Pleasance Court – Residents’ meeting

Pleasance Court
Earlier tonight, I had the pleasure of chairing a meeting with the residents of Pleasance Court.   
I am very grateful to the council’s Environment Department representative at the meeting who updated us on the Seagulls problem in the area.
I am also grateful to the representatives from Ross & Liddell and Home Scotland who attended and to the residents for their participation.

Waiting Restrictions Review in part of the West End Ward

Back in April, I mentioned that I had chaired a residents’ meeting at Pleasance Court at which one of the matters discussed was the proposal by the City Council to review the parking waiting restrictions on streets in the area.
This should hopefully free up some additional on-street car parking in the area – including quite a wide area to the east of Pleasance Court towards Lochee Road to the north and Hawkhill to the south.
As a preliminary part of the legal procedures to be undertaken to give effect to the proposals, the Council be undertaking public consultation soon and you can download plans of the current situation and the proposals here.

Falling masonry concern at Pleasance Court

This morning, following concerns raised about falling masonry at Pleasance Court, I visited the scene (see right) and have been in discussion with site factors, Ross and Liddell, about the situation.
A significant amount of masonry fell from the south side of the building into the car park area and it was extremely lucky that no-one was close to the site when the stonework fell.   There was also no damage to vehicles and three Fire and Rescue vehicles attended to ensure the building is safe and, along with police colleagues, an exclusion zone has been established round part of the building.
Ross and Liddell assure me that they are taking immediate steps to address the issue and ensure the building’s stonework is 100% secure.

Pleasance Court residents’ meeting

Pleasance Court
Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing the latest meeting of the residents of Pleasance Court.
There was a useful discussion on a number of local issues – seagulls nuisance, wheelie bins, door entry security and roof guttering to name a few.
There was a very useful update from two representatives from the City Council on the review of parking restrictions in the area which will free up new parking space and there was also a helpful update from another City Council officer on the draft site planning brief for Queen Victoria Works.
I am also most grateful to representatives from Home Scotland, Ross & Liddell and Community Spirit Action Group who attended and participated in the discussion.

Progress in tackling West End derelict mill welcomed

The deteriorating condition of Queen Victoria Works
I have welcomed the bringing forward of a draft Site Planning Brief for the Queen Victoria Works site in Brook Street.    
I have long campaigned to see the situation at the derelict works being improved with a view to seeing sensitive development of the site.  
The idea of consulting with owners and interested parties on a Site Planning Brief is due to be discussed by Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee on 22nd April.     It gives guidance on possible future uses and design and it is hoped that its publication will allow for future proposals to bring the site into useful future use.
I greatly welcome the proposal to have a site planning brief for this important building.    Dundee has a proud industrial heritage and a number of the key historic buildings like Queen Victoria Works are in danger of being lost.   The City Council has a key role in ensuring this does not happen.
A site planning brief does not in itself guarantee future development but it does aid the possibility of giving the works a positive future use.    It is good that the council will consult widely on the proposed brief and I am meeting with the residents of the adjacent Pleasance Court later this month and will be keen to hear their views.

Pleasance Court – Residents’ meeting

Last night, I had the pleasure of chairing the latest – and well-attended – meeting of the residents of Pleasance Court.
There was a useful discussion on a number of local issues – seagulls nuisance, wheelie bins, parking issues and security to name a few – and I am most grateful to representatives from Home Scotland, Ross & Liddell, Tayside Police and Community Spirit Action Group who attended and participated in the discussion.

Further concern over Queen Victoria Works

Over a long period, I have raised concerns about the dilapidated state of the former Queen Victoria Works between Brook Street and Douglas Street.    

The concerns were raised again recently by residents of Pleasance Court at a meeting I held with them.

Following this, I raised the concerns again with the City Council and the Head of Planning has advised:

“Building Standards Officers have regularly inspected this property following the receipt of numerous reports.  These inspections have confirmed that a reasonable level of site security is achieved such that no law abiding citizen could inadvertently find themselves at risk within the existing perimeter walls.

A recent inspection on 28 May 2012, following a report that the Mill was accessible to children, again indicated the site to reasonably well secured.  A loose security mesh grill was identified over a ground floor window to the building on Brook Street and dislodged lining boards were observed to a timber gate to the Lower Pleasance elevation.  Neither of these damaged/vandalised areas created a significant or immediate breach of the site perimeter security.  However, when one of my officers returned the following day to effect repairs, the loose security mesh (and others which did not necessarily require it) had been re-secured by spot welding and the timber gate had been boarded over.  It is assumed that these works had been carried out by the owner, or on the owner’s behalf.

The owner has intimated that regular security checks are carried out on the premises.  

The serving of a Dangerous Building Notice may be subject to technical or legal challenges via the appeals procedure.  Any such Notice would set out a description of works to be undertaken and a timescale for completion.  In the event of an owner’s default, the Council would be required to instruct the works required by the Notice and recover costs reasonably incurred.  Such costs can only be recovered where the owner has sufficient funds.  Emergency Works can be instructed without a formal Notice, but this action has to be justified, and creates the same issues in cost recovery as indicated above.
The condition of this site will continue to be kept under review.”

I have responded saying:

“I am pleased that there was a recent inspection but remain concerned about the continuing decline in the condition of the site and the owner’s lack of any real action to address this other than alleged infrequent “security checks.”

I note what you write about the Dangerous Building Notice but given the long term decline of this historic mill, I feel this is a procedure the City Council should now be initiating – the alternative is simply to see the mill’s state to decline to an extent that demolition is the only answer and I convinced that the City Council has a responsibility to ensure that does not happen.”

Here’s two photographs I took last week that show the extent of deterioration of the mill:
The City Council’s Chief Executive has agreed to my request to reconvene a working party to tackle vacant and derelict buildings in the city.   I have asked him to ensure that this group swiftly tackles issues like Queen Victoria Works and Verdant Works.  Dundee has an industrial heritage that is in danger of being lost – and the City Council has a key role in ensuring this does not happen.