Three fantastic developments were presented with Dundee Civic Trust Awards at a ceremony in the Dalhousie Building at Dundee University on 31 October 2019. The award winners for 2019 were: Water’s Edge (Tayforth Properties Ltd/Nicoll Russell Studios, Lyon Building Services); V&A Dundee, Museum of Design (V&A Dundee/Kengo Kuma and Associates/BAM Construction); Dundee Station and Sleeperz Hotel (Dundee City Council/Jacobs/Balfour Beattie). Congratulations to all!
Dundee Civic Trust welcomes the steps proposed by Dundee City Council to establish a Low Emission Zone in central Dundee. The Council is to be congratulated on moving forward with plans which will help to counteract the ‘climate emergency’ declared by the Scottish Government. It is a major step forward in improving air quality in the city centre. We support the proposal for the area within the Inner Ring Road, but probably not including, in the restricted area, the Inner Ring Road itself. If it were to be included, affected traffic would surely find routes through nearby residential areas.
We are pleased to learn that the application to convert Robertson’s Bond in Seagate to create 27 flats has been approved by the Council, hopefully securing the future of this fine building. The applicant has taken measures to reduce noise and air pollution affecting the flats, but we will continue to urge the Council to tackle the poor environment in Seagate. The proposed city centre Low Emission Zone should help.
Trustees Peter Webber and Derek Simpson from Dundee Museum of Transport will explain how the transport museum has established itself as one of the city’s most popular attractions and describe their detailed plans for development of the old Maryfield tram sheds.
The Trust believes that a radical new strategy is needed for the city centre, led by the Council, to tackle the increasing number of shop vacancies and empty upper floor premises. We think that the retail core area will inevitably shrink due to competition from online sales and that other uses need to be encouraged. Promoting residential development, whether new or through building conversion, will bring more business to shops and restaurants while ensuring that cultural and civic activities are focussed in the centre will help make it the “must go” place for citizens and visitors.
The Trust supports the overall development principles of the Central Waterfront Masterplan and welcomes new investment to the city. We will continue our regular dialogue with the Council and developers, however, to argue for a higher quality of design in future developments than has been achieved on site 6 opposite V&A Dundee and the railway station. We are anxious that new development at the waterfront does not come at the expense of investment in the core city centre and urge that an appropriate balance be struck so that the central waterfront becomes a seamless extension of the city centre. Lack of adequate coach parking in the waterfront area is another concern with the city aspiring to be a major tourist destination.
Dundee Local Development Plan 2, adopted by the Council in February 2019, is the guide for the city’s development for the next decade. Although the Trust disagrees with some points of detail, we support the general principles of the Plan and will generally oppose developments that are not consistent with its policies. In particular, the Trust supports development of brownfield sites for new housing and other uses within the existing built up area of the city including the city centre. We also support greenfield development at the Western Gateway as opposed to the expansion of Broughty Ferry northwards and eastwards. Expansion there would put further pressure on school capacity and the ability of roads to cope with commuting to the city centre, Ninewells Hospital, the universities and other employment hubs to the west of the city. We also support the concentration of retailing in the existing established city and district centres and will oppose new developments outwith these. We hope to see no further development of out of centre retail parks.
Scotland had its own native architecture with a critical period 1570 -1620 when architects explored complex spatial and aesthetic principles well ahead of their time. Architect Crichton Wood will show Robert Adam flirting with the style, David Bryce developing the style, both in bad and good ways, and Macintosh & Lorimer continuing and developing the Scots style. He will then show from his own work ways to continue and develop a Scots style, showing the potential but also the dangers.
DCT awards for buildings and projects completed between June 2017 and May 2019 that have made a beneficial contribution to the environment of the city.
“The high street has suffered from 50 years of benign – and not so benign-neglect. We can continue to patch and mend or we can start thinking more radically. That is, if we feel there is any value at all in having high streets?” Professor Sparks is Professor of Retail Studies at the University of Stirling and his challenging presentation and discussion will confront key issues in the future of high streets