Getting things done – Pentland #dundeewestend

Residents in Pentland Crescent and Pentland Avenue have asked me why they currently do not get offered a brown bin garden waste collection.
 
I raised this with the City Council and received the following positive response from the Service Manager – Waste Management in Neighbourhood Services :
 
” … neither Pentland Avenue or Crescent appear on our current brown bin routes.
 
However, going forward, I can’t see any reason why they would be excluded. 
 
I’ll discuss with the routing team to ensure they are sent appropriate information prior to the permitting scheme going live so they can participate if they so wish. 
 
This would also be the case for flats.”
 
While it is good that a brown bin collection will be offered in the future, this clearly will not be the case until the £35 charge per bin is introduced in March 2020.
 
I reiterate that introducing a charge for recycling garden waste is a retrograde step that will not help the city reach its recycling targets.

Getting things done – Scott Street and Pentland #dundeewestend

Over a prolonged period, I have received complaints about the lack of maintenance of the slopes at the west end of Scott Street and on Pentland Avenue – see below :
Scott Street – west end
Pentland Avenue
I have raised this on numerous occasions with the City Council and the latest update I have received is from the new area environment manager and I am grateful for his helpful response and trust we will now see improvements to the situation here and also to the general grass maintenance of the Pentland area into the future :
 
“First of all regarding the ground at the top of Scott Street. Due to the steepness of the slope we do not cut the grass as we do not have anything capable that would manage and be legal under Health & Safety regulations. Part of it gets cut with a tractor mounted flail which we hire in, but it can only go so far in from the street, the rest was left to naturalise, but one person’s naturalisation can be another person’s mess. 
 
This could be something that can be looked at over the winter period to see if we can improve the appearance of the area and I will run a few ideas past our projects team.
 
The bankings at Pentland Avenue have a similar problem but approached in a different way. We have one machine that can manage to cut the grass on these bankings but it works City Wide. When I made enquiries I discovered that it was in the workshop and will be unlikely to be back in service this week. Depending where they are on their cycle, once it is repaired they should get to Pentland Avenue in no more than a couple of weeks.
 
I have discovered since taking on the West End that the whole Pentland/Saggar Street area is “challenging” due to the terrain. Our service revisions carried out at this time do not seem to have done us any favours in respect of this area. There is not a great deal we can do now that we are well into the grass cutting season and it would be difficult to change things, but I have already asked our quality and development section look at the grass cutting regimes in this area as I do not want to see the same level of complaints next year as I have had this year.”

New steps – Pentland Avenue #dundeewestend

Residents recently asked me for an update on when the new steps currently under construction in Pentland Avenue will be available to use.
 
I asked for an update from the City Council and the Project Officer in the Housing Asset Management Unit has advised as follows :
 
“The stairs cannot be opened until the handrail has been fully installed. The contractors programme of work shows this should start next week. The handrails could not be fabricated until the installation of the pre cast concrete steps was finished as they need to fit the final gradient of the steps plus the quality of the materials specified has led to a longer lead time than might normally be expected but the we feel this will be worth it in the longer term due to the reduction in the repairs and maintenance that will be required.
 
The same type of works are being simultaneously carried out at the Dallfield Multi-storey development so we are in constant communication with the contractor about both jobs. 
 
As soon as the handrails of are fitted, the city engineers with carry out an inspection and assuming everything is ok, will issue the relevant paperwork that will allow the are to be fully open. Once these steps are fully finished, work will begin on the other set of steps.”

Getting things done – Scott Street and Pentland Avenue #dundeewestend

Yesterday afternoon, I had a really useful site visit with council environment officers regarding the overgrown and unsightly sloped areas in Pentland Avenue and Scott Street – at the west end of each :
West end of Scott Street
Slope in Pentland Avenue
It was agreed at the site visit that the overgrown area in Scott Street will be strimmed back in the near future.
 
With regard to Pentland Avenue’s slope which is a real challenge to maintain given its significant gradient, it has been agreed to plant lupins or a similar plant next season which will improve the look of the area.

Slippy leaves tackled

A number of residents have contacted me recently regarding slippy leaves on pavements in parts of the West End.
 
I am grateful to the council’s Neighbourhood Services for promptly sweeping up leaves at the locations I have highlighted.
 
A recent example is at the steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue (see above right) and also in sheltered housing areas such as Abbotsford Place.

Improving banking areas – Pentland Avenue and Millhall Crescent

Yesterday, I met with local residents and an environment manager from Neighbourhood Services at Dundee City Council on-site in Millhall Crescent and in Pentland Avenue, to discuss options to improve the look of the steep banking in each street – see below (Pentland Avenue) and above (Millhall Crescent).
 
These are challenging areas to maintain given the very steep banks but we discussed options including ways of retaining soil and hopefully planting wildflower towards the bottom of banks to improve the look of them.

Lighting issue – steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue – an update

I have previously highlighted residents’ requests for proper lighting on the steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue – see below:
The steps are well-used and the adjacent street lighting only gives limited coverage.    Providing traditional lighting would be very costly given the layout and slope and so the council’s Street Lighting Partnership agreed to my request to investigate the viability of solar lighting.
 
I recently asked for an update from the Street Lighting Partnership, who now advise :
 
“I have looked at several option for lighting these steps over the past year or so and I cannot find a suitable option for these steps.     Having looked at solar powered light for the steps and subsequent talks with manufacturers, they all come to the same conclusion (that) there is insufficient sun light during the winter months to sustain power for the light at this latitude.
The cost of excavating and powering a light by the normal means on the steps would run into the thousands of pounds, providing I can get a way leave to track in to the adjacent ground. 
Until I can find an alternative means to power a light or a manufacturer develops a more efficient means of using alternative energy I can not see a way forward with this queries (but) I will continue to pursue a solution for lighting for these steps.    Until then if your constituents do not wish to use the steps in the dark there is a lit alternative route via Scott Street to Pentland Avenue.”
 
I will continue to pursue this matter as having better lighting on the steps would greatly assist residents using them at night.

Getting things done – Pentland Avenue and Scott Street

Residents have mentioned to me the overgrown trees that sit at the far west end of Scott Street are now so high that they protrude across the south pavement of Pentland Avenue.
 
I took at this concern with the City Council and the Assistant Forestry Officer has updated me as follows :
 
“I have inspected the trees along the south side of Pentland Ave as per your constituents’ enquiry.  
There are a number of trees and other vegetation that is beginning to obstruct headroom and encroach the footway for pedestrians, (Scott street junction to City Road junction). 
 
My intention will be to crown lift and prune/trim back these trees to make an improvement for pedestrians using the south side footway. 
 
The works will be included in our work programme or added to the local area ground maintenance programme and carried out as soon as reasonably possible.”

Lighting issue – steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue

Steps – Scott Street-Pentland Avenue
Last year, I raised, on behalf of residents, the need for lighting on the steps from Scott Street to Pentland Avenue.   The steps are well-used and often by elderly people and are quite dark at night, relying on what light reaches the area from the adjacent roads.
 
At the time, the council’s Street Lighting Partnership advised :
 
“… 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.”
 
However, as I have continued to receive requests from residents for lighting here, I have again raised the matter with the Street Lighting Partnership, who have updated me as follows :
 
“I have spent some time looking into alternative method of lighting this footpath.    The position on conventional lighting remains the same. 
I have looked at some solar powered lighting by Philips Lighting and was advised that Solar Lighting it not really feasible in the North Hemisphere as there is insufficient sun light to keep the batteries charged for the whole year. possibly as technology moves a more cost effective and easier method of lighting footpath my become available.
I will continue to pursue the lighting industry for a permanent answer to these problems.”
 
With the agreement of the Street Lighting Partnership, I have asked a contact I have at the University of Dundee, who has expertise in solar lighting, to hopefully provide some advice on this matter that could provide a solution.