31/01/2017

Where is Dundee's City Deal?

Yesterday the Scottish Government, the Scotland Office and Highland Council pr formally signed-off the £315 million Inverness City Deal.  Yet again I re-iterated my question 'where is Dundee's City Deal?'  On numerous occasions along with others I have asked for details of the City Deal for Dundee. I'm very concerned that Dundee seems to be at the back of the queue.

I have asked for details of the City Deal for Dundee and for an answer as to why our city appears to be at the back of the queue.  I have received a briefing on this which did not shed a great deal of light on the subject.  From my perspective I see other cities and regions in Scotland at the front of the queue receiving funding for projects.  Dundee needs investment and jobs and I want to know why there seems to be a lack of urgency to do a deal.

I have been told that a lot of work is going on in the background, this may well be true but I am still confused about why all the other regions want to tell people about what they are doing and even engage in some kind of public debate about what is proposed.  Dundee's deal appears to be top secret.  Why is Dundee the only city not shouting from the rooftops about the deal that it wants?

I want to hear about plans for jobs and investment sooner rather than later, we need to promote our city.  I will put the interests of Dundee first to help deliver jobs and investment for our city.  I have two questions to ask, firstly why the secrecy and secondly where is our city deal?

I am pleased that the council has now said that there will be a report to the council on 13th February, but it does still beg the question - why the secrecy?


30/01/2017

St Joseph's Parent & Community Council

 On Monday evening I was pleased to attend a meeting of the St Joseph's Parent and Community Council at St Joseph's Primary School.  It was great to hear about what is going on in the school.  It is important to get the chance to listen to what is going on in the local schools.

There are real issues around car parking outside the West End campus, including Victoria Park Primary School and Balgay Hill Nursery School as well as St Joseph's.  I will be seeking action from Dundee City Council and from Police Scotland about this issue.  Fundamentally though people parking near to the campus must be sensible and put the safety of all the children at the school first.


Community Energy Co-operative for Dundee?

Solar Panels on Davidson Mains Primary School, Edinburgh
pic Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative
I support calls for a Community Solar Energy Co-operative for Dundee.  I recently attended a meeting with around twenty other interested people to look at a way forward.  The meeting was facilitated by Energy for All, an umbrella charity that looks at promoting community renewable energy co-operatives.  The idea is a similar to an idea which has been supported by the City of Edinburgh Council, the Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative.

I am keen that we do everything that we can to protect and improve the environment in Dundee.  We all have our part to play and I think promoting community energy renewables would be a way of doing that in Dundee.  In Edinburgh the City Council facilitated the creation of Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative which generates electricity from solar panels on the roofs of public buildings.  I was delighted to join a number of like-minded individuals recently to discuss a way forward for a similar plan for Dundee.

There was clearly interest in doing something on this and Energy for All are prepared to support attempts to set up a co-operative.  Dundee is Scotland's sunniest city and I am sure that we should find a way of using that solar energy to heat the homes of Dundee.  I think that we should be looking to do this because it will be good for the environment but I also think that it could be a way of dealing with the scourge of fuel poverty in our city.  I think that Edinburgh and rural communities across Scotland have shown the way that people should get together to form a co-operative to help themselves and their community to produce green energy and perhaps even a return on their investment.

I also think that as part of Dundee's role as an UNESCO City of Design we should be saying to architects across the city design energy efficiency and design community renewables into your plans.  Dundee boasts a lot of new school buildings and not enough was done to ensure that they had solar panels on their roofs, even south facing flat roofs do not have solar panels.


These proposals are at a very early stage and we are looking for people who are interested to express an interest at this stage. Hopefully though, this is an idea which could make a difference to Dundee.

If you are interested in this idea, you can like the Facebook page

Time to think differently on car parking

I am glad that the council has agreed to take action around West End car parking. Discussions at meetings must lead to action. I will be keeping a close eye on this it is important that these meetings do not become the equivalent of the long-grass.

Some local people are suggesting that we look at using city centre car parks as a means of taking cars off the streets of the West End.

It seems to me that many of the standard approaches to car parking have been tried already. I think that there is a need for open minds which are prepared to think differently. We need to listen to local people about the problems and listen to their ideas about the way forward.

We need to look at ideas from other places, can we solve the problem by doing things differently.   I welcome the proposals which have been discussed by the West End Community Council.  We should be looking to see if it is possible to use all of the car parking resources of the council to solve the problem.  These may or may not be the solution to the problem but we need to be open to new thinking.  If the proposed meetings are to have any point then nothing should be ruled out prior to the meeting.

We also need to engage with employers and organisations which generate large amounts of traffic such as Ninewells Hospital and the University of Dundee.


I am looking forward to constructive meetings and hopefully some genuine progress to try and solve the problems which I see on a daily basis as a local councillor and resident.