Park Place Primary School
|Upper Floor Classroom|
|Ground Floor Classroom|
This morning, along with one of my ward councillor colleagues, I attended a walkabout around the Pentland area with officers from various council departments to look at issues that require action in the area. A number of issues were noted – eg damaged fencing, bin collections and recycling.
Another issue raised was the road condition of streets in Pentland (see photo of Loganlee Terrace’s roadway – above) and it was good to get feedback later today from the City Engineer as follows : “Loganlee Terrace, Colinton Place and Pentland Crescent are all to have the proprietary Nimpactocote thin surfacing system applied this year.”
This afternoon, I attended the latest Project Board meeting for the West End schools building project for St Joseph’s Primary School, Park Place Nursery School and Park Place Primary School. Thereafter, following my surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy, I attended the City Council’s Development Management Committee this evening.
Today, I had an extremely useful meeting with Terry Small of the Dundee Museum of Transport. Although the museum has long-term ambitions to open at the former Maryfield Transport Depot, it has secured shorter term use of a long vacant building in Roseangle to allow the museum to open.
This is an excellent project and I will be assisting the museum group in any way I can to make the museum in Roseangle a reality.
Later this afternoon, I attended the latest meeting of the West End Schools Project Board that is overseeing the building of the new St Joseph’s Primary School, Park Place Primary School and Park Place Nursery School on the site of the former Logie Secondary School in Blackness Road. I asked questions about the building timetable and parking arrangements at St Joseph’s meantime.
I asked questions about the traffic assessment and proposed travel plan. You can read the committee papers on this matter athttp://tinyurl.com/dm200910.
The Education Committee report 69-2009 was based on a site start of Q1 2010. The revised site start date of Jan 2011 is a full year later which leads to increased inflationary costs.
2. Floor Area
The area of the building has increased due to the following:
– The circulation space for 2 single stream schools with a flexible classroom arrangement that can be used by either school is higher than a conventional 2 stream school.
– Although a 3 storey design solution offers advantages, for example more outdoor plan area, the internal design requires additional stairwells and lifts to operate effectively as 2 separate schools and comply with current building regulations.
– The nature of this site and the specific requirements of the shared campus mean that it would be very difficult to plan the nursery as an integrated facility within the main building structure. However, a separate nursery is then less efficient in terms of ground area required.”
* The first ever Board meeting for the West End Primary/Nursery Schools project – St Joseph’s Primary, Park Place Primary and Park Place Nursery Schools – took place. It is envisaged that a pre-planning application process, including an exhibition for parents, carers and the local community generally, will take place between February and April. The exhibition will be on 1st and 3rd April, and there was some discussion about the location of this – the consensus view I support is to hold it at Blackness Library.
* I had a useful meeting with a member of the WestFest committee about progress with this excellent initiative – seehttp://www.dundeewestfest.com/.
* Tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” covered my concerns about the huge cuts in Fairer Scotland funded (FSF) projects across Dundee that have been supported by the SNP council administration. I have been inundated with messages of support over this issue – people right across Dundee are shocked at the extent of cuts to excellent projects that are aimed at helping the least affulent and most vulnerable citizens in our city.
It is very important indeed to consult with all stakeholders – particularly parents and carers and the wider local community – throughout the building process and I see the establishment of the Board and the promised project implementation groups as vital to the process of ensuring good quality consultation and making sure that all views, concerns and issues that may arise during the construction of the new schools are adequately addressed.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education recently highlighted concerns about traffic and parking in the vicinity of the school and I am concerned to ensure that the City Council looks at all potential options for improving the situation, given the concerns from parents of children at both the nursery and primary schools.
I was pleased to learn that the Education Department is proactively looking at the issues and has indeed established a working group of cross-department senior officers to look at the issues affecting parking/drop off off pupils at schools across the city, as there are clearly issues at many schools in Dundee. In addition to specific measures at Park Place and at other school locations, the working group is insisting that each school sets up its own Travel Plan to encourage safe and active routes to and from school.
Park Place is a particularly difficult site, given its congested location and very limited drop-off facilities. A pilot drop-off facility to the rear of the school attempted last year was not well-used and resulted in the loss of play area, so I was anxious to learn what additional steps the Education Department will consider to ensure safe drop-off and collection of children from both the nursery and primary school.
Pupil safety at schools is of paramount importance, as highlighted in the recent HMIE report, and I will be keeping a close eye of the situation with the onset of the new term this week.