Dog fouling complaints tackled #dundeewestend

I have recently received complaints from residents in the Eassons Angle, Fyffe Street and Fleucher Street area about dog fouling on local pavements.
 
I raised this with the Animal Control Officer who advises :
 
“Signs have been erected in Fyffe Street and Polepark Road.   I will continue to monitor the area.”

Polepark Road – an update #dundeewestend

Further to the notice I mentioned last week about works on Polepark Road from Monday coming (23rd October), Scottish Water has now advised as follows :
 
Polepark Road Sewer Works :
 
Please note that this work is completely separate from the current ongoing water network works taking place in Blackness Road.  The work in Polepark Road is to carry out an essential sewer repair to a blocked section of sewer in Polepark Road just to the North of Bissells Bar.  
 
The nature and location of the work means that a localised road closure is required during the works.  The closure will be in place in Polepark Road from junction with Milnbank Road to the junction with Fyffe Street.  The closure has been agreed in conjunction with Dundee City Council roads team.
 
Local vehicle access will be maintained where possible and pedestrian access maintained at all times.  There will be no interruption to water or waste water services planned during these works.
 
Our contractors Keir construction will be carrying out the work on our behalf and have written to all affected householders.

Temporary Traffic Order – Polepark Road

From the City Council :
 
THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 : SECTION 14(1)
 
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water sewer repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Polepark Road (between Fyffe Street and Milnbank Road), Dundee.
 
This notice comes into effect on Monday 23 October 2017 for 5 working days.
 
Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
 
Alternative routes are available via Lochee Road/Tullideph Road/City Road/Milnbank Road.
 
For further information contact 433082.
 
Executive Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Polepark Road environmental improvements

Late last year, I highlighted that the City Council had identified environmental improvements at Polepark Road as part of a number of welcome works taking place to upgrade areas in the West End.
 
Polepark was particularly welcome as I had previously advised the City Council the need for upgrade of the area to the back of the flats on the east side of Polepark Road.
 
The works were approved at the council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee last month and I asked if the tenants’ car park immediately north of the flats would be improved at the same time given its poor surface.
 
The council’s Head of Housing and Communities has now updated me as follows :
 
“I can confirm that the car park area at this location is on the Housing Revenue Account.  We have opened discussions with environment staff to ensure that we co-ordinate housing and environment works in this area so that the car park does not detract from the other works being planned.”

Temporary Traffic Order – Edward Street/Brook Street/Polepark Road/Brewery Lane

From the City Council (arising out of the recent road damage at the above junction – this temporary traffic order is to allow for road reinstatement next week, following investigation by Scottish Water as to the cause of the damage) :
 
THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 : SECTION 14(1)
 
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of emergency manhole and carriageway repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Polepark Road (at its junction with Brook Street, Brewery Lane and Edward Street), Dundee.
 
This notice comes into effect on Monday 1 August 2016 for 5 working days.
 
Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
 
No access or egress to/from Edward Street or Brewery Lane will be available during these works.
 
Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Brook Street / Urquhart Street / Blackness Road / Forest Park Road / Milnbank Road.
 
For further information contact 433168.
 
Executive Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Polepark Road flats – back area

On a recent walkabout with the Community Spirit Action Group, we were concerned about the state of the flower bed areas at the back of the Polepark Road council flats situated in Lower Pleasance.      See photo below :
I took up the matter with the council’s Neighbourhood Services Department and have since been advised as follows :
 
”   … (we are) making arrangement to ensure the area is cleaned up as a matter of urgency and in addition is reviewing the maintenance schedule.
There is a tiredness with some of the planted area/fencing etc and we will include some of these restoration works within our capital proposal for later in the year.”

Path – Lower Pleasance to Polepark Road

Following my receiving residents’ complaints about the unkempt state of the pathway that runs from Lower Pleasance to Polepark Road, just south of the Polepark play area (see below), I have asked the City Council’s Environment Department to tidy it up:
I have also received an assurance from the Environment Department that the grass in the play park will be tidied regularly over the summer months, following a recent complaint about it being overgrown.

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.

Getting things done – Playpark area in Polepark Road

Last October, on behalf of residents, I obtained assurances from the City Council’s Environment Department that improvements would be undertaken at the Polepark Road playpark area that had become overgrown and untidy in places and where the decorative wall had badly deteriorated.
 
As you can see below, the improvements have now been carried out and the area is looking a lot better.   I did, however, request that the council remove some graffiti on the artwork and this has now been carried out.
Before
After

Playpark area in Polepark Road – need for improvement

Residents in Fyffe Street and Polepark Road have been in touch with me regarding the poor condition of the playpark area at the north end of Polepark Road.
 
See photos below:
I have been in touch with the City Council’s Environment Department about this and have been advised:
 
“This area is one we have identified as a possible site for environmental improvements under the capital programme … we are keen to carry out some improvement works here over the winter months.”

Mr William Bissell

I was saddened to learn of the death on Wednesday of Mr William Bissell, at the age of 95.
 
Born in the West End, Mr Bissell was the long-standing licensee of Bissell’s Bar in Polepark Road (see right) in the West End Ward, and was also a leading member of the Dundee Licensed Trade Association for many years.
 
Willie and Margaret Bissell and their sons were neighbours of ours when we were growing up back in the late 1960s and into the 1970s.
 
Hugely respected in the licensed trade and by all who knew him, Mr Bissell will be sadly missed and fondly remembered.

Getting things done … Polepark Road

Late last year, at my request, the Housing Department had the back areas of the City Council-owned flats in Polepark Road tidied up.
 
Residents have complained to me that the areas are again overgrown – see below:
I contacted the City Council about this and the local Housing Officer has now updated me as follows:
 
“I visited Polepark Road … regarding the complaint about overgrown bushes and general untidiness of the area. I have issued a line to Enviroment Department to prune back the shrubs at front and rear of the 3 blocks.   I have also issued a line to have the area litter-picked.”

Good news on free to use cash machines in the West End

Last month, I highlighted the issue of the need for more free to use cash machines across the city.
 

I mentioned that I had written to a major national retailer about an ATM at one of their stores in the West End Ward to see if the company nationally was willing to consider contributing to the costs of this particular ATM so it could offer free cash withdrawals in the future.

I am pleased to advise that this retailer – the Co-operative Group – has reacted positively and has converted the AGM in question (at their store at the junction of Polepark Road/Edward Street/Brook Street) to free to use – see new machine now installed – right.

I had a very positive discussion with a representative of the Co-operative Group about this and am very pleased at the company’s positive and speedy response.
 
Residents who live in the area around Polepark were some distance from a free to use ATM so the outcome is really good news.

Midweek Update!

A busy week thus far, so quite a few things to update on :

* I had a very useful and productive meeting today with the Head of Transportation and the Sustainable Transport Team Leader at the City Council to discuss local bus services, including the report going to the City Development Committee on Monday on the outcome of tendering for local bus services.   It looks promising that there will be improvements to the current 69 bus service in terms of timetable – good news for those parts of the West End covered by the service.   It is also hoped to see improvements to the Friendly Bus shopping service serving sheltered housing.

I also discussed with the Head of Transportation parking issues around West Port, the speed limit on Riverside Drive and traffic speed in residential areas.

* This afternoon, I attended the City Council’s Job Creation Working Group, at which employment initiatives in the city were discussed.   This group provides a good opportunity for council group leaders, council chief officers and Chamber of Commerce representatives to discuss the employment situation in Dundee and related matters.   I asked questions on a number of matters, including progress with the refurbishment of the Dundee rail station.

* Over the past few days, I have had constituents express concern about a proposal to have a taxi rank at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Nethergate.     A number of the concerns have been resolved by confirmation that the rank will operate only between 11pm and 6am, but, on behalf of residents, I have sought assurances from the City Council’s Director of City Development to ensure arrangements with Waste Management are in place for any litter to be removed before the Cathedral opens in the morning and that any possible alteration to the taxi rank timings in the future would require full consultation before any implementation.

* JC Decaux has agreed to tidy up its advertising area at the corner Perth Road and Ryehill Lane, following my contacting the company on behalf of residents.

* The West End Community Council has updated the design of its new website at www.dundeewecc.co.uk – its well worth a visit and has a crisp, professional look.

* Late this afternoon, along with colleagues from Friends of Magdalen Green and the West End Communities Officer, we met with a parks representative from the council’s Leisure and Communities Department on the green to discuss where to site BBQ tables, following our recent consultation with residents.    

The outcome of the consultation showed residents strongly in favour of BBQ tables (these will reduce damage to the grass from disposable BBQs) but residents did not want the new tables near housing or where they would not be used by residents.   After discussion, we agreed to a site to the west of the bandstand, sheltered by trees.    See photo below.     We also agreed to more litter bins (and bigger ones!) with Friends of Magdalen Green helping with funding of them.
* Tonight, I attended a walkabout in parts of the north of the West End Ward, along with representatives from the Community Spirit Action Group, the communities officer for the West End, our Community Police Officer and one of my ward colleagues.   We looked at various issues affecting the area that we will these take forward with appropriate council departments and others – examples below :
Polepark Road – damaged wall
Larch Street – road damage

Progress on controlled entry systems

reported last November that the City Council intended using legislation under the Tenement (Scotland) Act 2004 to ballot owners in blocks of flats where there is a mix of owner occupiers and council tenants to see if a majority will agree to the installation of controlled entry systems.

This is to ensure that the previous problem of just one unco-operative owner in, say, a block of eight flats stopping the majority wish for a controlled entry system that greatly helps home security.

I’m pleased, therefore, to be advised by the City Council that the first of these ballots took place recently and the outcome was a positive vote in favour of secure entry in all the West End Ward properties that were in the first phase of balloting.    This will mean new controlled entry systems in various blocks in Blackness Road, Polepark Road and a block in Saggar Street, which is good news.

Polepark Road/Brook Street speed/safety survey

Last month, following requests from a number of residents who had expressed concern to me about the speed of some vehicles on Polepark Road/Brook Street near the Edward Street junction, the City Council undertook a speed/safety survey and I have now been given feedback as follows:


“The speed survey is now complete where the speed detection radar unit was placed on Polepark Road at the junction with Brook Street.

The speeds are recorded over a continuous seven day period and give a mean average speed of 20.25mph and an 85th percentile speed of 27.5mph.

The detailed results show very few vehicles travelling at speed greater than 30mph and I hope this gives some reassurance to your constituents regarding vehicle speeds.”

Whilst it is reassuring that the vast majority of cars are travelling within the speed limit, residents are concerned about an irresponsible minority that are breaking the limit here.    That is clearly a matter for police enforcement and I have raised this with Tayside Police on residents’ behalf.

Long term empty council house in Polepark Road to be finally brought back into use

I have welcomed news that the City Council has, after an options appraisal, finally decided to renovate a badly damaged council house in Polepark Road and bring it back into the tenancy pool.

The property has sat empty since it was abandoned in August 2008 and I have been in contact with the Housing Department to query why it had been left empty so long.

The City Housing Manager has now updated me as follows :

As promised here is the outcome of the Options Appraisal exercise.

We explored two options and determined that the optimal approach was to refurbish the property – combining specialist timber treatment and solum works with planned capital investment (kitchen/bathroom/heating) and normal relet repairs – with a view to offering it to mainstream waiting list clients.

The other option was to carry out essential specialist remedial works only, secure the property and remove it from the Housing Revenue Account on the grounds that the investment in refurbishing doesn’t represent value for money.”

I am pleased that the Housing Department has finally decided to do the necessary work to get this property back into use as this will help house someone on the waiting list, but the question remains as to why it was left such a long time sitting empty.

At the last Scrutiny Committee of the City Council, I expressed concern that the time taken for reletting houses under the SNP administration is getting worse.   In the 6 months to 30th September 2009, the average time to relet a council house was 74.5 days; it had worsened by the 6 months to 30th September 2010 to 98.7 days.

I was assured that effort was being made to improve matters and get average relet time down to 65 days – but the Housing Department seemed not to know when this target will be met.    I have asked for an update on progress on this as getting empty houses re-let quicker must be a priority for the Housing Department.

 

Polepark Road – empty houses concern

I am very concerned that a council bedsit in Polepark Road has been lying empty for well over two years (since September 2008 to be exact). I raised this with the Director of Housing and was advised :

“This property was extensively damaged – provisional estimated cost £20 K.+ – when recovered as an abandonment in August 2008. At that time an operational decision was taken to not commit this level of resources on a property with little or no demand (ground floor bedsit).

What should have happened is what we are now doing and an options appraisal exercise is being undertaken to determine how best to resolve the issues around this particular vacant property.”

I have replied stating :

“I must confess considerable concern that an options appraisal exercise has not been carried out sooner at (this property in) Polepark Road and that the property has been left in this situation for such a lengthy period. Can I please be given an assurance over the timeframe for the options appraisal and can I have sight of it when complete and detail of any decisions taken as a result of it?”

I also asked about another property that is lying empty in Polepark Road and was advised :

” … this property was fire damaged a few weeks ago and we are in the process of arranging the appropriate repairs to allow the decanted tenant to return a.s.a.p.”

I have responded as follows :

” … could you give me some clarity on dates? When did the fire take place and if the department is now “in the process of arranging the appropriate repairs” what he been happening with this property in the meantime? When will it be available for the decanted tenant to return?”

There’s an important issue here. At the last Scrutiny Committee, I expressed concern that the time taken for reletting houses under the SNP administration is getting worse.  

In the 6 months to 30th September 2009, the average time to relet a council house was 74.5 days; it had worsened by the 6 months to 30th September 2010 to 98.7 days, despite the SNP administration’s “enhanced relets policy” that has cost council tenants a small fortune.

At the Scrutiny Committee, I was assured that effort was being made to improve matters and get average relet time down to 65 days – but the Housing Department seemed not to know when this target will be met. I have therefore also sought clarity on this from the Director of Housing.

Temporary Traffic Order – Smellies Lane, Ash Street and West Hendersons Wynd

Received today from the City Council :

Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating gas main replacement works. The Order is expected to be in force for five weeks from 8 March 2010. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit all vehicular traffic in (a) Smellies Lane from Lochee Road to Ash Street, (b) Ash Street from Smellies Lane to Douglas Street and (c) West Hendersons Wynd from Douglas Street to Brook Street.

Pedestrian thoroughfare and vehicular access to premises will be maintained where possible.

An alternative route will be available via Lochee Road, Polepark Road and Brook Street.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, City Development Department, Tayside House, Crichton Street, Dundee, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date. If you have any queries please contact the team on 433082.

Westbound – Lochee Road

The City Council has advised me that from 17th June – for four nights – westbound traffic on Lochee Road between Blinshall Street and the North Marketgait roundabout will be prohibited between 7pm and 2am each night.

I am advised that this is because of telecommunications ducting works and the alternative route is via West Marketgait/Hawkhill/Horsewater Wynd/Guthrie Street/Brook Street/Polepark Road.

Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained throughout.

For further information, contact the Planning & Transportation Department on 433168.

West Loan, Polepark Playpark (again), Perth Road area, Seabraes good news …

With thanks to colleagues, we finished the last of the latest West End FOCUS deliveries yesterday & whilst delivering the West Loan area (north side of Perth Road just west of Clouvis Duveau Drive) I was pleased to note the Leisure & Communities Department busy tidying the overgrown grass here (see photo, above right).
Following residents’ complaints recently, I raised concerns about the grounds maintenance both here and at the nearby Technology Park. The latter is the responsibility of Scottish Enterprise and SET locally has promised me they will raise it with their national organisation to get the overgrown grass tidied there too.
I’ve already had a positive response to my recent raising of the state of the Polepark Road playpark (click on headline above to view) with the Waste Management Department promising a tidy-up.
Also pleased that the Department and SET have agreed to meet tomorrow to look at how to tackle the graffiti at Seabraes that I have raised recently and featured in the local press.

Lastly, thanks to the Waste Management Department for swiftly responding to a number of complaints about dumped rubbish in the Perth Road area that I had raised following residents’ complaints – e.g. near Springfield and near the former Valentine’s site.

Blackness area, Surgeries, Burst tyres, Polepark Playpark ….

A useful meeting with Blackness Area residents last night covering numerous issues including the road surface in Abbotsford Place (I’m arranging a site visit for the Residents’ Association to discuss with Planning & Transportation staff), recycling bins, road lining in Blackness Avenue and refuse presentation issues. I’ve followed up various issues with Council staff today.
Today saw my last surgeries at Mitchell Street Centre, Harris Academy and Blackness Primary School until after the school holidays.
Between Mitchell Street and Harris, I had the joy of a puncture! I am awfully grateful to the community councillor who attended my surgery at Harris and gave me a lift to Blackness Primary! One RAC visit later and all is well again!
During the school holidays, I do not have weekly surgeries but can be contacted at home at any time on 459378.
The Police have contacted me about the state of the playpark in Polepark Road (rubbish strewn – mainly plastic bags, plastic bottles and cans) – I have raised this with the Leisure & Communities and Waste Management Departments.
Lastly there are recent updates worth a look at :
Friends of Magdalen Green : http://magdalengreen.blogspot.com/
and
Western Cemetery Association : http://westerncemetery.blogspot.com/

Parking at Polepark, Street Cleaning and Heating Charges – Blackness Court and Sinderins Court

Had useful meetings with residents today – one about street cleaning in a West End street, the other about the parking problems in Polepark Road.
Also been in touch with the Courier today following on from the article about the large increase in heating changes at Blackness Court and Sinderins Court – here’s a copy of the news release I have given the Courier:
Councillor’s concern over heating cost hike for sheltered tenants.

West End Councillor Fraser Macpherson today expressed great concern over the heating charge increases being faced by residents in Blackness Court and Sinderins Court and indicated that he has been in correspondence with the landlords Home in Scotland about the issue.

“Residents from Sinderins Court attended my surgery last week to express their worries about the huge hike in charges and I immediately wrote to Home in Scotland seeking an explanation,” said Cllr Macpherson.

“The housing association has replied and said that the fuel charges they pick up from Scottish & Southern Electric and Scottish Gas have increased and they are having to pass this on to tenants. It is deeply concerning as the increases are very significant – in a typical flat in Sinderins Court a previous heating charge of £15.76 becomes £57.34,” continued Cllr Macpherson.

“Although there has been a welcome reduction in other service charges which will reduce the net increase for those who do not receive housing benefit, for anyone on Housing Benefit the situation is particularly concerning as the heating charge that has significantly increased is not eligible for help through housing benefit. I have therefore made arrangements to meet with a Home in Scotland representative next week to discuss the issue further. I am really concerned about this situation, especially as it affects residents many of whom are elderly,” he concluded.