Pupil safety outside Dundee schools

This afternoon, I took part in the latest meeting of the City Council’s working group tackling school parking and pupil safety outside schools across the city.
 
I took the opportunity to again raise my concerns and those of constituents about road safety in the vicinity of the West End schools’ campus – Balgay Hill Nursery School, Victoria Park Primary School and St Joseph’s Primary School.    The concerns include some drivers driving into the school campus area (instead of parking on-street) against school advice and some inappropriate on-street parking including drop off and pick up of pupils on Blackness Road.
 
I am pleased to advise that, after hearing my concerns, the council’s Chief Executive proposed a site visit to the schools to look at the issues and agree steps to tackle them.   This will take place before the end of term later this month.
 
It should be stressed that the vast majority of parents and carers drop off their children appropriately and with care and respect for others, but any remaining safety concerns must be tackled.
 
I also spoke about the situation outside St John’s High School and was assured that a meeting with the school will take place next term to discuss any parking and safety issues.
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West End Schools’ Campus Official Opening

This morning, along with many other guests, I had the pleasure of attending the West End Schools’ Campus Official Opening at the magnificent new home for Balgay Hill Nursery School, St Joseph’s Primary School and Victoria Park Primary School.
 
The musical and dance contributions by the pupils were excellent and it was a thoroughly enjoyable morning.   Here’s a couple of photographs from a most memorable and enjoyable event:
A welcome from pupils from all three schools
The talented choir that contains pupils from all years from all three schools

Continued concern over parking at West End schools campus

Since the opening of the West End schools campus at Glenagnes Road/Blackness Road last year (the home of St Joseph’s Primary School, Balgay Hill Nursery School and Victoria Park Primary School), I have raised concerns about pupil and parking safety around the schools’ site.
 
Recently, the situation appeared to have improved, but yesterday – as reported in tonight’s Evening Telegraph – there were real concerns about the situation.   I had a long conversation last night with our local community police officer about the situation and have made some suggestions this morning to the Director of Education and the Head of Transportation at the City Council as follows:
 
*A minority of drivers ignoring the schools’ advice not to enter the school site by car to collect pupils.   I think the time has come to consider a controlled barrier at the entrance to stop unauthorised entry.
*Some pupils leaving via the vehicle access road and not via the pedestrian entrance/exit.    This needs to be addressed.
*Outside the school grounds, parking on zig zags, yellow lines and right on the corner of Glenagnes Road/Street, blocking Glenagnes Street completely.    There is a clear role for parking enforcement staff to effectively tackle this.
 
I had a very prompt response this morning from the Director of Education and I am anxious to see progress to ensure pupil safety.

Monday meetings

Yesterday, I took part in the latest meeting of the Balgay Stakeholders’ group that gives the opportunity for representatives from Friends of Balgay to discuss issues around the park area with local councillors and representatives of the City Council’s Environment Department.
 
It was a very positive meeting with a number of matters discussed, including:
 
* The “triangle” of ground outside Balgay Park at the Scott Street entrance has been improved and a new shrub bed and trees planted – see right.
 
* New roundabouts are about to be installed in Victoria Park (and also in the Roseangle playpark).     This is something I asked the Environment Department to do following the removal of the old roundabouts on safety grounds.
 
* Work on the Rose Garden is nearing completion, which is very welcome progress.   Two ramps are to be installed to allow for ease of access for visitors with mobility difficulties.   The garden is well-used by patients from Royal Victoria Hospital.   It was also good to hear that the Rotary Club has offered to sponsor two new pergolas at the Rose Garden.
 
* A second bench is now in place at the Poor Ground in Balgay Cemetery.
 
* A new set of alpines are to be planted in the Rose Window in Balgay Park.
 
After a site visit to discuss parking issues around the rail station area, I held my two weekly ward Monday surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and at Harris Academy and then I took part in City Council committee meetings.
 
At City Development Committee, I raised the on-going issues about safe drop-off and parking near the new West End schools campus (St Joseph’s Primary School, Balgay Hill Nursery School and Victoria Park Primary School).   I was given assurances by the Head of Transportation that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure any concerns from parents and residents are addressed and I am grateful to his department, the police and the Head Teachers and staff at the schools for the attention they have given to addressing any problems in the Glenagnes Road/Blackness Road area when school pupils are going into or coming out of school.
 
At Social Work and Health Committee, I spoke in a debate about the proposed running of a revised consultation process with service users of the Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre – and their families.   I made clear my view that the Care Inspectorate had made significant criticism of the previous consultation process and that there was a need for the City Council to act promptly and effectively to address these concerns.    
 
The Director of Social Work recommended bringing forward a further report next month giving detail of a new consultation process.   The Labour Group put forward an amendment that would have effectively meant no response by way of a fresh consultation to the Care Inspectorate’s criticisms until 2014.  That was not something I could support – the council does have a duty to respond timeously to the Care Inspectorate’s criticisms and apparently ignoring it for a year is not an acceptable response.    
 
The bottom line for me now is that there is a proper and meaningful consultation with all service users of Kemback Street and their families and I’ll await the Director of Social Work’s full report on the new intended consultation on 25th March.
 
One assurance I got from both the Convener and the Director was that, in bringing forward the detail of a new consultation to committee on 25th March, they accept that no final decision on the future of the Kemback Street facility should be made until every service user has undergone their assessment process, this has been completed and any agreed future service for that person has been communicated to and discussed with the service user and his or her family.

Road safety outside new West End Schools’ Campus

From Dundee City Council:

DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL
ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984
DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL (GLENAGNES ROAD, DUNDEE)
(VARIATION OF SCHOOL KEEP CLEAR) ORDER 2012
Dundee City Council in exercise of the powers conferred on them by Sections 1(1), 2(1) to (3), 4(1) and (2) and 32 of and Part IV of Schedule 9 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (which Act of 1984 is hereinafter referred to as “the said Act”) and of all other powers enabling them in that behalf and after consultation with the Chief Constable in accordance with Part III of Schedule 9 to the Act hereby make the following Order: 
1.
This Order may be cited as “Dundee City Council (Glenagnes Road, Dundee) (Variation of School Keep Clear) Order 2012” and shall come into operation.

 

2.
The Dundee City Council (School Keep Clear Areas) Order 2007 is hereby varied and shall henceforth have effect subject to the
amendments thereto   specified and described as follows:
 
GLENAGNES ROAD
  
NB :   This plan is not easily read in .jpg format.  A higher definition copy of this plan is available to download here

Community tour round of the new West End schools campus

As part of West End Christmas Fortnight, I was very keen to organise a community tour of the new shared campus for Balgay Hill Nursery School, St Joseph’s Primary School and Victoria Park Primary School and I am most grateful to the Director of Education for agreeing to this.
 
Last night, about 30 community representatives and local residents joined Lorna Ferry from the Education Department, Mrs Alison Starke, Head Teacher of Victoria Park Primary School and myself in a tour of what everyone agreed is a superb new educational facility for local children.   Alison and Lorna gave an excellent guided tour that all concerned thoroughly enjoyed.   Here’s a few photos from the tour: