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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

Residents angered by litter from Monifieth High pupils

February 17 2016

Pupils at an Angus High School have been blamed for turning a nearby beauty spot into a virtual rubbish tip. Residents of Panmurefield Den claim Monifieth High School pupils are leaving a trail of litter in their wake as they return to school after visiting the takeaways at Panmurefield Village during lunchtimes. Angus Council has said pupils have been reminded of their responsibilities and that the school takes the issue seriously. An image of some of the rubbish collected in February was posted online by Gail Kelly and has been shared hundreds of times on social media. As well as takeaway cartons there are dozens of plastic bottles and drinks cans. She said: “It has been a problem for a couple of years. “It is a disgrace I have an elderly neighbour who is out every day picking it all up. “We are a small community of just six houses but we back onto the playing fields at the high school so kids come past us to the shopping centre. “There can be up to 100 children coming through and they just throw their rubbish away.” Residents are now organising a petition urging both Angus and Dundee City Council to find a solution. Although the school is the responsibility of Angus Council, Dundee City Council owns land to the bottom of Panmurefield Road. Residents hope to convince the council to place additional bins on the route between the school and Panmurefield Village. “I think putting bins out would alleviate some of the problem,” said Gail, 49. “But surely these kids should be taught some kind of responsibility.” However, an Angus Council spokesman said the local authority and the school are trying to prevent littering. He said: “Littering within our community is something we give continuous attention to and we regularly remind our pupils of their responsibilities in this regard. “We meet and speak with local residents, businesses and local elected representatives on a frequent basis with a view to learning how the school and its pupils can play their part in finding short and long term solutions to this issue.” A Dundee City Council spokeswoman added: “We have received a complaint and we are currently looking into it.”


Panmurefield residents win fight against property management firm

July 27 2010

A Dundee community is celebrating after successfully ditching factors it regards as unwanted and overpriced. Residents of Panmurefield Village, off Arbroath Road, successfully challenged property management firm Ross & Liddell, which has now agreed to give up its maintenance of the area's common ground. Contractors have been instructed to stop work with immediate effect making householders there "extremely chuffed." David Reid (42), who lives on the new-build estate with his wife Valerie and daughter Kacey, said the victory could inspire other residents who find themselves in a similar position. He claims the area's 71 householders were paying a total of up to £8000 for management of the open spaces near their homes. "We are extremely chuffed and have proven a point that we can't be bullied," he said. "There are lots of others going through this in Dundee so I'd say to them 'don't back down and keep a brave face on it and if you approach it in the right way then you can beat them'." Mr Reid this month won a civil case brought by the property firm after he refused to pay maintenance fees. The court found that Ross & Liddell had no contract to act as factors. "They had said that they were going to be sending sheriff officers to force us to pay their fees," Mr Reid said. "There are older couples in the area who were terrified and were paying it out of fear and it just shouldn't be like that."OppositionA new Panmurefield Residents' Association was established, and when a majority of its members registered their opposition to the current arrangements, Ross & Liddell was forced to give up its management role. Now, the association has awarded the management contract to Dundee Contract Services for a fraction of the former cost. Mr Reid added, "The council will take on the contract everything that Ross and Liddell said they were doing for much, much less. "That works out at just under £20 each per year for each house. That's a far cry from the £80 or £120 that we were paying before." A spokesman for Ross & Liddell said, "Ross & Liddell no longer provide common ground maintenance services within Panmurefield Village. However we continue to take legal advice to determine our next step following the ruling on July 8." A spokesman for Dundee Contract Services confirmed it would be taking over management of "small common areas adjacent to properties in Panmurefield Village." Photo used under a Creative Commons licence courtesy of Flickr user SMercury98.


Panmurefield caravan residents claim they are being harassed

December 8 2016

The occupants of a caravan set up on land behind Panmurefield Village on the outskirts of Dundee say they are victims of a sustained campaign of harassment. The owner, who asked not to be named in order to protect her young daughter, said has had to install CCTV cameras because the caravan has been repeatedly attacked since it was installed in September. One image shared with The Courier shows what appears to be someone attempting to kick off the wing mirror of a car late at night. And she claimed a steel fence erected along one side of the caravan was installed is to make sure no one injures themselves on their land. The caravan was installed on a site by North Balmossie Street, between Panmurefield Village and Wyvis Road, in September. Local residents have complained it has no permission to be on the site. However, the woman maintains the caravan is legal and that she intends to secure planning permission to build a permanent home on the land. She said she and her family have been subjected to a systematic campaign of abuse since they arrived. This includes people hanging bags of dog dirt on the door handle of the caravan and even trying to break into the caravan and damage their cars. She also said the caravan was pelted with eggs on Hallowe’en. The woman said she has had to call the police at four o'clock in the morning because of people attempting to kick down the front door of the caravan and that people regularly climb on the fence, batter the caravan or target their cars. She said she has been in regular contact with Police Scotland and Dundee City Council’s anti-social behaviour unit about the incidents and regularly shares CCTV images from the caravan with them in a bid to trace the perpetrators. “We are being persecuted,” she said. “The police and ASBO team couldn’t believe how many people were doing it.” She said youths and adults had both been involved in the harassment and that there had even been attempts to force open the door of the caravan. “We’re not Travellers that have set up illegally on public land,” she said. “We have owned this land for three years.” Some residents have claimed the steel fence around the caravan is an eyesore but the woman said it was erected to make sure no one could injure themselves on what she hopes will soon be a building site. “It’s a security fence like you would see around construction site,” she said. “Before that it was open land and anyone could walk in. We want to paint it green so it looks less industrial.” Despite the incidents, she said she is determined to build a house on the land. A previous planning application was refused by Dundee City Council but she said they re-apply for permission soon. A spokeswoman for Dundee City Council confirmed its ASBO team has been in contact with the caravan residents.

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

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.


Royal Mail says it is obliged to deliver post to illegal caravan at Panmurefield

December 3 2016

Royal Mail has said it has no choice but to deliver post to a caravan sited illegally on land behind Panmurefield Village outside Dundee. The caravan was moved on to the site on North Balmossie Street, between Panmurefield Village and Wyvis Road, in September. Since then the owners of the caravan have erected steel fencing around the caravan so nobody can see in. They have now also installed CCTV cameras in the trees above the caravan and even a mailbox. Planning permission was sought to build a house on the site in January but refused by Dundee City Council. As the land is at the top of a steep slope, the house would have been propped up on stilts. It appears the caravan is also being propped up by paving slabs. Although the land is understood to be privately owned, no permission has been granted for a caravan to be on the site. Permission for the house was refused by the council because of concerns over its impact on the environment and the privacy of nearby properties and a lack of parking spaces. However, the caravan's occupants are now secure enough to have set up a postbox on the fence outside the caravan. A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: "If we get mail for an address then we have to deliver it." A woman in the compound refused to speak to The Courier when approached last week. Although the caravan has been set up illegally, she threatened to call the police when approached by a reporter. She said: "That's all we need. If you don't go, I'm calling the police." She declined to comment further. Dundee City Council launched an investigation following the appearance of the caravan in September. A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the situation and an investigation is taking place. "We will respond to findings appropriately.” Broughty Ferry councillor Laurie Bidwell said: "I wrote to the council earlier this week and am waiting on an update from them." Conservative Ferry councillor Derek Scott said he had written to the council's head of legal services asking him to expedite the issue so it is resolved as soon as possible.

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


Domino’s looking for another slice of Dundee

May 28 2016

Domino’s Pizza is looking to open a sit-in restaurant in Dundee that could become one of the chain’s biggest outlets in the UK. The company is seeking permission to open another outlet in a vacant unit beside the Odeon Douglasfield cinema. If successful, the new restaurant and takeaway could employ more than 70 people and would be one of the biggest Domino’s in the UK. If approved, it will be the fourth Domino’s in Tayside run by Henry Dawes. He already operates takeaways at City Quay and Panmurefield Village in Dundee and at Condor Drive in Arbroath. If approved, it could be open by the end of August.

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.