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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...


NHS Tayside’s Armitstead centre went for £642,000

May 27 2011

The former Armitstead Child Development Centre in Broughty Ferry was sold for £642,000. Six months after NHS Tayside sold the site, a report on property transactions presented to health chiefs revealed the proceeds of the sale. The site was sold to H&H Properties, the same developers who bought the former Dundee Royal Infirmary site and created a mix of new-build housing and conversion of existing buildings to flats and town houses. So far the company has not shared its intentions for the Monifieth Road site. The property has lain vacant for almost three years since a purpose-built centre for the care of disabled children was opened at Kings Cross Hospital in Dundee and services transferred there.

Angus & The Mearns

Fighting baby Kane offered a place to live in Carnoustie

February 17 2016

The mother of a premature Tayside tot who defied the odds to attend nursery has been offered a new home in Angus. When Kane Bradley was born four months prematurely, his family was told to prepare for the worst. But he continued to defy the odds and has reached the milestone of his first day at nursery in Dundee. Weighing just 1lb 9oz at birth, Kane was brought back from the brink by doctors three times in his early days after being born 24 weeks into mum Emma Bradley’s pregnancy two years ago in August. The youngster suffers from a range of serious health problems and is constantly given a supply of oxygen. Despite his health issues, Kane was allowed home in January last year to live with Emma and four-year-old sister Kaci, and had his induction at Armitstead Child Development Centre a specialist facility for children with additional support needs on Thursday. The family has now been offered a house in Carnoustie. Kane has chronic lung disease, which has caused him respiratory problems, is epileptic and is prone to infections. He also has developmental delay, and Emma has been told he may be autistic and have cerebral palsy. However, he can’t be formally diagnosed for those conditions until he is two years old. “It’s a waiting game really,” said Emma, 37. “He’s going to need substantial care in the future and at the moment I can’t work because of that. “I have been offered a house in Carnoustie, though. “It would suit our needs better, as it’s all on one floor, has a wetroom and adapted bedroom. “If I take that, I’ll be able to take him to Armitstead two days a week, then I could go back to work. “But, for the moment, we are just taking things one day at a time.” Armitstead staff work towards maximising the development of children with special needs. The aim is to improve children’s comprehension in a nursery environment.


Developers move in to transform Armitstead House

March 31 2016

Work has begun on the site of a former Broughty Ferry mansion, more than a decade after interest was first shown in its redevelopment. Bulldozers have carried out work at Armitstead House, on Monifieth Road, as part of plans to create new homes. The site, owned by H&H Properties Ltd since 2010, has lain neglected for some time and locals claim it has been subjected to vandalism. An application for the site, registered with Dundee City Council in February, shows proposals to redevelop the former child development centre into 26 homes. This would incorporate the conversion of the gatehouse into a house, as well as the conversion of the main Armitstead House to five flats and the construction of 18 new flats and two new houses. Broughty Ferry Community Council planning secretary David Hewick said: “Plans have been ongoing since at least 2004 and it has continued to deteriorate in this time. “It’s a complex case as there have been so many planning applications submitted and then withdrawn. “I understand that, despite planning already in place, the owners have just submitted a new plan to reflect a few changes, such as moving the new builds closer to the main building.” He said that there were a variety of reasons the community council had objected to the plans several years ago but, this time, the group is more concerned about the building’s future than anything else. Concerns have focused on the safety of the interior of the buildings, and on ensuring that the plans sit comfortably with the surrounding environment. There have also been fears about over-development of the area. Mr Hewick added: “It’s a very attractive site, building and garden, so I think it will be very popular. The change is not so dramatic that we can’t deal with it.” H&H Properties Ltd declined to comment.


New plans to transform Broughty Ferry mansion

October 8 2013

A fresh application to transform a Broughty Ferry mansion into dozens of new homes has been submitted to Dundee City Council. The original plan to turn Armitstead House on Monifieth Road into flats and houses was first before the council in March but was withdrawn for changes to be made by Adam and McPhail Chartered Architects. Owners H&H Properties want to build 26 homes on the site of the old children’s hospital. If the plans are approved the original house will be partially demolished and divided up into five townhouses, and the gatehouse will be restored and renovated. Two wings would each hold seven new homes including a two-storey maisonette in each wing, and a two-storey block of four flats would also be built within the grounds. A further two detached town houses would also be built. Architect Colin Adam said the new plan would “reduce the impact on the existing building and the existing gatehouse”. The change has slightly reduced the size of the two wings. David Hewick, of Broughty Ferry Community Council, said it was important that the new construction did not overpower the original character of the mansion. He said: “I believe the council wanted to reduce the size of the two wings next to the house, because they felt it was too overpowering in the original plans. “The new designs have reduced the building size by making the balconies on the wings smaller. There has been some damage to the old house and vandalism. “I hope that the new plans are satisfactory and sensitive to the original buildings and there are no more delays.” Feedback received from the council and local community was taken into account when new designs were drawn up. Armitstead House was used as a children’s hospital for more than 70 years, but has been abandoned since NHS Tayside closed the child development centre in 2008. The late-19th Century villa is on the Scottish Buildings at Risk Register and has suffered damage and vandalism. H&H Properties Ltd are now awaiting planning permission from Dundee City Council.

UK & World

Social workers involved in St Helena child abuse inquiry take legal action

March 23 2018

Two social workers who say an inquiry report into allegations of child abuse on the British overseas territory of St Helena destroyed their professional reputations have taken legal action.Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, who worked on St Helena and made cover-up allegations, have sued the Foreign Office and the senior barrister who led the inquiry.They say they “stand by the accuracy and honesty of their disclosures” and say conclusions were reached on the basis of an inquiry which was procedurally unfair.Lawyers representing ministers and inquiry chairman Sasha Wass QC dispute their claim and say the litigation should not proceed.A judge was on Friday considering issues in the case at a High Court hearing in London.Barrister Neil Sheldon, who is leading a legal team representing Foreign Office ministers, asked the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, to halt the litigation and dismiss the claim launched by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama.The inquiry had been set up by ministers following corruption and cover-up allegations which had been raised in newspaper articles and leaked documents and made by Ms Gannon and Martin Warsama.An inquiry report published in December 2015 concluded that: St Helena did not “attract sex tourism”; said allegations that the island in the South Atlantic was a “paedophiles’ paradise” were not true; reported “no corruption at all”; and found no evidence of any attempt by the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the St Helena government or police to cover up child abuse.The report said: “We stress that there was no ‘cover-up’ as alleged by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, rather an ignorance of proper safeguarding procedure.”Nicholas Bowen QC, who represents Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, told the judge the conclusions of the Wass Inquiry “destroyed” the professional reputations of his clients.He said the inquiry process was “procedurally” unfair and said Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama were entitled to “just satisfaction” for their loss.Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama say their claim should not be dismissed but say evidence should be analysed at a trial.


Dundee University lecture to cover the history of DC Thomson

October 13 2015

A local historian is to delve into the history of DC Thomson as part of a series of lectures at Dundee University. Dr Norman Watson, who works as an archivist with The Courier and is the author of several Scottish history books, will share his knowledge with visitors at an event held at the university’s Dalhousie Building on Friday, at 7.30pm. The lecture will be the first of six lectures named after iconic Dundonian and ex MP George Armitstead. Mr Armitstead was educated in Germany before moving to Dundee and undertaking a successful career in politics which saw him twice elected as a Liberal MP. In later life he set up the annual Armitstead Lectures, which have now been running for 128 years. Armitstead Trust secretary George Hay said: “Over the years most people in Dundee and Tayside will have fond memories of DC Thomson’s publications, be it The Courier, comics, Scots Magazine or People’s Friend. “Norman Watson will provide an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at this illustrious company’s history from the outset to the present day which should have huge appeal to all generations.” Tickets for all six lectures can be bought for £5 and tickets for individual lectures cost £1.50. More information about the Armitstead Lectures can be found at www.armitstead.org.uk.


Obituary: Solicitor Dennis F. Collins

August 1 2017

Former solicitor and honorary sheriff Dennis Collins has passed away at the age of 87. Mr Collins, who was born and raised in Dundee, graduated from St Andrews University and served his apprenticeship with legal firm Gray, Robertson & Wilkie, before becoming a partner in firms Pollock & Smith, Carlton Gilruth and finally Blackadders. He became Dean of the Faculty of Procurators and Solicitors in Dundee in 1988, serving in the role until 1990 and was the last Dean to be honoured by being appointed an honorary sheriff. He was also a lecturer in Scots Law at St Andrews University and subsequently Dundee University from 1960 to 1979. He was a Writer to the Signet and, for twenty years from 1976, the Agent Consulaire for France. A member of the Guildry, he was an Assessor to the Lord Dean of Guild for more than 20 years and during that time successively Clerk and Archivist to the Guildry. For more than a century his family belonged to Ward Chapel, now Dundee Congregational Church, serving as church treasurer from 1966. Mr Collins was joint chairman of Lord Armitstead’s Dundee Trust, responsible for the annual distribution of its income to Dundee charities and schools. For more than 25 years he was honorary secretary of the Dundee Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children until it became part of Children 1st. A keen family man, Mr Collins had many interests including golf, angling and gardening, as well as a finely honed interest in stamp collecting. Mr Collins was a member of Dundee and District Philatelic Society for more than seventy years, a fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society of London and a member of several specialist societies, giving displays from his collections throughout Scotland and in London. He is survived by his wife, Elspeth, to whom he had been married for fifty five years, their daughter, son and four grandchildren.


Council urged to commemorate rich history of Broughty Ferry mansion

August 26 2017

Calls have been made to commemorate a historic Broughty Ferry building. Armitstead House, located on the town's Monifieth Road, has lain derelict for several years. Formerly a convalescent home for children in the area, the site was operated by the NHS before being taken over by a property firm. Plans are in place to build luxury homes on the site, but it currently lies vacant. Ferry councillor Craig Duncan is now urging Dundee City Council to help commemorate the history of the site. Mr Duncan believes the historical stature of Armitstead House and the positive work carried out there over the years means the property is worth recognising. The Liberal Democrat councillor said: "Simply, this is a part of Ferry history and I think it should be commemorated in some sort of way. "From the 1930s it has always been known as Armitstead House, so almost no one alive in the Ferry has ever known it as anything else. "It's important that the city remembers the people who carried out this good work. "I do think there is a strong case for having it remembered. "Communities get a sense of identity from historical continuity. Therefore, in my view, it is important to recognise the decades-long use of the site, well within living memory of most residents, most of whom will be surprised to learn that it ever was called anything else." Mr Duncan had previously called for a new street in the area to be named after the building, but his efforts proved unsuccessful. Armitstead House is currently owned by developers H&H Properties Ltd. An application has previously been lodged with Dundee City Council to create 26 homes on the site. A spokesman for Dundee City Council said: "We are happy to discuss this with the community."

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