Getting things done – River Crescent and Hillside Terrace #dundeewestend

There has recently been significant levels of flooding on the roadway at the south end of River Crescent that residents brought to my attention.
I took this up with the council’s Roads Maintenance Partnership Manager who helpfully updated me as follows :
“I can confirm we’ll arrange for gully cleaning of this street. 
“We are aware of wider problems in this area and the flooding team are working on a surface water management plan in conjunction with Scottish Water. 
Our next challenge will be securing funding to implement the improvements identified from the study.”
Separately, there were also road flooding concerns recently at the west end of Hillside Terrace and I am grateful to the Roads Maintenance Partnership for its prompt attention to this.

Getting things done – River Crescent

Last August, at my request, the council responded to constituents’ requests to fill in potholes in the roadway of River Crescent – see right.
At the time, I said, given the deteriorated state of the road, it required a more permanent improvement.    
I am pleased to say that the council’s Roads Maintenance Partnership has now advised me that the street is imminently programmed for extensive structural patching.

Getting things done – River Crescent

I have had several complaints from residents about the state of parts of the roadway of River Crescent.    See photos left and right.  
I asked the Roads Maintenance Partnership for pothole repairs but also, given the deteriorating state of the road, if resurfacing could be considered for a future programme.
I have now received the following helpful response:
“An order will be raised by the Roads Maintenance Partnership inspector for pothole repairs to be carried out at this location with a timescale for repair of 28 days or sooner.  This area will be considered for thin resurfacing in a future year.”

Meeting with River Crescent residents

River Crescent
This afternoon, after a site visit with Newhall Gardens residents on a safety issue, I met with residents from River Crescent to have our annual get-together at the Education Centre at the University of Dundee Botanic Garden.
We had a good discussion on a number of issues – including 20 mph speed limits (and thanks to George Gammack of Living Streets for his update to the residents on this matter), smell from the composting operation at Riverside, recycling, the forthcoming West End Christmas Fortnight, park and ride and the Time2Give initiative.
It was a very useful and enjoyable afternoon and I am grateful to the Botanic Garden for use of the Education Centre.

River Crescent Residents’ AGM

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the River Crescent Residents’ AGM at the Botanic Garden Education Centre.
The meeting was tinged with much sadness as Sheila Fraser, former Chair of the Residents’ Association, passed away last Wednesday, after a short illness.   Sheila was a lovely lady and everyone in the street knew her – she’ll be so sadly missed.
Apart from paying tribute to Sheila, I updated the meeting on the Harris Academy decant and rebuilding project, the West End Christmas Fortnight arrangements, the new primary/nursery schools building project on the former Logie Secondary site, bus services, roads resurfacing, the Friends of Riverside Nature Park AGM taking place on 6th September, and WESHA’s recent sports funding success.

Monday …

Yesterday, I attended the latest meeting of the City Council’s School Parking and Pupil Safety Working Group.

Following the initial meeting of the group before the recent City Council elections, a number of site visits to schools have taken place and feedback from these – along with risk assessments of schools’ parking and drop-off facilities across the city – were discussed yesterday.

I was keen to emphasise that drop-off and parking arrangements at the new West End schools project – on the former Logie Secondary site at Glenagnes Road/Blackness Road – must be fully resolved before St Joseph’s Primary School, Park Place Nursery School and Park Place Primary School move to their new homes in October.    There are a number of matters to be tackled in relation to this but the important thing is that we see much better facilities at the new site than in the current locations in Bellfield Street and Park Place.

After my two Monday ward surgeries (at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre), I had the pleasure of attending the latest committee meeting of the River Crescent Residents’ Association, at which we discussed a number of local matters including vehicle speeds, road condition, the forthcoming Dundee WestFest events, Riverside Nature Park and local bus services.

River Crescent Residents’ Association

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the latest meeting of the River Crescent Residents’ Association.    

The association does great work for the local area and we discussed various issues including community facilities in the West End, the future of the association after the AGM in June, sports initiatives in the West End and the former Laurie’s Nursery site.

River Crescent Residents’ Association is a great example of the community spirit in the West End.

River Crescent residents’ get-together!

River Crescent – just south of Perth Road
Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending what has become a very pleasant annual fixture when the residents of River Crescent get together for a coffee and cake at the rather superb cafe at Dundee Botanic Garden, near to River Crescent itself.

It was an extremely pleasant afternoon and good to chat with local residents about a variety of local issues.   River Crescent has a very active and hard-working residents’ association who do really good work for the local neighbourhood.

Tuesday update

Today, I took part in the Jericho House Support Group latest meeting, at which we discussed and planned events for this very worthwhile project, including a dance during November and also a play Jericho House is planning on the subject of recovery from alcoholism.  It is hoped the play will run during West End Christmas Week.  The recent sponsored walk for Jericho House raised nearly £1000 – an excellent result.

Later on, I attended the West End Schools Project Board – the board set up to oversee the building project on the former Logie Secondary School site on Blackness Road for a new St Joseph’s Primary School and Park Place Nursery and Primary Schools.    I mentioned that the City Council must consider the need for a school crossing patroller on Glenagnes Road when the new schools open in October 2012.

Tonight, I attended a meeting of River Crescent Residents’ Association at which I discussed with residents a number of local matters, including the possibility of a Friends group for Riverside Nature Park and local roads issues.

This morning’s Courier covered my comments about Royal Mail’s decision to close the Crichton Street collection office and tonight’s Evening Telegraph reported on the 4S bus situation to St John’s High School and my concerns at the removal of this school bus.    A meeting of parents about the matter has been arranged for next Wednesday and I have booked Blackness Library for that meeting.

River Crescent Residents’ Association AGM

Yesterday afternoon, I was delighted to address the Annual General Meeting of the River Crescent Residents’ Association, held in the Education Centre of Dundee Botanic Garden (pictured right).

I gave an overview of West End projects and local issues and residents raised a number of matters, including vehicle speeds on Perth Road, Ninewells Avenue and Riverside Drive.

River Crescent has a vibrant residents’ group and it was a real pleasure to speak with local residents at their AGM yesterday.

River Crescent Residents’ Association

Tonight I attended the latest committee meeting of River Crescent Residents’ Association, at which I gave an update on West End local matters, including the launch of WESHAthe success of WestFest and the forthcoming Blackness Fire Station Open Day.

We also discussed the need for 20mph zones in residential areas, an issue I am to be discussing with the City Council’s Head of Transportation tomorrow.

Recent activities …

* Last night, I attended the Blackness Primary School Parent Council meeting at which, in addition to planning for the school’s fete on 11th June, we discussed a number of issues including the need for ‘zig zag’ no parking markings adjacent to the school.   I have again raised this matter with the City Council’s Head of Transportation.

* Later last night, I attended the River Crescent Residents’ Association meeting.   We had a useful discussion about a number of local matters including a local water leak issue (I have raised with Scottish Water), road safety locally and pathway access to the soon to be opened Riverside Nature Park.

* The Courier this morning published Dundee councillors’ allowances and expenses totals for 2010/11.   My LibDem colleague Helen Dick and I again have the lowest claims, claiming no expenses at all and maintaining a salary cut that we have taken since April 2009.

Tuesday evening

Last night, I had the pleasure of speaking with the young people who attend the East 2 West youth group at the Bharatiya Ashram Dudhope Centre and also discuss funding issues with the group organisers.

Thereafter, I attended the latest River Crescent Residents’ Association meeting, at which I updated the group on a number of West End issues, including schools rebuilding projects, the Riverside Nature Park and on winter maintenance.

And Tuesday …

Today :

* I had a very useful meeting with the Director of Dundee Contract Services and a senior member of his team about garden and open space maintenance. This follows on from several issues raised with me by residents in the Corso/Abbotsford area and in the Logie Estate.

* This evening I attended part of the River Crescent Residents’ Association meeting at which I updated members on a number of local matters, including the proposed Harris Academy school buildings improvement.

* And … later this evening, I attended the Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting where we planned our Autumn Coffee Morning. It takes place at Dundee West Church on Saturday 25th September from 10am to 12 noon – don’t miss it!

Monday activities …

Apart from a busy day with the ‘day job’, I held two surgeries late this afternoon at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy. I was interviewed on Wave 102’s “Dundee Tonight” at 6pm about waiting list concerns at Dundee College and other further education colleges across Scotland.

This evening, I spoke with the Blackness Primary School Parent Council about parking and road safety concerns outside the school and thereafter I attended the River Crescent Residents’ Association, where we discussed a number of local issues.

Both the Evening Telegraph and Wave 102 today featured my concerns about the future of local radio as the Westminster Government pushes forward the radio digital switchover.

Flooding issue


Having received concerns about flooding in the area around the west of Perth Road recently, I raised the concern with the City Engineer – who has responded earlier this week as follows :


A member of the Road Maintenance team has visited the site and inspected the gullies in the vicinity of Invergowrie Drive / Perth Road / River Crescent. At least 2 or 3 of the gully gratings are partly choked with leaves and other debris. As such, all of the gullies at this location are to be cleaned and jetted.

This should improve the drainage at this location but in times of very heavy deluges such we have been experiencing lately it may be that the capacity of the sewerage system has simply been exceeded.


Once the gullies have been cleaned I will arrange for the site to be re inspected during rainfall.”

I am pleased to advise that gullies have already been cleaned and jetted which will hopefully improve matters.

Monday activities

A busy day, which, along with ‘day job’ activities, also included :

* Visits to our four West End Primary Schools (Ancrum Road, Blackness, Park Place and St Joseph’s) to deliver pencil cases (a free gift to each P7 pupil from our sponsor) and drawing templates for the ‘fireworks safety’ colouring competition that primary 7 pupils are taking part in as part of this year’s West End Christmas Week.

Each P7 pupil is drawing a fireworks safety sticker and there will be one winner per class (who each win a book voucher, kindly sponsored by Borders Books) and the overall winner will have her or his drawing produced into 1500 stickers to be distributed to all primary-age children in the West End. It is both a fun competition and will help reinforce the ‘safety with fireworks’ message.

West End Christmas Week – West End Xmas Factor ’09 – is taking great shape and we’re very pleased at the continued support from our local schools.
* I thereafter met with three University of Dundee students who are working on a project to encourage those who want to start growing their own fruit and vegetables in Dundee. I’m really keen to support their initiative and it was a very useful meeting.

* Two surgeries late afternoon – Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy.

* At tonight’s City Council, there was a debate on the financial challenges facing the City Council and the 2010/11 and future years’ budgets. I support all-party co-operation to tackle the very significant budgetary problems the council must tackle. Protecting jobs and public services must take priority over party politics.

* Thereafter, I attended the latter half of the River Crescent Residents’ Association committee meeting. The committee does great work for the residents locally and I was able update them on a number of local matters – including the Harris Academy refurbishment, roads condition concern and smell issues from Riverside Civic Amenity Site.

River Crescent Residents’ Association AGM

I had the pleasure of addressing the Annual General Meeting of the River Crescent Residents’ Association this afternoon at the Botanic Garden. A great turnout from residents – particularly impressive given the glorious weather!
In my address to the Association, I covered a number of updates, including :
  • Airport Noise Issues
  • Speed limits
  • Potholes tackled
  • The bridge condition on Riverside Drive
  • WestFest 2010 – the proposed West End Festival
  • Digital TV
  • Postal delivery concerns
  • Proposed Riverside Nature Park

Speed limit reduction

I am pleased to report that on Monday night, at the Planning & Transport Committee, the City Council committee I chair, agreement was reached to finalise the speed limit reduction on the westmost part of Perth Road (west of the Invercarse), the small stretch of Riverside Drive north of the Marmalade Pot and on Ninewells Avenue.


This follows a consultation exercise – the responses received both from residents and from West End Community Council strongly supported the speed reduction.


The fact that the speed limit in this area has been 40mph, whereas all the residential roads east of it are 30mph has always struck me as an anomoly – the speed limit on the Perth Road section was set in the early 1960s when this was the main route to Perth – long before the creation of Riverside Avenue. Furthermore, significant residential housing – such as Clouvis Duveau Drive and Clayhills Grove – has since been built.
River Crescent Residents’ Association has pointed out that the difficulties turning out of
River Crescent into Perth Road would be eased by the speed reduction, leaving aside the obvious point that a 40mph limit is inappropriate in what has long become a residential area.


Here is notice of the traffic order, issued by the City Council, following Monday’s decision :



Dundee City Council propose to make an Order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the effect of which will be to improve safety by reducing the current 40 mph speed limit to 30 mph.

Full details of the proposals are contained in the draft Order, which together with a Statement of the Council’s reasons for proposing to make the Order may be examined during normal office hours and without payment of fee at Dundee City Council offices, Reception, Floor 4, 21 City Square, Dundee by any person, during a period of 21 days from 16 January 2009.

Any person may within 21 days from 16 January 2009 object to the proposed Order by notice in writing to the Depute Chief Executive (Support Services), Dundee City Council, 21 City Square, Dundee. Objections should state the name and address of the objector, the matters to which they relate and the grounds on which they are made.

Depute Chief Executive (Support Services)

A cold St Andrew’s Day!

With thanks to River Crescent Residents’ Association, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time today at their afternoon tea at the Botanic Garden – as you can see from the pictures, a bright but extremely cold day!
The rest of the weekend has been spent on “day job” work as I am running a large conference during the forthcoming week, plus catching up on constituents’ phone calls and e-mails following the couple of days away I had at Dumfries last week.
I spoke on the “Tay Talk In” on Radio Tay this morning, partly to thank Ally Bally for switching on the West End Christmas Lights last Wednesday but also to speak about the concerns raised regarding Travel Dundee bus service changes introduced earlier this month.    I am hoping to meet the new Managing Director of Travel Dundee about this in the very near future.

Smell problem hopefully resolved

I have today received assurances from the City Council’s Head of Waste Management that concerns raised by many residents of the West End about a bad smell apparently coming from the Riverside Civic Amenity site over the past few days should hopefully soon be resolved.

Over the past few days I have had lots of complaints from people in the River Crescent, Newhall Gardens and Riverside Place areas about a really bad smell, apparently coming from the Riverside Civic Amenity site. Indeed, when I attended the River Crescent Residents’ Association AGM on yesterday at the Botanic Garden, many residents at the well-attended meeting were complaining about the smell – so bad that they couldn’t sit out in their gardens and had to shut windows.

I immediately contacted both Environmental Health and Waste Management and the City Council’s Head of Waste Management, having obtained feedback from staff at Riverside Civic Amenity site, called me this afternoon to say that the source of the problem appears to have been traced.

Over the period Thursday to Saturday a windrow (row of cut hay) was moved and this disturbed old compost. The work had been planned for this period as the wind direction was likely to ensure any smell would be away from the residential housing to the north, but clearly it did cause a problem in the area over the past few days.

I hope given what I have been advised by the City Council that the matter is now resolved and there will be no further smell nuisance, but I will be keeping a close eye on the situation. I should add that there were a number of other complaints from residents in other parts of the West End – for example Hillside Road and Menzieshill Road – but it looks likely that these emanated from fields to the west of the City.

Lastly, a burst large waste waster system cover near the junction of Riverside Drive and Riverside Avenue which had resulted in a mess round the cover had also been reported to me by residents. Having spoken with Scottish Water today about this, I have been assured that the cover will be replaced and the debris tidied as a matter of urgency.

West End Under 10s football team … and River Crescent Residents’ Association …

At lunchtime, the new West End Under 10s boys’ football team played its first “official match” and the photo (right) is of the team at Riverside Playing Fields today with Paul Johnston (Team Manager), Stuart Ferguson of Barnetts Motor Group and myself.

It is great to see an under 10s football team established in the West End – a totally new initiative – and I am very grateful to Paul Johnston of West End Community Council, whose drive and initiative has made this possible.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to Barnetts Motors Group, who have sponsored the team football strips and to the local primary schools – Blackness, Ancrum Road, St Joseph’s and Park Place – for their involvement.

After getting a wee bit wet standing in the rain at Riverside Playing Fields, I was guest speaker at the River Crescent Residents’ Association AGM (held at the Botanic Garden) – a great turnout of residents and useful discussion on local issues.

More on Tait’s Lane and graffiti update

As many will have read in the media, I have asked the Health & Safety Executive to look into the circumstances surrounding the terrible events that led to the death of a family pet last Friday. As I explained on North Tonight on STV, an independent examination of the circumstances is vital. Scottish Hydro Electric has asked to meet with me tomorrow morning and I have agreed, subject to the reassurance that they are also updating the dog’s owners. There has been great concern in the community about what happened.
On a different matter, last month I raised the issue of significant graffiti on Riverside Drive (click on headline to view the original story and extent of graffiti) and delighted at the improvement – see right – all credit to the City Council on this.

And thanks too to Network Rail, who tackled the graffiti I raised earlier this month near the rail line near to Riverside Place/River Crescent – as reported in today’s Courier.

Rail bridge again … err … different one!

There’s another rail bridge west of the one mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry – near to Riverside Place/River Crescent (and not for vehicles). Following complaints about the extent of graffiti there, I contacted Network Rail and here is their response :
“The graffiti concerned has now been removed. We also have cleared various railway assets between Dundee and Invergowrie that had been vandalised. The graffiti has been photographed and passed on to the British Transport Police for their records. I hope you are satisfied with the response to this incident.”