High Mill

I recently received complaints from residents about the overgrown state of the grass area north of High Mill at Steven’s Yard, adjacent to Shepherd’s Loan.

I am very grateful to the City Council’s Planning Enforcement Officer who, at my request, contacted the landowners to get the very overgrown grass cut.

As you can see below, the owner has now taken action and the area is now looking much better.

Recycling at High Mill … and Osborne Place …

I have asked the City Council to relocate the neighbourhood recycling facility at High Mill a short distance away from its current location, following complaints from residents about the noise of bottles being dropped into the recycling units that are currently situated close to residents’ homes. There’s an obvious alternative site in the adjacent car park. I also asked for a new recycling point for the residents of Osborne Place, following residents’ requests for this.

I have had the following feedback this week from the City Council’s Recycling Projects’ Officer :


Further to our earlier discussions, I have a few updates for you on the Neighbourhood Recycling Point at High Mill Court & your request for an additional NRP at Osborne Place.

We are in the process of requesting permission to move the High Mill Court NRP (neighbourhood recycling point) from its existing position immediately outside the main doorway to an area at the top of the car park. Once we have received a response on this we will update you further.

With regard to the Osborne Place request, I have visited the area to assess its suitability for an NRP but have unfortunately found it unsuitable. The pavement areas are too narrow & space too limited to accommodate the NRP unit & there is insufficient space to allow vehicular access to empty the bins safely. While it is disappointing to be unable to provide bins at this particular location, the proposed move of the High Mill NRP will make it even more easily accessible to Osborne Place residents that it is at present & will therefore still allow them the opportunity to recycle their paper & glass.”

I have asked that residents are fully consulted on the proposed re-siting of the High Mill location.
I recently also asked for better signage to the houses in the Pinegrove Gardens part of Osborne Place. This was agreed and erected yesterday but there was a small problem – the signage had an error on it! All credit to the City Development Department – a replacement sign has been promptly ordered.

January 2009 Update to West End Community Council

I have today published my January 2009 update to West End Community Council.

Subjects covered include :

* Graffiti – Magdalen Green and surrounding area
* Speed Limit – western end of Perth Road
* Network Rail Mast
* West End Christmas Week De-Brief Meeting
* Ground at High Mill
* Paint on road and pavements in Thomson Street
* Former Homebase site
* Handrail Seafield Road
* Fencing at rail line
* Hawkhill by-pass at Hunter Street junction
* Tay Rope Works Planning Inquiry

The Community Council meeting takes place this Tuesday at 7pm at Logie St John’s (Cross) Church Hall.

You can download a copy of my update by going to http://www.dundee.prai.co.uk/resources/sites/

High Mill area – overgrowth tackled

As reported in last night’s “Evening Telegraph”, I am pleased that, following the intervention of the City Council’s planning enforcement staff, a Belgium-based developer has finally commenced the tidying of a badly overgrown area of ground in the Shepherd’s Loan area.

Residents and I had contacted the City Council regarding the badly overgrown condition of the ground south of Steven’s Yard near to High Mill. The ground had become highly overgrown and residents were rightly complaining about the eyesore.


Clearly the concern in such instances is that neglected ground becomes a magnet for fly-tipping, so I am pleased that following the intervention of planning enforcement staff, who served a notice on the owner, work to cut the overgrowth and tidy the ground has now been started.

The ground has been subject to a previous planning application for 2 dwellings which was refused by the City Council – the decision to refuse was upheld by the Scottish Government Reporter in 2007 (go to http://bwarrant.dundeecity.gov.uk/publicaccess/tdc/ApApplication/application_detailview.aspx?keyval=JOZFG0GC03D00 for further details).

The photo below shows the partly completed tidying works.

The ground has been subject to a previous planning application for 2 dwellings which was refused by the City Council – the decision to refuse was upheld by the Scottish Government Reporter in 2007 (go to http://bwarrant.dundeecity.gov.uk/publicaccess/tdc/ApApplication/application_detailview.aspx?keyval=JOZFG0GC03D00 for further details).

Residents and I had contacted the City Council regarding the badly overgrown condition of the ground south of Steven’s Yard near to High Mill. The ground had become highly overgrown and residents were rightly complaining about the eyesore.

Busy Friday … and High Mill Update

A busy day yesterday, including :


* Attending the 2008 Poppy Appeal launch at the City Chambers.


* A meeting with the City Council Leader – the Council autumn recess has just finished and its back to council committee meetings on Monday.


* A meeting with two representatives of the City Centre and Harbour Community Council (DCCHCC) – the West End Christmas Week team and DCCHCC are working together on one joint activity around Christmas Week – with the West End joining in the “Best Christmas-dressed local shop window display” competition DCCHCC runs. There will be a separate category for West End shops and its great to see two different community groups working together on a joint activity.


* A meeting with our very helpful pyrotechnician, to plan this year’s fireworks display as part of the West End Christmas Week.


* A meeting to plan the agenda for the next Planning & Transport Committee.


And … a quick update on the overgrown and untidy ground north of High Mill at Steven’s Yard. Along with a local resident, I have been pressing the City Council to take direct action given the owner not acting on requests to tidy the site. We have had the following update from the City Council :


“I would advise a draft Wasteland Notice has been issued to the Council’s Legal Department for checking and then subsequent serving. The Notice will allow 28 days for the works to be completed. I would further advise the owner has 28 days before the Notice comes into effect to appeal said Notice.”

Latest FOCUS newsletter – special edition

With thanks to all who helped this morning, most of the special edition of FOCUS for the area of the West End Ward around the Perth Road roadworks, was delivered and the remainder is now with those local residents in the area who kindly deliver their street for me.

The FOCUS doesn’t just cover the Scotland Gas Networks issue, but also covers local bus shelter issues, an untidy area in Steven’s Yard (at High Mill) and a residents’ parking update.

You can download a copy by clicking on the headline above.

Winter in Pitlochry … and unsightly overgrowth at High Mill

As the photos above show, it was a pretty snowy day in Pitlochry today, where I and a couple of colleagues from Dundee Liberal Democrats were again helping our Perth & Kinross Highland Ward colleagues, who are contesting a by-election later this month. Although the snow was on, it was actually a beautiful morning – and the first time I have canvassed a distillery! (see right)

On a totally different matter, I have received complaints from residents in the High Mill and Shepherd’s Loan area that the area to the north of High Mill has become overgrown again. Back in November 2006, following my raising this matter, the owner (a Belgium-based developer) arranged for a tidy-up (click on headline above to view the original story).

As the photo below shows, the area is again overgrown and untidy. I have therefore approached the City Council about the matter and am pleased to say that the Planning Enforcement Officer has agreed to write to the owner asking for a further tidy-up.

Back from Belfast …

Having spent the latter part of the week in Belfast, I have been catching up on the local news on my return. There was a very good leader piece in the Courier last week about disquiet about planning appeal decisions by the Reporter – and in particular the imbalance in appeal rights between developers appealing against a decision by the local authority to refuse planning permission and objectors wishing to challenge a decision to grant permission (the former can appeal; the latter cannot).

I have long had concerns about the democratic deficit whereby the planning decisions of local authorities (made by councillors elected by the people) are regularly overturned by a Reporter, not elected but simply appointed by the Scottish Government. My concerns are clearly shared by many other Dundee councillors.

Although pleased at recent appeal decisions to refuse developers’ appeals at Tay Rope Works and land south of Richmond Terrace, the Courier leader referred to the regrettable decision to overturn the City Council’s refusal of a planning application for 20 houses at the former Blackness Nursery (Lawrie’s). On Friday, I was advised by the City Council that the Reporter had refused the appeal for the erection of two townhouses at Steven’s Yard (ground north of High Mill) but there was bad news yesterday when residents called me to say they have received the decision letters about the appeals regarding the planning application and listed building consent for four housing units to be created on the ground floor of the High Mill itself and the appeals have been allowed. Not, of course, that the Reporters’ Unit’s website is very illuminating:-

Appeal type – Planning Permission Appeal
Current progress of appeal – Decision issued by DPEA or Scottish Ministers
Outcome – Decision not available present
Date of decision (DPEA/Scottish Ministers) – September 20, 2007

Decision letter not available

I had moved refusal of these applications (Full Application & Listed Building Consent) as I viewed the impact of the development as highly intrusive in terms of loss of privacy for residents south of the Mill in Patrick Place – the development proposes large windows in the south wall of the Mill, literally facing right into residents’ gardens. I am frankly astonished at this decision which flies in the face of preserving residential amenity.

On another matter, received a complaint today about graffiti that has appeared on the electricity sub-station on Magdalen Green – have reported this to the City Council and Scottish & Southern Electric.

Hawkhill Flooding and planning matters

Following concerns about flooding on Hawkhill, I have had the following feedback:
“After further investigation we have discovered that these gullies exit into an interceptor on the Hawkhill itself. We will require to contract a specialist clearing company to clean out this chamber as the equipment Tayside Contracts have is not large enough to cope. We will try to keep the area clear until such time we can have the chamber cleared.”
At last night’s Development Quality Committee, I moved an additional refusal reason in relation to the application in respect of Listed Building Consent 12/18 Whitehall Street, where unauthorised works have badly damaged the stairwells:
Additional Reason for Refusal for 12 & 18 Whitehall Crescent – 06/01076/LBC:

1) The introduction of the new door at 1st. floor level of 12 Whitehall Crescent adversely impacts on the appearance and character of a Category B listed building by virtue of detracting from the symmetry of the original openings located within the communal stairwell. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to Section 14 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 and Policy 60 of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005. There are no material considerations that would justify the approval of the new doorway contrary to the terms of Policy 60.

I also moved refusal of an application for a housing development at High Mill, where there were various concerns including loss of privacy, parking, etc. Here’s this motion:
Reasons for Refusal for 06/00991/COU – High Mill, High Mill Court:

1) The development is contrary to Policy 1 and Policy 4 of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 as the proposals fail to provide the required amount of associated off street car parking and the environmental quality of the adjacent occupiers to the south will be prejudiced by virtue of overlooking, a reduction in privacy and noise created by new south facing windows and extraction flues for the proposed units. There are no material considerations that would justify the approval of the application contrary to the terms of these policies.

2) The proposal is contrary to Policy 60 of the Dundee Local Plan Review 2005 and the requirement under Section 59 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 due to the adverse impact on the architectural and historic character of the Category A listed building through the introduction of additional openings on the main elevations of the property. There are no material considerations that would justify the approval of the application contrary to the terms of this policy.
I am pleased to say that both of these were unanimously approved by Committee.

Council Tax, Wet Weekend, Tom Spiers, Trees again …

Much of Friday was spent on City Council budget matters (with Council Finance Convener hat on) – click on headline above to view more about this. We have spent a very wet weekend campaigning in various parts of the City; intend thawing out tonight!
A resident contacted me Thursday about a vandalised young tree, in Blackness Road close to the Elliot Road junction. Having contacted the Council’s Forestry Officer, he advised me it would be inspected, tied or restaked on Friday and pleased to advise that the tree is now sorted.
Have received an e-mailed assurance from owner of the untidy area on Shepherd’s Loan/Weaver’s Yard (north of High Mill) that he would get the grass cut. He has e-mailed me again today to say : “I have requested that this gets done as soon as possible weather permitting , I will advise you when it has been done.”
Lastly – latest update from Friends of Wighton:
“Tom Spiers will be giving the Saturday afternoon talk at Dundee’s Wighton Heritage Centre on Saturday 17th February.
“It starts at 2pm and admission is £5/£3 for Friends of Wighton members. The subject will be The Fighting Scot and Tom will cover songs by, for and about Scottish soldiers over the last six centuries.
“Tom Spiers was a member of the renowned Gaugers and is currently with the excellent Shepheard, Spiers and Watson. He has a wide knowledge of North East folk song, a fine voice and manages the difficult art of accompanying himself on the fiddle!”

High Mill Update

Many residents will recall that, last year, at my request and following residents’ complaints, the area of ground to the north of High Mill was cleared of the remains of the Half Time School and debris left by a developer – the work to tidy being carried out by the City Council under its planning enforcement powers. The half time school remains are in storage.

Many residents have complained to me that the area is now getting untidy again – overgrown grass & litter (see right). Therefore, following my request to the Planning Enforcement Officer, she has written to the Belgium-based owner in the following terms:-

“Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997
Re: Area of ground to the south of Stevens Yard, Dundee

“I am writing to you as the Council has recently received some complaints with regards to the condition of the above piece of land.

“I would advise that the Council is continuing to monitor the above site and would request that you consider implementing a maintenance plan to ensure the condition of the land does not deteriorate thus leading to it having a detrimental effect on the visual amenity of the surrounding area. Failure to maintain this piece of land in a satisfactory condition may result in the Council taking further enforcement action.”