Councillor writes to Minister over HMO signs

4 May 2009

Dundee West End Councillor Richard McCready is to write to the Scottish Housing Minister Alex Neil to raise his concerns about unfairness in the size of signsused to advertise HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) properties for rent and the size of the signs used to advertise that an HMO licence has been applied for.

Councillor McCready raised the issue recently at the City Council'sLicensing Committee and was told that the City Council was powerless in the situation.

Councillor Richard McCready said, 'The licensing of HMO properties is good, it improves standards and goes some way to promoting safety both for the HMO occupants and their neighbours.

"My constituents in the West End have concernsabout HMOs, they often complain to me that they were unaware that a licence hadbeen applied for.

"Applicants do not have to inform neighbours that they have applied for a licence and they are only obliged to place an A4 form on display on or near the property.

"Many constituents have pointed out to me that whensuch properties are advertised for rent then much bigger and bolder signs are used.

"I agree with my constituents who say to me that this is unfair andsuggest that HMOs should be forced to use the same size of sign to apply for a licence and to advertise the property for rent.

''I raised the issue with Marlyn Glen MSP and she has provided me with confirmation that the City Council is powerless to change this situation.

"Iwill be contacting Alex Neil MSP the Scottish Housing Minister to ask that theScottish Government has a look at this situation and takes up my suggestion.

"Ithink that for local people to have confidence in the licensing system theyneed to feel that the system is transparent at all times.

"Local people lack confidence in the system because there is no need to notify them that a licence has been applied for, neighbours are only officially notified after the HMO licence has been granted.

"Other similar situations such as planningapplications or applications for drinks licences require neighbour notification.

"I hope that Alex Neil will have a look at this situation and agree with me that in the interests of fairness something should be done.

"I think my proposal that the size of the signs advertising that an HMO licence has been applied for and advertising the property for rent should be the same size isfair.

"I want fairness for my constituents in the West End."

Tribute to Jack Jones

22 April 2009

West End Labour Councillor Richard McCready today joined the many people payingtribute to the life and career of former trade union leader Jack Jones who died yesterday.

Richard McCready said, "I was very sorry to hear of the death of Jack Jones.

"Iwas privileged to meet him in Dundee in October last year when he attended theInternational Brigades Memorial Trust AGM which was held in the city.

"Even as an elderly man you could still sense the passion for justice which drove himthroughout his life whether on the battlefield during the Spanish Civil War or later on defending workers and later pensioners closer to home.

"To get thechance to hear some of the stories of his exploits was indeed a privilege.

"The labour and trade union movement have lost a true champion and he will be missed but it is important to remember all the things he achieved in his life.'

Earlier posts

McCready welcomes new school proposals for West End

20 January 2009

Richard McCready, the Labour member of Dundee City Council for the West End today welcomed the proposals to build two new primary schools in his ward along with a new nursery school.

The City Council's Education Committee will be asked to approve proposals for a new Park Place Primary School along with a new St Joseph's Primary and a new nursery school on Monday evening.

Councillor Richard McCready said, 'I welcome these proposals.

"I know that the schools that serve the West End already do an excellent job and that is down to the hard work of teachers and other staff as well as the hard work of pupils and their families.

"The City Council Administration has set raising educational attainment as one of its main priorities and it is a top priority for me.

"Over the last few years the Labour-led Labour/Lib Dem Administration has invested significant sums in new and refurbished schools and I warmly welcome this proposed investment of around £10 million in the West End.

"On Monday evening if the Education Committee agrees to these proposals then the Director of Education will be instructed to consult formally on these proposals.

"I know that this will be genuine consultation and I would urge the parents at Park Place and St Joseph's to make sure that the council is aware of their views on this important issue.

"This is good news for the West End; I hope that it brings construction jobs in the building process.

"I will continue to do what I can to promote the best possible education for every child in the West End."

McCready disappointed at Post Office Decision
31 July 2008

West End Councillor Richard McCready today expressed his disappointment at the decision of the Post Office to confirm the closure of the Lochee Road and Nethergate Post Offices in the West End ward.

Councillor McCready had made his views known in opposition to these closures in a written submission to the Post Office and in public in the council chamber and at a public meeting in the West End.

Councillor Richard McCready said,

"I am disappointed that Post Office Limited have not listened to the representations which I have made on this important issue.

"I am still not convinced that Post Office Limited have made their case.

"The two post offices in the West End serve an important role serving local people.

"As I have said previously the Lochee Road post office is part of a small parade of shops.

"I am concerned about the viability of this area when this post office is closed.

"The Nethergate Post Office serves a vibrant area of the West End and I am concerned about the knock-on effects of this closure.

'I feel that my constituents will have a poorer service as a result of these proposals.

"I am unhappy that the Post Office have not listened to the points which I raised with them.

"I will be keeping a close eye on post office services locally to ensure that people like me who live in the West End have an appropriate service after these very disappointing closures take place.'

Councillor Richard McCready's Response to Post Office Limited on the proposed closure of Lochee Road and Nethergate Post Offices 14 July 2008

Dundee in Bloom Garden and Allotment Competition
25 June 2008

Dundee City Council leisure, arts and communities convener Richard McCready presented Forthill Primary School today with a Gold Medal Certificate for winning the Dundee in Bloom Garden and Allotment Competition 2008 school or nursery category.

He said, "This is a wonderful achievement by Forthill Primary School and I would like to congratulate the pupils and everyone involved in gaining first place in their category in a city wide competition."

The school will also receive a £15 Garden Voucher.

The annual garden competition aims to encourage the community, individuals and businesses to take a pride and interest in the city by making their premises attractive with the use of floral displays, imaginative landscapes and also by sustaining the diversity of plants and wildlife.

Team Read to encourage children to enjoy reading
23 June 2008

Dundee City Council libraries are encouraging young people to read their way through their summer holidays.

The Team Read is the 10th national summer Reading Challenge, a reading promotion for children that runs in libraries throughout the summer holidays.

Children are asked to read six books or more spurred on by free incentives and activities.

Leisure, arts and communities convener Councillor Richard McCready said, "The Team Read is a call to action for children to get off the sofa and kick start their reading in tune with the sporting theme of the Olympics.

"I hope that as many children as possible make the most of their summer holiday time and take up this exciting and fun challenge."

Convener praises Basketball Development Programme
16 June 2008

Leisure, arts and communities convener Richard McCready has praised the work of Dundee City Council’s sports development team

They are working with the St Clements Out of School Care Club to provide a basketball development programme that gives the children the chance to learn the skills of the sport.

He said, "This is a great opportunity for children in the Dundee Out of School Care Network (DOSCN) to get active and have fun.

" It’s a pilot programme with St Clements with the aim of building on the success of these classes across the whole out of school network."

Seashore festival
15 June 2008

Leisure, arts and communities convener Richard McCready took part in the Seashore Festival in Broughty Ferry today to mark the start of the summer season.

There were sea-themed arts activities, face painting, as well as displays and activities from local and national organisations including RNLI, Scottish Natural Heritage, SCRI, RSPB, Shanwell Wildlife Rescue Trust, and the Sea Mammal Research Unit St Andrews.

Councillor McCready said "The Seashore Festival continues to go from strength to strength.
" With lots more of these activities that everyone can enjoy, this really is something for the whole family."
Sunday Band Concerts to return
11 June 2008

Sunday Band Concerts are set to return this week to Dundee's local parks.

The free concerts are usually held at two venues every Sunday from Magdalen Green, Baxter Park, Barnhill Rock Garden and Duntrune Demonstration Garden at Dawson Park from June 15 until August 17.

Leisure, arts and communities convener Councillor Richard McCready was at Magdalen Green on Wednesday to unfurl the new Sunday Band Concerts banner sponsored by Barnett's Motor Group.

He said, "I’m very happy to welcome back the Sunday Band Concerts to our local parks.

" They’re a great way to relax on a Sunday afternoon listening to the music and enjoying the surroundings."

West End Councillor Welcomes Action on Sign for Corso Street Sheltered Complex
13 June 2008

West End Councillor Richard McCready today welcomed action by the City Council to ensure that there is a clearer sign for Corso Street Sheltered Housing Complex.

Councillor McCready approached the Planning and Transportation Department after being approached by constituents about the inadequacy of the current sign.

Corso Street Sheltered Housing Complex is located off Blackness Avenue; currently the sign reads 37 Blackness Avenue with Corso Street Sheltered Housing being written underneath in small letters.

Councillor Richard McCready said,
"A number of constituents who use Corso Street Sheltered Housing Complex and live in Corso Street, Abbotsford Street and Abbotsford Place have raised concerns with me about the inadequacy of the signage for Corso Street Sheltered Housing Complex and also the confusing nature of the current sign.

"Indeed, as a local resident, I have been stopped on a number of occasions by people looking for Corso Street Shletered Housing Complex in the Blackness Avenue area or indeed in Corso Street itself and I have had to point them in the right direction, that the entry was in fact off Blackness Avenue.

"The Planning and Transportation Department have agreed with me that the old sign was not up to the job and they have replaced it.

"The replacement has a clearer message - it reads 'Corso Street Sheltered Housing Complex.

" I hope that this will clearly highlight the location of Corso Street Sheltered Housing Complex and that delivery drivers and visitors will be able to find it from now on."

12 June 2008
Guided tours of the Old Steeple

Guided tours of the Old Steeple have begun for members of the public to see for themselves the importance of the medieval building that has stood in Dundee for over 500 years and survived attacks by armies and devastating fires.

Leisure, arts and communities convener Richard McCready said,

"The Old Steeple, which has stood in the centre of Dundee for over 500 years, is the tallest surviving medieval church tower in Scotland.

"The guided tours not only offer visitors a chance to learn about Dundee's rich heritage, but also provide an opportunity to enjoy the magnificent views of the city from the top."

West End Councillor attends meeting with Post Office : Still Concerned over closures29 May 2008

West End Councillor Richard McCready today commented on a meeting he had had with Post Office officials.

The meeting was arranged by Dundee City Council and a number of councillors attended.

Richard McCready said, 'I welcome the opportunity to hear what the Post Office officials had to say

"I have to say that I remain far from convinced of their case.

"I believe that constituents should take part in the consultation process.

"Sally Buchanan of the Post Office told us at our meeting that her 'mind was not made up'

"I will be watching the consultation process very closely to ensure that this is the case.

"Information on the consultation is available from the Post Offices concerned, it is important that people with concerns make their case.

"The Post Office are saying that they need to be given reasons why the Post Offices already named should not close - therefore I urge all constituents to make their views known.

"I plan to listen to my constituents and I will be making my own representation to the process in due course.'

"I would urge constituents to make their views known to Post Office Ltd, by mail to Sally Buchanan, Network Development Manager, national Consultation Team ,Post Office Ltd, FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM or conultation@postoffice.co.uk or 08457 223344.

''Postwatch Scotland is the independent customer watchdog for postal services

"I would also urge constituents to get in touch with them and copy their repsonses to the consultation programme to them, Tricia Dow, Director, Postwatch Scotland, 9-10 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2AF or scotland@postwatch.co.uk

West End Councillor concerned about Post Office closures
28 May 2008

West End Councillor Richard McCready today raised his concerns about proposed Post Office closures in his ward.

Councillor McCready will attend a meeting with the Post Office on Thursday to hear their proposals.Councillor Richard McCready said, 'I am concerned about these proposals and I will be examining them in detail over the next few days.

"I would urge my constituents to do the same and to take part in the consultation.

"I will be keeping a close eye on the consultation to ensure that it is a genuine consultation and that genuine concerns are listened to.

"As a local resident in the West End I know that these Post Office services are important to local people and that they appear to be well used.

"The Nethergate post office provides services for local people, students at Dundee University and also for a number of local businesses.

"I am worried that the post office in the Lochee Road serves as an anchor for other local shops and I would be worried about the vibrancy of the local shops if this post offices closes.

"The central post office in Ward Road is named as an alternative but it always seems busy to me - often with queues going out the door.

"I will be seeking a meeting with the sub-postmasters concerned in the West End to hear of their plans. Once again I would urge any constituents with views on these proposals to make their voice heard.

13 May 2008
Call on public to report vandalism

Councillor Richard McCready is asking people to report any sightings of vandalism acts being carried out in the city.
This follows recent incidents which have taken place in some of the city parks.
Councillor McCready is particularly concerned about the instances of vandalism in the West End.
Councillor McCready said "These mindless acts of destruction by vandals not only hurt the people involved directly but also every tax paying citizen of Dundee

"I appeal to people to be very vigilant about what is happening in their own area and report any sightings immediately to the police on their direct number 0845 6005705.

"These thoughtless vandals are not only spoiling it for everyone but they are depriving communities and people from getting the benefits of better services because the cost of constant repairs which have to be carried out means that resources have to be diverted from other sources.

"With the lighter nights coming in, it should make seeing what is going on a bit easier and I would also like to ask parents to make sure they know where and what their children are up to."

7 May 2008
Barnhill Rock Garden Vandalism

Councillor Richard McCready, Dundee City Council’s convener of leisure, arts and communities visited the Barnhill Rock Garden this morning and said that he was "appalled" by the vandalism that he saw.

He said,

"I want to express my sympathy with the volunteers from the Friends of Barnhill Rock Garden and also with staff from the leisure and communities department who work really hard together to make the Rock Garden a very special place.

" I hope that anyone who has information on these acts of vandalism will contact Tayside Police.

" Barnhill Rock Garden has been recognised with the award of a Green Flag as one of the best parks in the country and I am determined that we do all we can to maintain that position.

"That means building on the partnership between local people and the city council which has been so effective in creating an excellent place to visit.

"I will be contacting Tayside Police to discuss any actions the city council can take to prevent crime at the Rock Garden and I will be contacting the Friends of Barnhill Rock Garden to express my concerns and assure them of the continued support of the city council for this partnership.'

7 May 2008
Accreditation Status for Dundee Museums

Broughty Castle Museum and the Mills Observatory have been granted Full Accreditation status by the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council for demonstrating commitment to good practice and responsible management.

Dundee City Council’s Leisure, arts and communities convener Richard McCready said "The museum staff and management are to be congratulated on meeting the standards of accreditation.

"Dundee City Council is always striving to provide the best possible services and it is good to have formal recognition of our efforts from a national body."

More Litter Bins for Magdalen Green - West End Councillor welcomes action

West End Councillor Richard McCready today welcomed confirmation that Dundee City Council's Leisure and Communities Department will be installing more litter bins at Magdalen Green.

Councillor Richard McCready, who is also the Convener of Leisure, Arts and Communities for the City Council, raised the issue with officers after a number of constituents raised the issue of litter with him after the weekend.

Councillor McCready welcomes the fact that more people are visiting Magdalen Green and he believes that this is in part due to the hard work of staff of the city council and also the efforts of the Friends of Magdalen Green.

Councillor Richard McCready said, "After the good weather on Sunday a number of constituents raised their concerns that the bins were overflowing in Magdalen Green on Monday.

"I raised the issue with officers of the council and I am delighted to say that I have been informed that officers are going to place more litter bins on Magdalen Green.

"This is good news and I hope that it will go some way to solving the problems with litter which happened earlier in the week.

"As a local resident and a regular visitor to Magdalen Green I recognise how attractive the Green is to visit.

"People visiting the Green have to take responsibility for their actions but the council has to assist them by providing bins to help them tidy up after themselves.

"Recent improvements at Magdalen Green and a higher profile for the Green are in no small part due to the effective partnership between the Friends of Magdalen Green group and the City Council's Leisure and Communities Department.

"I will be keeping a close eye on developments over the summer and I hope that Magdalen Green will continue to be a great place for people to visit."