School Crossing Patrollers at new West End Schools

Today I asked the Education Department of Dundee City Council for an assurance that school crossing patrollers (lollipop men and women) will be in place when the new West End Schools open in October on Blackness Road. I did this after hearing about problems in providing school crossing patrollers at 14 school crossings across the city.

It is important that road safety is given a top priority at the new West End campus from day one. I am asking that the council looks at the areas where there should be crossing patrollers and provides them from day one of the new West End schools.

I understand how difficult it is to staff every school crossing in the city and that dealing with illness is a problem but I do think that we need to give serious thought to looking at ways in which we can ensure that gaps are filled. School crossing patrollers do a great job and we need to ensure that the safety of children on their way to school is promoted.

Dundee Fairtrade Forum

Dundee Fairtrade Forum met on Wednesday morning, the main item for discussion was our plans for Fairtrade Fortnight 2012. Full details of the events planned in Dundee will come out soon but we will have a sugar producer from Malawi, Masauko Khembo, visiting Dundee on 28th and 29th of February.

It is important to remember that we do have a responsibility for how people who produce goods for us are treated. It is also important that there is fairness in world trade. Justice in trade across the world can make a major contribution to peace throughout the world.

I hope that people across Dundee and elsewhere will take a step towards fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight.


West End Schools Project Board

On Tuesday morning I attended a meeting of the West End Schools Project Board. This meeting looks at the progress being made on building the new St Joseph's Primary, the new Park Place Primary to be called Victoria Park and the new nursery to be called Balgay. It was good to see progress being made as you can see from passing the site on a regular basis. It was good to hear about the work which all the schools are doing together in preparation for the move to the new campus in October.


Development Management Committee

Tonight saw the first meeting of the year of the Development Management Committee of Dundee City Council. The main item which brought most debate was over an application to provide Adult Entertainment at Seagate Public House and Nightclub. There was a delegation from the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership which spoke against the whole idea of an 'adult entertainment club.' They pointed out their belief that such 'lap-dancing' clubs can lead to anti-social behaviour and even violence. We were informed that we could not make 'moral' decisions about this application. Legally, our decision had to be based on 'planning matters.' I was disappointed that we could not make the case that the committee just did not want such an establishment to open in Dundee.

I seconded a motion by Councillor Ken Lynn which moved against this application on the grounds of noise nuisance. The proposed adult entertainment venue would result in concentrations of people congregating outside the site generating instances of significant noise disturbance. I was pleased to speak against this application on this basis. I was pleased that the committee unanimously supported the motion which I put forward and that the council denied planning permission for this club. The applicant has the right to appeal, and may well do this, but as things stand at the moment the pub/nightclub in the Seagate will not be turning into an 'adult entertainment club.'

Tayside Fire & Rescue Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee

The Tayside Fire and Rescue Board's Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee met this morning. The main item on the agenda was the Provisional Revenue Budget for 2012/13. I asked a number of questions on the provisional budget. Firstly, I asked whether the third Ariel Rescue Pump was operational yet. I was told that it was not and that it would become operational during 2012/13. I was also told that the 4 firefighter posts which will be lost as a result of this will be lost by what is called natural wastage.

On income I asked about a fall in income related to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licences. HMO Licences are a big issue in the West End and the fire safety element of these licences provides piece of mind for many people, like myself, who live near HMO properties. There is expected to be a fall in the number of inspections required due to the nature of licences and the cyclical nature of them, also there has been a downturn in the buy-to-let market.

I also asked about a fall in the level of income from officers seconded to the Scottish Government and the Fire Service Training College at Gullane. I was obviously concerned about the possible loss of revenue to Tayside Fire and Rescue but I was much more concerned about whether there is a fall in the level of training going on. I was told by the Chief Fire Officer that officers were not keen to undertake secondments due to the level of uncertainty which there is about the future of the fire service at the moment and that there is a lower level of training going on at the moment at the Fire Service Training College because this is mostly for new recruits and that there are fewer at this time. I was pleased that the Chief Fire Officer was able to say to me that he felt that the level of training offered to firefighters in Tayside continued to meet their needs and the needs of the service.

These are changing times for the fire service in Scotland but it is essential that organisational changes do not get in the way of delivering a high quality service which protects people across Tayside and the rest of Scotland.