Happy 100th birthday Logie!

Today marks the centenary of the official opening of the Logie scheme in the West End – happy 100th Logie!
 
We had planned to have an event tonight in the Lime Street sheltered lounge with local residents to mark this significant milestone and there was to be an exhibition at Blackness Library and in the Central Library along with talks by the Dundee City Archives.
 
Sadly, none of this is now possible at this time because of the COVID-19 health emergency but we do intend to run events like this at a later date as it is important to recognise the importance of Logie, as Scotland’s first council housing scheme, in the history of the provision of social housing.
 
Meantime, you can read one of the excellent articles by the Dundee City Archives’ blog here – all about the story of the building of Logie, with links to other articles.

House insulation – Logie area – an update #dundeewestend

As residents are aware, I have long campaigned for insulation improvements for the Logie area.  
 
Logie’s properties are a hundred years old next year and, given the conservation status of the estate, cannot benefit from external wall insulation.   
 
I have therefore been pressing the council to progress internal insulation improvements and discussed this recently with Logie tenants at a residents’ meeting I organised at the Lime Street sheltered lounge.
 
I recently asked the council’s Director of Neighbourhood Services for an update on progress and have received the following helpful reply :
 
“I can confirm that we have completed two pilot installations in the Logie estate and that these have been successful in raising the Energy Efficiency levels to a rating which ensures EESSH* compliance. 
 
Overall, prior to this pilot, Logie has some 85 out of 120 houses which are compliant with the EESSH standard. 
 
It is our intention to develop a programme of IWI installation for this estate for the 2021/22 Financial year subject to available resource. This project will benefit tenants only as it is not our intention given the nature of the works involved to offer to owner occupiers.  I can confirm that it would be all (council owned) properties regardless of EESSH 1 compliance.   We are looking ahead towards complying with EESSH 2.
 
In the meantime we will look at houses in the estate that are not compliant with EESSH at present to establish whether there are short term measures we can carry out in the interim that ensure EESSH compliance until the IWI programme is carried out (this may be as simple as supplying Energy Efficiency Light bulbs).
 
In terms of other stock that has missed out on the EWI programme the Housing Asset Management Unit are currently developing options for these properties one of which is IWI to individual tenants properties . They will keep you updated on progress with these discussions and any outcomes.”
 
* EESSH = Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing.

Getting things done : Logie improvements

Last year, I highlighted the poor condition of the east footway of Ashbank Road and had been promised reconstruction of the pavement would take place.
 
I am therefore pleased to see the necessary work started before Christmas :
I also asked for improvements to the north pavement of nearby Logie Avenue at the lock-ups and outside the lock-ups themselves and this work was also undertaken just before the festive season :

Good news for ground floor Logie tenants

I am pleased to report that Dundee City Council recently made a bid to the Scottish Government for additional funding for energy efficiency measures – the Capital Stimulus Programme.    As recently discussed at the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, the bid was successful and the funding will be used to carry out a programme of underfloor insulation for ground floor council tenants in the Logie area, together with some other areas.
 
The properties that will achieve the greatest benefit from this type of work are those with particularly deep under-floor areas and tenants should notice a marked improvement in their warmth and comfort after the insulation has been installed.  There is a variation in the depth between different properties in the same street and, for this reason, there will be some sample underfloor surveys before the council can determine the flats that need the work and identify those with sufficient underfloor areas to allow the contractor to work safely.  
 
The work itself entails applying rolled insulation material to the underside of the floor and keeping it in place with nets that are fixed to the underside of the floor joists.     Some flats already have hatches which allow access to the underbuilding but, for those that do not and where there is a deep underbuilding, new hatches will need to be cut to allow the work to proceed.
 
It is likely that the work will start early in the new year but identified properties were advised over the weekend of the possibility of a survey before Christmas. 
 
I asked the council’s Service Manager Housing about how owner-occupiers can also be helped and he advises :   “This scheme is for tenants only but owners can approach Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 to determine whether they are eligible for free insulation/heating measures (this is means tested).”
 
Do please contact me if you have any queries – my hone number is 459378.

Logie and Blackness areas walkabout

Yesterday, along with the Assistant Area Housing Manager and the local Housing Officer, I had a useful walkabout round the Logie and Blackness areas to discuss a number of local issues.
 
These include tackling the flooding issue on Logie Avenue at the lock-ups (see below), some missing or damaged street signs including the damaged one in Glenagnes Road at its junction with Blackness Road (see right) and fly-tipping at an empty property in Blackness Road.
 
The Neighbourhood Services Department (the new department from 1st January that covers both Housing and Environment) is ensuring that the Logie Avenue flooding issue is tackled both in terms of having the leak repaired permanently but also to ensure the pavement and lock-up area is given a better surface.
 
I have followed up non-housing issues with the appropriate departments to ensure all matters are properly resolved.

Residents’ meetings

Over the past couple of days, I have had three very positive meetings with local residents – with residents from the Tullideph area (Tuesday afternoon), Logie area (Wednesday morning) and the Corso/Abbotsford area (Wednesday afternoon).
 
The main purpose of these was for council officers to update tenants about the current housing rents consultation and also to give attendees details of the current consultation on 20mph speed limits in residential areas.
 
I am very grateful to all residents who attended and to the council officers who did such a good job presenting to the residents and answering questions.

Logie railings – site visit

Yesterday, along with two senior representatives from the City Council’s Neighbourhood Services Department (Housing) and the Community Payback Manager, I participated in a useful site visit to look at progress the Community Payback Team has made in repainting the garden railings on the non-sheltered side of the Logie estate.
 
Back in April at a residents’ meeting I chaired, we discussed with residents the idea of asking Community Payback to (with owners’ consent) paint the railings of owned properties on the south side of the estate.   As many of the railings were badly needing painted, this was welcomed by residents and I have to say that Community Payback has done an excellent job thus far with the painting – a couple of photos below :

 

Thus far, the railings right down Logie Avenue have been painted and the team are now in Elm Street working down the side streets eastwards.   It is hoped to make some more progress up to when winter weather sets in, then complete the job in the spring.
 
Community Payback can repaint the railings with owners’ permission but is not in a position to repair them.   However, I have had discussions with the Dundee Historic Environmental Trust who can consider applications for grant funding for repairs from owners on an individual basis.   E-mail me at logie@frasermacpherson.org.uk or call me on 459378 for more information.

Speeding concerns – Logie Avenue

Several residents have recently expressed concern about the speed of a minority of drivers in the Logie area, particularly running through the main street – Logie Avenue.
 
There are concerns that some drivers from outwith the area are using Logie Avenue as a short cut and I asked the council’s Head of Transportation for a speed/safety survey to be carried out, which he has kindly agreed to.
 
Given the large number of elderly people in the area, particularly in the sheltered housing part of Logie, it is important that vehicle speeds are kept to a minimum.

Logie area – street light replacement

A number of constituents in Logie have contacted me expressing their concerns about the replacement street lighting in parts of the local area.
 
I raised the concerns with the City Council’s Street Lighting Partnership Manager, who advises :
 
“I can confirm that we are currently in the process of replacing some of the lighting columns in the Logie area as part of our agreed capital replacement programme. The existing concrete columns in that area are now in the region of 50 years old and are beyond their expected service life and despite appearing to be robust from the outside are no longer serviceable. Their replacement is with our standard residential column and lantern arrangement which provides the best economical and lighting output.
 
Street lighting is not a planning issue so there is no requirement to consult with members of the public when replacing existing lighting schemes and indeed it is not standard practice to do so. I am sure you will appreciate that with 25,000 lights to maintain in the city this would be an enormous strain on resources should we have to consult every time we need to replace a column and is simply not possible.
 
Historically, columns were placed at the front edge of a footpath (in the days of fewer vehicles) but over the years experience has shown that it is advisable to position them at the rear of the footpath in order to afford them some protection from accidental damage due to vehicles whilst at the same time maximising the available footpath width for wheelchairs and buggies which need to pass. Obviously this is dependent on suitable planting depth being available below ground and hence why we sometimes have to deviate from this rule.
 
I appreciate that the result of this is that it does bring the light source closer to properties and that this can be a concern for some (and yet is welcomed by others). I would state however that the new modern optics contained within the street light are far better at controlling the output of light to where it is needed (i.e. onto the footpaths and carriageway) and away from properties than those previously installed. Nonetheless, it can still be an issue for some residents and in those cases we would always seek to find a compromise position (e.g. the installation of a shield if necessary) with the householder. 
 
We are always happy to discuss such issues and assist where we can.”

Logie walkabout

Yesterday, along with the local Housing Officer and two representatives from the City Council’s Environment Department, I took part in a walkabout around the Logie area.

The six-monthly walkabouts take place in a number of areas (Pentland and Blackness are other examples) and are a useful way to look at local issues and problems and ensure these are taken up and resolved.
 
A number of issues were raised – including the need to have this damaged fence in Glenagnes Street (see above right) repaired.      

Logie residents’ meeting

Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing a well-attended meeting of residents in the Logie Estate that took place at the Lime Street Sheltered Lounge.
 
I am most grateful to the Housing Strategy Manager from the Housing Department of the City Council who took part and we updated residents about the issue of improving the railings across Logie (and there’s now a way forward to get them painted, where required) and the lock-ups in Glenagnes Street following the recent council decision about these and other council-owned lock-ups across the city.
 
We had a good discussion about a number of other issues including bin and recycling collections and speed limits in the area.

Tuesday activities

This morning, I had the pleasure of supporting Shelter Scotland’s awareness raising campaign – Illegal Evictions: Know Your Rights, run with the support of Police Scotland, Crimestoppers and the Scottish Association of Landlords.
 
Shelter is running this excellent campaign to ensure that tenants and landlords know their rights and responsibilities and that illegally evicting a tenant is a criminal offence.   I am pictured below at the Dundee University Students’ Association with Shelter and Police Scotland representatives:
This afternoon, I had a very useful meeting with Housing Department officers and a representative of Community Payback about improving the Logie Estate’s railings.   We are confident of getting many of the railings desperately needing repainted  attended to over time in the coming months where the support of owners is agreed.
 
This evening, I attended West End Community Council, where there was an interesting presentation from the Chair of the West End Local Community Planning Partnership (LCPP) and the West End’s Communities Officer about the LCPP’s work in the West End.     As always, there was a good discussion about a variety of local issues as well as an update from Police Scotland.

Solar Cities Scotland event for Pentland and Logie residents

Energy MonitoringFrom Solar Cities Scotland about improving your home insulation :

 

We are having a drop in event from 10am-6pm on Monday 23rd February in Room 17 at the Mitchell Street Centre.

 

We have invited all Pentland residents in order to view their recent thermal images as well as Logie residents to in order to discuss the progress of our internal insulation pilot project in one home in Logie for which we received an award of £2000 from Dundee Partnership.  Full information on the outcomes will be in the final report which will be produced by the end of March 2015.

 

If you happen to be free and in the area please feel free to drop in or to pass this on to anyone who you think may be interested in finding out more about thermal imaging or our Logie pilot project.    We are happy to give advice with any energy efficiency related queries or renewable technologies for anyone as always too. 

 

 

Please note that, as there is no lift to this room, we have offered to visit people in their homes, or email images to people who have accessibility issues or who can’t make it along on Monday.

 

Background to the Logie insulation project

 

Solar Cities Scotland applied to the Dundee Partnership in September 2014 and was successfully awarded £2000 for a Pilot Insulation Project in Logie.

 

We are grateful to the Dundee Partnership for this funding to allow this pilot project to go ahead. We will pass on our findings to Dundee City Council Housing Department as well as to Logie residents, local councillors and other interested parties. We hope that by using this internal insulation product we may be able to offer a viable solution to assist with lowering energy costs and carbon emissions the residents of these solid wall properties in Logie.

 

The Logie properties are nearly 100 years old and are known as ‘hard to heat’ properties due to the fact that they are solid wall properties which are not suitable for cavity wall insulation. As a Conservation Area, no external insulation can be applied to the homes. The houses have large, draughty basements which cannot be insulated due to the presence of asbestos. As a result, the only hard measure that can be done is loft insulation. Our thermal images identified that the majority of these homes already have this to the current standard. The issue remains that the homes are expensive to heat with many of the residents suffering from fuel poverty. There are many older people within these homes.

 

We are supporting the Dundee Partnership’s commitment to tackling deprivation by ‘closing the gap’ between inequalities in terms of housing and fuel poverty across Dundee.

Meeting with Logie residents

Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing a well-attended meeting of Logie residents, which took place at the Lime Street sheltered lounge.
 
I am indebted to the City Council’s Conservation Officer who spoke with the residents about the new draft Logie Conservation Area Appraisal document currently out to consultation.   He also answered a wide range of Conservation Area related questions from residents.    There are currently two other West End conservation area draft appraisals out to consultation (West End Suburbs and West End Lanes) – more details here.
 
At the meeting we also discussed various other issues – including the outcome of the recent consultation questionnaire on the future of the Glenagnes Street lock-ups, house insulation and bin collections.

Busy Tuesday

Yesterday morning, following a meeting with the Director of Housing to discuss options for council house rent levels for 2015/16, I took part in a ‘walkabout’ round the Logie area.
 
The six-monthly walkabouts take place in a number of areas (Pentland and Blackness are other examples) and are a useful way to look at local issues and problems and ensure these are taken up and resolved.
 
Here’s some of issues picked up from yesterday’s walkabout:
Overgrown foliage across the pavement in Glenagnes Road to be trimmed
Missing street sign in Glenagnes Street to be replaced
Ownership of untidy ground in Logie Avenue to be ascertained and tidied

 

Untidy area at side of Glenagnes Street pavement to be tidied
After the walkabout, I attended the latest meeting of the Jericho House support group, a regular meeting at which a number of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this important facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism.   It was a very positive meeting, covering various of Jericho House’s activities including charity fundraising.

Logie Lock-ups Survey

In June, I chaired a meeting of Logie residents at which, amongst other matters, we discussed the deteriorated state of the lock-ups in Glenagnes Street.   
 
At the meeting, Housing Department representatives committed to producing a residents’ survey about the lock ups to gauge possible new demand for them and get residents’ views on the best way forward with the lock-ups’ future.
 
I delivered the survey to Logie residents (and nearby residents of Scott Street and the part of Blackness Road adjacent to Logie) at the weekend.   
 
It is hoped that residents will take part in the survey – you can return it either via a Freepost return address or on-line on the council’s website.   You can download the survey form here;  returns from residents outwith the immediate delivery area will also be welcome.

Logie residents’ meeting

Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing a well-attended meeting of around 30 Logie residents that took place at the Lime Street sheltered lounge.
 
I am grateful to two senior council Housing Department officers who addressed the meeting about council lock-ups and, in particular, the dilapidated state of the garages in Glenagnes Street, an issue I have raised with the City Council.   It was agreed that a residents’ survey to gauge interest in the void lock-ups from potential new tenants and to get views on the lock-ups’ future will be issued.
 
We also had a very useful discussion on a number of other issues such as grass maintenance, parking and bin collections, amongst other matters.

Wednesday activities

This morning, I had useful site visits with roads inspection staff from the City Council looking at poor pavement condition in part of Perth Road and also the poor conditioned road surface at the busy Balgay Road/Blackness Avenue/Blackness Road junction (see right).
 
With regard to this roads junction, I am pleased to say that the junction will be reinstated with work starting next Monday (12th May) – weather permitting.   The work will take a maximum of 2 days but might be completed in one day.   As temporary traffic lights will be required during the improvements work, these will be put in place only after the rush hour on Monday morning.
 
Later this morning, I had a very useful meeting with our new senior police officer for the West End (and the remainder of what the police term ‘Dundee South’) Inspector Gary Ogilvie, at which we discussed West End policing issues.
 
Earlier tonight,  I attended the Annual General Meeting of Community Spirit – the community group for the “north” part of West End Ward, covering Tullideph, Pentland, Ancrum and the Cleghorn area.   The meeting took place in the Mitchell Street Centre.
 
Guest speaker was Ian Ford of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park, who gave a very interesting presentation on the development of the park.    Thereafter, I had the pleasure of chairing the actual AGM part of the meeting.    Sandra Myles stood down as Chair after four very successful years in the role and we all thanked Sandra for all she has done for the group and the local area – I’m pleased to say Sandra will still be attending Community Spirit’s meetings.   
 
New Chair is George Chalmers and Len Jamieson is continuing as Secretary.
 
One final update for today.   Residents complained to me that the dog bin in Logie Avenue at Ashbank Road was “rather full” – as you can see (left) that’s rather an understatement!   The Environment Department has assured me this will be urgently tidied.

Last couple of days …

Yesterday, I had a useful site meeting with the West District Housing Manager and a senior housing officer regarding residents’ concerns about the deteriorating state of some of the lock-ups for the Logie Estate that are situated in Glenagnes Street (see below).   A number are unoccupied and in poor condition which is unfortunate in an otherwise well-maintained and popular area.   I have impressed upon the Housing Department the necessity of improving the condition of the lock-ups and having a strategy of attracting new tenants for the unoccupied ones.
Also yesterday, I participated in the first meeting of the group set up to look at Harris Academy transport issues, which has proved to be a good opportunity for Parent Council representatives, parents, councillors and council officers to meet to discuss and seek solutions to any outstanding issues.
 
Last night, I attended the December West End Community Council meeting at which there was an excellent, informative address by Professor David Swinfen on the work of the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Trust.
 
This afternoon, I participated in the City Council’s Scrutiny Committee, at which I queried complaints about the council to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, praised the improvements in time taken to respond to noise complaints raised by residents and also queried IT back ups, disaster recovery and business continuity arrangements in relation to the computer systems used to administer the Tayside Pension Fund.

Logie Walkabout

This morning, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area, representatives from West End Community Council and the Environment Department and one of my ward colleagues, I took part in a walkabout around the Logie Estate to look at local issues, similar to the walkabout we had on Tuesday around Blackness.
 
We looked at a number of issues – the estate’s lock ups, slippy leaves (see below), fencing and hedging, to name a few – and action will be taken to address all issues noted.

TV licensing unfair to sheltered tenants who miss out on concessionary scheme

I have criticised the way the concessionary TV licence scheme for people in sheltered housing operates as it is being denied to significant numbers of people in sheltered housing in the city.
 
The Sheltered Housing Concessionary TV Licence Scheme should apply to people in sheltered housing who are under 75 (all people over 75 do not have to pay a TV licence fee) and gives them a lower fee of £7.50 per year.   However, there are numerous anomalies in this concessionary scheme which mean that some people in sheltered housing who it would have been expected would qualify are being denied a concessionary (ARC) licence and are being expected to pay the full £145.50 annual licence.
 
I have now taken up the matter with TV Licensing following concerns raised by sheltered tenants in parts of the Logie Estate.    Parts of the sheltered housing here qualify and other streets do not and I am arguing that all the sheltered tenants in the estate should qualify for the cheaper licence.
 
I initially took up the matter with the City Council’s Housing Department and was advised by a senior officer:
 
“TV Licencing were given a list of all our sheltered properties some time ago and they drew up a series of designated areas across the city. As long as all the properties within a designated area remained sheltered, all incoming tenants would be entitled to a discounted licence.
 
However when all the properties in a designated area are no longer sheltered, incoming tenants no longer qualify for a discount (unless they are over 75 and/or visually impaired). Crucially, though, although the designated area no longer has an entitlement to a discount on the grounds that not all properties are sheltered, existing sheltered tenants in that area who already receive the discount, have that right preserved i.e. Preserved Rights.
 
Just to further complicate matters, there are a few complexes where part of the complex retains the entitlement to discount and the remaining part does not. The remaining part only has Preserved Rights. This is because of the way TV Licensing has drawn the boundaries of their designated areas. Logie Sheltered Housing falls into this category. Some of the streets in Logie are entitled to a discount, whereas others will not.”
 
The principle of the concessionary TV licence was that it would recognise the special circumstances of elderly people in sheltered housing and their particular needs and it is not fair that some sheltered tenants are not receiving the benefit.   
 
I have therefore taken up the matter with TV licencing and asked them to review the streets in the Logie Sheltered Housing that are not currently being given the ARC or lower licence with a view to giving them this right.

Logie residents’ meeting

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of chairing a well-attended meeting of residents in the Logie Estate that took place at the Lime Street Sheltered Lounge.
 
I am most grateful to the three representatives from the Housing Department of the City Council who were guest speakers and who updated residents about the issue of improving the railings across Logie and other Conservation Area matters.     
 
We had a good discussion about a number of other issues including concessionary TV licences in sheltered housing – an issue I raised on behalf of several residents recently an on which I will update residents on in the coming days – and also on the speed of some vehicles driving through Logie.

Lighting issues – Scott Street and Logie

Steps between Pentland Avenue and Scott Street
On behalf of residents, I recently raised the need for lighting improvements in the Scott Street and Logie areas – particularly replacing the old ‘orange’ lighting in Scott Street and lighting the steps down from Pentland Avenue to Scott Street.
 
The City Council’s Street Lighting Partnership has now advised me as follows:
 
“Re Logie – most is converted to white light but we did discuss converting Scott Street to white light … and hope to do this either before the end of March or early in the new financial year.
 
Re the Path/steps – we looked at putting lights on the stairs.   Unfortunately it’s just not technically feasible and the costs would not justify since there is a lit route via the end of Scott Street.”
 
The upgrading of the lighting in Scott Street is to be welcomed.

Last couple of days …

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending part of a morning meeting of the Dundee Partnership that focused on Dundee’s bid for UK City of Culture 2017.    This was an extremely well-attended and positive event where the excellent news that Lorraine Kelly, Sheena Wellington and Brian Cox have been selected to spearhead the city’s bid was announced.

Later yesterday, after my Monday ward surgeries at HarrisAcademy and the Mitchell Street Centre, I took part in City Council committees where there was an extensive discussion about proposed changes to Housing Benefit.   As well as participating in that debate, at Policy and Resources Committee, I praised the work of Dundee Youth Council in putting together their manifesto arising out of their recent consultation process with the city’s young people.   I suggested that the council’s Chief Executive consider arranging an annual meeting of all councillors with the Youth Council to discuss issues affecting young people in Dundee.

Also yesterday, I spoke on Radio Tay and Wave 102 News about the unfortunate graffiti vandalism in Victoria Park and the adjacent area that took place at the weekend.    You can hear my interview on Wave 102 News here:

Earlier today, I took part in the latest walkabout round the Logie Estate, along with officers from the Housing and Environment Departments.    It was good to see some progress with fewer wheelie bins sitting on the footpath of Glenagnes Street and the council having removed some of the damaged and fallen fencing although some damaged fencing still requires attention as one of the photos below shows.   The other shows progress with trimming of bushes in the estate:

logie21

logie11

Tonight, I attended the latest West End Community Council meeting where there were informative presentations from Judith Clark of Solar Cities Scotland on their Community Carbon Exchange work in the West End and from Fergus Wilson, City Engineer and his department’s work, including projects in the West End.

Having long campaigned for improvements for the road surface of Riverside Drive, it was good to hear that, although the road resurfacing schedule for 2013/14 has yet to be finalised, Riverside Drive is being given serious consideration for inclusion in the programme.

Recycling – Logie area

Following queries from Logie residents about the sorting of recycled materials in the green boxes, I queried the matter with the City Council and the Waste and Environment Project Team Leader has updated me as follows:
 
“The green boxes are no longer sorted at the kerbside but decanted fully mixed into the collection vehicle and taken to our Baldovie Depot. Once at Baldovie, the dry mixed recyclate (DMR) is then bulked & loaded onto containers for onward transportation to our reprocessors Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where a variety of techniques are used to separate & sort the various materials – magnets for the steel, eddy current separators for plastics & alu cans, optical sort technology for glass etc – ready for recycling. 
This particular collection methodology – known as co-mingled – enables us to use standard collection vehicles rather than the specialist multi-chambered vehicles required for the previous kerbside-sort system, and is much quicker and more efficient – meaning that a greater number of properties can potentially be served on these routes. 
We decided to trial this methodology earlier in the year to assess its potential and following positive feedback from the reprocessor we then began our burgundy bin trial – the co-mingled collection of DMR in a 240-litre bin on a 4-weekly cycle. The DMR from both burgundy bins & green boxes are therefore collected fully co-mingled & sent for sorting. We aim to use the information gathered during this trial to inform future decisions regarding recyclate kerbside collections in Dundee.
A press release was issued at the time of the methodology change & information on the new system is available on the website –  www.dundeecity.gov.uk/environment/kerbsiderecycling.”

Tuesday in the West End …

Yesterday, in addition to visits to constituents, I took part in a walkabout round the Logie Estate with council officers from various departments and a ward colleague to look at issues in the area.   An example is damaged fencing (see right).    It was good to welcome the Director of Housing to the walkabout on this occasion.
 
Thereafter, I enjoyed a very well-attended general meeting of the Pennycook and Sinderins Courts Residents’ Association at which we discussed numerous local issues including parking, noise and the Association’s forthcoming Christmas Coffee Morning, taking place on Saturday 24th November, as part of the West End Christmas Fortnight activities.
 
I also attended a committee meeting of the Jericho House Support Group and am pleased that Jericho House will be taking part in our Christmas Fortnight Community Fayre Launch on Saturday 17th November.   Over 20 community groups, charities and other organisations are taking part in the Community Fayre at Dundee West Church (10am to 12 noon) and it will feature other activities including face painting for the children.
 
Later on, I had a very useful site visit in Ancrum Drive to look further at possible parking improvements there and in the evening I attended the Blackness Primary School Parent Council meeting.    At the Parent Council, there was a very interesting update from Mr Ferrier, Head Teacher, on school building improvements that have recently taken place and a number of school initiatives planned for the new term, including science workshops and co-operative learning for staff.   There’s also a new P5-P7 athletics club which is a really good new initiative for Blackness Primary School.

Last couple of days …

Over Monday and Tuesday, I have :
  • Attended a meeting of the Balgay Stakeholders’ Group at the pavilion in Lochee Park.   This is a very useful quarterly meeting at which City Council Environment Department Officers, representatives from the Friends of Balgay and local councillors discuss issues affecting Balgay Park.  There was a productive discussion on a number of issues including a new bench for the Poor Ground in Balgay Cemetery, new planting at the Rose Window and flower displays.
  • Had a useful meeting with Housing Department officers about the railings in the Logie estate.
  • Held two ward surgeries – at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre.
  • Attended the City Council’s Waste to Energy Working Group.
  • Taken part in a site visit I had arranged with council City Development engineers and representatives from West End Community Council at the Sinderins junction (pictured right) regarding road safety at the junction.  We had a very useful discussion which resulted in positive outcomes – realignment of traffic lights, slight changes to  road markings and action to ensure drivers see the correct signal.
I also attended last night’s City Council at which I :
  • Argued at the City Council meeting that new Education Committee members, representing parents and pupils should have voting rights to give them equality with other committee members.   Labour councillors and the independent councillor also supported this approach, but it was outvoted by the SNP and Conservative councillors.
  • Asked questions at Housing Committee about progress towards the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and particularly on the provision of controlled entry systems in council flats.
  • At City Development Committee, I questioned what has actually been done to improve road safety at the Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue/Balgay Road junction and was given a commitment of a site visit to look at the situation there.  I also welcomed proposals to improve safety at the Hawkhill/Brown Street junction, but was less than satisfied with responses about implementation of 20 mph safety zones in Dundee.   This is an issue Dundee City Council has not progressed despite clear evidence from – for example – the British Medical Journal and Transport for London that there are real safety benefits for communities.   As the request of West End residents, it is an issue I will pursue in the months ahead.
  • At Policy and Resources Committee, I expressed concern at a very significant drop in community-based adult learning opportunities across the city.   I have been in correspondence with City Council officers about increasing such opportunities at the Mitchell Street Centre in the West End Ward.

Meeting with Logie residents

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of chairing a meeting with residents of the Logie estate and was most grateful to representatives from:
 
* Dundee Historic Environment Trust – who spoke about Conservation Area and grants issues
 
* Dundee City Council transportation division – who spoke about traffic issues and safety measures, parking, roads resurfacing and safe crossings – all arising out of the new schools opening in October at the former Logie Secondary School site
 
I am keen to ensure that Logie residents get the opportunity to meet to discuss local issues, particularly following the demise of the Logie Residents’ Association.   
 
It was a very positive meeting and residents are keen to pursue to revival of a formal residents’ group, a suggestion I am keen to pursue with residents and the City Council in the coming months.

West End Thursday …

This morning, after a visit to constituents about a local problem, I had the pleasure of attending another area “walkabout” – this time in the Logie Estate where, along with council officers and two of my ward colleagues, we looked at a number of issues – including footpaths condition and railings.

The remainder of the day was spent campaigning across the West End.   This is my fourth election – and by far the most enjoyable.   I am extremely grateful to all residents for their kindness and, in particular, all who have have contacted me to voice their support.   Here are some quotes from residents in e-mails over the past couple of days:

Just a quick email to say well done for being a good councillor. I’ve recently moved to Lochee Road from Arbroath where we are use to councillors bickering instead of working together to improve their respective constituencies and the town as a whole, as I’m sure you have seen in Dundee. Political posturing doesn’t help anyone and just makes everyone involved look completely detached from the people they are supposed to be representing.

I enjoy reading the Dundee’s West End Focus newsletter that gets posted through my door and seeing the work you’ve been putting in.

Thank you for your newsletters and for your hardwork in improving our circumstances at the West End of Dundee. I have voted for you at the first candidate this time, and wish you best luck in winning the election again! 

Good luck with the election – we have received lots of bumph from your opponents but as far as we are concerned you are the only councillor who has done anything for this area!

This evening, after my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School, I met residents in the Oxford Street/Blackness Road area.   A lovely night – as this photograph taken at Elliot Road indicates: