.

“I am aware of the concerns that are being expressed by parents and I can understand that they were worried about any disruption to their young children’s education.

“The Administration of Dundee City Council is dedicated to providing the best educational start in life for young children. This new proposal shows our commitment to be a listening Administration that is working in the best interests of the people of Dundee.”

Convener of the Education Committee Councillor Laurie Bidwell said, “We entered into the consultation phase following a vote by all parties at the Education Committee on the 11th of June.

“In a very short time we have listened to and taken on board the views of parents and carers about the effect any change would have on their children.

“We are proposing a solution that will mean that children who have been at Bellfield for a year will remain in the same building with the same staff to finish their nursery education.

“This new proposal represents a new way forward which will, I hope, address the concerns that have been voiced. We are dedicated to a partnership approach with parents over all aspects of education.”