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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Perth & Kinross

Revived plan to tear down historic Perth church

January 23 2018

The YMCA is pressing ahead with its plan to bulldoze a landmark Perth church, despite concerns from Scotland's heritage watchdog. The charity has revived a controversial bid to tear down the 130-year-old St Andrew's and St Stephen's Church in Atholl Street and clear the way for a new operations centre and 21 flats. The Y Centre project also involves demolishing a rundown tenement block on North William Street. Plans were originally submitted to Perth and Kinross Council early last year, but they were withdrawn after concerns raised by Historic Environment Scotland (HES). The organisation said at the time: "The removal of these buildings would be a significant loss to Perth's historic centre and we would continue to encourage the full consideration of alternative options." Jill McGrath, chief executive of the YMCA in Perth said: "The proposals have been updated to address minor concerns the planning department had with the articulation of the proposed flats and Y Centre. "Key architectural features contained within the existing corner Georgian tenement have now been incorporated into the new proposals along with a partial façade retention of the dominant church entrance stonework and the door onto Atholl Street now forms the new entrance into the YMCA’s Youth Centre." She added: "The centre will be of great benefit to young people, organisations and the local communities of Perth and Kinross, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come." In paperwork lodged with council planners on behalf of the YMCA, Fouin and Bell Architects said other avenues to retain the building had been exhausted. "Sadly, the previous 15 years of limited repairs and a constant striving to provide possible options for the re-use of the existing buildings and/or look for possible sources of grant assistance, partnership funding... have served to illustrate the point that an economically viable solution for the repair and restoration of the existing buildings is not forthcoming," a spokesman said. A HES spokeswoman said: “Perth and Kinross Council consulted us on new proposals for the demolition of the existing YMCA buildings. We are reviewing this information and will respond in detail to the council by the end of January.” The church, which is owned by the charity, is on the official buildings at risk register and has been described as unsafe and unstable. If approved, the new flats - a mix of one and two bedroom apartments over three storeys - will be run by the Caledonia Housing Association. The group recently unveiled new social housing at the former Caledonian Road School.


Tesco’s rival bid for Glenrothes site condemned by CISWO

February 16 2011

A Glenrothes club involved in expansion plans for the town centre has poured scorn on Tesco's interest in the site. The supermarket giant confirmed this week it is lining up a rival bid to become the focal point of the Kingdom Shopping Centre's planned extension this after many months of protracted talks between Sainsbury's and centre owners AXA/CIS about the site. Despite Tesco's interest, though, members of CISWO (Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation) in North Street said they are firmly focused on seeing through the original Sainsbury's plan, which will see their club relocate to new premises around the corner. David Nelson, speaking on behalf of CISWO, said Tesco had been interested in the site several years ago but eventually decided not to pursue its interest. "We're not interested in Tesco," he said. "They walked away from a deal seven years ago and as far as we're concerned we're happy to go ahead with Sainsbury's. "We've already done a deal to move from our current site and a contractor is already in stripping out our new site, so we're just continuing with that as far as we're concerned. "I don't think Tesco's application should delay what's happening with us but we're just opposed to Tesco coming in and trying to hold things up in the town centre." The Kingdom Centre's expansion will see CISWO and Glenrothes YMCA/YWCA in North Street demolished, while the vacant Glenrothes House block will also come down. A number of different land transactions to facilitate the centre's expansion have already been approved by councillors, under which CISWO will be relocated to the former Forum Hotel. The contractor, Skene, is already working on the building in preparation for CISWO's move, while the YMCA/YWCA will move to a purpose-built site nearby which will be leased from Fife Council. To address issues raised about parking, the Kingdom Centre owners also want to buy the council's overflow car park in Flemington Road and form a new car park on undeveloped land adjacent to Glenrothes police station, which will be accessed via a new roundabout on Leslie Road. Despite Sainsbury's repeatedly stating it is committed to coming to Glenrothes, no land deal for the site at the Kingdom Centre has yet been completed between an individual retailer and AXA/CIS prompting Tesco to declare its interest in moving to the area.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


Sunny days ahead for young film-maker

March 26 2011

A budding film-maker is celebrating ahead of a programme launched by Glenrothes YMCA/YWCA next week. Caitlin Sneddon (16), of YCreate?! film club in Glenrothes, has seen her first film make the shortlist of the Sunday Times First Light Awards and hopes to go on to much bigger and better things. Perfect Sunday tells the story of a homeless man and how one Sunday turned out to be a little bit different. It was one of seven films shortlisted from 22 films submitted by young people from all over Britain. Caitlin is looking forward to her future at YCreate?!, which is encouraging people aged 14-18 to visit its programme in North Street next Thursday, March 31, at 7pm, to find out more. Caitlin said, "Everyone in the club who helped to make the short film felt very passionate about the story, and we were very excited about it right from the start."

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


EXCLUSIVE: Three days of festivities as Kirkcaldy unveils ambitious Hogmanay plans

November 3 2017

Kirkcaldy could become one of Scotland’s hottest Hogmanay destinations after unveiling three days of festivities to usher in 2018. Live music, family events and the one of the biggest New Year parties in Fife are promised at a marquee to be erected in the Town Square. Among the confirmed acts are the View’s Kyle Falconer, while a massive family ceilidh is also planned. Townsfolk have had to look across the Forth for Hogmanay thrills in  recent years but Kirkcaldy YMCA’s Liz Easton, who is heading the arrangements, said she hoped people would be inclined to celebrate closer to home this year. “I think it will bring a bit of vibrancy at a time of year where things can be a bit flat," she said. “It will also bring something a bit different to Kirkcaldy. “Edinburgh obviously has stuff going on but this means you don’t have the hassle of travelling there. “We can do something really good here and I think the town will really benefit, whether people go for something to eat or go and visit the shops as well. “This is a test, but if it is a success then hopefully we can build on it.” A marquee, similar to that erected for the town’s Bavarian Beer Festival, will be constructed prior to events starting on Friday December 29, where family fun, including an appearance from TV favourite Peppa Pig, will take place followed by a ceilidh. The following day will see a host of live music, featuring Kyle Falconer and several local acts, building up the excitement ahead of Hogmanay on Sunday. The honour of providing the soundtrack to the town’s first New Year party in a generation has been awarded to local band, the Columbos, one of the region’s most popular live acts. Organisers have placed an emphasis on attracting as many people as possible, with entrance to the ceilidh costing £5 per family, while tickets to see in the bells will cost just £12. Wary of the unpredictable Scottish weather, Mrs Easton said contingency plans had been made to move events to nearby Kittys nightclub should the worst happen. “Unless there are gale force winds or significant snowfall then the marquee will go up,” she promised. “But we’re hoping that won’t be the case and we want to burst the tent with people.” Tickets for various events will be available from Kirkcaldy YMCA, Kittys, the Linton Lane Centre and online at www.skiddle.com.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


Broughty Ferry Gala Week to be “one of best ever”

June 17 2014

This year’s Gala Week will be packed full of events and one of the best yet, its organisers have promised. A packed programme of events kicks off with the gala day on Sunday June 29, when thousands of people are expected to gather on Castle Green. The family attractions on offer will include a children’s fancy dress competition, pipe band parade, live music, Radio Tay Roadshow, traditional fete games, fresh food from local suppliers, fire engine, face painting, charity stalls, fairground attractions and for the grown-ups only a beer tent. Entry to the fete is free but there will be a bucket collection and fundraising activities to raise money for local charities such as the Broughty Ferry lifeboat, Age Concern, St Andrew’s Ambulance, YMCA and the Scouts. Any surplus will go towards the purchase of additional Christmas street light displays. Gerry Stewart, who chairs the gala committee, said: “A fantastic amount of thought and work has gone into organising this year’s events, so we are confident that this year’s gala week will be one of the best ever. “We want to see plenty people coming to the Ferry grannies, grandads, mums, dads, kids of all ages, and of course anyone else. “The committee works extremely hard to make gala week happen, but we couldn’t do it without the generous support of Dundee City Council and the event sponsors.” The week continues with the window-spotting competition, with the public on the look-out for unusual articles displayed in the windows of members of Broughty Ferry Traders’Association. This year there are 71 traders involved and entrants will have to work out which item does not fit, such as a paint brush in a baker’s window. There will be several events every day of the week, including the sand sculpture and pavement drawing competitions, an antiques roadshow, quiz nights, family fun night, a fishing competition, a bonnie baby competition and many more. Full listings are available from www.cometobroughty.co.uk.