Western Cemetery cremated remains section

Last year, I reported on progress with the proposal for a cremated remains section in Western Cemetery that the Western Cemetery Association has championed, with support from the City Council.
As there has, as yet, been no interments of sales of the lairs for urns, I asked the City Council’s Head of Environmental Management for an update on steps the council is taking to ensure local undertakers are aware of the cremated remains section.   
He has advised me that:
“… we have had our annual meeting with the undertakers and the urn area at the Western was discussed.  So they are aware of the opportunity.  Our Bereavement Section will make a fresh effort to raise this with the undertakers through their regular interaction.” 
The council provides details of its bereavement services here.

Western Cemetery Association welcomes bank volunteers!

This afternoon, staff from Barclays Bank  volunteered to join with  members of the Western Cemetery Association and  Dundee City Council Officers  to plant the area along the west wall backing on to the new urn field – see photos right and below:

Dr Ann Prescott of Western Cemetery Association said, “We were delighted that staff from Barclays Bank volunteered to help us with planting in the cemetery.     There has been good progress towards the provision of the new urn field, which will allow for the future burial of cremated remains in the cemetery.”

Progress at Western Cemetery

Memorial Rail now in situ
I have previously mentioned the proposal for a cremated remains section in Western Cemetery that Western Cemetery Association and I have promoted and has the support of the City Council.
Earlier today, along with representatives of the council’s Environment Department and of the Western Cemetery Association, we discussed progress on-site.   The main memorial rail is now in place and we discussed many practical issues including planting and the seating area.
There is substantive and welcome progress on this important project for the West End and representatives of Barclays Bank are kindly assisting with planting at the start of May, which is greatly appreciated.

West End Wednesday!

Yesterday, I participated in a meeting with the Western Cemetery Association and the City Council’s Environment Department to finalise the project to create a new cremated remains section in Western Cemetery – see right.  
There was agreement on the way forward and costings will be progressed prior to Christmas to enable the new remains section to become reality in the near future.
Last night, I attended the latest meeting of Community Spirit Action Groupthe community group for the “north” part of West End Ward, covering Pentland, Tullideph, Ancrum and the Cleghorn area.   
There was an excellent presentation by City Archivist Iain Flett on the Logie Burial Ground, World War II factories in the west of the city and the history of Irish in Dundee.   Iain is not only very knowledgeable, his talks are also highly entertaining and he gave a well-received talk to Community Spirit members.
I was also able to update Community Spirit Action Group on parking issues in Ancrum Drive and the latest news about West End Christmas Fortnight.

Many thanks to the Western Cemetery Association!

I have mentioned in recent months the efforts being made to establish a Perth Road Traders’ Association.   Local businesses have have rightly mentioned the need to improve the physical environment in the shopping area – the seating area at Sinderins (I have asked Community Payback to have the seats repainted and they have kindly agreed) and the seating at the advertising site at the bottom of Ryehill Lane are good examples.
And, with regard to the advertising site at the bottom of Ryehill Lane, I asked the owners JC Decaux to permit access for a community clean up, and the company kindly agreed.   So full marks to the Western Cemetery Association for tidying the site yesterday – and my thanks to Ann Prescott for the photos below:

Western Cemetery

Some time ago, the Courier reported the possible return of burials to the Western Cemetery, something I knew would be welcomed by many residents of the West End.

I have been working with the Western Cemetery Association and the Environment Department of Dundee City Council to move forward the proposal that would see the provision of plots for the burial of urns within the cemetery.

We had a very productive meeting yesterday at the West End community room at the Vine – and the proposal will now see 126 plots of lairs with a maximum of 4 family urns per lair being provided later this year.  We discussed at length the provision of a tablet granite book to give memorialisation to the lairs, considering both design and costings.

I am pleased with progress with this excellent initiative and hope to see it come to fruition later in 2012, for the benefit of the West End.

All prepared for West End Christmas Week …

Following a very productive meeting I attended with the City Council’s Environment Department and the Western Cemetery Association at the Vine this afternoon, and with thanks to all helpers, we got tomorrow’s West End Community Fayre set up at Dundee West Church.

All looking good for the launch for the 2011 West End Christmas Week, our 11th year …

All set up at Dundee West Church!
The super artwork winners from the West End Christmas Week schools’ competition, with thanks to Park Place, Ancrum Road, St Joseph’s and Blackness Primary Schools

West End Monday

Today, immediately before my weekly surgeries at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre, I took part in a very productive meeting with the Western Cemetery Association and the City Council’s Environment Department to move forward the decision of the City Council from May to create a new cremated remains section in Western Cemetery.    It is planned that the new remains section will open later in the autumn.

After my surgeries, I attended a committee meeting of WESHA, the West End Sports and Heritage Association, at which we discussed ways the project will improve sports and environmental facilities in the West End.   WESHA is intending to discuss with the City Council taking a lease of the Riverside changing facilities and is investigating funding sources for improvements.   It was an extremely positive meeting and good that there is real momentum with the initiative.

West End website updates!

Further to my recent update about the West End Community Council website, here’s a couple of further West End updates :

* Community Spirit, the community group for the northern part of the West End (Pentland/Ancrum/Tullideph/Cleghorn and surrounding areas) has a new site at www.dundeecommunityspirit.org.uk.    The site will be an excellent way to keep up to date with news in this part of the West End.

* The Western Cemetery Association has a new blog at http://dundeewca.blogspot.com.    The blog will be a great resource to keep in touch with the Association that exists –
  • To promote sustainable development of the site by improving the habitat for flora and fauna.
  • To encourage local residents to contribute to the maintenance and devopment of the site.
  • To provide a pleasant and safe environment for visitors.
  • To promote the site as a resource for the study of local history and genealogy.

Monday activities

In addition to the launch of Barney’s Fund that I mentioned last night, yesterday :

* The Courier covered the background to the motion I intend to bring to the City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee on 13th June.   This surrounds the plight of the people of Palestine, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the issue of the boycott of Israeli goods.    I am hoping that cross-party discussions prior to 13th June will achieve a cross-party consensus on this matter.

* The Courier also highlighted my view on the forthcoming Scottish Liberal Democrat leadership election.

After my two Monday surgeries at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre, I attended City Council committee meetings yesterday evening at which :

* I sought assurances that local suppliers in Dundee would benefit from a new Housing Department Decoration Card Scheme.

* I welcomed a new food waste collection pilot scheme, but asked how the number of separate collections to households can be avoided by collecting different collections at the same time.    As things now stand, there is potential for some households to have 5 separate collections – general waste, blue bin (paper/cardboard), brown bin (garden waste), green box (plastics, bottles etc) and now the new food collection.   It is clear from the reply given that the Waste Management Department has given thought to rationalising the number of collections, which is to be welcomed.    Given  the likely requirements on local authorities by 2013 to collect food waste, it is good that the City Council is moving this pilot forward now.

* I questioned the Chief Executive about progress on shared services, during discussion of a report on an overview of local government, undertaken by the Accounts Commission.

* I sought assurances that the City Council will work with residents across the city who are keen to form new Community Councils.

* I welcomed a report that will result in a new cremated remains section in Western Cemetery.    Having worked with the Western Cemetery Association to move this forward, I paid tribute to the Director of Leisure & Communities and his staff for all the work done with the design proposal.

And then came Tuesday …

Following a very productive meeting with representatives of the Western Cemetery Association and the City Council’s Leisure and Communities Department on-site at the cemetery at lunchtime, I attended an opening exhibition view of the shortlisted designs of the V and A at Dundee project, held at the library of the University of Abertay, Dundee.   I am dreadfully impressed by the imaginative designs and the 3-D Fly Throughs are really helpful. 

I hope there’s a great turnout at the exhibition and that people give their views on the designs.   My personal preference is the Delugan Meissl design – really striking – and my photo of it from the exhibition is pictured above.   Rather better images are available on the V and A at Dundee website!

This evening, I attended an excellent meeting at Blackness Primary School about the possibility of starting a ‘walking bus’ – the video below from Ireland was shown – it really sums up the concept and it would be great to see the project progressed at the school :

Blackness Primary pupils help planting effort at Western Cemetery

Was delighted to attend an event organised by the Western Cemetery Association (WCA) yesterday – Primary Six pupils from Blackness Primary School helped the Association’s work in encouraging biodiversity by helping to plant bulbs in the cemetery – see photo of the pupils busy with the bulb planting effort (right).

Western Cemetery is part of the Tayside Green Kirk and Graveyard Initiative. Already the WCA has planted a long lavender hedge and beds of fuchsias at the entrance, which have been attracting bees and butterflies all summer. The children added crocuses in front of the hedge to brighten the area next Spring.

Also yesterday, I helped the effort to organise West End Christmas Week by delivering flyers to local shops giving details of how local businesses can participate in the forthcoming Christmas Week’s events.


Wednesday …


Apart from a whole load of ‘day job’ activities today, I had the pleasure of attending the fascinating guided walk at Western Cemetery, ably led by Ann Prescott of the Western Cemetery Association and Iain Flett, Dundee City Council Archivist. An excellent turnout – here’s a couple of photos (above).

Later I attended the City Council Housing Working Group, of which I am a member. Good presentations and discussion on tenant participation and housing investment.

Tonight, I attended the Harris Academy Parent Council – both interesting and informative.

And … now home to recordings of ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘The Restaurant’!

Angus & Dundee Roots Festival

The Angus & Dundee Roots Festival takes place from 6th to 13th September and gives a great opportunity for people whose ancestors came from Dundee and Angus to visit the area to find out more about their ancestral homeland giving them a flavour of what life was like for ancestors in days gone by.


You can read more about the week by following this link :



I’m delighted that Ann Prescott, leading member of the Western Cemetery Association and Minutes Secretary of West End Community Council, is – as part of the week – giving a talk about the Western Cemetery. It takes place on Thursday 4th September at 1.00pm in the Glasite Hall (by St Andrew’s Parish Church at the bottom of King Street).


Ann tells me, “The talk is on the development of the Western as a private cemetery company from the point of view of the people and the place. Time permitting I’ll try to put it into the context of today’s Eco-graveyard movement.”

Western Cemetery Association … and Blackness Library 100th anniversary update

I attended the Spring meeting of the Western Cemetery Association (WCA) on Friday which proved most worthwhile. A site visit will take place shortly at the Cemetery with Association members and the City Council Leisure & Communities Department, to look at further ways the Association can help with gardening improvements at the Cemetery. You can read more about the Association’s activities by clicking on the headline above.

The Friday WCA meeting took place at Blackness Library … which brings me to … Blackness Library, and an update on the 100th anniversary celebrations. Back in February, I mentioned (http://frasermacpherson.blogspot.com/2008/02/blackness-librarys-100th-birthday.html) that the library is 100 years old this year. The anniversary date is 22nd October.

I have recently been advised by the City Council that a Centenary Planning Group has been formed and has started planning the Centenary event. A number of things have already happened:
* Research is being undertaken at the City Archives and Local History Department for material for use in an exhibition. Photographs and newspapers from October 1908 will be sourced.
* The Carnegie Trust and the Carnegie Museum in Dunfermline have been contacted for information.
* A leaflet is being produced inviting the public to come forward with any memorabilia and reminiscences.
* A programme of events for the week of the Centenary is being compiled and will include author visits, competitions and quizzes, activities for schoolchildren and adults, storytelling and tours of the library.

* Local groups have been invited to publicise their activities through displays in the library.

* Information is being prepared about the centenary celebration to be added to the library’s webpage.

* A reception in the library will be organised to celebrate the centenary on October 22nd.

Good to see all this happening – the photo (above right) shows the opening of the library back in 1908.

Western Cemetery Association

Following the recent successful inaugural public meeting of the Western Cemetery Association (click on heading above to view), the newly elected Chair Laurie Edmond has contacted supporters encouraging participation in the Association and its activities. You can find out more by becoming a supporter of the Association – you can join online free of charge at :
The Association has a blog at :

Al-Maktoum Cultural Centre and Western Cemetery Association

Today, I met with Professor Malory Nye, Acting Principal of the Al-Maktoum Institute, about the proposals for a Cultural Centre and, in particular, the state of the site of the former Logie Secondary School. I am pleased that Professor Nye confirmed that a further clean-up of the site will take place in the next few weeks, with construction starting in a few months.
At lunchtime, I chaired the inaugural public meeting of the Western Cemetery Association at Harris Academy (click on the headline to see the article in tonight’s Evening Telegraph) and was delighted at the good turnout. The meeting was followed by a tour of the cemetery by the City Archivist.

Community Council, Western Cemetery Association, Magdalen Green, West End Christmas Week

A very productive meeting of the West End Christmas Week committee on Monday – things taking shape. The week this year is running from 1st to 8th December, with a launch on 1st December on Magdalen Green and the Christmas Concert, Lights Switch On and fireworks display on Thursday 6th December.
Along with valued help from colleagues, I am distributing the first flyer to local shops later this week (see right).
It’s amazing to think that its already the seventh year of the West End Christmas Week, and we have exciting new initiatives this year to keep the week fresh and exciting.
Do let us know if you wish to help!
A well-attended Community Council meeting last night, which included a presentation by a member of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens. An excellent leader article in the Courier this morning highlighting the fact that, whilst the Scottish Government was “happy to toss £10 million to the botanic gardens in Edinburgh”, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment (Richard Lochhead MSP) “is uninterested in helping Dundee.” Let’s hope we see a change of heart on this and some real support from the Scottish Government.
A couple of other important local events coming up :

Blackness area, Surgeries, Burst tyres, Polepark Playpark ….

A useful meeting with Blackness Area residents last night covering numerous issues including the road surface in Abbotsford Place (I’m arranging a site visit for the Residents’ Association to discuss with Planning & Transportation staff), recycling bins, road lining in Blackness Avenue and refuse presentation issues. I’ve followed up various issues with Council staff today.
Today saw my last surgeries at Mitchell Street Centre, Harris Academy and Blackness Primary School until after the school holidays.
Between Mitchell Street and Harris, I had the joy of a puncture! I am awfully grateful to the community councillor who attended my surgery at Harris and gave me a lift to Blackness Primary! One RAC visit later and all is well again!
During the school holidays, I do not have weekly surgeries but can be contacted at home at any time on 459378.
The Police have contacted me about the state of the playpark in Polepark Road (rubbish strewn – mainly plastic bags, plastic bottles and cans) – I have raised this with the Leisure & Communities and Waste Management Departments.
Lastly there are recent updates worth a look at :
Friends of Magdalen Green : http://magdalengreen.blogspot.com/
Western Cemetery Association : http://westerncemetery.blogspot.com/

West End site visits, Botanic Gardens, Western Cemetery and Graffiti

A busy couple of days, with a couple of site visits with residents, firstly to Tullideph Road where’s there’s a pavement fault next to the bus stop opposite the shops near the City Road junction (see right) and to Paton’s Lane about an unlit ‘one way’ sign. Both now reported to the Planning & Transportation Department for attention.

The steering group of the proposed Western Cemetery Association met yesterday. They are planning a public launch event at West Park on Tuesday 18th September – a lunchtime event, followed by a cemetery walk and talk by Iain Flett, Dundee City Archivist. More details later and see http://westerncemetery.blogspot.com/ for more details of the Cemetery.

I also had a meeting yesterday at the Botanic Gardens to discuss the long-term future of the Gardens. I am anxious that the Gardens are given a long-term sustainable future by the University of Dundee and keen the City Council plays its part in this. I have also discussed the issue with the Council Leader and the Convener of Economic Development.

I have also had useful meetings with the Director of Planning & Transportation, the Council Leader and the Head of Waste Management; the latter about the graffiti issue. I am keen that this issue is given prominence, with innovative ways of addressing the problem. Click on the headline above, for example, to see the innovative way Bisbane City Council in Australia has tackled graffiti on its utility and similar boxes.

Monday and Tuesday

Monday morning saw a useful planning meeting of the steering group of Western Cemetery Association – I have put together a blog for the group (click on headline above to view) using material they have gathered.

Last night saw the last full Council and main committee meetings before the May elections. The Finance Committee, which I chair, had a sensible report on ways to increase Direct Debit payment of Council Tax – an area in which the City Council is improving.

Today, Nicol Stephen MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader, visited Dundee and toured the vastly improved facilities at St John’s High School. Photos below show Nicol with myself and our Dundee West parliamentary candidate (Michael Charlton) and our other Dundee West City Council candidates (Helen Dick, Chris Hall and Murray Dick); also me at the Nicol Battle Bus!
Tonight, we held a very productive planning meeting of Friends of Magdalen Green.
I’ll be posting full details of its inaugural public meeting on the blog in early May.

Busy week!

In my blog of 17th March, I reported that I had asked the Waste Management Department for a new litter bin in Blackness Street following the bin being burnt (see story by clicking headline above). Pleased to report that a new bin has now been provided (see right).
Grateful to all residents who have wished me the best for May 3rd’s City Council elections – really heartened by the really positive feedback locally.
Had a useful meeting with the Lord Provost and representatives of the Western Cemetery Association at the City Chambers yesterday – we are getting to the stage of the Association being formally set up with a Constitution, Office Bearers, etc, which will then allow it to seek funding for improvement works at the Cemetery. The Cemetery has an absolutely fascinating past.
Have been in touch with the City Council again about the graffiti mess at Victoria Park and with Servite Housing about damage to the entrance sign at Muirlands sheltered housing.

Tuesday to Friday

Tuesday night’s West End Community Council meeting had a useful update on paths and cycle routes by a member of Leisure & Communities staff. There was an update on the proposed Western Cemetery Association and I updated the Community Council on how the embryonic Friends of Magdalen Green group is progressing. There was a discussion about helicopter noise complaints about the airport and I advised that I have had a response from the airport manager on this issue.
Taking of the embryonic Friends of Magdalen Green group, we met again on Wednesday morning – a really positive and constructive meeting. We are working towards the launch at a public meeting at the Friendship Hall in Dundee West Church on Wednesday 16th May at 6.45pm – a note for all local diaries! The draft publicity looks really good.
Am pleased that the lighting problem at the back of Windsor Street (between there and Minto Place) was resolved earlier in the week. The street lighting section advised me as follows:
“The fault related to a problem with the underground cable in Richmond Terrace feeding some of the lights in Minto Place. These types of faults are difficult to locating and hence get operational again. We did however manage to repair these lights within the national target of 7 days.”
Met a number of constituents on various issues this week including Friday and Saturday night disturbances in one area and tenemental issues in another.

Benvie Road and Western Cemetery

Another useful meeting of the group aiming to set up a “Friends of” group for Western Cemetery this morning. Spent much of the day going through a huge lot of issues raised by residents – many about refuse and others on roads/pavements in the West End.
Have had feedback from the City Council about the condition of the Benvie Road steps I had raised earlier following residents’ complaints (click on headline above to view earlier story and photograph). The steps have been inspected and found to be safe but the inspector “was however concerned about the paint which could be slippy in certain conditions as well as looking untidy and he arranged for the Rapid Response team from Waste Management to clean this off.”

Christmas Week latest; Western Cemetery

Last night’s City Council meetings saw the creation of a “Friends of Western Cemetery” approved by the Leisure & Arts Services Committee. Full marks to the Convener (Bailie Chic Farquhar) for his warm words to the Community Council for its initiative. I spoke at committee, praising the co-operation of the City Council officers in helping progress this good initiative. We meet again as a group next Tuesday.
Met the airport manager yesterday with a local resident concerned about her concerns about noise by aircraft. Also spoken with the Head of Environmental Health & Trading Standards about this.
And lastly tonight! Met last Friday with Robin Carstairs, our West End Christmas Week pyrotechnician – fireworks expert to you and me! Rob has done a brilliant job arranging the fireworks display this year and it’ll be much bigger than in 2005. There’s a new website at http://www.westendpyro.com about the fireworks display (thanks to Rob for progressing this) – its still in production but the Community Council page will be content provided by West End Community Council, I wrote the home page content about the events on 6th December and there’s details of the businesses who kindly contributed to the fireworks display and also details about Rob’s fireworks experience.