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.
Following implementation of thesafer parking arrangements at St Joseph’s Primary School last term (see above), this afternoon I met with the Head of Primary Education, the Head Teacher and our local community police officer, to discuss how well the new arrangements are working.
The results have been largely positive – there will always be some difficulties given the busy nature of Bellfield Street and the school’s proximity to the junction with Hawkhill – but it is clear that the vast majority of drivers are observing the “don’t park right outside the school” safety message.
At the start of the new term, both Ancrum Road Primary School and Blackness Primary School saw the “safer parking” arrangements implemented. This is to be greatly welcomed. The photo below is outside Blackness Primary School in Pennycook Lane.
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.
Every Primary One pupil across the four West End primary schools – Park Place, St Joseph’s, Blackness and Ancrum Road – took part in the massive balloon launch and the balloon belonging to Adam Al-Hussein won, travelling all the way to a village near Falkenberg on the west coast of Sweden.
Adam won his party prize thanks to the generosity of local car business Barnetts Motor Group, and Paul Barnett, Managing Director of Barnetts, took part in the photocall as well as myself. Many thanks to the Courier, Evening Telegraph and Press and Journal for their coverage of today’s event.
The West End Christmas Week has featured balloon launches two or three times before but the furthest any balloon travelled in the past was to Norway, and Adam’s is therefore not only this year’s winning entry but has in fact travelled the furthest of any balloon in our various balloon races over the years. The balloon launch was great fun and it was great to see so many primary one children and their parents come along to it.
Anders, from Sweden, who found Adam’s balloon, e-mailed us as follows (I have arranged to send Anders some Dundee souvenirs as a ‘thank you’ for his contacting us about Adam’s balloon being found in Sweden) :“From: “Anders Svensson”
Date: 12/12/2009 09:12PM
Subject: Adams balloon
I have found your balloon.
My name is Anders Svensson. I live in a small village called Kinnared, which
is located 40 km east of Falkenberg on the Swedish west-coast.
Last tuesday(the 8:th of december) I was walking in a forest near Kinnared
and then I found a balloon belonged to Adam AC-Hussein 5 years old.
Merry Christmas to all of You.”
Above : Adam with myself and Paul Barnett (in a Swedish Volvo, of course!)
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.
The City Council has advised me that over the in-service days that took place at the end of this week (12/13 November), the car park in Wilkie’s Lane would be scraped and pot holes filled in. I hope that this action will make the car park a bit more usable and therefore reduce the number of cars trying to park on the very busy Bellfield Street when the school is opening in the morning, at lunchtime and at the end of the school day.
As well as to looking at specific steps that may be taken at Blackness Primary School, the City Council has advised me that it is hoped to bring to committee next month a report on the outcome of the school parking safety pilot projects at Park Place and Eastern Primaries.
A busy day with meetings with several fellow councillors on various issues including the revenue and capital budgets for 2009/10. This followed on from an administration group of Labour and LibDem councillors last night.
The City Council Leader has now called has called for a meeting of all the political group leaders to secure an agreement on a budget which would freeze the council tax for 2009/10 whilst making all effort to protect service provision.
Tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” covered this (see http://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/output/2009/01/23/story12541522t0.shtm to view more). As I said to the Tele :
“It is extremely important, particularly given the current economic climate, that we do everything we can to minimise the impact of the council tax
“A balance has to be struck between protecting services, especially to the most vulnerable citizens, but the administration has been putting significant effort into working towards a freeze.”
I also met the Council’s Chief Executive about a constituent’s issue and education matters and spoke on Radio Tay, welcoming the proposals for new schools for the West End at St Joseph‘s Primary and Park Place Primary.
This afternoon, I met with John Gallacher of sQuid (see my article last month about sQuid at http://www.dundeewestend.com/2008/12/squid-card.html). The main reason to meet John was to discuss ways this useful electronic card that replaces small-value cash could be used further in the West End and on Dundee‘s public transport.
Dundee City Councillor for the West End, Cllr Fraser Macpherson, who is also the City’s Planning & Transport Convener, has welcomed news of the proposal to build two new primary schools in the West End, saying that new schools to replace the current Park Place and St Joseph’s Primary Schools were much needed and the proposals showed the commitment of the Labour/Liberal Democrat administration to continue to improve the school estate in Dundee.
Cllr Macpherson said, “I hope that City Councillors will approve the West End news schools proposals and those for Lochee and Charleston at next Monday’s meeting. The Labour/LibDem administration is making every effort to continue schools building projects in the City and it is important that we now consult with the local schools communities on the proposals.
“I would contrast the action of the City Council administration with the inaction of the SNP administration at Holyrood – it has removed the public private partnership funding but has failed utterly to replace it with anything that actually delivers anything.
A few years ago, not long after I was first elected to the City Council, along with parents and pupils of Park Place Primary School, I campaigned for a light-controlled crossing across Old Hawkhill, to assist pupils and other pedestrians. The campaign was successful and a crossing was provided at the Temple Lane junction.
The Parent Council at Park Place Primary School has raised its concerns that some pupils are crossing Hawkhill at the junction with Old Hawkhill (further west than the crossing) and have asked if an assessment of traffic flow and the number of pupils crossing the road at that point could be carried out to see if a school crossing patroller is required. I recently spoke with the school’s new Head Teacher about the matter, and, having raised the issue with the City Council’s Education Department, I have been advised that an assessment will be carried out after the school returns following the autumn holiday.
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.
It is great to see an under 10s football team established in the West End – a totally new initiative – and I am very grateful to Paul Johnston of West End Community Council, whose drive and initiative has made this possible.
We also owe a debt of gratitude to Barnetts Motors Group, who have sponsored the team football strips and to the local primary schools – Blackness, Ancrum Road, St Joseph’s and Park Place – for their involvement.
After getting a wee bit wet standing in the rain at Riverside Playing Fields, I was guest speaker at the River Crescent Residents’ Association AGM (held at the Botanic Garden) – a great turnout of residents and useful discussion on local issues.