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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...


Council says Lomond Homes has no debt for Kilmux playpark

January 30 2013

Collapsed builder Lomond Homes does not owe Fife Council any money in relation to the Kilmux playpark development in Kennoway. The council’s service manager Jim Birrell made the position clear after Lomond Homes’ move into administration led a number of Kennoway residents to call for an investigation into what other monies might be owed to the local authority through Section 75 payments. In particular, residents were demanding to know what “robust action” was taken to recover the Kilmux Park playpark’s commuted sum, due in 2003 and believed to be £75,000. The Courier reported in December how it took six years to persuade Lomond Homes to install a children’s playpark at its new housing estate in Kennoway. It emerged the equipment could be ripped out due to an ongoing wrangle over its maintenance. Children do not play on the swings and slide, and the area has become something of an eyesore. The park was finally installed by Lomond Homes around three years ago many years after the last home was built. Its creation was included in the planning permission granted for the estate and the time it took to be delivered angered locals. However, it is believed no agreement was ever secured for the playpark’s maintenance and, despite efforts by residents to maintain it themselves, it has been left to decay. The council said in December that talks over its future were to resume in the new year but one option being looked at is replacing the broken play equipment with seating. Two weeks ago it was confirmed that professional services firm PwC has been appointed administrators of Lomond Homes, based in Glenrothes. It had previously emerged that the council was pursuing action to recover £494,000 from the company, money that is outstanding in relation to two Section 75 planning agreements for developments in Blairhall and Lochgelly. Lomond Homes had other creditors. Kennoway resident William Polland said the time had come for further answers. He said: “I must say that whilst I understand why Lomond Homes should be asked questions, though now in administration, I believe the serious questions should be asked of Fife Council, such as how much in total over the last 10 years is owed to the council in Section 75 payments, not only from Lomond Homes? “What robust action was taken to recover the Kilmux Park playpark commuted sum, due in 2003, and other monies outstanding on other developments? “Should there be a major inquiry into whether something sinister has been going on here? Surely the true facts and figures need to be established? My suspicion is that the facts could be damming.” Service manager Jim Birrell said: “As previously reported Lomond Homes owe the council a total of £494,000. However, there is no outstanding sum of money in relation to the Kilmux development. “Lomond Homes installed a playpark and were responsible for maintaining it for the first two years. We are now exploring options to bring the park into proper and safe use for local children, in discussion with residents, the community council and elected members.”

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Vandals hit popular Carnoustie park for third time

August 29 2013

A popular Angus play attraction has been vandalised for the third time this year. Fire damage was caused to a children’s climbing frame at Sandy Sensations playpark on the Carnoustie beachfront between 8am on Tuesday and 8am on Wednesday. It follows two separate occasions earlier this year where vandals stripped part of the covering of the playpark’s paddling pool. Angus Council’s leisure spokesperson Jeanette Gaul was counting the cost of the latest incident. She said: “It is particularly disheartening to see this destruction at times of severe budget cuts. Funds will have to be diverted to pay for these repairs which could have been put towards equipment in other areas. “I would urge anyone who has any information about this latest incident to contact the police.” Police Scotland said the fire could have caused serious harm. Anyone with information should call Police Scotland Tayside Division on 101, speak to any Police Officer or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Fate sealed for Kennoway park branded a ‘midden’

August 5 2013

An eyesore playpark at the centre of a maintenance wrangle is to be ripped out. The play equipment at Kilmux Park in Kennoway, was installed by the now defunct housing developer Lomond Homes almost four years ago. However, no agreement was ever secured for the playpark’s maintenance and, despite efforts by residents to maintain it themselves, it was left to decay. It was branded a “midden” earlier this year and fed-up families living in the area said they had had enough. Talks between Fife Council and Lomond Homes over the park’s future were set to begin at the start of this year, but the housing firm went into administration in January. The local authority has now decided to remove the broken equipment and landscape the area but, because the land belongs to the housing firm’s administrator, it has to apply for planning permission to do so. Councillor Tom Adams, chairman of Levenmouth area committee, said a planning application had been submitted and it was hoped work could begin soon. “The park is a mess and nobody plays in it,” he said. “It’s for very little kids but it’s dangerous. The equipment is broken, the grass is all overgrown and residents have been up in arms because it is just an eyesore.” Mr Adams added: “Lomond Homes’ administrators say they have no objections to us clearing it but we will have to pay for it ourselves from the area budget. “We’re looking to have a grassed area with seats and residents will have to look after it because it is still private land.” The councillor said he believed most of the residents supported the move to remove the equipment but added that a questionnaire was circulating in the Kilmux Park area, asking householders what they would like to see happen. “Fife Council’s parks are inspected every week for insurance purposes and if any defects are found, they are fixed,” he said. “This one has never been inspected in the four years it has been there so who is going to let their kids play there?” Photo by David Wardle

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

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.


Closure may be the only answer for neglected Kennoway playpark

December 28 2012

IT TOOK six years to persuade a housing developer to install a children’s playpark in one of its new estates. Now the equipment could be ripped out due to an ongoing wrangle over its maintenance. Youngsters do not play on the swings and slide at Kilmux Park in Kennoway, and the area has become something of an eyesore. One councillor described the park as “a midden” and said fed-up families had had enough. The park was finally installed by Lomond Homes around three years ago many years after the last home was built. Its creation was included in the planning permission granted for the estate and the time it took to be delivered was a matter of some consternation locally. However, it is believed no agreement was ever secured for the playpark’s maintenance and, despite efforts by residents to maintain it themselves, it has just been left to decay. Fife Council has said talks over its future are set to resume in the new year but one option being looked at is replacing the broken play equipment with seating. Councillor David Alexander told The Courier: “It took six years to get this play equipment put in. It was eventually put in but it never, ever met the standards required by Fife Council so the council didn’t adopt it.” He added: “It looks as though the planning permission did not have any requirement for maintenance so we are now left with an eyesore sitting in the middle of a housing estate. “The council won’t touch it because it has not been adopted and the land is still owned by Lomond Homes. “Things are ongoing to resolve it though, and I’m sure there’s something we can do but at the moment there is this impasse.” Councillor Tom Adams, chairman of the council’s Levenmouth area committee, branded the situation ridiculous. “It’s a total midden. The grass is all overgrown and the kids can’t play there,” he said. “Residents are up in arms with all the mess because it’s a lovely housing estate. “They’ve tried to cut the grass themselves but it’s too big a job and there’s nowhere to put the cuttings. I’ve written to development services asking what’s going on.” Mr Adams said the cash-strapped council feared that if it agreed to maintain the Kilmux Park equipment, it would be hit by similar requests from other areas. He said: “They’re now looking at it with a view to either taking it away and making it a seating area or doing it up. One way or another, we have to resolve it.” He added: “Residents bought their houses in good faith but neither the council nor Lomond Homes are accepting responsibility.” Levenmouth area services manager Dave Paterson said the council realised how concerned local people were about the playpark and said the issue would be looked at again soon. “It’s important to point out that the council does not believe it has an obligation to maintain the play park,” he said. “There is no agreement in place with the developer, or payment of a commuted sum, which would be the normal approach to engage the council.” cwarrender@thecourier.co.uk


VIDEO: Chainsaw artist has a whale of a time down at Roseangle play park

March 31 2015

Youngsters from schools across Dundee watched in wonder as “Jonny Chainsaw” helped a giant Tay Whale emerge from a chunk of African hardwood. The Linlithgow-based artist tree surgeon Jonny Stableford was creating a sculpture that will become a key element of Roseangle playpark. His chainsaw carving will be one of a number of works of art, which will include references to the Tay bridges, trains and planes. They all form part of the rejuvenated playpark, which will reopen in less than three weeks following years of fund-raising by the Friends of Magdalen Green who are looking forward to welcoming visitors once more. The whale sculpture will be an interactive part of the park, with youngsters invited to climb on to its back.“The project is coming along so well,” said Sharon Dickie, who is treasurer of the Friends of Magdalen Green. The Friends hope to celebrate the official opening with a launch party next month.Follow progress at www.facebook.com/RoseanglePlayParkDundee.