GREENBALLS: Saving da planet for da yoof

An occasional series showcasing the bollocks that’s talked about the environment by people who really should know better.

Bristol City Council is going to sink £4million and ongoing revenue funding of about £400k a year into a ‘Youth Zone’ that will be built on open space in Inns Court in South Bristol.

This got the following explanation from the council and the wealthy philanthropists from Onside who are behind the national Youth Zone projects:

Youth Zone
https://www.bristol247.com/news-and-features/features/green-space-under-threat-from-youth-centre-plans/

So concreting over green space encourages young people to use green space? Glad we got that sorted.

CLIMATE EMERGENCY BALLS: IT’S TREES OR CARS

An occasional series highlighting the nonsense spouted in the name of ‘the climate emergency’

“In a climate and ecological emergency, we need radical action, and fast …The alternative to schemes that involve felling a few trees [74 in total on one site], to safeguard and improve our active travel and public transport infrastructure [by building 166 homes in ‘attractive mid-rise buildings’], is the continued increase of car journeys.”

https://thebristolcable.org/2021/09/saving-every-tree-is-not-the-answer/

The Bristol Cable explaining why trees at Baltic Wharf – a site that has both the largest single collection of trees and the highest tree density on the harbourside – must be chopped down because ‘climate emergency’.

Further reading on the value of trees at Baltic Wharf

CITY LEAP: ANOTHER ENERGY BUSINESS SHAMBLES?

Leap 82429

A strong rumour rumbles through the Bristolian newswire that never sleeps … One of the three multinational corporates bidding to become a partner in the ‘billion pound City Leap’ neighbourhood heat network joint venture with Bristol City Council has thrown in the towel.

So it’s farewell, then, to ENGIE Services Holding UK Ltd and Sumitomo Corporation (as a consortium). Have they decided that Bristol City Council’s “billion pound’ golden egg may well end up all over their faces? This leaves E ON and Ameresco to battle it out for the grand prize in a procurement race that has so far burned through £7million of council taxpayers cash for no useful reason.

Engie’s decision may not be unrelated to a cabinet paper released this week that reveals the council has just received £11million from the government to build a heat network in Bedminster. This, the paper explains, will connect to eleven new blocks of flats in the Bedminster Green area. In other words, the cost, at present, of connecting one block to a neighbourhood heat network is a million quid.

Never mind any profit, Engie probably figured out not losing a small fortune in this expensive business was probably unavoidable. How much would you have to charge punters to get a million quid back while “implement[ing] competitive heat retail and competitive heat generation across the heat network”?

Not a question Bristol’s cabinet or councillors have so far asked while signing away £7million of our money on their latest daft energy business.

THAT RARE BEAST … An informed comment on the Evening Post website!

In response to claims that Cineworld at Hengrove isn’t viable and “the cinemas for years have been dead”:

RARaspberryEgg17 HRS AGOReply to AwrightMeBabberz

You are wrong on this one.

At the current time, Cineworld charge £6 a ticket.

Around 400 of us have the Cineworld “Unlimited” Card, where, for a fixed monthly fee, you can watch as many films as you want (I know the numbers because Cineworld set up an unlimited group on Facebook for each cinema)

Cineworld themselves haven’t helped with their scheduling :

The Sopranos spin off, “The Many Saints of Newark” was released yesterday. Hengrove gets just one showing per day, at 4.40 PM, not great when you factor in people’s working commitments.

In the Cineworld App, both Yate and Weston have two showings per day, at 5.40 PM and 8.30 PM. Further afield, Cineworld cinemas in Newport, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Swindon have four showings per day, and this scenario is repeated for other films.

Prior to Covid, Hengrove was designated by Cineworld as an “International Film Cinema”, showing many Polish and Bollywood films, with Poles and Asians coming from as far as Thornbury, Newport, Cardiff, and Gloucester, to watch films in their native language (with English subtitles) that they could not watch nearer home. Since Hengrove re-opened, precious few foreign films have been shown

As a benefit of having an unlimited card, we had regular early preview showings of films, before they went on general release. Outside the screen, there was usually a table set up for us, offering free film posters, badges, water bottles, etc, and occasionally a tub of sweets or a drink. Again, this has all stopped.

Those of us with unlimited cards have long suspected that Cineworld themselves have wanted to close Hengrove, irrespective of any housing development.

Worse still, Cineworld are just silent when we ask questions via their social media channels….

NEW HENGROVE HOUSING HORROR

Hengrove Leisure Park

More good news for South Bristol as a planning application before Bristol City Council’s Planning Committe ‘A’ today proposes to demolish Hengrove Leisure Park and build 350 homes in its place.

This latest housing site is conveniently nestled between Hengrove Park, where 1,500 homes have planning permission, and the new private equity development ‘Urban Quarter’, where 250 homes are being built. 

A few hundred metres east of the site, on Hengrove Way, is Barratt Homes’ recently completed Filwood Park, a development of 150 homes and next to that is the emerging Skanska/IKEA ‘Boklok‘ abomination built on the verge of Airport Road with 173 homes.

The existing facilities at Hengrove Leisure Park – the cinema, bingo hall and the majority of food outlets – which only opened with much fanfare in 1998, are all proposed for demolition to make way for housing. Because, according to the planning application before councillors, the existing facilities are ‘not viable’.

Residents of Whitchurch, Hengrove, Hartcliffe and Knowle West are furious at the news that some of the last leisure facilities in the area are being thrown into the dustbin of history under the cover of “the housing crisis”. 

A slogan that, in the hands of the property industry, is nothing more than a populist ploy to extract large profits from overdevelopment. Is it any surprise that as house prices in south Bristol head north of £300k, the international private equity industry is taking an interest?

Residents also complain that they have been fooled by Bristol City council and its planners as the 1,500 home development on the hugely popular Hengrove Park was only signed off for planning permission on the basis that there were public facilities, like the leisure park, in the area to support new housing. The leisure park is even listed as part of ‘Phase one‘ of this new development by Bristol City Council.

This proposal is also another major disaster for the credibility of Bristol City Council planners who, 25 years ago, foisted this car-friendly development – a large car park with some large retail sheds – on south Bristol as their vision of the future for the area.

Indeed, so enamoured were council planners and politicians with their exciting new corporate-leisure-in-a-car-park future, they even granted the privately-run operation an unprecedented 1,000 year lease on the council-owned open space of Hengrove Park to realise this dream.

Whether this ludicrous 1,000 year lease to a corporate allows the new owners of the leisure park, AEK UK, to demolish it and build housing remains to be seen. 

OSBORNE OFFSPRING MAKING GRIME GRIM

Osborne

Local journalists, glued to social media in search of clickbait, might be missing a trick not subscribing to celeb gossip news – Popbitch.

This week we learned that “George Osborne’s son Luke is running a drum’n’bass night in Bristol that claims it will “smack shades of shit out of your Tuesday”!

If you have a really strong stomach, that style bible the, er, Spectator has more info on Luke Osborne and his nightlife career. Is this the first Bristol club night to be promoted in Tory wankers’ magazine of choice?

“The heir-in-line to the family baronetcy is already showing an abundance of entrepreneurial flair while still an undergraduate at Bristol University. The Old Pauline has registered his own nightclub business on Companies House under the name ‘The Constitution Limited.’ He and his co-directors have spent the summer entertaining Bertie’s club in Newquay, hosting nights which offer an ‘immersive genre-fluid return to raving.’

And tonight the budding tycoons are set to take their thriving business back to Bristol for their first drum and bass night there – just in time for freshers’ week. The event is set to be held at Basement 45 – described by one source as a ‘sweaty, subterranean bunker’– and promises to ‘smack shades of shit out of your Tuesday night.’ Music genres include grime, disco, techno and house with the ‘fantastic line up of young talent’ boasting names such as Vsylum, DJ Natworthy and Miffz.”

If you can stand any more, here’s a link to the event that includes a very long, very weird, very boring story from Bristol’s exciting public school krew.

Help!

CLIMATE EMERGENCY BALLS: ROUNDABOUTS

An occasional series highlighting the nonsense spouted in the name of ‘the climate emergency’

“Having declared a climate emergency we do need to improve the efficiency of the roundabouts”

Steve Reade, South Gloucestershire Council Conservative cabinet member for regeneration, environment & strategic infrastructure:

PRIVATE EQUITY CASHING IN ON ‘HOUSING CRISIS’

urban quarter

The quick sale of Kier’s half-finished ‘Urban Quarter’ development on Hengrove Lane, adjacent to Hengrove Leisure Centre to Terra Firma, a European private equity outfit, operating under the brand Tilia spells trouble for locals and increased profit for financiers.

The first thing Terra Firma have done is go back to Bristol City Council to alter the planning permission. Their request? That they can add two storeys to a couple of the proposed blocks of flats there.

While this will increase the amount of people and vehicles on a crowded site, it will also increase profits for a shadowy group from Europe’s financial elite.

This is also, of course, a profitable little private equity trick that can be pulled off elsewhere in South Bristol where the amount of unsustainable housing development on their open space, accompanied by few new public services or facilities, already has locals up in arms.

The housing crisis is turning out to be a nice little earner for some isn’t it? And a new kind of hell for others.

DEFLATING MAYORAL EGO LIVE!

A seemingly harmless question from posh Green councillor Carla “The Green Princess” Denyer at Tuesday’s council meeting got the Reverend Rees in a bit of an emotional state.

The painfully liberal member for the Royal Borough of Clifton East asked the Reverend a seemingly harmless question. Was it reasonable to refuse to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, a Private Members Bill currently going through Parliament, just because it was likely to fail without Tory support?

Back came a rambling response from a visibly emotional mayor: “I just anticipated this. When I see your name, my heart often sinks because it’s just the usual, kind of, you know, chess game trying to get a tweet or a blog out of the answer that feeds that line that, you know, Labour Party don’t care about the planet.”

This is despite the dull Green Princess not running a blog (unlike the Reverend) and running the most boring Twitter account imaginable! Could the Reverend’s response have anything to do with Ms Denyer’s efforts at present to become leader of the national Green party and the amount of press and attention she’s receiving locally and nationally? Press coverage that currently eclipses the thin-skinned jealous Reverend’s by a considerable amount?

It was obvious to many on Tuesday that our emotionally insecure mayor needed to constantly underline his own importance. He spent most of the meeting basically saying “Look at me. I’m a very important person” and boasting about the national and international corporate non-entities-in-suits he has been meeting with lately.

At one point he even told councillors that they lacked the integrity of the people he had had a highly important Zoom meeting with just that morning. Those people being merchant bankers and financiers. A profession popularly regarded for having, er, zero integrity.

Take cover! The Reverend’s fragile ego has crash landed in the dodgy international finance sector!

PLASTICENE MAN BAMBOOZLED BY NIMBIES

Renhard-Red-Telephone-Box

A successful council motion last night to preserve the city’s greenbelt and wildlife areas such as the Novers/Western Slopes from the Reverend’s looney housing developer mates really upset the developer-friendly Labour Group.

The Reverend, naturally, had one of his regular and embarrassing hissy fits in public at councillors after not getting his own way and being stopped from concreting over any more of our open spaces. But also joining him was our dear friend Tom “Plasticene Man” Renhard, the city’s new Cabinet member for housing, tasked with reading out crap speeches badly written for him by the Reverend’s PR sideman Kev “Slo” Slocombe.

After the Labour defeat, Plasticene Man, Labour’s latest ridiculous working class voice of the people, was heard privately dismissing campaigners, insisting that none of the Western Slopes campaigners lived locally and that they were all “posh nimbys”. 

For starters, how can you live out of an area and be a Nimby?