Tait’s Lane – road condition and road safety

Residents in Tait’s Lane have recently raised with me concerns about the state of the road surface in Tait’s Lane.    I raised this with the council’s Roads Maintenance Partnership who advised :
“An inspection has been carried out and an order raised to repair a number of defects on the narrow section of Tait’s Lane with a timescale for repair of one to two weeks.”
I have also raised residents’ concerns about a minority of drivers ignoring the “Local Access Only” signage and using this very narrow street as a short cut, including some HGVs, which is inappropriate and a concern to residents.

Temporary Traffic Order : Tait’s Lane

From Dundee City Council.   (This has been arranged at short notice due to roof water ingress to a block of tenements.   The work is expected to take no more than 3 hours, and will commence early Saturday morning) :
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of mobile access platform (roofing) works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Tait’s Lane (from its junction with Hawkhill for a distance of approximately 20 metres in a northerly direction), Dundee.
This notice comes into effect on Saturday 7th May 2016 for  one  day.
Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Hawkhill/Peddie Street/Blackness Road.
For further information contact 433168.
Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Tait’s Lane – an update

I recently reported that the pathway from Tait’s Lane to Peddie Street is in need of tidying, with some weeds require removal and the foliage requires trimming – see right.   The council had also advised me that it would attend to overgrown foliage in the Tait’s Lane car park area.
On the pathway, the City Council’s Environment has now advised me that:
” … we will have this sprayed out … also, regarding the shrubs, this will be carried out at the same time as the car park area.”

Getting things done – Tait’s Lane

Residents have complained to me that :
  • The pathway from Tait’s Lane to Peddie Street is in need of tidying – some weeds require removal and the foliage requires trimming (see photo right) – I have reported this to both Home Scotland and the City Council who have shared responsibility here.
  • There is overgrown foliage at the Tait’s Lane car park – the Environment Department of the City Council has confirmed it will tackle this.

Latest updates …

A few Thursday updates :

* This morning, along with councillor colleagues, I had a very useful meeting with the Waste Management Department and the Environmental Health & Trading Standards Department about the problems of refuse presentation at various locations. This gave the opportunity to raise issues in specific streets in the West End where residents have complained about poor refuse presentation or wheelie bins being left out on the street permanently. The officers present gave very useful updates on their various initiatives to help tackle this problem, that is a source of many complaints from constituents.

* Further to Tavish Scott’s visit to Dundee yesterday, you can read the article about this in today’s Press and Journal by going to http://tinyurl.com/tavishpandj.

* I recently asked for additional grit bins for the north end of Thomson Street and the top end of Tait’s Lane. I am pleased to advise that the City Engineer updated me this morning as follows :

“The update to the grit bin issue in Tait’s Lane is that Tayside Contracts have been asked to set out a grit bin on the grassed area in the car park at 38 Tait’s Lane.
In Thomson Street, an order has been raised for the placing of a small grit bin on the east side at the top.”

Virgin Media services in Tait’s Lane

A constituent in Tait’s Lane contacted me recently about an anomaly in terms of the provision of cable TV in the area.
The whole of the lane is cabled for Virgin Media services, except one block of 18 flats. I can only think that at the time the former Telewest cabled the area, this set of flats was undergoing refurbishment as the flats were upgraded some years ago. My constituent – who had contacted Virgin to subscribe to their services – was told there were no plans to extent the services to these flats.
I must say – all credit, however, to Virgin Media. I contacted Neil Berkett, Virgin Media’s Chief Executive, last week to raise the issue and he responded very promptly promising that the matter would be investigated. I have since been contacted by two senior staff at Virgin Media who have informed me that the company is looking at the viability of extending services to the 18 households currently without access to Virgin services in the lane.    Here’s hoping for a positive outcome.

Post Offices – a decision likely on Wednesday

In discussion today with the Royal Mail Scottish Press Office in Edinburgh today, I received confirmation that a final decision on the four threatened Dundee Post Offices is due to be announced on Wednesday (30th July).

As residents are well aware, there has been much local concern over Post Office Limited’s proposals to close four Dundee Post Offices. Many constituents in the West End have expressed their opposition to closing the Lochee Road and Nethergate Post Offices, both of which provide an invaluable service to local communities and, along with other city councillors, I have made clear my strong objections to the closure proposals.

The Royal Mail Scottish Press Office in Edinburgh confirmed to me today that an announcement is due on Wednesday regarding the four Dundee Post Offices and have further promised to e-mail me their announcement immediately it is made. I have reiterated the point that Post Office Limited should be listening to local communities and taking into full account the detailed evidence presented to them to make the case for keeping the Post Offices open.

The Royal Mail Scottish Press Office in Edinburgh confirmed to me today that an announcement is due on Wednesday regarding the four Dundee Post Offices and have further promised to e-mail me their announcement immediately it is made. I have reiterated the point that Post Office Limited should be listening to local communities and taking into full account the detailed evidence presented to them to make the case for keeping the Post Offices open.

I am to be speaking on GMTV on Wednesday morning to make the case for our local Post Offices and pleased to have the opportunity to do this.

On an unrelated matter, I was very concerned to learn about an incident in the lane that runs between Tait’s Lane and Peddie Street which took place late on Saturday evening, and in which a local women had her handbag snatched at knife point.

You can read the full story in tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” (click on the headline above to read this). As I said to the Tele, “Obviously, I’m concerned to learn about the incident and for the woman, who must have had a frightening experience. I should also say, however, that incidents of knife crime in the city are thankfully very limited.

“I urge anyone with information to contact Tayside Police on 0845 600 5705.”

Health and Safety Executive

I was called this morning by the Health and Safety Executive and the organisation confirmed it is independently investigating the circumstances that led to the electrocution of a family pet dog in Tait’s Lane.

I was advised that the HSE’s Principal Specialist Electrical Inspector has been tasked with looking into all the circumstances of this dreadful incident.

I understand he has already requested a preliminary report from Scottish and Southern Energy and this has been submitted to HSE. Arising out of this, Scottish and Southern Energy has been asked to undertake a further site visit to provide more information, and this is taking place today. Thereafter, the HSE specialist may choose to undertake a further site visit himself.

The Health and Safety Executive has assured me that its principal role is, having fully investigated all the circumstances, to publish actions to take to prevent a further occurrence of such an incident in the future.

Meeting with Scottish Hydro Electric

This morning, I met with the Head of Operations and the Operations Manager of Scottish and Southern Energy (Hydro Electric) following the incident last Friday that resulted in the tragic electrocution of a family pet dog.
The Hydro Electric representatives had indicated that their technical examination was not yet complete but likely to be so very soon. They further indicated that the company was willing for the incident and its actions to be scrutinised by the independent Health & Safety Executive and would fully co-operate. This is something I welcome as it is extremely important that this terrible incident is investigated independently.

The company also indicated that it would advise me and my constituents of the outcomes of their own investigations and of “learning points” (as they put it) that are to be actioned. They also said that they would act on any recommendations from an independent HSE investigation and they would wish to meet with my constituents to discuss.

A decision by the Health & Safety Executive as to their intention to invesigate should now be imminent and I am contacting HSE for an update on this.

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.

Update on Tait’s Lane

Following my blog entry yesterday, I have now spoken today with a senior representative from Scottish Hydro Electric (SSE) who has advised me that, although investigations are continuing into the terrible incident on Friday, their initial investigations indicate a fault in electrical joints underground that caused a surge of voltage. He advised that the type of short circuit was “very unusual” and that there were no exposed wires.

One of the major concerns residents are raising is the possible dangers to children and any other pedestrians and the Scottish Hydro Electric representative claimed that, because voltage dissipates differently in animals compared to human beings, he ‘was confident the surge would not have killed a human being’.

It is vitally important that the full facts are determined as there has been great concern in the local area about what happened. For that reason I have reported my concerns to the Health and Safety Executive, who have tonight given me the Incident Number regarding my drawing this to HSE’s attention.

Tait’s Lane

Yesterday, I contacted Scottish & Southern Energy following an incident in Tait’s Lane on Friday, in which a family pet dog was electrocuted and died of its injuries.

A resident contacted me on Friday evening, following the incident and she was extremely upset to have witnessed the electrocution of a dog, which was owned by one of her neighbours. The dog had been out for a walk with its owners and whilst passing a lamp-post took what appeared to be a dreadful fit, which it later emerged was as a result of being electrocuted. The dog’s death has caused deep upset in the neighbourhood and I have been in touch with Scottish & Southern Energy to find out how this dreadful incident happened. Clearly, we need reassurances about electrical safety. As one resident pointed out, the lane has a steady stream of pedestrians every day.

I was concerned to note that although barriers had been put round the site, in the excavation round the lamppost there was exposed wiring. Scottish and Southern Energy has assured me that this wiring had been safely isolated and does not present any danger to the public. I was further promised that an engineer will contact me on Monday morning with a full report of the circumstances that occurred on Friday. I have also contacted the street lighting department of the City Council about the matter.

Public path Peddie Street to Tait’s Lane

I have in the past dealt with a number of complaints about the condition of the above pathway, which runs from the middle of Tait’s Lane to Peddie Street – complaints have previously included graffiti and litter.
However, recently residents have expressed concern at the state of the fencing running along the pathway and I contacted Home Scotland (who own the houses to the south of the path) about this.
I am pleased to say that, having inspected the situation, Home Scotland has agreed to carry out repairs to the fencing and in the reply it is indicated this will be done in the near future.

Week Round Up!

An exceptionally busy week both with my day job (as I am running a large conference next week) and with City Council and West End matters, so here’s a brief summary!

* Tait’s Lane : Had complaints about the general tidiness of the lane and the pathway that runs from the lane to Peddie Street and I have had favourable responses from the Waste Management Department and from Dundee Contract Services. The latter are going to tackle the overgrown weeds and I have also asked Economic Development if they can do something about the sadly neglected seating at the grass area in the lane.

* Last Sunday, I mentioned the request I had passed on to the Animal Control Team from residents for a dog bin at the end of the tunnel under Riverside Avenue near to the Invergowrie boundary (see http://frasermacpherson.blogspot.com/2007/08/dog-bin.html). I am pleased to report that I have been advised that a new bin was installed yesterday.

* A very useful meeting at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday with Nicol Stephen MSP, Tavish Scott MSP and my fellow LibDem council group leaders from Scottish local authorities about issues facing councils.

* Along with the other party group leaders in Dundee, we met with the President of COSLA on Tuesday about the future direction of COSLA and challenges facing local government.

* A West End constituent recently contacted me about his difficulties getting an NHS dentist and, as this is a parliamentary matter rather than a local authority one, I passed him on MSP details. He’s let me know the feedback he has received which he felt it might be useful to pass on to others via the blog – “… where an NHS Board considers that the existing NHS general dental service provision is insufficient to meet the demands of the local population, and no independent general dental practitioner is available to fill the gap, the Board can appoint salaried dentists. NHS Tayside already employs a number of salaried dentists, and are looking to approve further such posts. Any constituent wishing to enquire about an appointment with a salaried general dental practitioner should contact NHS Tayside at Ashludie Hospital, Monifieth, Dundee, DD2 4HQ (Telephone number 01382 527861).”

* Yesterday, along with the Public Health Minister, I was delighted to attend the launch of “Get Active Getting There” project at Gowriehill Primary School. Gowriehill is one of eight primary schools and two secondary schools (including Harris Academy) in the west of Dundee participating. It’s a great project to encourage school pupils – and indeed the community as a whole – to make use of the local paths network to walk and cycle.

A pilot project in Edinburgh in 2005 resulted in a 50% increase in walkers and cyclists using local routes and the City Council is pleased to be working with SUSTRANS and NHS Tayside on this new excellent project in the City. You can read more by clicking on the headline above.

* Some time ago, the Blackness Area Residents’ Association asked for better markings at the bus stop on the east side of Blackness Avenue (half way down) to ensure the bus can get clear access to the side of the road to allow passengers to get off the bus safely. Many elderly folk get off the bus here and it’s important that they can alight at the pavement properly. I am pleased to say that I have just had the following positive feedback from the City Council’s Planning & Transportation Department indicating what is to be provided here (hopefully within the next three weeks) :

“A ‘BUS STOP’ box marking 29m long with thick yellow Clearway marking. This will ensure that the bus can park with the door at the boarding point allowing safe boarding and alighting for all. We are about to undertake this exercise across all 900 bus stops as part of the Dundee barrier free city commitment.”

Christmas Joy and all that …

OK, we’ll start with the Christmas photos!
Firstly, here’s Janet and me with Betty, my mother in law, during Christmas Dinner. I can assure you that no party is quite complete without Betty!
And, talking of the life and soul of the party, we got this rather good game which relies on a bit of skill and here’s Betty proving she has absolutely none (err, sorry, lots!)

Anyway, Christmas was great – I have had loads of fun downloading lots of my CDs onto an MP3 player and my younger son and I have just spent a fruitless afternoon trying to set up a wireless internet connection in the house. Getting there now though!

Here’s a rather less festive picture from the back area of a West End tenement. I raised the condition of this with the City Council just prior to Christmas and am pleased to advise that the Environmental Warden has advised me that the major landlord here has promised action.

Other updates :

  • Rob, our ace pyrotechnician from the West End Christmas Week, advises that you can now see video clips of the fireworks at http://www.myspace.com/westendpyro
    Click on VIDEO under the logo and you can access all clips from there.
  • BT has now advised me that they will attempt to fit a door to the phone box in Milnbank Road during January although they do warn that given the angle of the phone box, it may prove difficult to fit one.
  • The Tait’s Lane light and small area of road resurfacing I referred to earlier was done just before Christmas.
  • My LibDem colleague from Perth & Kinross Council Cllr Peter Barrett undertook a sponsored fast on Christmas Eve to raise funds for Christian Aid, so helped sponsor Peter. As Peter reports – “The fast was Ok – the last three hours were a bit hard and the worst moment was when I took the Christmas ham out the oven and lifted it onto the plate and a we bit got snagged on the roasting dish. I never knew I had such willpower.”

And lastly, Hogmanay – thanks to Sheena Wellington for the following information!

Bright young bands top Hogmanay bill!

Two of the best young bands on the traditional scene are providing Hogmanay music in Dundee!

The Cameron Kellow Group will play for the dancing at the Family Ceilidh in Meadowside St Paul’s Church Hall on Sunday evening, 7.30 to 10.30pm. Accordionist and drummer Cameron is a student of the brilliant Allan Small who regards him as one of the brightest prospects in Scottish Country Dance music. Cameron’s outstanding talent was recognised when he was invited to join Highland Council’s Ceilidh Trail last summer, a rare honour for a non Highland musician.

A spicy young group with a funky edge, Skelpaig’s reputation for musical skills, excitement and innovation has garnered them invitations to play at venues from Skye to Brittany. Between them Kat Liley, David Adam and David Sutherland play fiddle, viola, border pipes, small pipes, highland pipes, whistles and guitar – but not all at the same time! Skelpaig will do a couple of sets at the Family Ceilidh before piper David Adam leads the Lantern Parade (weather permitting!) down to the North Carr Lightship where Skelpaig will be main act at the Maritime Volunteer Service’s Foghorn Fiesta.

Singer Sheena Wellington, a City Centre & Harbour Community Council member, will compere the Family Ceilidh and Ceilidh tickets, price £6.50 (£4 concessions) inclusive of supper, are available from the Cornerstone Cafe, Nethergate, Dundee. Phone bookings can be made between10am-noon and 2pm – 4pm on 01382 202121.

The Church Service, 10.30pm at Meadowside St Paul’s, the Lantern Parade, starting 11pm from the Church and the Foghorn Fiesta. 11.30pm – 12.15am are free. Wrap up warmly!!

Tait’s Lane Update

Following on from yesterday’s story about Tait’s Lane, a resident advised me earlier today that Scottish & Southern Electric must have been in Tait’s Lane yesterday (they definitely hadn’t been by Friday night) – and the hole residents are rightly complaining about is now filled in.
The only problem is that the light is still not working! Am following this up with the City Council.

Dumfries, Tait’s Lane, Thomson Street, Gas Main Works …

No sooner back from Belfast, caught up with e-mails etc, then off Thursday/Friday to Dumfries – again the day job and the infamous annual Chinese Karaoke Night! Err, the photo is blurred (I wonder why?) but it was a great night! Janet’s on the far left of the photo but let’s just say its not the best photograph I have ever taken!
On return, not pleased to learn from two constituents that the work by the electricity supplier necessary to allow Tayside Contracts to finish off the last part of the Tait’s Lane resurfacing (and promised for last week) hasn’t happened – have e-mailed the City Council asking that the supplier concerned is contacted on Monday to get this sorted.
Was out delivering the West End Christmas Week Flyer (more details available by following the headline above) this morning & concerned to learn from local resident about difficulties an ambulance had getting down Thomson Street yesterday. Reinforces the necessity to improve the parking situation – but good the City Council is seeking a solution.
And lastly tonight (I have 150 e-mails to get through after being away two days – oh, and the X Factor is on …) – received this from the City Centre Manager on the impending works to replace the gas main in Nethergate and Union Street :
“I attended a meeting yesterday with Planning & Transportation and Scotland Gas Networks (SGN) regarding the main replacement scheme in Nethergate and Union Street.
Phase 1 Nethergate: Excavations in the taxi rank (end of previous Marketgait scheme), two excavations in the Nethergate (at top of Union Street) and an excavation in Union Street (at top,east side) – timeline 08 January ’07 – 04 February ’07 (4 weeks)
Phase 2 Union Street: excavations the whole length down the east side – timeline 05 February ’07 – 30 March ’07 (8 weeks)
Temporary Traffic Management
i) Diversion Routes
Phase 1 Nethergate: Full closure between Union Street and Whitehall Street
East-bound closure between West Marketgait and Union Street
South-bound closure of whole length of Union Street Diversion route – West Marketgait/South Marketgait/Yeamans Shore/Whitehall Crescent/Whitehall Street.
Dates 08/01/2008 – 04/02/2007
Phase 2 Union Street: Full closure whole length Diversion Route Whitehall Crescent/Whitehall Street/High Street Dates 05/02/2007 – 30/03/2007
ii) Advance Signing
Information boards will be set out two weeks prior to the start of Phase 1 (approx. 27 December 2006)
Access to Union Street/Signing
SGN/Turriff will liaise with affected traders regards deliveries and access prior to work starting and agree suitable arrangements and to avoid any illegal through traffic for Phase 2.
Bus-Stop Changes
Phase 1 Nethergate: 2no. Bus-stop in High Street will relocate to Whitehall Crescent Phase 2 Union Street: All bus stops will be taken out and the public directed to bus stops in Nethergate.
These are the preliminary details, however note that SGN will be doing letter drops and visits to businesses from 4th December.”

Magdalen Green, Monthly West End Community Council Update, Tait’s Lane

Really excellent further meeting with residents yesterday on Magdalen Green issues and an excellent overview by the City Council’s landscape architect. We are now looking to progress to a “Friends of Magdalen Green” steering group at our next meeting in January. But yesterday’s was really positive with plenty of good ideas to progress.
On my way to my surgery last night, had a check of the new road surface in Tait’s Lane and to check that the “nib” in the road towards the south end that used to jut out causing problems for drivers had been fixed as I was promised – it has! – see photo!
Two matters of significance at Council committees last night for our local area – firstly, the Tay Hotel Finalised Development Brief was approved – and the long-awaited HMO planning report was also approved. For planning purposes this restricts the growth of HMOs in particular streets amongst other sensible reforms.
Lastly, have launched this month’s West End Community Council Update (meeting is tonight) – you can read article about this and download update itself by following the link above.

FOCUS for Tait’s Lane – and sad demise of Fred Elliot …

Delivered a special edition of FOCUS today to the residents in Tait’s Lane about the road resurfacing – click on the headline above to view.
Been doing my filing – various parts of the West End spread across the lounge, dining room, hall … you get the picture! Janet awfully impressed, not. Anyway, all filed but do not believe the paperless society is with us just yet!
And lastly, superb Coronation Street tonight (favourite TV programme in the world – normally watch Monday’s on Tuesday but its the Council recess!) – Fred Elliot is no more – tears all round, I say, tears all round. Anyway, for more, see http://www.corrieblog.tv/ – great stuff!