Local activities

If you click on the headline above, you can read the latest community learning newsletter from the City Council – the final page lists events in the West End.

And … talking of events … today sees a Family Fun Day at the Botanic Garden – details below:

FAMILY FUN DAY

Saturday 26th April 2008
In the Garden
Cost – Normal entry charges apply Time – 10.00am to 4.00pm
Join us for our annual fun and games, we have all the old favourites – pot a plant, face painting and storytelling. DBS Productions presents Jack & Jill’s Nursery Rhyme Adventure – join Jack and Jill on a wild chase around the Botanic Garden. Can you help then in their efforts to save Red Riding Hood from the Big Bad Wolf? Will the pair ever fetch that pail of water?

Find out at our Family Fun Day!!

The Art Shack will be doing a craft workshop. Come along and see the Beekeepers and the Countryside Rangers.

Advertisements

Botanic Garden Update

Last night’s “Evening Telegraph” gave an update on the Botanic Garden.

This is an issue in which I have taken a close interest (click on headline above to view an earlier blog entry) and the Tele last night featured the fact that the University has not been prepared to give me an assurance that, in looking at ways of providing the garden with a sustainable financial future, it would rule out selling any of the garden ground to a developer. The University has made clear it (and the working group assisting with the future of the Botanics) will consider all options – but I consider this an option too far.

I have been working with one of the sub-groups the Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden established to look at ways of increasing funds. We’ve been looking at – for example – ways of getting support of local businesses through corporate membership of the gardens. Additionally, the recent City Council announcement regarding help via the Common Good Fund is extremely positive.

There is no doubt in my mind that the local community in the West End – and, indeed, many people from further afield – would strongly oppose the selling of any of the garden ground. The Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 is crystal clear – the whole Botanic Garden is protected open space – you can see this on-line at : http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/dundeecity/uploaded_publications/publication_588.pdf.

I remain convinced that a sustainable financial future can be provided for the Botanic Garden without any need to sell off any of the garden ground and reduce what is a jewel in the crown in the West End.

Unadopted footways progress

Recently the very western end of Perth Road (south side, west of Riverside Place) has been brought up to standard under the Unadopted Footways Programme and I have been asking about what is now planned for 2008/9.

Specifically, the short stretch of Riverside Drive’s east side between the Botanic Gardens and Perth Road, is in a very poor state (and – rightly – the subject of residents’ complaints), and I have now had the following feedback from the City Engineer on this :

“I can confirm that the footway at Riverside Drive, east side of Botanic Gardens to Perth Road is high on the priority list and is included in the 2008/2009 Unadopted Footway Programme. Works will therefore be programmed within this financial year to bring it up to adoptable status.”

Last year, I also asked that, at its annual review, the list had Menzieshill Road and Whitefauld Road assessed for priority and added to it. On this I have now also had feedback :

“The Annual Review is generally carried out in March of each year in time for the new financial year.

“At this time all new unadopted footways advised of/identified through the year are added and scored and any new information relating to existing unadopted footways on the list reviewed.

“The annual review is just being finalised and will be available shortly.

“Both Menzieshill Road and Whitefauld Road have been added to the list of unadopted footways and assessed as part of the 2008/2009 annual review.”

Tuesday update

A busy day (largely in Edinburgh) and having issued a news release about the Botanic Gardens concerns (pasted below), I was interviewed by both Radio Tay and Wave 102 (the latter whilst on a train to Edinburgh!) about the situation. The matter is also covered in today’s Courier and Evening Telegraph.
The meetings in Edinburgh were with my TACTRAN hat on – along with my Regional Transport Partnership Chair colleagues from across Scotland, we met firstly with COSLA and thereafter with John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth, and Stewart Stevenson, the Transport Minister.
On my way back tonight, admired the ‘other’ West End Christmas lights at West Port (see above right). Clearly, the City Council got a job lot of similar Christmas lights sets, but attractive nonetheless!
Tonight sees the last monthly meeting of West End Community Council of 2007.

NEWS RELEASE ON BOTANIC GARDENS :
West End City Councillor Fraser Macpherson said that he was “gravely concerned” by the unwillingness of the University of Dundee to deny speculation that it is discussing the sale of part of the Botanic Gardens grounds to a local property developer.

“I have no doubt that the whole local community would strongly oppose the building of houses on any part of the Botanic Gardens ground. It would have been helpful for the University to confirm that it would not contenance sellling any part of its own ground at the Botanics to a developer, but unfortunately it has not given
such an assurance thus far,” said Cllr Macpherson.

“Any attempt to build housing on grounds earmarked as open space in the Local Plan Review 2005 would fly in the face of adopted local planning policy. The gardens clearly fall under the category of “protected open space” in terms of Policy 66 of the Local Plan Review.

“I was present at the very well attended Friends of the Botanic Gardens public meeting at the end of November and what was extremely clear from that was the needs for all parties – the University, Friends of the Botanic Gardens and others – to work together to ensure a sustainable future for the Botanic Gardens. I call on the University to give a firm commitment that it will not sell off Botanic Gardens ground to any developer,” he concluded.

Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden

Attended a packed meeting tonight of the Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden, taking place at St Andrew’s Church Hall.
It was very heartening to see the level of interest in the gardens and in securing a sustainable future for them.
There is much work ahead for the Friends and other stakeholders but tonight’s meeting was a very positive evening.
You can read more about Friends of Dundee Botanic Garden by clicking on the headline above.

Botanic Gardens

The news yesterday that the University of Dundee’s Court has pledged to keep the botanic garden open, ending months of concern about its long-term future, is to be greatly welcomed (click on headline above to view story in the Evening Telegraph).
The City Council (along with the University itself, Dundee College and the Friends of the Botanic Gardens) played an active role in the Working Group set up to put together a workable strategy to secure the long-term future of the Botanic Gardens.
The University will be paying some £75 000 less per annum towards the Botanic Gardens and in this context it is disappointing that the Scottish Government rejected requests for funding from government. This is particularly disappointing given the Scottish Government’s willingness to help fund the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.
Nonetheless, we hope there will now be a secure future for the Dundee Botanic Gardens.

Steps at Benvie Road and Botanic Gardens …

I have received complaints about the poor state of the pathway and steps leading from Benvie Road (see right and below) to Lochee Road, and have contacted the Planning & Transportation Department of the City Council about this.
I have also written to the Secretary of the University of Dundee expressing concern at news reports (for example, click on headline above to view) about the future of the Botanic Gardens. Having previously lived next door to the Gardens (at Vernonholme) , I am only too well aware that they are a great asset, not just to the West End, but to the City as a whole. It would be a massive loss if they were threatened. You can read more about the Botanic Gardens by following the links below :