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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Angus meals on wheels will take to the road and move to new location

March 2 2016

Angus meals on wheels is moving to a single location in Forfar following a council shake-up of the service. The community service currently dishes up around 2,500 meals every week from kitchens at Fairlie House in Kirriemuir and Friockheim’s Lunan Park, but both have been declared unfit for purpose by council chiefs. The authority previously authorised a tender as part of a logistics hub plan, but the quotes were substantially above funds available and new options were examined. Strategic director Margo Williamson told social work and health committee councillors: “Various options have been considered for a new community meals depot but all have been untenable due to cost or effectiveness issues.” “The current proposal will utilise part of an existing Angus Council building, making effective use of the council’s existing property assets.” The move to County Buildings will leave the Friockheim premises empty and surplus to requirements. It is one of a long list of properties which the council is looking to offload. The director added: “This change of depot will not affect the current staff compliment. “It will, however, mean that some staff will have to travel to get to their base. In these circumstances any affected staff will be compensated under Angus Council’s excess travel allowance scheme. “A review of the management arrangements is currently being undertaken to ensure that we have the correct model for the new meals depot,” continued the director. “The removal of the facility from Lunan Park and Fairlie House will result in reduced property costs. These available budgets can be re-allocated to County Buildings to offset any additional property costs arising as a result of the community meals service being located within this building.” Costs associated with the move will be in the region of £300,000, more than half of which involves work to the County Buildings, including a replacement roof. Social work and health convener Councillor Glennis Middleton said: “It makes perfect sense to have this on one site.”

Angus & The Mearns

Support for Friockheim community hub plans

October 2 2017

Locals in Friockheim have shown their support for a brand new community hub at a weekend open day event. The former Eastgate Primary will be transformed into a base that local services, facilities, opportunities and support will be managed and delivered from, with the development due for completion in September 2018. Included in the facility, named FriockHub, will be a multi-purpose room, small business offices and a café, with meeting rooms, a nursery and a gym also incorporated. The Saturday event ran from 11am to 3pm and gave members of the public the chance to give their input to the plans as well as allow organisers to showcase and discuss them. Richard Moore, Councillor for Arbroath West, Letham & Friockheim, said: "Friockeim Community Hub will be a fantastic asset to the local community and the wider area. "We should applaud the vision of those who are developing it and I hope our MSPs and MPs will get behind it also." Graeme Dey MSP for Angus South added: "Having been involved with the Hub project from its early days it really is great to see it taking shape. "And it must have been incredibly heartening for those who have driven this on to see the community turning out in such numbers to show support for their efforts. I can't wait to see the Friockheim Hub open its doors." The group had bought the old school building and land through Angus Council’s asset transfer policy with help from the Big Lottery fund — who contributed £1 million — as well as contributions from Angus Leader, the Robertson Trust and various other sources. It had earlier been hit with a shock funding gap after a drop in the value of the pound after Brexit caused construction costs to increase by over £100,000. The cost was initially estimated at £905,000 for the building but that price increased to £1.2 million —  with Chairman Dougie Pond stating this was partly due to the UK's decision to leave the European bloc.

Angus & The Mearns

Fears Friockheim could be spoiled by housing ‘scheme’

February 6 2013

Adding 90 homes to a rural Angus village could create a “scheme” area, it has been claimed. Friockheim and District Community Council wants Angus Council to reconsider proposals in its local development plan, for an additional 50 houses to be built near a site that has already been approved for 40. The local authority is considering the move as part of its Angus Main Issues Report (MIR), which seeks to identify ways in which the county may develop over the next two decades. Following a presentation from planning officers at the community council’s latest meeting, a response was sent to the council to outline local views. A section stated: “The Friockheim community is, in the main, still very unhappy about the decision to allow the development of up to 40 houses to the South of Gardyne Street. “This development was strongly opposed during the consultation and appeals processes relating to the decision. “Whilst accepting that the decision is now a matter of history and it is only to be expected that the ‘losers’ will have louder voices than the ‘winners’ following any such decision that does not change the very real anger that many within the village feel about the decision, and this anger does not appear to have dissipated in any way. “It is no wonder, then, that many within the community are extremely concerned that the local development plan is indicating the development of a further 50 houses on an adjacent site to the South of Gardyne Street.” Work is yet to begin on the 40 approved houses near Gardyne Street. The community council claims that building 90 homes would mean an increase of around 30% in the village housing stock and could lead to the development being seen as a “scheme”. Members say building at the location will split the village in two, increasing pedestrian traffic “considerably” across Gardyne Street, including children taking the route on the way to school. A spokesman for Angus Council said: “The council has recently been asking for community views on the Angus MIR, which looks at how the county should develop during the next 20 years. “Friockheim is one of four large villages seen as rural service centres with shops, school and other facilities, where some new housing development could take place. “The council will be considering all views on these proposals, including representations from Friockheim Community Council, and on the locations of any future housing developments, as part of preparing a proposed plan.” Friockheim has two shops, a chemist, a health centre, one primary school, two halls and one church. A bid to transform the empty Eastgate School into a community hub is still at an early stage and will rely on lottery funding. An overview report on the responses to the MIR consultation will go before committee on March 5. The options for Friockheim can be viewed on the council’s website at angus.gov.uk.

Angus & The Mearns

Green light for village community centre at former school site

September 8 2015

A multi-million-pound Angus community hub described as a “real asset” has been given the go-ahead by local planners. The “FriockHub” project to remodel Friockheim’s former school as a 21st Century community hub has been the subject of a three-year campaign to bring a multi-purpose centre to one of the county’s largest villages. Project chairman Dougie Pond and his committee hope the centre will house a sports complex, business units, a theatre and cinema, a community garden, and reception facilities for up to 150 people. The project had early support from area MSP Graeme Dey, who welcomed the decision by Angus Council planners. “It’s great to see this significant milestone being reached, paving the way for the project to really move forward,” he said. “I’m delighted for Dougie and his colleagues who have put a tremendous amount of work into bringing this exciting development to fruition. “It will be a real asset to Friockheim.” The project is being supported initially by development funding from BigLotteryScotland, which enabled the planning application and early studies. Mr Pond applied through architects Brunton Design for a change of use and extension to the Eastgate building, in order to form a community hub and associated works. The plans were approved subject to minor conditions, including the guarantee that any music would be confined to the building. Mr Pond was not available to comment. In his handling report, Angus Council planning officer James Wright said the proposal would “improve the range and quality of sport and recreational facilities in the area.” He added: “The supporting information appears to demonstrate a degree of community support for the development and I consider that the development would be of some benefit to the local community. “Overall the proposal provides a new use for an old building in a manner that complies with relevant policies of the development plan. “The proposal incorporates a modern extension to the existing building which will help provide an adaptable community space. “There are no material considerations that justify refusal of the proposals.”

Angus & The Mearns

Angus Council learns affordable housing doesn’t come cheap

November 28 2015

Angus Council has vastly underestimated costs involved in building three small affordable homes on a site in Friockheim. The local authority is now predicting that work on the site of the former Teachers Resource Centre at Eastgate will cost just under £700,000 an increase of £146,000 more than the budget approved by the council’s communities committee in August. The council initially planned to just build two one-bedroom and one two-bedroom homes on part of the land, which is next to the building which will contain Friockheim Community Hub. Costs increased when the design changed to support the possible community asset transfer of the resource centre. This meant the plans were revised to include an access road to the resource centre and additional parking facilities. An initial budget of £500,000 was increased to £550,000 in August. However, the communities committee has now increased the budget by a further 26 per cent after the council found it had underestimated the costs involved for much of the work. The committee approved contractor Andrew Shepherd Construction Ltd to carry out the work at a cost of £532,862. It is also allowing £79,131 for professional fees, £20,000 for appropriation of the site, £5,000 for feasibility fees, £49,000 for the demolition for existing mobile units and £10,000 for statutory payments and sundry expenses. This brings the total cost of the project to £695,994. The Scottish Government will contribute £150,000 in the form of an affordable housing grant but the rest of the tab being picked up by the council’s housing revenue account (HRA). A report to councillors said there were higher than expected costs with regards to site drainage (£12,000 more than anticipated), boundary walling and street furniture (£19,500), roadway and parking (£13,000), uplift of hard landscaped areas (£5,000), preliminary costs (£15,000) and specialist services including PV panels and house ventilation (£6,000). There was also a general increase in the costs in the building trade of £11,000 and costs associated with telecom, gas, water and electricity connections were £15,500. The council’s initial budget didn’t take account at all for the demolition of mobile units, which is now anticipated to cost £49,000. Ian Cochrane, head of technical and property services, stated in his report: “The HRA Financial Plan (2014-2018) contained a gross allowance of £500,000 for three houses in Eastgate, Friockheim. “This was subsequently revised to £550,000 in the Housing Capital Monitoring Report 2015/2016. The budget comprised £400,000 from the HRA Capital budget and £150,000 from the Scottish Government’s Innovation and Investment Fund. “The HRA Financial Plan is currently in the process of being updated to 2015-2019 as part of the 2016/17 budget setting process. “As part of this update the HRA Financial Plan will be adjusted accordingly to incorporate the estimated total cost for the project of £695,994.”

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

Angus & The Mearns

Anger and frustration after more vandalism in Friockheim

July 26 2012

Friockheim villagers have reacted with anger and frustration after another chapter of summer vandalism. Plants donated to the Tryst Village Improvement Group have been ripped up just a few weeks after being given to the community. Group members were delighted with the appearance of the raised beds at the community garden after the donation of plants by Ashbrook Nurseries in Arbroath and hoped they would be appreciated by visitors to the village park, many of whom come from all over Angus. A Tryst official said: ''This week one of our members visited the garden to take a photo of the beds, only to discover some of the plants had been pulled out by the roots and the remainder had disappeared completely. ''This follows the demolition of the picnic table, which was also donated by a local joiner. We have also had gates taken off the tennis courts and trays ripped out of the barbecue pit. ''I'm angry and disgusted that people could do this. The Tryst Village Improvement Group puts a lot of work into the village and in 2000 members of the community raised £25,000 to add to £75,000 lottery money to build the garden. ''We also raised about £10,000 to put the Christmas lights up but this sort of thing leaves you wondering whether it is all worth it. ''Ashbrook have kindly offered to replace the damaged and stolen plants but we don't know whether the same thing might just happen again.'' Bicycle tracks were found on the raised beds and Tryst members who believe youngsters may have been responsible for the damage have urged local parents to ensure their children are behaving properly during the summer holidays. Friockheim community council secretary Douggy Pond said: ''The community council is very supportive of Tryst and we're disappointed this has happened. What it also does is emphasise the need for facilities and activities to be available in the village and the community council and Eastgate group are currently working towards that.'' Mr Pond chairs the body which has been formed with the ambition of turning Friockheim's former Eastgate school into a community-run facility with a range of uses. The project is in its infancy but Mr Pond said it might prevent bored young vandals from causing damage in the future. Local politicians have pledged their support for the idea, with feasibility funding already in place. ''The lack of facilities in Friockheim is a great worry,'' Mr Pond added. ''The village has around 1,200 people but there is a population of around 3,000 in the surrounding area. ''We are looking at three main areas: support for the older people in the village, playgroups for the very young children and other activities for the youth of the village.''

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.

Angus & The Mearns

‘They shouldn’t have waited’ mum claims Angus Council was slow to act on second Arbroath swimming pool bug report

November 20 2014

Angus Council has been criticised for taking five days to close a public swimming pool after a confirmed case of the dangerous bug cryptosporidium just days after an earlier outbreak. It shut the pool at Arbroath Sports Centre on Monday evening after traces of the parasite were found in a water sample. It has emerged five-year-old Kirsty Lawson from Friockheim was diagnosed with the painful disease last Wednesday after she visited the pool. Last night, Angus Council defended what it said was a “proportionate and precautionary response” to the situation after taking water samples. It said the most recent case involved a different type of cryptosporidium, the cause of which remains unclear. A strong message has been issued to bathers not to use a pool for at least two weeks after symptoms such as diarrhoea have cleared. Arbroath Swimming Pool was first closed at the end of October after a handful of people presented with symptoms of cryptosporidium. After a major decontamination, which closed the pool for more than a week, it reopened on Thursday November 6. Kirsty visited the pool the following day and fell unwell last Sunday. “She had diarrhoea through the night but she also had a temperature the next morning so I took her to the doctor,” her 37-year-old mother Bobbie said. “When I mentioned that she had been swimming the doctor asked me to hand in a sample, which I did the next day. “Last Wednesday the doctor phoned me and said the test had come back and it was cryptosporidium. “I spoke to environmental health that morning. They were a bit baffled. They said it was surprising that it would be the pool as it had just reopened and it was clear. “But it’s such an unusual bug where else would she have got it?” Aware the pool remained open, Bobbie again contacted environmental health on Friday to ask what action was being taken. She was told there would be a meeting that day and a sample would be sent away to be tested. “On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday hundreds of people were in that pool,” Bobbie said. “They should have tested the pool the day I told them about Kirsty they shouldn’t have waited a couple of days and then decided to test it.” Kirsty was off school for more than a week, returning for the first time on Wednesday. An Angus Council spokeswoman confirmed it was advised about the latest cryptosporidium case last Wednesday. She said: “Arbroath Swimming Pool reopened on November 6 as water samples were clear of cryptosporidium. The pool had been deep cleaned and tested and all pool plant is operating satisfactorily. “We were advised by the NHS Tayside public health team on the evening of Wednesday November 12 of one further case of cryptosporidium in the local community. “Based on the information available the NHS and council teams agreed that a proportionate and precautionary response would be to sample the water and keep the pool open pending results. “A water sample was taken on Friday morning, November 14, by independent analysts. “We closed the pool yesterday evening (Monday) as the water sample tested showed traces of cryptosporidium. “The type of cryptosporidium found in the earlier cases is different from the most recent case. The cause of the child’s infection remains unclear. “The presence of cryptosporidium in the swimming pool may indicate that the pool has been re-contaminated by pool users. “Bathers are advised that, if you have had diarrhoea, you must not use a pool for at least 14 days after the symptoms have cleared to prevent any spread of infection to other pool users if in doubt, stay out.”