Last night, after my ward surgery at Blackness Primary School, I took part in the latest meeting of the West End Local Community Planning Partnership (LCPP), which allows local councillors, council officers across various departments, police, fire & rescue, NHS and local community organisations to get together to discuss West End issues. On this occasion, the City Council Chief Executive attended part of the meeting, which was a welcome development.
We were given an update about progress with the proposed new Dundee Local Development Plan from a senior officer from the council’s City Development Department. I again highlighted the issues of derelict buildings and the need to support our district shopping centres.
The LCPP meeting also had a welcome update from the Environment Department about proposed improvements in parts of the West End that include:
- Improvements to the pathway from Logie Street to the Tullideph sheltered housing.
- New hedge planting to replace the “temporary” fence at the east end of Magdalen Green. I requested the “temporary” fence on behalf of residents the best part of a decade ago, so some nicer hedging will be a welcome development.
- Scott Street entrance to Balgay Park – I have complained about its state before and was pleased to hear it will be improved and brightened up.
- Hunter Street – roundabout with Hawkhill by-pass – to be tidied, improved with new planting and birch trees.
- The old toilet block at Lochee Park will be removed and replaced with new toilets at the Lochee Park changing rooms.
Following the recent refurbishment of the Tullideph Sheltered Lounge, for the Scottish Parliamentary Election & Fairer Votes Referendum on 5th May, voters in polling district WAE will go back to voting at this lounge.
These electors were temporarily moved to voting at the Morven Terrace sheltered lounge for the General Election last year during the works on the Tullideph Sheltered Lounge.
The change back to the Tullideph Sheltered Lounge affects electors in :
Ancrum Road (2-6 evens)
City Road (103-129 odds, 130-162 evens)
Colinton Place (1-15 odds)
Loganlee Terrace (2-16 evens)
Logie Street (66, 80, 82, 86, 88 and 90)
Pentland Avenue (30 -76 evens)
Pentland Crescent (1-33 odds)
Saggar Street (1-11 odds and evens)
Tullideph Place (2-10 evens, 9-41 odds)
Tullideph Road (7, 9, 11 and 20-36 evens)
Tullideph Street (1-10 odds and evens)
Further to my recent item about concerns from residents in the Tullideph area about the temporary crossing arrangements across City Road to the shops, during the current work to replace the traffic lights, and as reported in today’s Courier and Evening Telegraph, the Managing Director of Tayside Contracts has advised me :
“Further to our telephone conversation regarding the crossing of elderly residents of the sheltered housing complex adjacent to the Tullideph Road/City Road junction I can confirm the actions we have taken since you raised the issue with me yesterday.
It is not possible to get 4 way lights with pedestrian phases as standard and the lead in time is around 4 weeks to order these. Therefore to ensure that the pedestrians are protected crossing the road I have arranged for a man to be on site from 8:15 to 16:30 whose sole duty is to assist pedestrians crossing the roads at this junction. He will be on site every day this week including Saturday and Sunday. The current plan is that the lights will be fully operational next Monday 15 November 2010.
If for any reason this is delayed then he will remain on site for the necessary days next week and will only be removed when the lights are fully operational.
I trust that this fully addresses the problem you have raised with me but should there be anything else or any alteration to the times of the man on site considered necessary please let me know.”
Residents tell me that the member of staff helping elderly residents across this busy road during daytime worked well yesterday. Hopefully the new lights will be working by next week but I am meantime grateful to the contractor for acting swiftly on this safety concern.
I have received concerns from residents in the Tullideph area about the temporary crossing arrangements across City Road to the shops, during the current work to replace the traffic lights.
Whilst replacing the lights with new (and better functioning) ones is to be welcomed, the temporary crossing is a concern as pedestrians have to cross in a more diagnonal route rather than straight across. This is a particular concern in relation to the area’s many elderly folk many of whom take a little longer to get across. There are also concerns being raised about the amount of time per day the contractor is spending on the work at the junction.
I raised the concerns with the City Council this week and have received the following feedback :
“I would agree that the works at City Road / Tullideph Road, in refurbishing the traffic signal junction have taken longer than anticipated.However, it was only Thursday that the permanent traffic signals were switched off and therefore the junction has been operating normally, including pedestrian movements, for the duration of the works to date.
I anticipate that the new signal arrangement will be operational on Monday 15th November and the temporary traffic signal arrangement utilized in the interim, will have pedestrian facilities. I agree that it is frustrating that the contractor chooses to apply this level of resource to this job which results in the timescales observed. But the improved traffic signal facility and improved efficiency of operation will hopefully make up for the short term inconvenience.”
I have responded as follows :
“… my major concern here is that the temporary pedestrian crossing facility is not really satisfactory for getting elderly folk across safely – can anything be done to improve it during the period up to the 15th?”
I will be speaking further with City Council officers regarding this matter.
The Housing Department has written to tenants with full details and I am also happy to speak with any tenant who may have any questions about the roofing work that is about to commence.
In recent weeks, along with residents, fellow councillors and theCommunity Spirit Action Group, I have highlighted the deficiencies in the revised 11/12 service in the Ancrum, Pentland and Tullideph areas. Following my approach to the bus company earlier this week, a meeting with their Director, Lawrence Davie, has now been agreed to specifically discuss the 11/12 service. The meeting will take place on 11th August, in order to give all residents a little while longer to sign Community Spirit’s petition – available in local shops and on-line – the total signatures now amounting to over 500.
Community Spirit representatives, fellow local councillors and I will be meeting Lawrence Davie to hand over the petition and discuss ways that the service could be improved.
At lunchtime today, at Ninewells Hospital, I joined with Community Spirit representatives and my ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready at a photocall to highlight the excellent response to the petition – already around 500 signatures (including nearly 50 on the on-line version available athttp://tiny.cc/communityspirit). We chose Ninewells Hospital for a good reason – it is impossible for residents who rely on the 11/12 to get to the hospital to visit friends and relatives in hospital using this bus service – as visiting hours start at 3pm. We are grateful to “The Courier” for covering the photocall – to appear in tomorrow’s edition.
The revised 11/12 service poorly serves the area, with no buses before 9am or after around 3pm and absolutely nothing at the weekends. It is simply not a service that is fit for purpose – particularly for the elderly community. There are no buses to Ninewells Hospital during visiting hours and no weekend bus service at all.
I have been in correspondence with Lawrence Davie, Managing Director of National Express Dundee, who has promised that the bus company will monitor the situation and review the service in the coming months, but action to improve the service is needed promptly, given the concerns from residents – of which the following is typical :“I am 77 years old and live in the Pentland area and am already missing the regular bus service we did have. I do, like many others in the area, have difficulties when walking any distance. There is now no bus between Ninewells Hospital and Pentland after 3pm when visiting hours start at 3pm”
Elsewhere in the West End, I welcome news from National Express Dundee that it has applied to the Traffic Commissioner to alter the 5A bus service timetable on its eastern leg to Broughty Ferry, to improve timetable reliability across the route. In the Perth Road area, the 5A has been really unreliable in terms of timetable so I welcome the bus company’s steps to address this, hopefully in the very near future.
Across the West End, the bus changes are a mixed bag in that, in all fairness to National Express Dundee, there is an improvement in part of the ward with the replacement for the 9X – the new 5A service – being generally more frequent. This is to be welcomed.
However, the people in other parts of the West End such as Pentland, Ancrum and Tullideph are rightly concerned at the revised 11/12 service that will only run from approximately 9am to 3pm on weekdays. People are naturally concerned about the loss of service outwith these times. In addition Service Number 2 is only hourly and often runs full.
I recently wrote on behalf of constituents to Lawrence Davie, Managing Director of National Express Dundee and specifically asked if the frequency of the new 11/12 service could be looked at again after it has been in operation and the demand can be quantified and hopefully increased if usage is good.
Mr Davie replied, “We have reduced the level of service to match the usage. The position will be reviewed in three and six months after commencement. I hope the 6, 11/12 in their new formats are used and that we can retain these in the future.”
It is important that the 11/12 and the new 6 service gets good usage in the months ahead and I will be continuing to argue for an improved service for the areas covered by these services.
After two surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy, I attended City Council committee meetings at which I asked a question about Dundee population projections containedwithin a report on main issues facing the TAYplan strategic development planning authority, commented on and asked a question about the HMIe interim follow through inspection report on child protection services in the city, and sought assurances that the outcomes of a proposal to introduce an e-book and e-audio book service by the Leisure and Communities Department would be reported back to committee after a period in order that its success can be gauged.
At the City Council meeting, the proposal to temporarily move the polling station for voters in the Tullideph area to Morven Terrace during renovation work on the Tullideph sheltered lounge (that I mention last week) was approved. I sought – and was given – assurances from the Chief Executive that the change of polling station would be well-publicised for residents in the area.
Yesterday, I also received an update from the Housing Department on the work currently taking place at the lounge in Tullideph Place :“Following on from a Health and Safety Report and also an Accessibility Audit it was noted that there was some items at the complex which needed attention.
As well as items in these reports it was also noted that users of the facility were having great difficulty accessing the rear patio area and even falling so it was agreed that we should upgrade the access to this area. We are forming a decking area with easy access to the patio and seating area so the clients can use this area during the better weather.
The access to the front, which is on a slope, also proves difficult for some of the clients, particullarly anyone in a wheelchair. There is a door which is quite heavy and a wheelchair user had previously fallen from his chair whilst leaving the building. We are going to make level the access at the front of the building, make the threshold level and fit an automatic door.
The fire exit to the side of the building also needed upgrading as this did not allow anyone in a wheelchair to use this exit if needed so this is being upgraded.
We are also making one of the wc’s fully accessible for a wheelchair user.
This work started on Thurs 11/02/10 and it was hoped to be finished by end of March 2010. However there has been a slight delay in the external works due to the extremely cold weather but the internal works will be completed and the complex opened again by the end of March 2010.”
The sheltered lounge in Tullideph Place is currently undergoing renovations and I recently asked the City Council Housing Department about progress with the works.
I was advised by the City Council yesterday that, because of the works at the lounge, residents who normally vote there will instead vote at the Morven Terrace sheltered lounge at the forthcoming General Election.