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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

Call for flute band march in Perth marking Battle of the Boyne to be halted

May 12 2015

A call to ban a flute band from marching through Perth to mark the Battle of the Boyne has been made by a local councillor. Peter Barrett described the presence of a 30-strong band as “excessive” and claimed the procession, if allowed to go ahead, should be forced to march in silence. “The applicants have given no explanation as to why this event cannot be combined with any other similar event despite immediately departing for a similar event in Broxburn,” said Mr Barrett in a formal objection to the council’s licensing committee which will debate the plan on Thursday. “Given that the stated purpose of the procession is ‘the annual Boyne celebration’ it is clear the purpose can be achieved elsewhere by the same participants and permission should not be given.” The plan is for 40 people to march from Tulloch Park on Saturday June 27 to lay a wreath in Perth, accompanied by the Castlemilk Flute Band. The application for permission is on behalf of the St Andrew’s True Blues LOL (Loyal Orange Lodge) 209 Perth and the march would start at 8.30am and make its way down Crieff Road, Dunkeld Road, Barrack Street, Atholl Street, North Methven Street, High Street, Scott Street, South Street, Tay Street and through the dry arch to lay a wreath at the Cameronian monument. After the national anthem the group would disperse for a main rally in Broxburn. Organiser David Walters said in the application the date was particularly significant to the organisation and added that they had marched along the same route before. He said that trained stewards would accompany the march and said there had been no difficulties or tensions in the recent past associated with holding the procession. Mr Barrett said: “The presence of a 30-strong flute band from Castlemilk is excessive for a procession of 40 pedestrians and seems unnecessary for the purpose of a wreath laying.” The police have no objections as long as a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order is brought into force. Mr Walters was unable to be contacted by The Courier for his reaction to Mr Barratt’s comments.

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

Plans to expand Monifieth with 300-home development unveiled

December 4 2013

Outline proposals for a 300-house development north of Monifieth by Barratt North Scotland have been made public. The major expansion of the town is the subject of a masterplan submitted to Angus Council, which is also considering a 380-house proposal by Taylor Wimpey for the adjacent site. The strategic policy for the area calls for the majority of new developments to take place within existing settlements, and Angus Council wants brownfield sites developed before greenfield sites. Barratt’s public consultation event at David Lloyd Leisure outlined proposals for a residential development, burnside parkland, associated infrastructure and communityfacilities on 86 hectares of farmland east of Victoria Street between Ashludie Hospital and the A92. Chris Ross, Barratt’s senior land manager,described the proposals as “an exciting opportunity for a sustainable planned expansion of Monifieth, which will provide a variety of housing to meet a wide range of needs, including a significant number of affordable homes”. The TAYplan classifies Monifieth as a Tier 1 settlement, meaning it has the potential to accommodate the majority of the region’s additional development through to 2032. Angus Council favours a masterplan approach for new development in and around Monifieth by bringing landowners, developers and the local community together to establish a long-term vision for future growth. The redevelopment of the Ashludie Hospital site adjoining the land Barratt wants to develop would be part of any masterplanning exercise, and Barratt believe their project would allow for such an outcome. A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said they are working with a master planner who is preparing a plan for the disposal of the Ashludie site. In September Taylor Wimpey conducted a similar exercise for the Grange site next door to Barratt’s. Company spokesman Andrew Roberts said: “The Grange site is a logical extension to Monifieth. Our proposals include a mix of private new homes, as well as affordable housing, where there is currently a significant shortfall. “We are also looking to provide land for a park-and-ride, as well as a new recycling facility, which could replace the town’s existing but constrained facility.” Some significant obstacles lie in the path of the two proposed developments, however. Scottish Water has suggested a drainage impact assessment would be required for so many new homes and the council say there is also no space on the rolls at Monifieth High School and limited capacity at Grange and Seaview Primary Schools, to accommodate new housing in the period 2014-2024.

Perth & Kinross

Call for 20mph limit to apply across Perth

January 26 2015

Perth should become Scotland’s second 20mph city, according to a local councillor. Peter Barrett made the call for a blanket lower limit after the council’s enterprise and infrastructure committee voted to reduce the limit on streets throughout the Kinnoull area. The move would bring the Fair City into line with Edinburgh, where earlier this month councillors voted to impose the lower limit on all but a handful of roads. However, the councillor’s calls have received a mixed response. While safety charity Brake backed the campaign, the Institute of Advanced Motorists urged caution. Mr Barrett, who campaigned for the Kinnoull 20mph limit for two years, said: “It has been a particularly hard and uphill struggle to have local residential neighbourhoods designated 20mph zones. “It is high time that the council adopted a much more proactive and comprehensive approach to safer road speeds such as Edinburgh City Council has recently demonstrated.” Welcoming the news that Kinnoull would have a reduced speed limit, he said: “This is great news for local residents. “This will be a major improvement for local residents, children walking to school and people walking to and from Kinnoull Hill and once the 20mph limit is introduced its impact will be monitored closely.” The new speed restrictions should be introduced by the end of the year. Meanwhile, road safety charity Brake backed Mr Barratt’s calls for a blanket 20mph limit across Perth. Philip Goose, senior community engagement officer for the organisation, said: “If Perth and Kinross council took the step to put in place a default 20mph limit in the city, they would be taking one simple step to reduce collisions and casualties, enable residents to live active lifestyles, boost communities and the local economy and reduce pollution. “With an estimated 13 million people across the UK now living in areas implementing or committed to widespread 20mph limits, we think it’s time for governments in Holyrood and Westminster to adopt 20mph as the default national urban limit, to save councils money and help create safe, active, happy communities nationwide.” However a spokesman for the Institute of Advanced Motorists said reducing limits across the board did not necessarily make the roads safer. He said: “The safety benefits of 20mph limits are often overstated. “We have no problem with 20mph limits in residential areas but problems can emerge if roads are covered that look and feel safe at speeds above 20. “Drivers get confused and support for the overall approach can be put at risk. “If there are specific speed-related problems on roads in Perth and Kinross then local engineering measures should be the first option. “Unfortunately all too often 20mph limits are seen as a relatively cheap method of appearing to address a problem that may never have existed in the first place.” Perth and Kinross Council said it has no plans to introduce widespread 20mph speed limits across the region. A spokeswoman said: “We already have a number of 20mph limit areas throughout Perth and Kinross and will consider further ones where they are required.”

UK & World

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.


Dundee University centre hopes to feel benefit of Nick Barratt family history lecture

April 2 2011

A public lecture in Dundee this evening by TV genealogist Dr Nick Barratt could be the spark needed to get people researching their own family histories, Dundee University is hoping. Experts from its Centre for Archive and Information Studies (CAIS) will be setting up a stand outside the lecture to offer information about courses its runs. These include an online masters degree and postgraduate certificates in family and local history, along with short introductory courses. Centre spokeswoman Caroline Brown said, "These exciting online courses will equip you with the skills and methods to investigate your own family and neighbourhood's history and introduce you to a range of primary sources as well as teaching you to read old handwriting. "There has been a real growth in interest in family and social history in recent years, and a lot of people want to know how they can go about finding out more about the past but might not necessarily know how to go about it. "The MLItt, and other courses offered by CAIS, allow them to do this whilst obtaining a new qualification. Hopefully people will come and find more, and take in Nick Barratt's fascinating lecture." Dr Barratt, who appeared in the popular BBC show Who Do You Think You Are?, will be giving a free lecture at the university's Dalhousie Building, off Hawkhill, at 6pm on Saturday. Free places can be reserved at www.dundee.ac.uk/tickets or by calling 01382 385564.To read a full interview with Dr Barratt, click here.

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

Angus & The Mearns

Plans for 300-home development in Monifieth drawn up

April 14 2014

Barratt has drawn up a planning application for a proposed 300-home development in Monifieth. The company are arguing that an “appropriately designed and phased” expansion of the town to the north-east would present the best opportunity for its sustainable long-term growth. The lodging of the application with Angus Council follows a public consultation in December. Another housebuilder, Taylor Wimpey, has announced proposals for 380 homes on an adjacent site. Barratt’s plans for their 24-hectare site between Ashludie Hospital and the A92 encompass a mix of house types and tenure including affordable housing. “Through public consultation it became clear there is a requirement for a range of house types to meet the demand of the entire community,” they said in their planning statement. This includes starter homes and mid-sized family homes. The development is envisaged as being the first phase of a wider masterplan for the north-east edge of the town, opening up opportunities for shops and community facilities, a park and ride, cycle/footpaths and a new public park. Barratt said: “There is an underprovision of accessible public space within the town and development of this area could help address this issue. “The application site will provide approximately 10 hectares of public open space, in a variety of formal and informal landscape areas.” The site’s main vehicle access would be a junction off Victoria Street, with possibly another junction at Broomhill Drive. The statement acknowledges a financial contribution from the developer would probably be required to ensure that Moni-fieth High is capable of coping with the extra pupils the new housing would bring. However, the town’s primary schools are reckoned to have enough capacity to cope with the initial phase of the project. Barratt said: “The strategy presented here provides the first step in the establishment of a long-term, phased vision for Monfieth appropriate to bring forward new homes and community and business premises to meet current needs and demands, without prejudicing the TAYplan strategy.” Monifieth community council has said there is public concern that further large-scale expansion could spoil the “village atmosphere” and there are mixed views about the desirability of developing the agricultural land to the north-east. There was a clear view that the brownfield site at Ashludie Hospital should be developed first, it said.

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.