Getting things done – Pennycook Lane #dundeewestend

I am grateful to the residents who highlighted to me this 30mph sign on Pennycook Lane which has been essentially made redundant as the area is now all part of the new 20mph zone that covers the Perth Road district shopping centre, Magdalen Green, Perth Road Lanes and surrounding streets.

I highlighted this to the City Council and the sign has since been removed.

Getting things done – Pennycook Lane #dundeewestend

Residents recently drew to my attention potholes in Pennycook Lane.
I reported these to the City Council’s Roads Maintenance Partnership and am pleased to advise that, despite the challenges facing services during the current health emergency, I have been assured that these repairs will be scheduled for repair – to quote :
“We’ll arrange for an inspector to have a look at Pennycook Lane and log any defects identified for repair.”

Handrail extension – Pennycook Lane – now in place #dundeewestend

In September, I highlighted that, at the request of residents, I had asked the City Council to add a short extension to the handrail down the east side of the pavement of Pennycook Lane – at Pennycook Court sheltered housing – so the rail would go right down to the flat pavement of Perth Road.
I am pleased to say this was agreed to and has now been installed – see below :

Handrail extension – Pennycook Lane – now scheduled #dundeewestend

In September, I highlighted that, at the request of residents, I had asked the City Council to add a short extension to the handrail down the east side of the pavement of Pennycook Lane – at Pennycook Court sheltered housing – so the rail would go right down to the flat pavement of Perth Road.
I am pleased to say this was agreed to.   I have now been advised of timescale :
“It should be done by the end of November/start of December.”

Handrail extension promised – Pennycook Lane #dundeewestend

Some ten years ago, at my request, the City Council provided a handrail down the east side of the pavement of Pennycook Lane – at Pennycook Court sheltered housing – given the steep gradient of the pavement there and the number of elderly pedestrians – see right :
Residents recently pointed out that it would be helpful if a short extension was added to the south end of the rail to take the rail right down to the flat pavement of Perth Road.
I asked the City Council if this could be provided and I am pleased to say this was agreed to.   I recently asked for a timescale for installation and have now been advised by the City Development Department as follows :
“This is in hand and I am waiting on a date from the blacksmith for the works to be undertaken.”

Pennycook Lane – great work by Blackness Primary School #dundeewestend

The area of former spare ground on the south side of Pennycook Lane opposite Blackness Primary School is looking great – see below :
As one of the residents in the nearby sheltered housing advised : “Can I just draw your attention to the wonderful job the staff at Blackness Primary (with the help of the children, I think) have done with the spare bit of ground.  It looks really good and they should be commended for it.”

Hope that Ryehill Police Station will not close following community campaign

Yesterday, the Chair of West End Community Council, Peter Menzies, and I met with senior Police Scotland representatives to hand in a petition from 300 West End residents to make the case to retain Ryehill Police Station at the Pennycook Lane/Perth Road junction.
We met with two senior police officers, Superintendent Andrew Todd and Chief Inspector Gary Ogilvie, and stressed that the community is strongly of the view that the Ryehill Police Office is a crucial resource in the West End and closing it would be highly detrimental.   
Peter and I made the point to Police Scotland that a possible way of ensuring that the police office can remain open is to consider additional uses for it through shared use with partner organisations.   That way, the station could continue as a police office but could also be used as a community base for other services, possibly local authority or third sector.
At the meeting, Police Scotland indicated it is prepared to look into the viability of this and while such a proposal can be fully investigated and a long-term solution is developed, it further committed to keeping the Police Office open whilst this proposal is being fully considered.
We are hopeful that a long-term solution can now be found to ensure the Ryehill Police Station is retained.

Busy Saturday!

Yesterday, I was delighted to attend the Summer Meeting of the Friends of Balgay that took place at the Mills Observatory.
Robert Law of the observatory gave a very interesting presentation on the history of the observatory, followed by a tour.
The photo (right) is from the presentation and shows Robert at the telescope.
I was also delighted yesterday to attend the Pennycook and Sinderins Courts Sheltered Housing Coffee Morning at Pennycook Court – and, despite a little rain, was very well attended with excellent stalls – see photo below :

Wednesday meetings …

A very busy day yesterday with numerous meetings, including :
* Attending two tenants’ meetings organised by Home Scotland at Blackness Court and Sinderins Court for the residents there and at Pennycook Court,   The meetings were to review the revised warden/support arrangements that were introduced last year and get tenants’ feedback.    The meetings were a good opportunity for all the tenants who attended to raise any issues or concerns, not just about support issues but also on other matters, such as repairs.
* A meeting with two senior Police Scotland officers to discuss the proposed loss of the 999 and 101 calls Dundee response centre, with the resultant loss of local knowledge in call handling, which I view as a detrimental step.    We had a useful exchange of views and information on the matter and I will be raising the issue at the council’s Policy & Resources Committee next Monday.
* A meeting of the Harris Academy Parent Council, which took place at Menzieshill High School.   This was followed by a joint meeting with the Menzieshill High School Parent Council – an excellent initiative, given that that the two school communities come together later this year.     It was a very positive meeting and planning for the future is well in hand and very reassuring.
* The formal opening of the High Mill at Verdant Works took place.  It was a very well-attended event and the restoration of the High Mill is simply superb – I would thoroughly recommend a visit.    Sir Neil Cossons, the eminent historian and leading authority on the industrial heritage, performed the official opening.    I had the opportunity to speak with Sir Neil, who is very pleasant and interesting.     A few photos from the opening of the High Mill :
Large turnout for the High Mill formal opening
Part of the High Mill restoration
Sir Neil Cossons performs the official opening
The beautifully restored Boulton and Watt steam engine

Zig zag safety markings and yellow lines – Blackness Primary School

Residents have complained to me that the zig zag safety markings and yellow lines outside Blackness Primary School in Pennycook Lane are badly worn – see right.
I brought this to the attention of the City Council’s Head of Roads and Transportation, who has responded as follows :
“I will ask the parking team to include this location in next batch of yellow lining remarking.    It will be later this year that this can be undertaken as the temperatures are too low and road surface too wet to undertake at this time of year.”

Meeting with sheltered housing tenants

Sinderins Court
Yesterday morning, I met with the residents’ association that represents the tenants at Sinderins and Pennycook Courts.
We had a good discussion about various local issues, primarily around the changes to the warden arrangements implemented last year.
I am in discussions with Home Scotland about a review meeting with the tenants regarding the revised arrangements.

West End Christmas Fortnight – more events yesterday!

Yesterday saw more excellent West End Christmas Fortnight events – including :
* A packed Children’s Christmas Crafts event at Logie & St John’s (Cross) Church this morning – hugely well-attended and many thanks to Lisa Earl of Create … Kids Creative Craft Workshops, Sharon Dickie, Natalie Mackland and Lynne Cameron of the West End Christmas Committee, and all at the church for being so welcoming and providing refreshments :
Crafts event in full swing
Lynne Cameron, Rev David Gray and myself at the crafts event
* A well-attended (despite the weather) “Walk in the Dark” children’s event at the Botanic Garden, organised by the Friends of the University of Dundee Botanic Garden :
* Pennycook and Sinderins Courts sheltered housing had their Christmas Coffee morning – a photo below of some of the stalls :
* Friends of Magdalen Green held their Soup and Pudding Lunch at Dundee West Church – a great success.
* St Margaret’s Church in Ancrum Road held their Christmas Fayre in the afternoon.

Well done Blackness Primary School!

Earlier this year, I highlighted the City Council’s welcome tidying of one of the areas at the south end of the Pennycook Lane car park.
To the immediate east of this was an untidy area next to the hanging baskets belonging to the local sheltered housing residents’ association and I asked Blackness Primary School if it would wish to take it over to add to its gardening initiatives and the Environment Department if this would be allowed.
Both agreed and I am delighted to see the school’s pupils already making a difference here:

Damaged safety barrier at Blackness Primary School – action taken

Following concerns expressed by residents about the damage to the safety barrier outside Blackness Primary School’s Pennycook Lane entrance (see photo right), I raised this with the City Council.


I have been advised in response :
“I can advise that an Inspector has been on site … and advised that the location is safe (no sharp edges etc) and that he will raise and order to get the barrier replaced.

Thursday West End meetings

Yesterday, I took part in tenant consultation meetings at Blackness Court and at Sinderins/Pennycook Courts with Home Scotland representatives, about future scheme manager/support staff posts.   

This was the latest in a series of meetings with tenants I have attended with the tenants since last November and it was agreed yesterday that there will be further consultation meetings towards the end of the year to ensure that the changes to support arrangements are working fine and resolve any issues.
After my ward surgery at Blackness Primary School last night, I attended the West End Local Community Planning Partnership meeting at Blackness Library.
The LCPP meeting is a good opportunity for representatives from different council departments, councillors and representatives from other organisations like police, fire and rescue and the NHS to discuss local issues and matters of concern and also let local residents raise issues, ask questions and have their say.
There was an interesting and informative update from the Partnership Manager at Tayside Contracts/Dundee City Council Roads Maintenance Partnership on the work undertaken to improve and maintain Dundee’s roads and pavements.
I also took the opportunity to highlight an enterprise initiative by the P6 pupils at Blackness Primary School, who are selling West End “Bag Buddy” shopping bags.   Costing only £5 each, they have various West End designs (see below) and can be purchased from the school office, the Rosebud, Nisa, Spar, Fraser’s Fruit & Veg, Indigo House, West End Gallery, Urban Print and Roseangle Arts Cafe. 

Tuesday West End meetings

A busy day with activity across the West End included :
+ A meeting of the Pennycook and Sinderins Courts Residents’ Association, at which we discussed a number of matters including issues around the new recycling and bins arrangements and problems needing resolved.
+ A meeting of the Jericho House Support Group, at which we discussed the continuing success of the house’s “Drink the Musical!” (soon to be performed in Blairgowrie, with over 160 tickets already sold) and also outreach work and Jericho House’s participation in Dundee Open Doors 2015 this September.
+ The Annual General Meeting of Friends of Magdalen Green.   Taking place at Dundee West Church, the guest speaker was Eddie Small, author of ‘Forgotten Visionary of Dundee’ – the excellent book about the life and work of Mary Lily Walker.    Eddie is a superb speaker – informative and entertaining.    
It was an excellent AGM coming at the end of a very successful year for the Friends.   A couple of photos from the AGM tonight :
Catherine Fairweather, Chair of the Friends, addresses the AGM
Eddie Small giving his talk about Mary Lily Walker
The Friends’ Vice Chair Angela Mehlert asked everyone to pause to remember West End resident Ed Thompson, who sadly passed away earlier today.   Ed, a greatly talented writer, whose wife Christine is former Treasurer of the Friends, will be sadly missed and our thoughts are with Christine and family at this very sad time.

Many thanks Sarah!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the farewell party for Sarah Lewis, Scheme Manager at Pennycook Court and Sinderins Court for the past seven years.
It was a lovely event, although emotional given that all the tenants will miss Sarah greatly.   She has been a fabulous scheme manager, absolutely dedicated and hugely professional.
I wish Sarah every success in her new role with Caledonia Housing Association in Perth.
A few photos from yesterday :
A great turnout of the tenants for the farewell party
Marion Adams, Chair of the Residents’ Association, thanking Sarah on behalf of everyone
With Sarah yesterday

Today’s meetings …

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of attending the AGM of the Sinderins and Pennycook Courts Residents’ Association, covering both sheltered housing complexes.
It was a well attended and productive meeting.   I updated residents on a number of matters including the new bin/recycling arrangements for much of the West End, changes to the Friendly Bus sheltered shopping service from July and liaison with Home Scotland who own the housing.
Tonight, I attended the latest committee meeting of the Bonnie Dundee group, at the City Chambers. 
This really positive group encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee’s parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape, and it was a really positive meeting with lots of good initiatives taking place.

Pennycook Lane Recycling Centre – an update

Further to my recent update about the overflowing recycling at the Pennycook Lane recycling centre, I have now received the following update from the City Council’s Recycling Projects Team Leader :
“I can confirm that the Pennycook Lane Recycling Centre overflowing bin has been emptied. We believe this to be a one-off incident. 
However, I have instructed a member of my team to monitor the site twice weekly to assess whether the collection frequency is indeed adequate.”

Tuesday meetings

Yesterday, I attended the latest meeting of the Sinderins and Pennycook Courts’ Residents Association – on this occasion, an open meeting of all tenants.    We had a discussion about a number of issues – including garden maintenance, scheme management support, noise issues and I updated everyone about the forthcoming West End Christmas Fortnight events. 
We were also advised that the independence debate event at Sinderins Court I participated in back in August features in the latest edition of Home Group’s national homelife magazine.
Later yesterday, I also attended the latest West End Community Council meeting.   
This included a useful update from PC Bob Forrester, one of our local community police officers about local policing issues.   Bob highlighted several bicycle thefts in the West End recently and mentioned the importance of chaining your bike and keeping it secure.  
Bob has been a community officer in the West End for some nine years and is soon to move to a new role in Police Scotland.   He has been an excellent, approachable police officer in our local area and he’ll be missed – I wish him every success in his new role.

Pennycook Lane

Residents have complained to me about an overgrown area in Pennycook Lane, opposite Blackness Primary School.
I have asked the City Council to undertake a search to ascertain ownership to see if agreement can be reached to have it tidied.
But elsewhere in Pennycook Lane, Home Scotland and the sheltered tenants deserve congratulations for the lovely flower displays at Pennycook Court :

Meeting with sheltered housing tenants

Sinderins Court
Yesterday morning, I met with the residents’ association that represents the tenants at Sinderins and Pennycook Courts.
We had a good discussion about various local issues including trees, an unsightly gap site, service charges and other issues.
The residents’ group works hard for all the people at Pennycook Court and Sinderins Court and it was a useful and positive meeting.

Busy Tuesday …

A busy day today on local issues, including :
* A morning site visit to speak with residents in Mitchell Street/Polepark Road/Benvie Road about the recent external cyclical works to their properties.   Council officers from housing and architects also attended.
* A meeting with the Pennycook and Sinderins Courts’ Residents Association, at which we discussed a number of local issues.
* A meeting of the Jericho House Support Group.  The support group is 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.   We had a good discussion about funding initiatives to support the House, participation in Doors Open Day 2014 and the new production of a play that the House service users and staff will be participating in.
* Tonight at the West End Community Council, there was a lengthy presentation on bin collection and recycling proposed changes and we also discussed the roads proposals relative to Riverside Drive.