Taylor’s Lane – meeting with residents

Yesterday, along with an officer from the City Council’s City Development Department, I met with residents in Taylor’s Lane regarding their concerns about access in the street, where difficulties causing by some parked cars resulted in the road being physically blocked recently.

There’s a balance to be struck in a street like Taylor’s Lane between ensuring clear access and not losing valuable parking spaces in an area of high parking demand.  I am pleased to say that we had a very constructive meeting and a minor revision to the waiting restrictions on the west side, south of the junction with Patrick Place will be proposed and – in due course – will be subject to public consultation.

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
Address – HIGH MILL, HIGHMILL COURT, DUNDEE, DD2 1UN
Description of development – CHANGE OF USE WITH ALTERATIONS OF LOWER GROUND FLOOR SHELL UNITS TO FORM FOUR FLATS
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.