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The Trust in Action

News and issues recently raised by the Trust:-

  1. The Leaf Room and Ninewells Community Garden

    Dundee Civic Trust were delighted to nominate the Leaf Room and Ninewells Community Garden for the 2018 Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards. We are even more delighted that the project has won the overall Award. The Leaf Room, designed by Jonathan Reeve of The Voigt Partnership, is a small building but it has had a big impact on the local community. The distinctive, folded leaf-shaped roof, reflecting the building’s position at the edge of valued and historic woodland south of Ninewells Hospital, gives the garden a sense of identity. The Leaf Room also provides space for those using the garden, whether for workshops, meetings or just to chat. The value of the natural environment to maintaining our physical health and wellbeing is increasingly being recognised, a fact that was key to the original decision to establish Ninewells Community Garden in 2010. The building adds a new dimension to the garden, encouraging more visitors and stimulating greater outdoor activity.

    Jonathan Reeve said "To win a national award from the Scottish Civic Trust is an amazing achievement for a tiny building in Dundee, and a testament to the great team we worked with to produce such a superb little garden room (NHS Tayside, Ninewells Community Garden, Community Innovation team, Engineer, the Forestry Commission and our contractor S&R Developments). Congratulations most of all must go to the amazing work of the community garden volunteers and the great work they do at Ninewells hospital".

    Supported and funded by major public-sector bodies, the Leaf Room is essentially a community project with the needs of patients, staff and volunteers central to both the development of the design and its implementation. The building is helping to create a bridge between these very different groups and users. Mary Colvin, Senior Public Health Practitioner in NHS Tayside said "This award reflects the commitment we have to making more use of local green spaces and natural places to maximise the health benefits that they provide. We hope this award will encourage even more people to come and visit, get involved in our many activities or simply just come and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the Leaf Room and Ninewells Community Garden".

    The Trust congratulates the Ninewells Community Garden trustees, the volunteers and all those who have contributed to its success.

  2. Developments at the harbour

    Plans have been announced by Forth Ports to invest in new quays at the east end of the port for energy related development. This follows approval by the City Council for two enormous sheds for the renewable energy sector to be located at Stannergate in the Harbour. These extend to 45,000 square metres and 35,000 square metres and would have a ridge height of around 35 metres. This will be above the level of Broughty Ferry Road/Dundee Road West. The Trust is concerned that every effort is made to ensure that these buildings are designed and detailed as well as possible. It was also announced that a feasibility study funded by Scottish Enterprise will survey the bed of the Tay. This is to investigate an extension of the harbour area by 30 acres. This is an enormous area if it goes ahead and will require 1 billion cu metres of infill. The only options for the extension would appear to be to go east or extend further out into the river. In April 2016 Forth Ports announced proposals for a new £10 million quayside development with heavy lift capability which they believe will position Dundee at the forefront for the North Sea oil and gas decommissioning and offshore wind sectors. And in November 2016 proposals were announced of a partnership with Augean North Sea Services that will bring a "state of the art" 25000 square feet decommissioning waste management facility to the port.

  3. City Quay/HMS Unicorn

    The Council are actively pursuing with Forth Ports marina proposals and related activity in the Victoria and Camperdown Docks area. The recent approval of a wakeboarding centre on the west side of Victoria Dock, whilst bringing activity to the area, raises a number of concerns re conflict with other users, but to date these have proved unfounded.

    Plans for a marina development are being pursued by the City Council, and the Trust is pressing for the development of a maritime trail from the cruise liner terminal through City Quay and along the waterfront to Discovery Point.

    Dundee Civic Trust has long been concerned that the future of HMS Unicorn in Dundee is assured. We have consistently lobbied the City Council and Scottish Enterprise to ensure that a permanent and appropriate location be identified for the Unicorn.

    The Trust notes that both the Council and Scottish Enterprise have identified the vicinity of Victoria Dock as their preferred location for HMS Unicorn with, we understand, a preference for a location in the historic Graving Dock. We are of the view that this suggestion has considerable merit, not least that it minimises the movement of the Unicorn, the vulnerability of which the Unicorn Board of Trustees have indicated on many occasions. It also has the advantage of ensuring that the splendid Graving Dock is able to be properly preserved and that the underwater form of the ship will be able to be properly appreciated. We think that it should form the focus for the preservation of other artefacts related to the maritime history of Dundee as part of the maritime trail.

    Dundee Civic Trust hopes that the preservation of HMS Unicorn can now be progressed, as it is such an important part of the city's heritage. The Trust would be happy to give our support to any funding applications relating to the location of HMS Unicorn in the Graving Dock and will support the creation of a marine themed development around the ship. We understand that the Unicorn Board are now in active discussions with the National Museum of the Royal Navy in order to progress funding options.

  4. Central Waterfront

    The Trust continues to have a regular constructive dialogue with Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise.

    We are encouraged by the development of the railway station to create an appropriate arrival point in the city for rail travellers. The new five storey building will incorporate a station foyer, cafe and retail space on the ground floor, with offices and on the top 3 floors a three star hotel with circa 130 bedrooms. The development will be undertaken by the Council with completion scheduled for 2018 by the time the V&A opens. The Trust will continue to press ScotRail for further improvements to be made at platform level, in addition to those recently carried out.

    The final road pattern for the Central Waterfront is now in place. The development of the central open space that will connect the Caird Hall to the river front includes an attractive new green space - Slessor Gardens - which opened in the spring of 2016 and is already being well-used as a hub for events and activities. Work on the second part will only commence once the building works on the V&A are complete. The Council is now converting the ground floor units on Shore Terrace below the Caird Hall for shop/cafe uses.

    The development plots are now being actively marketed to prospective developers and could ultimately accommodate 50,000 square metres of mixed commercial and residential development.

    As well as a general development brief for the Central Waterfront, briefs have been prepared for each development plot and the Trust considers these are essential guidance in order to help achieve the highest quality of design. In particular the Trust has emphasised the need to consider the treatment of roofscapes so that the views of the area are not dominated by the clutter of plant and equipment on top of otherwise well designed buildings.

    Approval has now been granted for a mixed office, hotel and residential development on the site opposite the station and the V&A. This is a key site on the waterfront and ought to set the standard for future developments. The Trust had reservations about the approved design, particularly with regard to the cluttered roofscape and the elevations facing Slessor Gardens. Work started in January 2018 on the office development and the Council have agreed a deal with Marriot for the operation of the hotel. Proposals for a mixed residential and workspace development have also been approved for the site at Yeaman Shore, and work is due to start in the autumn of 2018.

    To see a plan of the plots go to Dundee Central Waterfront Site Map. The Council is very bullish about the early development of remaining plots but the Trust is of the view that these will inevitably take many years to complete and the Council have assured us that empty sites will be suitably maintained in the interim. It is important that this is adhered to if suitable development is to be attracted. However the Trust was not happy with the proliferation of hoardings surrounding the undeveloped plots and considered that temporary grassing including wild flower meadows would have been a better solution. The Trust however welcomes the use of the hoardings to promote design initiatives.

    The Trust has raised concerns re the need to manage through traffic whilst creating a pedestrian friendly environment. This is the response from Neil Gellatly, the Council's Head of Transportation - Traffic Issues - Dundee Waterfront [PDF-12.2Kb].

    The Trust would add that while there could be some displacement of traffic from the waterfront area to the northern leg of the inner ring road, to The Kingsway, and to public transport, the potential for this is limited and we have to accept that there will always be through traffic in the Central Waterfront area. The key therefore will be good traffic and pedestrian management.

    The Trust is delighted that the V&A Museum of Design opened on 15th September 2018 to much national and international acclaim. We have great hopes that the projected spin off benefits will come to pass and that it will be a positive "game changer" for the city and region. The Trust is concerned however about arrangements for coach parking and dropoff for the V&A. The Council have proposed spaces for existing attractions but we are still not clear about the long term proposal for coach parking for the Museum. The Trust consider that for the City to be a serious tourist destination it should have a properly designated conveniently located coach park from which it is easy for passengers to reach a variety of city centre facilities and attractions. The Trust has suggested options for sites within the central waterfront but the Council is not inclined to consider these.

    The Trust has pursued without success the opportunity for the removal of the two short culs-de-sac that lie on either side of the central water feature between the southern boulevard and the Tay. Apart from a section of the western cul-de-sac which will service the V&A and provide disabled parking, these two stub roads do not appear necessary for any traffic purpose. The removal of both, other than a short section of the western stub, would at one and the same time enhance the setting of the V&A and add to the quality of the open space. A good example of this approach is the way in which the City Council has over the years enhanced the quality of the City Square by removing the service roads from the square and enhanced the setting of the Caird Hall. As one eminent Dundonian remarked "When there are no vehicles the citizen feels that it is a part of the city he owns". The Trust has had extensive discussions with the City Council re this but we have reached an impasse on this issue.

    The Council's website has a flythrough of the Waterfront and the V&A which we would commend (notwithstanding the unrealistically low levels of traffic shown). Visit and select "Dundee Waterfront flythrough".

  5. TAYplan Strategic Development Plan 2016-2036

    This was published in May 2015 for consultation. It sets out the proposed strategy that will guide development in the Tayside and north east Fife areas and sets the framework for local plans. The Trust has submitted comments supporting the general thrust of the proposals that focus on transformational projects such as the Waterfront and western gateway in Dundee. The Trust has however expressed concerns that recent approvals for housing developments by Angus Council to the north of Dundee and Monifieth already use up all the TAYplan residential allocations for this side of the city to 2026. The Trust considers these will result in infrastructure problems for the city and deflect investment from preferred locations such as the western gateway. A public hearing by a Scottish Government reporter has been held and only minor changes were recommended. Scottish Government approval to the plan is now confirmed. A review of the Dundee Local Plan is now underway and the Trust has reiterated these concerns, but the Council has not taken these on board.

    We believe a single authority responsible for planning and related matters for the wider Dundee catchment area would help ensure a more rational approach to planning, but the Trust has been advised that this cannot be considered until 2022 at the earliest.

  6. Park and Ride

    The Trust supports the principle of the provision of park and ride facilities on the outer approaches to the city which would reduce traffic particularly in the city centre and university areas. However it is concerned that these should be located on sites where they will attract motorists. At present there appear to be no immediate plans for the implementation of such facilities.

  7. Cladding with insulation panels former Corporation stone built tenements.

    The Trust has campaigned without success to persuade the Council to consider abandoning the cladding programme and consider internal insulation of these fine distinctive tenements built by Dundee Corporation between 1924 and 1951. We believe this programme is permanently changing their appearance for the worse. Trust member, Neale Elder, has prepared a paper outlining the history of these buildings. It is available on the Articles page.

  8. The Newsflash:

    The Trust produces a Newsflash at regular intervals which is emailed to its members. If you want to be kept abreast with what is happening in Dundee consider joining the Trust (click on the link at the top of this page)

The Trust has always prided itself in being forward looking and having a positive approach to the development of the City. Accordingly, we have supported, and will continue to support, proposals for the improvement and regeneration of existing buildings and the construction of new buildings which, in our view, would improve the environment.