Need for more openness and transparency in planning issues

At last Monday's City Development Committee the council considered its response to the Scottish Government's review of planning legislation.  At the previous week's Development Management Committee there had been a wide ranging discussion around a variety of issues about the need for more openness and transparency and being more open to consulting with members of the public.  The report before councillors on Monday evening did not reflect any of the interesting cross-party discussion which had taken place the previous week. I suggested that the council postpone making a decision and that a new report is brought back which reflects the views of councillors.  I was pleased when the SNP Administration accepted this suggestion.

At last Monday evening's Development Management Committee (20 March) there was a long and interesting debate about the need for more openness and transparency in the planning system.  There was also talk about the need to be more open to public consultation and a feeling that the council needs to do more than the bare minimum in terms of encouraging public consultation.

I was pleased that my proposal to take a step back and re-visit the item was taken.  The report in front of us had been issued on 17th March and did not, and could not, take into account the important debate that had taken place on Monday March 20th.  I would say that the Deputy Convener of the Development Management Committee, Councillor Jimmy Black, had played an important role in that previous debate.  I made clear this evening that I feel that Councillor Black should contribute to the formation of the revised submission.  It is important to recognise good work and ideas across party boundaries and I will always seek to do so.  Anyone who thinks that their political party can do no wrong and is the repository of all knowledge is, I am afraid, sadly deluded.  I was pleased to see a cross party approach taken forward this evening.


Dundee Should Host Scotland International Football Matches

Action from Under-21 Match against Hungary from 2014
For some time I've been campaigning for the Scottish National Football team to play a full international match in Dundee.  Scotland last played a full international match in Dundee in 1936.  Scotland played Canada in a friendly match last week at Easter Road Stadium in Edinburgh.  The attendance at Easter Road was 9,158 the capacity of both Dens Park and Tannadice Park could easily have accommodated that match.

I have been making the case for Scotland to play a full international match in Dundee for some time.  It is a disgrace that Scotland have not played a full international match in Dundee for over 80 years.  The match last week was played in a half full Easter Road Stadium the attendance would just about have filled either Dens Park or Tannadice Park.  I am not talking about playing competitive matches in Dundee but this type of friendly which Scotland plays at least once a year could easily be accommodated in Dundee.

I want a match in Dundee because football fans in Dundee deserve the chance to see Scotland play, they are after all the national team.  I also want to use international matches to showcase our city.  I want opposition supporters to come to Dundee and spend money in the local economy.  I want Dundee's name to be mentioned in foreign media and for people who might come here or invest here to know about Dundee.

I will be writing to the SFA yet again asking them to consider holding a full international match in Dundee.  It's about time Dundee got to host the national team.