West Port artwork – an update

Residents will know the artwork in the West Port, where public toilets once sat – photo above.

Art UK explains its background :

“Pyramid and Canopies – Stan Bonnar 

Commissioned in 1983, the West Port ‘Pyramid and Canopies’ was not only a sculptural artwork, but also formed the roof structure and stairway down to a newly modernised underground public toilets. 

The last images in the series, provided by the artist, show the work as it initially appeared. Bonnar was given the brief of proposing artworks for the West Port area of Dundee, and during this creative survey, he saw that the old Victorian ‘men only’ public toilets had fallen into disrepair.”

Stan was recently in touch with me about the current state of the artwork which definitely needs some tender loving care to remove graffiti, repaint it and clean the pyramid.

The City Council’s planning officer who deal with public art matters is kindly arranging this.

Stan has suggested some improvements including creating seating – to quote him :

” …  the seating would be installed as part of a conservation scheme for the trees and pyramid at some time in the future.  I hope that the artwork will be able to be ‘topped off’ by reinstating the globes.

It would be great if they were made to light up as this would accentuate their functioning in the artwork as a symbol of oneness. (red supporting blue – blue supporting red – each the environment and meaning of the other). 

And of course this is reflected in the symbolic value of the pyramid.”

Stan has kindly produced a mock-up of what this could look like – below :

Another great West End Christmas event tonight! #dundeewestend

The Christmas Lights Switch On in West Port is later today!    Don’t miss it!

Events take place in West Port in front of the Globe :
4.20 – 4 30      Fiddlers
4.30 – 4.40     Trombone Trio
4.40 – 4.55     Children’s Christmas Choir
4.55 – 5.00     Piper
5.00               West Port Christmas Tree Lights Switch On
5.00 – 5.10     Piper
There will be hot spiced apple juice being served to adults and hot chocolate being served to the children.

Getting things done – Hawkhill and West Port #dundeewestend

Residents recently raised with me the fact that the street lighting in parts of the Hawkhill by-pass (near Blackness Primary School) and West Port was not on in the morning when it was still dark.
I am grateful to the Street Lighting Partnership who promptly resolved this – a timeclock issue, now fixed.
The Street Lighting Partnership Manager advised me that timeclocks are being phased out to avoid such issues.   She indicates :
“We replace the timeclocks with a photoelectric cell which operates on the ambient lighting levels. Currently we are using cells which switch the lights at 35lux in the evening and 18 lux in the morning.
Unfortunately it is not a straight swap for these components and often some additional cabling and tracking is required.”

The West Port Christmas Lights are on!

The West Port celebrated its Christmas Lights Switch On in style earlier tonight with the well-attended (despite the rain!) ‘Westport Wonderland’ – a fantastic Christmas Market in the former Westport Gallery, the Parlour Cafe hosting a second hand book sale, Hot Chocolate Bar, fresh waffles and apple pie and the Rep hosting a window spotting competition with the brilliant prize of a Family ticket to their production of The Witches.
And there was great music and the Christmas Lights being switched on too!
Here’s a video and a few photos from tonight’s celebrations :
The Christmas Market (above and below)


Mia switched on the Christmas Lights!
The West Port Christmas Tree

Photopolis : Hawkhill, taken from West Port

This view of the Hawkhill in Dundee below was taken from the West Port, looking west.
Thomas Aitken’s public house, The Globe, is listed in the Dundee Directory as Nos. 57 and 59 West Port, and is still so named today. Behind it is Johnston’s Lane.
No. 1 Hawkhill is listed in the Dundee Directory as John Mathieson, broker, which may have been the West Port Loans Office. M. Boland & Co.’s clothiery was Nos. 20 and 24 Hawkhill.

City Centre Parking Permits – West Port vicinity

The West Port area has traditionally been part of the City Centre Parking Permit scheme.   However, I have highlighted with the City Council over a considerable period the need to correct an anomaly whereby a small number of households in the western part of the street have been excluded from the scheme, due to an error in the boundary.
I was given a commitment some time ago that this would be addressed as part of the City Centre Controlled Parking Zone review.
I recently asked the council’s Head of Transportation for an update on the situation and he has responded as follows :

The City Centre Controlled Parking Zone review is still on-going and the Residents’ Parking Zone issues are included within this review.  It is planned to bring this to committee late Autumn 2014 and implement any changes in summer 2015.  In the meantime any previously agreed concessions will be maintained.

Photopolis : Hawkhill, taken from West Port

This view of the Hawkhill in Dundee is taken from the West Port, looking west.
Thomas Aitken’s public house, The Globe, is listed in the Dundee Directory as Nos. 57 and 59 West Port, and is still so named today. Behind it is Johnston’s Lane.
No. 1 Hawkhill is listed in the Dundee Directory as John Mathieson, broker, which may have been the West Port Loans Office. M. Boland & Co.’s clothiery was Nos. 20 and 24 Hawkhill.

Medical records dumped in West Port

Following the revelation that NHS Tayside medical records have been found dumped in a bin recess area at the back of tenements in West Port, I have had several constituents express concern about this and I have written to the Chief Executive of NHS Tayside in the following terms:

“I have had a number of constituents express concern to me about the recent finding of medical records dumped in a bin recess area in the West Port area of my ward.

I would be grateful if you would give me an explanation as to how this happened and a reassurance that, on fully investigating the circumstances as to how this happened, procedures will be tightened to ensure that this could not occur again in the future.”

Having in the past raised residents’ complaints about the state of some of the back areas at West Port, I have also been again in touch with one of the landlords about getting these back areas properly tidied.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader, Willie Rennie MSP, has rightly called for a Scotland-wide investigation of the safe and proper disposal of medical records – see below:


A Scotland-wide investigation into information management by the NHS has been called for following the dumping of patient records in Dundee.  The records which hold sensitive information on 22 patients from Dundee, Angus and Fife were found dumped in a bin recess in Dundee.

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has called for a Scotland wide inquiry.
Commenting, he said:

“This is yet another example of poor control of patient records and information management in the NHS in Scotland.  To dump sensitive information in a bin instead of ensuring safe disposal could be an indication of a slack attitude.

“I am pleased that NHS Tayside has already agreed to investigate the matter, but the problem is that NHS Tayside is not alone.  

“NHS Ayrshire and Arran were heavily criticised by the Information Commissioner for their management of important information.  The failure in Ayrshire and Arran crucially involved learning the lessons from patient deaths.

“The Health Secretary has so far refused to conduct a Scotland wide inquiry but she needs to think again after this latest episode.  I urge her today to agree to an inquiry so that the mistakes in Ayrshire and Arran and in Tayside are not repeated.”  

West Port lights switch on!

Following the super West End Christmas Week events last Saturday and on Wednesday, earlier this evening, along with Sheena Livingstone of the Westport Gallery and my ward colleague Cllr Richard McCready, I participated in the lights switch on for the West Port area.  

Although the area has had a Christmas Tree each year, this is the first occasion on which we have had an ‘official lights switch on’ at West Port.   Sheena and her fellow traders have a superb mix of businesses in West Port and South Tay Street that are well worth a visit!

Above :  About to switch the lights on!


Above :  The lights are on!

Above :  Richard, Sheena and myself – with the gallery in the background!

Above : The West Port Tree!

West End Christmas Week – latest news!

Later today, I chaired the latest meeting of the West End Christmas Week group – and, for the first time, we met in the new (and rather superb) coffee shop at Dundee West Church.

We had a very productive meeting, arranging a launch event on Saturday 20th November (a community fayre at Dundee West Church) followed by the Christmas Children’s Concert, lights switch on, fireworks and carnival on Wednesday 24th November and the week closing with the Blackness Primary School Christmas Fayre on 27th November.   There will also be a new lights switch on for the West Port area on Friday 26th November. 

It is the Christmas Week’s 10th anniversary and we are working to achieve a memorable series of events this year!

Christmas and Community

Yesterday, we held the first meeting of the West End Christmas Week Committee for 2010. Very early in the year, you might think! However, it is the 10th anniversary and as we want to ensure a superb event to celebrate this milestone – hence the early planning meeting.

We are aiming to hold this week’s Christmas Week from 20th to 27th November – the launch on the 20th being a community fayre involving local community groups across the West End, with the Christmas lights switch on and children’s Christmas concert taking place on Wednesday 24th November – including a superb fireworks display and a carnival, hopefully on a site site at the Duncan of Jordanstone site (we are grateful for the support of the University of Dundee in relation to this). Celebrities, competitions, concerts – a great 10th Christmas anniversary in the West End – don’t miss it!    For the first time, there will also be a lights switch-on event in West Port, to publicise the superb shops in West Port and South Tay Street, too.

Last night, as reported in today’s Courier, I chaired a great public meeting at Dundee West Church aimed at setting up a sports and community facility at Riverside, for the benefit of the West End community, together with a project to repaint and repair the Magdalen Green bandstand, last restored 20 years ago. The photo (below) was taken at the meeting.

If you are interested in hearing more about the project, please e-mail me at community.project@frasermacpherson.org.uk – many thanks!

West Port Roundabout

I have received complaints from constituents about the worn white lines/road markings at the West Port roundabout, that is clearly a matter of concern in terms of road safety. I raised the matter with the City Council and have received the following positive response :

“These deficiencies were identified under a road safety audit and work is planned as new works in the next financial year.

The roundabout was re-textured to improve the surface for vehicles.    The renewal of road markings will be complemented by new anti skid surfacing.”

West End Christmas Week Update

At City Council committees last night, Christmas lights displays across the City this festive season were agreed.    I’m pleased to say that the Christmas trees and lights for the West End – at both Seabraes and West Port – are again included.
At last week’s Christmas Week meeting, the committee agreed that this year’s West End Christmas Week will run from Saturday 22nd November to Saturday 29th November.    The week will start with a Community Safety Event, with the Annual Christmas Lights Switch On and Fireworks on Wednesday 26th November.    There will be numerous other events, culminating with the Christmas Fayre at Blackness Primary School on Saturday 29th November.
It will be a great week – if you are interested in helping, please e-mail christmas2008@frasermacpherson.org.uk – many thanks!

Tuesday update

A busy day (largely in Edinburgh) and having issued a news release about the Botanic Gardens concerns (pasted below), I was interviewed by both Radio Tay and Wave 102 (the latter whilst on a train to Edinburgh!) about the situation. The matter is also covered in today’s Courier and Evening Telegraph.
The meetings in Edinburgh were with my TACTRAN hat on – along with my Regional Transport Partnership Chair colleagues from across Scotland, we met firstly with COSLA and thereafter with John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth, and Stewart Stevenson, the Transport Minister.
On my way back tonight, admired the ‘other’ West End Christmas lights at West Port (see above right). Clearly, the City Council got a job lot of similar Christmas lights sets, but attractive nonetheless!
Tonight sees the last monthly meeting of West End Community Council of 2007.

West End City Councillor Fraser Macpherson said that he was “gravely concerned” by the unwillingness of the University of Dundee to deny speculation that it is discussing the sale of part of the Botanic Gardens grounds to a local property developer.

“I have no doubt that the whole local community would strongly oppose the building of houses on any part of the Botanic Gardens ground. It would have been helpful for the University to confirm that it would not contenance sellling any part of its own ground at the Botanics to a developer, but unfortunately it has not given
such an assurance thus far,” said Cllr Macpherson.

“Any attempt to build housing on grounds earmarked as open space in the Local Plan Review 2005 would fly in the face of adopted local planning policy. The gardens clearly fall under the category of “protected open space” in terms of Policy 66 of the Local Plan Review.

“I was present at the very well attended Friends of the Botanic Gardens public meeting at the end of November and what was extremely clear from that was the needs for all parties – the University, Friends of the Botanic Gardens and others – to work together to ensure a sustainable future for the Botanic Gardens. I call on the University to give a firm commitment that it will not sell off Botanic Gardens ground to any developer,” he concluded.

FOCUS, flooding, TV reception and other matters …

This morning we were again out delivering FOCUS newsletters in the West End; already had lots of feedback – including flooding at West Port (below right) and at Pinegrove (below left), comments on the operation of the Riverside Drive/Perth Road junction (a story in FOCUS), speeding in City Road/Logie Street and TV reception (problem with the Tay Bridge transmitter analogue reception over the weekend) – I have contacted the BBC about this.
And, talking of TV reception, the Head of Public Affairs at Digital UK has e-mailed me following complaints that some constituents in the West End who (according to the Freeview website) CAN get digital terrestrial TV reception but once they buy the Freeview equipment find that, in fact, they CAN’T get reception. So, here’s the feedback from Digital UK:

“Thank you for your email concerning the postcode checker and the displayed anomaly between the results of the checker and actual reception.

“The Digital UK postcode checker is an important tool for indicating the likelihood of digital coverage for a particular household. Although it is based on third-party data, which we do not originate, we believe it provides a very high level of accuracy in determining which digital options are available at a particular address. As such it is a useful tool for visitors to our website and call centre.

“The postcode checker results page includes a disclaimer making clear that results are indicative. Terrestrial broadcast signals are subject to many interfering factors, which make it impossible for a national database such as the postcode checker to provide exact coverage information for each of the UK’s 25m TV households. That would require knowledge of the exact location and shape of every building, hill, tree, bush and receiving aerial in the country.

“Similar knowledge would be necessary to provide 100%-accurate coverage information for digital satellite, which covers the entire UK but requires a line of sight from the receiving dish to the sky at a specific angle. Local landlord and planning restrictions for erecting satellite dishes are another factor that may exclude the satellite option; unfortunately the postcode checker cannot account for this.

“The checker also provides coverage information for cable, based on cable operators’ own databases. This is the best information available to us for indicating cable availability.

“As a rule, if a good analogue picture is received now, a good digital picture should result through the existing aerial after switchover. If Freeview cannot be received now and our postcode checker says the household is in coverage, the aerial used may not be capable of receiving the full signal. In this instance it is advisable to contact an aerial installer, ideally one who carries the ‘digital tick’ logo (a Registered Digital Installer), or else a member of a recognised trade body. Some indoor aerials will work, but some will need replacing. Again, if it provides a good analogue signal now it is likely to receive digital after switchover.

“Switchover will extend coverage of digital terrestrial television (Freeview) from around 73% of households to 98.5% of households. All planning has been designed to replicate coverage of the existing analogue signal (98.5%). Switchover will therefore benefit those homes which are currently outside the range of existing digital terrestrial television (DTT) by extending the signal coverage to areas currently receiving an analogue signal.

“The current digital signal is carried on 81 transmitters nationally, of which Angus is one. These transmitters cover 73% of the country. During switchover all remaining relay transmitters, including Tay Bridge and numbering 1,154 across the UK will be upgraded. It could be the case that during initial installation the aerials in the homes affected were aimed at the transmitter with the strongest signal. As this may be a relay transmitter, the upgrade to a digital signal will not yet have occurred.

“Digital UK will launch a new postcode database next year which will enable individuals to check which digital TV services are available to them now and after switchover. “