Getting things done – Brook Street #dundeewestend

Earlier this year, residents in the Brook Street area and in Pleasance Court drew to my attention the problems they had ensuring the bus driver sees they are waiting at the bus stop on Brook Street’s north side – opposite Brook Close – due to the lack of a bus bay and vehicles parked right across the stop.     
 
This also made it a challenge to get on the bus, as passengers had to get through a line of nose-to-tail parked vehicles to get to the bus.
 
The City Council agreed to my request to paint a bus bay here and I am pleased to say this has now been done – see ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures below :
 

 

Getting things done – Brook Street #dundeewestend

Residents in the Brook Street area and in Pleasance Court have drawn to my attention the problems they have ensuring the bus driver sees they are waiting at the bus stop on Brook Street’s north side (opposite Brook Close), due to the lack of a bus bay and vehicles parked right across the stop.     
 
This also makes it a challenge to get on the bus, as passengers have to get through a line of nose-to-tail parked vehicles to get to the bus.
 
I asked the City Council if a bus bay can be created at the stop and have had the following positive response from the Parking and Sustainable Transport Team Leader :
 
“We will be undertaking some bus bay marking over the next couple of months and I have added this list to the site where action is required.”

Getting things done – fencing damage at Pleasance Court #dundeewestend

Following concerns raised by a resident with me yesterday about the damage to fencing at the side of Pleasance Court, I immediately raised this with the fence owners, Home Scotland.
 
See photo – right :
 
The broken fencing was lying across the public pavement at the Brewery Lane/Brook Street junction.
 
Home Scotland’s Maintenance Surveyor responded very promptly late yesterday afternoon as follows :
 
“I have attended and removed the fence from the street. We will now organise repair / replacement. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.”

Temporary Traffic Order – Edward Street/Brook Street/Polepark Road/Brewery Lane

From the City Council (arising out of the recent road damage at the above junction – this temporary traffic order is to allow for road reinstatement next week, following investigation by Scottish Water as to the cause of the damage) :
 
THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 : SECTION 14(1)
 
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of emergency manhole and carriageway repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Polepark Road (at its junction with Brook Street, Brewery Lane and Edward Street), Dundee.
 
This notice comes into effect on Monday 1 August 2016 for 5 working days.
 
Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
 
No access or egress to/from Edward Street or Brewery Lane will be available during these works.
 
Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Brook Street / Urquhart Street / Blackness Road / Forest Park Road / Milnbank Road.
 
For further information contact 433168.
 
Executive Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Temporary Traffic Order – Forest Park Place, Edward Street, Brook Street, Brewery Lane, Lower Pleasance and Douglas Street

From Dundee 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 works for the Scottish and Southern Energy 33Kv Cable Installation Scheme.  The Order is expected to be in force for 7 weeks from 21st September 2015.  Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.
 
The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in (1) Forest Park Place between Forest Park Road and Edward Street, (2) Edward Street between Brook Street and Forest Park Place, (3) Brook Street between Edward Street and Milnbank Road, (4) Brewery Lane between Brook Street and Lower Pleasance, (5) Lower Pleasance between Brewery Lane and Douglas Street, and (6) Douglas Street between Lower Pleasance and West Marketgait (Phase (i) – Lower Pleasance to West Hendersons Wynd, Phase (ii) – West Hendersons Wynd to Blinshall Street, Phase (iii) – Blinshall Street to Brown Street and Phase (iv) – Brown Street to West Marketgait).
 
The closures are planned to be on a rolling programme and proceed as follows: Forest Park Place, Edward Street, Brook Street, Brewery Lane, Lower Pleasance and Douglas Street.  More than one road may be closed at a time.  The terms of the one-way order relating to Douglas Street between Lower Pleasance and Brook Street will be revoked for the duration of this Order.
 
Alternative routes will be available via (1) Forest Park Road, Milnbank Road, Brook Street and Edward Street, (2) Forest Park Place, Forest Park Road and Milnbank Road, (3) Brook Street, Guthrie Street, Horsewater Wynd, Hawkhill, West Marketgait, Lochee Road and Polepark Road, (4) Polepark Road, Lochee Road and Park Street, (5) Brewery Lane and Park Street and (6) (i) Ash Street, Brewery Lane and Lower Pleasance, (ii) Blinshall Street, Lochee Road and Park Street, (iii) Brown Street, Miln Street and West Hendersons Wynd and (iv) Blinshall Street, Miln Street and Brown Street.
 
Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, City Development Department, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee  DD1 1LS, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date.  If you have any queries please contact 433082.

Additional bus service to assist part of the West End

A new peak time bus service, jointly funded by the City Council and Angus Council, and to be operated by National Express Dundee, will start next Monday (27th May) providing direct links between Piperdam, Liff, Ninewells Hospital and the City Centre.
The good news for the West End is that parts of the West End including Guthrie Street, Brook Street, Milnbank Road, City Road, Tullideph Road and Ancrum Road will be covered by the new route.    This is particularly welcome for those residents who used to rely on the former Stagecoach 74 service that was withdrawn back in 2009.
The timetable can be downloaded here.

Walton Street/Brook Street junction – Carriageway Resurfacing

From the City Engineer:
 
“Major roadworks are programmed to commence at the above location week commencing 7 May 2013 and will last approximately 3 days.
 
The Contractor for the works is Tayside Contracts.
 
Access to residential properties and businesses for dropping off passengers or deliveries will be maintained through the works if required.  However, delays will be incurred.  Therefore we ask that vehicular traffic movements be kept to a minimum, where possible.  It would be advantageous in completing the work as soon as possible if vehicles could avoid using Urquhart Street junction and divert their journey via Larch Street or Blackness Road.
 
Please note that pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained throughout the works.
 
Please accept my apologies for any disruption these works may cause. I am sure that you will understand that major road maintenance work is unavoidable and necessitates a degree of inconvenience to road users.”

Progress in tackling West End derelict mill welcomed

The deteriorating condition of Queen Victoria Works
I have welcomed the bringing forward of a draft Site Planning Brief for the Queen Victoria Works site in Brook Street.    
 
I have long campaigned to see the situation at the derelict works being improved with a view to seeing sensitive development of the site.  
 
The idea of consulting with owners and interested parties on a Site Planning Brief is due to be discussed by Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee on 22nd April.     It gives guidance on possible future uses and design and it is hoped that its publication will allow for future proposals to bring the site into useful future use.
 
I greatly welcome the proposal to have a site planning brief for this important building.    Dundee has a proud industrial heritage and a number of the key historic buildings like Queen Victoria Works are in danger of being lost.   The City Council has a key role in ensuring this does not happen.
 
A site planning brief does not in itself guarantee future development but it does aid the possibility of giving the works a positive future use.    It is good that the council will consult widely on the proposed brief and I am meeting with the residents of the adjacent Pleasance Court later this month and will be keen to hear their views.

Good news on free to use cash machines in the West End

Last month, I highlighted the issue of the need for more free to use cash machines across the city.
 

I mentioned that I had written to a major national retailer about an ATM at one of their stores in the West End Ward to see if the company nationally was willing to consider contributing to the costs of this particular ATM so it could offer free cash withdrawals in the future.

I am pleased to advise that this retailer – the Co-operative Group – has reacted positively and has converted the AGM in question (at their store at the junction of Polepark Road/Edward Street/Brook Street) to free to use – see new machine now installed – right.

I had a very positive discussion with a representative of the Co-operative Group about this and am very pleased at the company’s positive and speedy response.
 
Residents who live in the area around Polepark were some distance from a free to use ATM so the outcome is really good news.

Further concern over Queen Victoria Works

Over a long period, I have raised concerns about the dilapidated state of the former Queen Victoria Works between Brook Street and Douglas Street.    

The concerns were raised again recently by residents of Pleasance Court at a meeting I held with them.

Following this, I raised the concerns again with the City Council and the Head of Planning has advised:

“Building Standards Officers have regularly inspected this property following the receipt of numerous reports.  These inspections have confirmed that a reasonable level of site security is achieved such that no law abiding citizen could inadvertently find themselves at risk within the existing perimeter walls.

A recent inspection on 28 May 2012, following a report that the Mill was accessible to children, again indicated the site to reasonably well secured.  A loose security mesh grill was identified over a ground floor window to the building on Brook Street and dislodged lining boards were observed to a timber gate to the Lower Pleasance elevation.  Neither of these damaged/vandalised areas created a significant or immediate breach of the site perimeter security.  However, when one of my officers returned the following day to effect repairs, the loose security mesh (and others which did not necessarily require it) had been re-secured by spot welding and the timber gate had been boarded over.  It is assumed that these works had been carried out by the owner, or on the owner’s behalf.

The owner has intimated that regular security checks are carried out on the premises.  

The serving of a Dangerous Building Notice may be subject to technical or legal challenges via the appeals procedure.  Any such Notice would set out a description of works to be undertaken and a timescale for completion.  In the event of an owner’s default, the Council would be required to instruct the works required by the Notice and recover costs reasonably incurred.  Such costs can only be recovered where the owner has sufficient funds.  Emergency Works can be instructed without a formal Notice, but this action has to be justified, and creates the same issues in cost recovery as indicated above.
The condition of this site will continue to be kept under review.”

I have responded saying:

“I am pleased that there was a recent inspection but remain concerned about the continuing decline in the condition of the site and the owner’s lack of any real action to address this other than alleged infrequent “security checks.”

I note what you write about the Dangerous Building Notice but given the long term decline of this historic mill, I feel this is a procedure the City Council should now be initiating – the alternative is simply to see the mill’s state to decline to an extent that demolition is the only answer and I convinced that the City Council has a responsibility to ensure that does not happen.”

Here’s two photographs I took last week that show the extent of deterioration of the mill:
The City Council’s Chief Executive has agreed to my request to reconvene a working party to tackle vacant and derelict buildings in the city.   I have asked him to ensure that this group swiftly tackles issues like Queen Victoria Works and Verdant Works.  Dundee has an industrial heritage that is in danger of being lost – and the City Council has a key role in ensuring this does not happen. 

Pleasance Court – new residents’ group

Pleasance Court
Last night, I chaired a very productive and positive meeting with residents of Pleasance Court (“The Coffin Mill”) off Brook Street, and am grateful to all residents who attended and to Home Scotland representatives who both hosted the meeting in the residents’ lounge and participated in the discussion.   Ross & Liddell, who factor many of the properties on the south side of the mill, are also very supportive.

The principle of re-forming the residents’ group was agreed by all who attended and will be holding another meeting in the coming weeks to progress this and to update everyone on progress with actions taken as a result of issues raised last night.    Between Home Scotland, Ross & Liddell and myself, an update will be sent to every household on issues that have been raised and seeking views/feedback.

Numerous issues were raised including home and parking security, bins, repairs and concern about the state of the nearby Queen Victoria Works site – an issue I am continuing to pursue with the City Council.

Residents had previously raised with me the bad graffiti in Douglas Street opposite the entrance to Pleasance Court.   I had raised this with the council’s Rapid Response Team and they swiftly attended to this earlier this week – see below:

Before …


After …
After this residents’ meeting, I was pleased to catch part of the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden meeting that took place in the Botanic Garden Education Centre on a beautiful warm evening.    The Friends have achieved very substantial donations and earmarkings to assist the Botanic Garden and it was good to learn of the establishment of a Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust.

Polepark Road/Brook Street speed/safety survey

Last month, following requests from a number of residents who had expressed concern to me about the speed of some vehicles on Polepark Road/Brook Street near the Edward Street junction, the City Council undertook a speed/safety survey and I have now been given feedback as follows:


“The speed survey is now complete where the speed detection radar unit was placed on Polepark Road at the junction with Brook Street.

The speeds are recorded over a continuous seven day period and give a mean average speed of 20.25mph and an 85th percentile speed of 27.5mph.

The detailed results show very few vehicles travelling at speed greater than 30mph and I hope this gives some reassurance to your constituents regarding vehicle speeds.”

Whilst it is reassuring that the vast majority of cars are travelling within the speed limit, residents are concerned about an irresponsible minority that are breaking the limit here.    That is clearly a matter for police enforcement and I have raised this with Tayside Police on residents’ behalf.

Safety survey at Queen Victoria Works

As reported in tonight’s Evening Telegraph, following my request that a safety survey at Queen Victoria Works on Brook Street be carried out by the City Council, this has now taken place.  

It indicates that the external walls pose no immediate danger to the public passing by.

Although it is reassuring that the external walls pose no immediate danger to the public, I have concerns about the internal fabric of the building as it is in very poor shape – there was a recent roof fall – and I have asked the Legal Manager and the Director of City Development at Dundee City Council to advise me as soon as possible what enforcement action could be taken to ensure the internal structure is made safe.

Latest on Queen Victoria Works

 

Following my update last week about concerns over building safety at Queen Victoria Works, I have been in continuing touch with council officers about this matter.

The matter is with legal officers but it is intended, subject to any necessary legal steps, that council buildings standards officers and engineers will inspect the building in the very near future.

Over a period of some time, I have had continuing concerns about the state of the building and the recent roof collapse only serves to highlight the building safety issue.

Clearly a vacant building like this will deteriorate over time and it is vital that all necessary steps are taken so I am pleased that the City Council is taking a proactive interest in the concerns I have raised.

Concerns over Queen Victoria Works

Over the past three years, I have raised concerns about the condition of Queen Victoria Works in the West End Ward. Yesterday’s partial roof collapse reinforces my concerns.

Earlier today I wrote to the council’s Legal Manager, Director of City Development and the Buildings Safety Officer as follows :

“I paste below some of the previous correspondence regarding the above works and write to express my concern at the collapse of a significant section of roofing of the building yesterday.

I reiterate my concerns about the safety of the building. I am aware that it has been inspected in the past and I would be grateful if it was urgently re-inspected and necessary action taken. I presume Listed Building Enforcement Action is now a possibility given the lack of action by the owner is respect of its deteriorating condition?”

 

I also asked that the owner of the site is contacted and asked to take immediate action on safety. The council’s Legal Manager has confirmed to me that this would be undertaken.

Tuesday news …

This morning, I was disappointed to hear from the City Council about vandalism to the paper recycling facility in Brook Street. The Recycling Projects Officer advised me :

“I am writing to inform you that unfortunately a paper bin within the Neighbourhood Recycling Point on Brook Street Dundee was burnt out at the weekend, now for the second time.

As you may remember was the case with the second act of arson to the NRP on Bankmill Road earlier this, that it is our standard policy to replace the burnt out unit for a second time. Any further incidents, however, will result in the removal of the paper bin from the NRP unit as these are very costly to replace, and could prove to be an ongoing fire hazard.

We have a replacement unit in stock and we will be looking to reinstate the paper bin as soon as our operations are able. We will continue to monitor this site closely in the forthcoming period and hopefully there will be no repeat of the previous vandalism.”

I am advised by the City Council that the replacement cost is £520 and as I point out in tonight’s Evening Telegraph, residents rightly deplore this sort of mindless vandalism that could end up resulting in the loss of a well-used and popular paper recycling facility. This afternoon, our local Police Inspector said he’d progress my request for use of mobile CCTV in the vicinity to deter further vandalism.

Also this afternoon, along with a representative from Blackness Area Residents’ Association (BARA), a fellow councillor and council officers, we undertook a walkabout in the BARA area (a rather wet walkabout as it was raining!) to look at local issues and problems. The walkabout covered Peddie Street (pictured above), Abbotsford Place, Abbotsford Street, Corso Street and parts of Blackness Road and Blackness Avenue.

This evening at West End Community Council, there was an interesting talk on the conservation of resources, given by Doug McLaren of the Tayside Foundation for the Conservation of Resources.

Temporary Traffic Order – Smellies Lane, Ash Street and West Hendersons Wynd

Received today 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 gas main replacement works. The Order is expected to be in force for five weeks from 8 March 2010. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit all vehicular traffic in (a) Smellies Lane from Lochee Road to Ash Street, (b) Ash Street from Smellies Lane to Douglas Street and (c) West Hendersons Wynd from Douglas Street to Brook Street.

Pedestrian thoroughfare and vehicular access to premises will be maintained where possible.

An alternative route will be available via Lochee Road, Polepark Road and Brook Street.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, City Development 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 team on 433082.

Queen Victoria Works

The former Queen Victoria Works in Brook Street (also known as Lower Pleasance Mill) is lying derelict and in a very poor state of repair.

I raised concerns with the City Council’s Legal Manager initially back in 2007 (see http://tinyurl.com/qvwdundee) and he advised me that the premises are owned by McGregor Balfour (Sales) Limited, a private limited company with an issued share capital of only £2.

The Legal Manager advised me at the time that :

“the Director of Planning and Transportation is of the view that the footprint of the building is secure to a reasonable standard; and

I have spoken to Brodies, Solicitors, Edinburgh who has advised me that McGregor Balfour (Sales) Ltd received an offer to purchase the building which is currently under consideration. I have asked him to keep me advised regarding the progress of the offer.”

However, the company director thereafter contacted the Council’s Legal Manager and the Legal Manager then told me :

“She advised me that the proposed purchaser of the premises had withdrawn as a result of the “credit crunch” and that there was no other purchaser at this stage.”

I have continuing concerns about the state of the building and recently asked the City Council’s Head of Planning about current building safety as clearly a vacant building like this will deteriorate over time.

I am anxious to see this historic building saved and brought back into a productive use.

It is a great shame that it is lying in its current state and I have again requested that the City Council’s Legal Manager considers steps the City Council could take to assist this.

Tonight’s ‘Evening Telegraph’ covered the concerns about the state of the building and my comments about these – you can read this by going to http://tinyurl.com/qvworks.

The photos above show the works in earlier times and its current poor state of repair. The building appears on the ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register – see http://tinyurl.com/batriskdundee.

Westbound – Lochee Road

The City Council has advised me that from 17th June – for four nights – westbound traffic on Lochee Road between Blinshall Street and the North Marketgait roundabout will be prohibited between 7pm and 2am each night.

I am advised that this is because of telecommunications ducting works and the alternative route is via West Marketgait/Hawkhill/Horsewater Wynd/Guthrie Street/Brook Street/Polepark Road.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained throughout.

For further information, contact the Planning & Transportation Department on 433168.

Derelict building, dangerous drain and River Crescent Residents …

Firstly, I have had a number of residents raise with me the state of the derelict building on the north side of Brook Street (see right); it has certainly seen better days. I have raised this with the City Council’s Legal Manager, who leads the Council’s Derelict Land Working Group, which works to try to bring derelict buildings and land back into a useful existence.

When delivering West End FOCUS with me today, my colleague came across a dangerous drain in Larch Street (again, see right) – cover missing – so I have reported the matter.
Lastly, was guest speaker at River Crescent Residents’ Association’s AGM at the Botanic Gardens this afternoon. The Association gets good support from the residents in the street, which is excellent. I spoke about a few local issues including the speed limit at the west end of Perth Road (currently under review), aircraft noise and the Riverside Amenity Site.