Evening Telegraph

‘All the gardens here are well looked-after’: new look gives boost to Dundee area

What does a typical Dundonian look like? What do they do each day and how do they feel about their area?

In the seventh of an eight-part series, we aim to paint an up-to-date picture of how the city’s people live, based on the results of a new survey.

Dundee’s most recent citizens’ survey was carried out last year and local area results are now available.

Today, Jon Brady takes a look at the North East, where locals were asked about their lifestyles.

The North East is home to some of the city’s newest neighbourhoods – places such as Mill o’ Mains and Whitfield.

The Crescent, Whitfield

They are new, in that they are recent in comparison with some centuries-old parts of Dundee – but they show scars of regeneration gone wrong in years past.

Say the words “skarne blocks” to a long-term North East resident and it’s likely some will remember them fondly – while others will associate the flats with a long decline into crime and deprivation.

However, the local authority has set out long-term rejuvenation plans across the North East.

The north east of Dundee

And the effect of those plans, from new housing schemes to modern community centres, has left a positive impression on many of the area’s residents.

While 65% of locals asked said they hadn’t seen any change in the area in the last five years, another 17% said it had got better – a higher proportion than any other area of Dundee.

Half of those upbeat thinkers said it was down to new housing – others said the area looked tidier, and that it had been improved overall in recent years.

But while most folk are happy with their local council and other services, one in 10 think the rubbish collections could be better.

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And much like other parts of Dundee, some think that roads, pavements and street lighting are in need of improvement.

As one of the furthest-out corners of Dundee it might not be surprising to learn that three-quarters of households in the ward have access to at least one car to get about.

But locals are environmentally minded too, with two thirds taking the bus at least a few times a month, if not more, and leaving the car at home.

Half of all locals have been to the cinema at least once in the last year, and a third have been to see some live music.

However, the ward’s rejuvenated sense of community is still in its early stages –half of locals who haven’t got involved in area events say they didn’t because “they weren’t really interested”.

But for the North East – an area once a byword for deprivation and drug problems – things are largely looking up.

Almost nine in 10 locals rate their health as “very good” or “good”, with two thirds of those surveyed exercising at least once a week.

Three quarters have either never smoked, or used to but have kicked the habit.

Meanwhile, 58% say they “often” feel optimistic about the future, and 39% say they feel the same “some of the time” – and feel either “very” or “fairly” safe.

Jim Dall

Jim Dall, 67, said people in the North East loved where they lived – and he knew how to prove it. “I always think you know about an area by looking at the gardens – they’re all well looked-after around here.

“There’s no jungles to pick your way through here,” he said.

Joe Dumycz

Ex-forces man Joe Dumycz, 60, said: “It used to be you could leave your door unlocked but not anymore.

“But the area is getting better.”