Getting things done – Larch Street

Residents have pointed out the lack of a ‘Larch Street’ sign at its west end, and, confusingly, an ‘Edward Street’ sign was recently placed at the back of the Fire Station, which is causing confusion with deliveries.   
I took this matter up with the council’s Roads Maintenance Partnership who have advised as follows:
“The replacement street name plate for Edward Street recently erected on an existing pole behind the Give Way lines on Edward Street is in the correct location.   However, I would agree that there is nothing indicating the west-most end of Larch Street where it changes from Forest Park Place. 
An order will therefore be raised to erect a new street name plate on low level poles outside numbers 70 and 72 Larch Street within an approximate timescale of eight to ten weeks.”

Tonight’s City Council meetings

Tonight, after my weekly surgeries at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre, I attended City Council committee meetings at which:

* At the Education Committee, I welcomed the recommendation not to progress a 33 period model in Dundee’s secondary schools.   I also queried why the council did not have the foresight to build the new Kingspark School  large enough to accommodate the proposed additional four classrooms, now being proposed at a cost of an additional £1.1 million.    Of course, if the school needs the additional rooms, they must be provided, but it is a real pity that a school that opened as recently as August 2010 is already requiring expansion.   It would have been less expensive to build the bigger school in the first place.

* At Policy and Resources Committee, I criticised the waste of public money and loss of accountability in the SNP’s centralisation of police and fire services.    I also queried the robustness of land sales estimates in the five year Housing Capital Budget, but recognised the efforts made by the department to scale down likely land receipts in the current financial climate.   For the first time in a very long time, the SNP administration proposed sending no councillors to a conference at a cost to the council tax payer.  My goodness – anyone might have thought there was an election in the air.   The rest of us have opposed such expenditure for years!

* At the Development Management Committee, I spoke in favour of Section 75 agreements to limit Houses in Multiple Occupation.   The report before committee was the latest episode in a long running saga about properties in Larch Street.

Midweek Update!

A busy week thus far, so quite a few things to update on :

* I had a very useful and productive meeting today with the Head of Transportation and the Sustainable Transport Team Leader at the City Council to discuss local bus services, including the report going to the City Development Committee on Monday on the outcome of tendering for local bus services.   It looks promising that there will be improvements to the current 69 bus service in terms of timetable – good news for those parts of the West End covered by the service.   It is also hoped to see improvements to the Friendly Bus shopping service serving sheltered housing.

I also discussed with the Head of Transportation parking issues around West Port, the speed limit on Riverside Drive and traffic speed in residential areas.

* This afternoon, I attended the City Council’s Job Creation Working Group, at which employment initiatives in the city were discussed.   This group provides a good opportunity for council group leaders, council chief officers and Chamber of Commerce representatives to discuss the employment situation in Dundee and related matters.   I asked questions on a number of matters, including progress with the refurbishment of the Dundee rail station.

* Over the past few days, I have had constituents express concern about a proposal to have a taxi rank at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Nethergate.     A number of the concerns have been resolved by confirmation that the rank will operate only between 11pm and 6am, but, on behalf of residents, I have sought assurances from the City Council’s Director of City Development to ensure arrangements with Waste Management are in place for any litter to be removed before the Cathedral opens in the morning and that any possible alteration to the taxi rank timings in the future would require full consultation before any implementation.

* JC Decaux has agreed to tidy up its advertising area at the corner Perth Road and Ryehill Lane, following my contacting the company on behalf of residents.

* The West End Community Council has updated the design of its new website at – its well worth a visit and has a crisp, professional look.

* Late this afternoon, along with colleagues from Friends of Magdalen Green and the West End Communities Officer, we met with a parks representative from the council’s Leisure and Communities Department on the green to discuss where to site BBQ tables, following our recent consultation with residents.    

The outcome of the consultation showed residents strongly in favour of BBQ tables (these will reduce damage to the grass from disposable BBQs) but residents did not want the new tables near housing or where they would not be used by residents.   After discussion, we agreed to a site to the west of the bandstand, sheltered by trees.    See photo below.     We also agreed to more litter bins (and bigger ones!) with Friends of Magdalen Green helping with funding of them.
* Tonight, I attended a walkabout in parts of the north of the West End Ward, along with representatives from the Community Spirit Action Group, the communities officer for the West End, our Community Police Officer and one of my ward colleagues.   We looked at various issues affecting the area that we will these take forward with appropriate council departments and others – examples below :
Polepark Road – damaged wall
Larch Street – road damage

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.