Councillors have given proposals for how to spend some of a £500,000 high street fund the thumbs-up – but not before making suggestions on how to spend it better.
The plans for Dundee City Council’s District Centres Fund – previewed in the Tele last month – could see local high streets across the city lavished with new furniture, “gateway” signs and information boards.
Exactly £100,000 of council cash has been set aside each year for the next five years, agreed in 2017 – and with £7,000 going on Lochee’s new high street clock there’s currently £193,000 in the pot to spend in Lochee, Stobswell, the West End, Broughty Ferry and the Hilltown.
However, while elected members have nodded through the proposals for the funds, some took issue with what they saw as a lack of balance across the city.
The Albert Street shopping district in Stobswell, has nine projects outlined – whereas Perth Road has just three.
West End Liberal Democrat Fraser Macpherson said the proposals for the Perth Road shopping area amounted to “two benches, a bin, a few rusty poles being taken away and a bike rack”.
He said: “If I’m being blunt I’m underwhelmed by what’s here for the West End.
“It amounts to two benches, a bin, a few rusty poles being taken away and a bike rack, some of which were promised in another form in the past.
“Officers are aware of my concerns – the reality is our communities officer returned some months ago and some items were identified from a walkabout almost two years ago have been taken forward. They’re really quite minor in the scale of things.”
He added that “gateway” signage and information boards proposed for Broughty Ferry were “exactly” what the Perth Road needed.
Mr Macpherson asked council planning boss Gregor Hamilton for reassurance that the projects were not set in stone – something the council officer was happy to give him.
Mr Hamilton said: “The programme is looking principally at this financial year but we want to continue to work with communities to inform projects that will make a difference.”
Other councillors also suggested additional ways in which funding could be spent.
Maryfield administration councillor Ken Lynn hopes to find away of stopping heavy goods vehicles from travelling down Albert Street – something the most recent redesign of the street’s junction with Dura Street failed to do.
Council bosses say there may be an opportunity to find more funding in the future to expand the remit of the District Centre Fund.