Sandra Burke, Secretary Tealing Community Council
SANDRA BURKE, TEALING COMMUNITY COUNCIL SECRETARY , CHAIR OF THE MILLENNIUM PLANNING GROUPand author of TEALING THE GATEWAY TO ANGUS
(Writing in Spring 2000)
At the turn of the last century Tealing folk largely worked on the land and their main threat was illnesses like scarlet fever and diphtheria, which claimed many lives, young and old. Nowadays the concerns are very different. The single biggest issue of concern to local people is the need for safety enhancements on the A 90 dual carriageway that runs right through the village. Before it was a dual carriageway, between 1959 and 1961, the road was dubbed" death mile" after six people were killed in accidents over that short period. The dual carriageway is better able to cope than the old road with the much heavier volume of traffic today. However, the lack of deceleration lanes for all the exits along the Tealing stretch and the absence of a safe pedestrian crossing contributes to the persistently high accident rate.
In October 1997, the tragic death of seventeen-year old local lad Greg Taylor as he tried to cross the A90 on his bicycle, polarised local opinion and revived the campaign for safety enhancements. Since then, Greg's mother Lynne Taylor and the Community Council have campaigned tirelessly on the issue. Speaking to the Evening Telegraph after a recent serious accident near the spot where Greg died, Lynne said "underpasses and flyovers are needed and I would love to see a cut in the speed limit. I use the Tealing Auchterhouse junction all the time and sometimes it is horrendous trying to join the main road. It only takes one impatient driver to cause a crash. It's too late for Greg, but I have a fifteen year old daughter and I just hope that something can eventually be done". Following the visit of the Scottish Office Minister of Transport to Tealing in 1998, speed cameras and improved signage were installed, but these measures fall far short of what local people feel is required, so the campaigning will continue.
Other issues are also of concern to local people as Tealing enters the millennium. Community Councillor Moira Paton is extremely keen to see environmental improvements in the Inveraldie area and on the site once occupied by Discovery Pallets. She points out that when Dundee District Council took over the administration of Tealing in the seventies, they published a report stating that landscaping, tree screening and verge improvement were urgently needed, but nothing was done. Moira said "the dereliction just south of Inveraldie is becoming a real eyesore and spoils the beauty of the landscape. Such a mess shouldn't be permitted in a nice rural spot. It's a great pity and we are hopeful that the local council will take it in hand to secure improvement".
Concerns also exist about the long-term outlook for Tealing Church. Although, closed and secure, the church is historically significant for it's background, ancient inscriptions and carvings. Many local people would like to see those preserved and, although ownership of the Church has reverted to the Crown, they are hopeful that something can be done to secure the future of the building.
Also, farmers in Tealing are experiencing the same downturn currently being felt in the farming industry throughout the UK. Charlie Young, owner of Sheilhill Farm, is hopeful that local farmers will see it through " the depression is currently hitting the area hard, but most of them are holding on" he said.
In 1968 the Rev James Kidd said that it would be interesting to see how community spirit in the village would survive the decline in the church and the increase in the number of commuter residents. He pondered whether incomers would want the same level of involvement in community life as those who live and work on the land. Thirty-two years later the question is still relevant, but much has changed, even in that period of time. People of all ages are now more mobile, more affluent and have a lot more choice about how they spend their free time. Within a 1S/20-minute drive of Tealing there are plenty of restaurants, clubs, shopping centres, leisure parks and theatres etc. More women are working and are having to juggle careers with the demands of family life and the home -and if they are working all day they are perhaps less inclined to leave the children in the evenings to attend adult community groups. Perhaps the way forward is to offer activities that all of the family can participate in together?
On the other hand, 21st century living is more independent and the rights of those who choose not to embrace village life must be respected. Everyone who chooses to live in Tealing enjoys the wonderful environment and quality of life it offers and it is inevitable that, for some, this is the sole attraction. As Secretary of the Community Council and an incomer myself, I've always felt welcome. And, like many other incomers, I've found the community spirit dramatically better in this wee country village than anything I have experienced before. But then, I am measuring it against anonymous city life, whereas those who have lived here for decades are comparing today with the halcyon days of the forties, fifties and sixties when Tealing was fairly "buzzing" with clubs, associations and camaraderie.
The other challenge is the physical distribution of the area. It is very spread out and contains several distinct "hamlets" and condensed areas of population that are almost small villages in themselves -Balgray, Kirkton, Inveraldie, Newbigging etc. This makes publicising village wide events and generally sharing information and community spirit that much more difficult, but not impossible.
In the introduction to the book we describe Tealing as a "vibrant rural community with a rich and colourful past". That is exactly what Tealing is and all who live, work and visit here, can be proud of that. Having survived pre-historic times, the Romans, the Picts, English invasion, several religious upheavals, two World Wars, farming depressions and all the other ups and downs of the last two thousand years, I think we can be confident that Tealing, the Gateway to Angus, will see many more millenniums.
We certainly hope so!