July 1983

Mecca Buy Dundee Night Club

OvergateThe Barracuda night spot in Dundee has been bought by Mecca Leisure Ltd., who own two other entertainment complexes in the city. London-based Mecca said yesterday that adding the Barracuda to their present properties, Green's Playhouse and Tiffany's, is an expression of faith in Dundee and its future.The deal was concluded last month with the Rank Organisation, who own the property, in a deal covering six premises in Scotland. Rank have sold the properties to Mecca and yesterday Mr Chris York, marketing director of Mecca said they had plans to develop both the Barracuda and Tiffany's. The change in ownership does not take effect until September and Mr York was unwilling to outline the development until then. "We do have plans to invest money in the property but we haven't actually come to any final decisions yet. As far as the staff are concerned we will be keeping everybody on".

Mr York agreed that Mecca's investment in Dundee was a mark of faith in the area. Mecca now own more entertainment properties in the city than anywhere else in Scotland. "We believe that there is a future in Dundee" said Mr York "We believe that despite the significant levels of unemployment in this day and age, there are still enough people who are in employment and with disposable income to spend". Mr York added that the company did not think unemployment and recession would remain forever.

Veeder - 'Some Hope'

Negotiations are going on apace with potential buyers for the closure-threatened Veeder-Root petrol pump assembly operation at Myrekirk in Dundee (writes our industrial reporter). The company confirmed last week that they are to pull out of the complete pump assembly field and if a buyer cannot be found for the operation by July 22, the Dundee plant will close with the loss of 50 jobs.

Last night however, Veeder-Roots's Dundee-based vice-president of European operations, Mr A.B. Dwason said he thought there was "some hope" that a buyer could be found. He said there had been "active co-operation" with various bodies, particularly the Scottish Development Agency in the matter. Meetings had taken place last week with a number of interested parties and there would be further talks. "All I can say is there's continuing interest on the part of some people," said Mr Dawson. "I feel there is some hope, although I would not want to overstate the case at the present moment."

The company have said that the decision to withdraw for complete assembly of petrol pumps was taken because of the continuing poor state of the market for retail petrol equipment. They say no improvements can be foreseen in the near future. They have made it a prime condition of sale of the operations, based at the 35,000 square foot Myrekirk factory that they remain in Dundee as a going concern. So far the interest expressed has been from British companies.

Slippery Slopes are Shopping Hazard

Are the ramps within the Wellgate Centre proving a hazard rather than a help to disabled or elderly shoppers? The question is poised by a lady reader who watched another woman in severe difficulty as she tried to push a wheelchair up the ramp.

"The surface fairly shines with cleanliness" said our reader "but the gloss is slippery, In fact I have the upmost difficulty getting down these ramps in my high heels with out falling. Its a case of walking on tiptoe or risk falling flat."

Wellgate management tell me they wish they could find someone to invent a cleaning agent which is effective and non-slip at the same time. "We do have a severe dust problem, like most places in central Dundee and try hard to keep those ramp areas clean" said a spokesman "I can't offer a ready solution to this problem, though I must say people nowadays tend to wear shoes which don't have a good grip for modern surfaces.

Dundee Highland Games

The City of Dundee District Council
Leisure and Recreation Department
Entertainment Section
Present for all the family on Sunday July 3rd  Dundee Highland Games at Caird Park Stadium.
See the Royal Navy model of H.M.S Hermes, cycling, tuf-o-war, athletics, heavy events, highland dancing and lots more.

James F.Hoey, Chief Executive, City Chambers.

City to Bid for Festival

Dundee will submit an application to be the Garden Festival city in 1989. Senior members of the Labour administration  say this will be their "marker" to indicate their interest in the £22 million festival and exhibition proposal. The development is organised by the Department of Environment and Dundee was invited to make a submission for the Riverside site last week after a committee of the Glasgow District Council had decided to recommend that the city should not bid for the gigantic flower show. A hurriedly call meeting of senior councillors of both major groups in Dundee produced mixed feelings about the proposal. A point being made that the estimated cost now is £22 million but what night that figure be in six years time? Cash help from the SDA and from private enterprise might make the tourist-trap exhibition viable to stage and some lolly from the government would also help. Members of the finance committee would like to know if the Scottish office would take a forthcoming festival in to consideration when working out Dundee's capital allocations. But the big question is what happens after 1989. There would be a prestigious site with handsome buildings. Some might be used for housing, it is believed while others might be capable of conversion for industrial purposes. Consideration may be academic, however Glasgow has had a change of mind and decided to submission to stage the show piece.

Dundee Crematorium to be Taken Over

The management company of Dundee Crematorium is to be sold off to new owners. News that a deal could be concluded in a matter of weeks has come shortly after another increase in charges for the facility, keeping it one of the most expensive crematoriums in Britain.

The new owners of the management company - Dundee Crematorium (Management) Ltd., based in offices in the Nethergate - is expected to be a consortium of British business men. It is understood that among their interests they have a Scottish-registered company based in Dundee which would take over the crematorium management company.

The present owners, Dominion International Group PLC, which has its main office in Banstead, Surrey, are to retain the property. The selling off of the management company is in line with the group's policy of dispensing with allied operations such as undertakers and crematoriums. At the end of May the charges for adult cremation on weekdays was £94 to £104 and on Saturdays from £118 to £130. Other charges remained unchanged from last year. The crematorium was taken over by Dundonian Group PLC, a subsidiary of Dominion International in the mid-1970's.

Last year there were some 2300 cremations at Dundee. For many years the continuing increase in costs has been the subject of considerable criticism. Yesterday Mr Richard Williams, director responsible for Dundee Crematorium interest told the "Courier" that prices have increased on an annual basis since take-over. The latest increase represented only about 10%.

He conceded that the Dundee facility was possibly the most expensive in Scotland but said that it had to be borne in mind that it was run by a private company. "We do not get any subsidies from the council in any way or form and it has to pay its way in the world" said Mr Williams. "Over the last couple of years there has been some very heavy expenditure indeed". Mr Williams said that two new cremators had been installed at a cost of between £35,000 and £40,000 each. Subsequent to this it had been discovered that the replacement of chimneys would be necessary and he had recently given the go ahead for this work which would cost in the region of £60, 000 to £70,000.

Mr Williams added that Dominion International had already disposed of a number of funeral interests and had over the past two years been talking to a number of parties over the sale of the Dundee Crematorium management company. Active negotiations with one particular customer had been taking place over the last six months and he hoped a deal could be concluded in about three months. He confirmed that the likely buyers were a group of British business men but declined to identify them. He did say that the new owners would likely maintain and possible expand the Dundee facilities.

Boost for Ice Rink

Dundee Ice Rink directors agreed to a £300 000 extension after a lengthy board meeting this week. A Scottish Development Agency-sponsored scheme has agreed to grant  £100, 000 towards the Kingsway extension which would provide an "eight rink pad" behind the existing arena.

"Although some of the problems still need to be ironed out we  would like to have the new premises ready for the winter season next year" said chairman Bill Sword.

The announcement provides the prospect of greater peak-time ice sports as well as easing the pressure of demand in the stadium.

Dundee Film Theatre

The Steps Theatre, Wellgate
Wednesday August 3 for one  day
"The Janitor" (15)
starts 7.30.