POSHEST TARGET THE POOREST

stephen-hughesIt hasn’t taken long for the Reverend Marvin Rees to fit snugly into the expensively tailored top pocket of his new £1k a day CAMBRIDGE EDUCATED PUBLIC SCHOOLBOY Chief Executive, Stephen “OAP” Hughes has it?

It’s like the pair are fronting some awful late night cable channel comedy show with nosediving ratings as they rollout more and more DISMAL AND INCOHERENT sketches on the theme of local authority cuts.

The clueless joined-at-the-hip municipal couple have so far proposed a 17 per cent council tax hike; sacking lollipop ladies; closing the libraries the Rev promised to keep open during his absurdist election campaign; cancelling buses; shutting community transport down; charging the disabled for parking spaces outside their homes; scrapping bus passes for carers; disposing of parks; stopping emergency payments to the poor; cutting early intervention to kids; closing elderly day centres; scrapping meals on wheels and charging sufferers of dementia more for their care.

This ANTI-HUMAN CRAP blatantly targeting the city’s MOST VULNERABLE for cuts are accompanied by what this laughable elitist duo call ‘BOLD IDEAS’. Bold ideas like proposing VOLUNTEERS run CORE SERVICES “to prevent them being removed” (anyone who fancies doing a bit of child protection social work in their spare time should give OAP Hughes a call on 0117 357 6155)! They will also have ‘A CONVERSATION’ about you paying more council tax and set up another talking shop (surely ‘task force’, ed.) about traffic congestion. Bold or wot?

When confronted on ITV News about this pile of public school-inspired horse shit and challenged to confirm that he was elected on an anti-austerity platform, The Reverend surprised the interviewer and, no doubt, many of his voters by saying “NO“!

Well, at least we’ve cleared that one up then. The reverend is officially a pro-austerity elitist. Presumably because the bonkers christian thinks it’s good for us?

PROPERTY BOSS’S DORMER TRAUMA

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Dickie’s unobtrusive dormer window – no planning permission required?

Richard “The Builder” Fear, Service Manager (Property) Assets at Bristol City Council, characterises the new breed of smarmy, arrogant, overpaid oafs running our council these days.

For some reason Rich the Builder has decided to install an “upscale dormer window” at his poncy period gaff in Haverstock Road in upmarket Knowle without bothering to apply for planning permission! Does this member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and leading council property “expert”, struggling to get by on about £60k a year, think that planning permission is only for the little people?

Possibly. Although Fear’s long-suffering neighbours take a different view. So the overpaid and underperforming tosspot – whose department currently has a £9m hole in its budget being plugged by redundancies to decent low paid staff providing an actual service to us – is having to apply for retrospective planning permission on what one nearby resident describes as “a huge property extension that blatantly overlooks his neighbours, not a fucking dormer window.”

Should Fear’s retrospective planning bid fail – as it should – then he’ll have to pull the whole thing down. If it succeeds then Bristol City Council will be having to explain away another conflict of interest from this senior property boss.

Because we also note that Rich the Builder ran his own business – ‘Corporate Property Insight Ltd’ – from his Haverstock Road address between 2013 and 2015 while he was a senior employee of the city council making major decisions about our property assets.

How many conflicts of interest is one council boss allowed?

THE TOWERING CONTRADICTION: the Labour Party and affordable housing

Redcliffe's cash cow carbuncle: not for the poor!

Redcliffe’s cash cow carbuncle: not for the poor!

A CONVENIENT LEAK from the Rev Rees’s planning department of the viability assessment for the small Chocolate Factory development of 135 flats at Greenbank just days before a planning committee meeting yesterday was enough to get the plans temporarily KNOCKED BACK by grandstanding councillors.

The leaked confidential document, the direct responsibility of council planning bosses, revealed that the developers, The Generator Group, might be able to afford more than the FIVE per cent or SIX units of affordable housing that they finally offered at the site.

This was AGGRESSIVELY seized upon by Labour councillors at the planning committee meeting, who followed the Rev’s lead in the morning’s media and loudly demanded – in front of the gathered press – that the developers meet the Rev Rees’s target of 40 per cent affordable housing, which would be around 50 flats.

This fighting talk over affordable housing at Greenbank contrasted with a relative silence by Labour politicians over affordable housing at one of the Rev Rees’s pet projects, a horrendous 82 metre high concrete cash cow TOWER BLOCK for Redcliffe discussed at the same meeting.

Despite the lack of affordable homes – only 12 per cent or around 32 units against a requirement of 40 per cent or 110 units – the application for this development was WAVED THROUGH. One Labour councillor on the planning committee even said, “while there aren’t enough affordable homes, at least the developers tried”.

So that’s OK then. Although surely FURTHER PRESSURE applied on the developer, Redcliff MCC LLP – a limited liability partnership front for a complex web of companies centring around Christopher Mitchell Solicitors Ltd in Westbury-on-Trym – might have yielded considerably more units of affordable housing than are available at Greenbank? Especially as a tower block on a prime city centre location should be highly ‘viable’?

Of course any claim that the Chocolate Factory planning episode was a CAREFULLY STAGED public relations exercise is ridiculous. Presenting the Rev Rees and his Labour councillors as champions of the people fighting for affordable housing while a favoured and extremely lucrative city centre development fails to get anywhere near those same affordable housing targets without any criticism from Labour’s affordable housing champions is NO CONTRADICTION whatsoever.

Although we do have to wonder why, according to our sources in the planning department, not even a cursory effort is being made to discover how a CONFIDENTIAL planning document got so helpfully leaked ahead of a meeting.

Perhaps such an investigation might prove embarrassing to the Rev Rees and his Labour Party?

FILM FLAM

City office movies

A dull photo-op last month of old men in suits vacantly sat around in an open plan office while the Reverend Rees waffled aimlessly to journalists about homelessness signalled the launch of the Reverend’s big idea – THE CITY OFFICE.

The ‘BIG IDEA’ is to get bosses from business, public services and the voluntary sector together to solve the city’s problems. So 75 bosses gathered at the Counts Louse on 29 September to have their photo taken in front of the local press while pretending to listen attentively to the The Reverend as he tried to convince us all that this was all terribly exciting and the whole world was watching and waiting on his initiative with baited breath.

The City Office, itself, we were told, would be focusing on homelessness and rough sleeping to start with. However, the noticeable absence of any CASH TO SPLASH or even any new policy to launch meant we had to settle for a PR RELAUNCH of the ‘Bristol Street Aware’ campaign. An initiative started by corporate retailers in Broadmead last year to clear rough sleepers off their doorsteps by ‘signposting’ them into unpopular homeless hostels run by the charity St Mungos.

This lack of money and ideas for the homeless starkly contrasted with the Vicar’s decision five days later at his cabinet meeting to hand over £692k to a Southville-based consultancy firm to continue running the BOTTLE YARD FILM STUDIOS in Hengrove. This is the film studio that’s already receiving about £1m in public money every year according to the council’s published expenditure accounts. The studios appear especially popular with BBC producers looking for cheap, publicly subsidised deals.

The Reverend and his Cabinet decided to HAND OVER MORE PUBLIC MONEY – grabbed from a restructured loan deal relating to the shadowy Hengrove Park housing development – to the city’s creative industries despite this council owned film studio and its firm of consultants providing NO MEANINGFUL ACCOUNTS or BUSINESS PLAN to support their large financial demands on the public purse.

The Rev and his cabinet have therefore handed over money earmarked for one of the city’s most deprived areas on the basis of UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS by council bosses that this studio will make a £100k surplus next year and – an even more UNLIKELY CLAIM – that it is generating £16m for the city’s economy every year.

Naturally The Reverend’s house-trained Cabinet agreed to this nonsense with no questions asked. HRH Helen of Holland, the cabinet member responsible, gushed that the EVIDENCE-FREE PIFFLE supplied by senior council bosses was “A GOOD NEWS REPORT“. While Deputy Mayor Estella “Tinkerbell” Tinknell only seemed bothered about “developing our media profile as a VIBRANT FILM AND MEDIA CITY“. Presumably regardless of the cost or the fact most of us couldn’t give a toss about “media cities,” whatever they are?

Moreover, the true cost of the council’s latest publicly funded creative industries VANITY PROJECT was carefully hidden by the Rev’s senior bosses who neglected to explain properly that a further £0.6m is also required to buy the studio’s FREEHOLD. That’s a total of £1.3m being poured in then. The same senior bosses also forgot to explain if there’s any RISK attached to their expenditure, projected to gain a paltry income of £100k a year from the studios. Is this the world’s first risk-free business?

The average whelk stall wouldn’t be run like this, let alone a MAJOR PUBLICLY FUNDED PROJECT. But who cares if we’re keeping creative industries bigwigs in the style to which they’ve become accustomed and we’re “developing our media profile as a vibrant film and media city”?

Meanwhile, as the Vicar shovels our cash into creative industries vanity projects, the homeless can make do with a grotty little PR relaunch and photo op can’t they

ENERGY COMPANY TO BELLYFLOP?

BE2Are there more tough times ahead for Bristol City Council’s LOSS-MAKING electricity reselling business, BRISTOL ENERGY?

The private company, funded from our council tax, has already posted a £3M LOSS this year it doesn’t want you to know about. Meanwhile, total investment in the firm by Bristol City Council, although a closely guarded secret, is believed to top £9M. So will Bristol City Council ever see a return on this huge investment of our money?

Ovo is another local energy reseller that’s been running since 2009 and its business model is virtually identical to Bristol Energy’s. They both buy power wholesale off the ‘big six’ power companies who generate it and then try to sell it retail to customers for a profit. Ovo have just announced a £35M LOSS based on 400,000 CUSTOMERS. Bristol Energy has 80,000 CUSTOMERS.

Bristol Energy and Ovo both have the same problem: the cost of obtaining new customers. If you take apart the scant information available about Bristol Energy (their business plan is a closely guarded secret), it may well be COSTING THEM MORE to get customers than they will ever make in PROFIT from them in this low margin business.

Bristol Energy boss, Peter “HIGH PAY” Haigh pockets a six-figure salary for his troubles while claiming he will start making profits when Bristol Energy has “a large enough volume of customers”. However, Ovo with FIVE TIMES as many customers continues to run at a HUGE LOSS. What can Peter High Pay do that’s different?

But why should High Pay give a toss? He tops up his paltry six-figure salary from the council taxpayer with a LUCRATIVE DIRECTORSHIP at Energy Market Risk Ltd, consultants to the energy industry. Does Bristol Energy have a hope with High Pay at the helm? Does he even care while he’s spending other people’s money and significantly expanding his personal bank balance?

And why has Bristol City Council earmarked £7.5m of their capital funds to run this profitable ‘business’ over the next couple of years while they cut our public services?

OUR FOOTBALL PITCHES ARE SHIT CONFIRMS COUNCIL

To celebrate Bristol’s role as European City of Sport for 2017 here’s an extract from ‘Bristol City Council’s Playing Pitch Strategy Overview’:

Football

And here’s the city’s sports sermon according to the Rev Rees:

“Sport is a great leveller – it breaks down barriers, helps us find common ground, gives us hope and inspiration.

“I am committed to ensuring that all of our young people get the best possible start in life, and the importance of improving access and participation – not just in sport, but arts and culture too – across the whole city cannot be underestimated in that respect.

“I want Bristol to be a city that champions equality and diversity; somewhere everyone can participate in success.”

“Sport has given me so much in life and I want everyone to have those same opportunities to flourish, both on and off the pitch.”

You better get started sorting our football pitches out, Marv. Especially as you’ve made it one of your beloved equalities issues now …

DAYLIGHT ROBBERY?

Day_Group web

Why would the wealthy and well-connected need planning permission to build this?

Our dear old friends Mordaunt and Ord, that pair of dubious MERCHANT VENTURERS running the BRISTOL PORT COMPANY at Avonmouth, are at it again. Pissing off the locals and paying scant attention to the law while Bristol City Council and regulators attempt to look the other way.

So step forward the DAY GROUP who Mordaunt and Ord have allowed to start building a BOTTOM ASH manufacturing plant in the port grounds without either organisation recognising the need to get, er, planning permission. Is planning permission only for the little people now?

Instead, it seems, our old friend, bent council planning officer Angelo “King Pawn” Calabrese appeared to give the Day Group the nod in August 2015 to build their POLLUTING manufacturing plant – where TOXIC remains from waste incineration will be made into asphalt blocks for road building – within yards of people’s homes. However, the King Prawn actually issued a ‘PLANNING CONTROL NOTICE’ that formally registers a change of land use, not planning permission.

Day Group and the Bristol Port Company are now relying on ‘PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS’. Legislation that allows ports in the UK to undertake development without planning permission on their land for the purposes of shipping or for dock-related activities such as loading, unloading or transporting goods . A manufacturing plant working with toxic material run by a third party is, of course, under NO DEFINITION a docks-related project.

And Bristol City Council have already admitted as much. In a letter sent to the Bristol Port Company on 3 September 2015, just days after apparently allowing the plant to go ahead, King Prawn’s boss Paul “HOT” Chick told the port in plain English and in no uncertain terms, “With reference to [..] ‘Permitted Development’ provisions it is clear that industrial operations ARE NOT included.”

So now, in November 2016, how come this plant with NO PLANNING PERMISSION is nearing completion on docks land? However, thanks to the persistence of Avonmouth residents the council has been forced to issue a PLANNING ENFORCEMENT NOTICE, which should result in the companies, at least, having to obtain retrospective planning permission. Although residents are demanding a STOP NOTICE from Bristol City Council and have called on the EA to SUSPEND their ongoing licensing process for the plant until the case has been decided.

Arguments for ceasing the development are sound when you consider that bottom ash is the TOXIC REMAINS of incinerated materials, which could include heavy metals such as Lead, Copper, Zinc and Barium. While batches tested in the Environment Agency’s (EA) own studies contain as many as 73 different tasty and nutritious ingredients. Why not test the EA’s claim that Bottom Ash is inert and non-hazardous by throwing a lump of it in your fishtank or by licking it?

It’ll be interesting to see, then, how the port, Day Group, the council and the Environment Agency wriggle out of this one so tthat hey can continue their mission to poison the residents of Avonmouth

ST MARVIN’S-UP-THE-CREEK PARISH NEWS #2

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Welcome to another newsletter. May God bless you all. Even those of you spreading wicked dissent around my parish regarding the touchstone car parking arrangements that myself and our talented Parish Administrator, Mr Hughes from Birmingham have implemented.

Let’s be clear. This initiative was only engaged after significant levels of consultation the Thursday before last with key congregational stakeholders at the over-70s coffee morning. I fail to understand how a small one pound donation to park your car to help drive forward Parish core competencies in these financially sub-optimal times and support our ongoing commitment to Mr Hughes’ substantial salary expectation, can be described as “pay to pray”.

This is a silly soundbite designed by stirrers, communists and anti-christian agitators in the parish – and beyond in Avonmouth – to undermine myself and Mr Hughes as we reengineer and modernise parish finance, administration and spiritual values in a challenging context. Perhaps I should remind the Jeremiahs out there of the words of my mentor, the Texan psychotic preacher and notorious anti-communist homophobe, the Pastor Righteous Loon? “Abuse not those who raketh it in for Ye art in charge and know best”.

I also think it better if smart-arse soundbites (which “pay to pray” isn’t) are left to my brilliant new newsletter editor Mr Slocombe who, I think we can all agree, is doing a superb job on a salary even lower than Mr Hughes’s. Aren’t we truly blessed to have such a talent direct from the London Islington parish of St Jeremy-The-Hapless-Incompetent?

However, as the hefty holy door of opportunity revolves for my friend Mr Slocombe, so the godforsaken backdoor of early retirement creaks ajar for Mrs Smith, our valued (by some) tea lady. With the implementation of the pay-as-you-go self-service tea machine initiative in the vestry as part of Mr Hughes’ strategy of front loading back end efficiency savings in the parish, Mrs Smith has decided voluntarily to call it a day.

BlessedI’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing her well. I would especially like to thank her for her occasional hard work and efforts at professionalism and commitment during her time with St Marvin’s. And whatever you choose to do next Mrs Smith – even if that’s worshipping next door at St Theresa-of-the-May’s spreading malicious gossip about Mr Hughes from Birmingham sacking you – we send you our mixed blessings.

Now let’s end with a fantastic good news story. I’m pleased to confirm that the production team for the BBC’s hugely popular Cbeebies smash hit internet-only show, ‘Churchtastic!’ presented by the fabulous Amanda Trifle-Posh, will be filming every Wednesday here at St Marvin’s for another season. Rejoice the Good News! Not only will this earn St Marvin’s as much as £100 a week in potential fees and income, it will position St Marvin’s as an aspirational centre of media excellence within the diocese, which is just how we want to do modern Christianity.

Before we sign contracts with the BBC, however, we will have to initiate repairs to the church roof. Mr Hughes from Birmingham has already identified funds available on a spend-to-borrow-back early investment release basis from the Church Fabric Infrastructure Fund, which will now be known as Church Creative Media Fund to better align St Marvin’s objectives with a modern church agenda.

Mr Hughes says if we maintain a positive uplift in income for an extended period into the medium/long term envelope then we will be able to refacilitate an early off balance sheet liability release within a prudent opportunity window. The Parish Committee have looked very carefully at this finance arrangement and have agreed we should proceed immediately with repairs as there is no financial risk whatsoever based on what Mr Hughes says.

The BBC have also agreed to accept, every term, two exceptional A* students from the parish for production internships with ‘Churchtastic!’ Two exceptionally talented young men and future leaders from St Snoot-the-Privileged Selective Religious Academy are in post already. So come on Miss Townsend and the Dave Spart Academy. Isn’t it about time you pulled your fingers out and delivered some A* students and leaders that can take advantage of the first class opportunities offered by St Marvin’s?

That’s all for another month. Amen, hallelujah and farewell from St Marvin’s the progressive parish. See you on TV!

THE VICAR

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‘ARISE YE KNIGHTS OF SCAM-A-LOT’: BCC REINVENTS THE FEUDAL SYSTEM

Scamalot

Bristol City Council has not only yielded a vacant council property into the medieval bondage of private ‘’property guardian company’ CAMELOT, but they are also permitting them to rob their ‘licensee’ serfs blind for a non-existent ‘council tax’ that never gets paid back to BCC – whether as homage, cash or anything else!

In September 2013, BCC awarded the robber barons of SCAM-A-LOT a vacant fief scheduled for demolition – Broomhill Elderly Peoples’ Home on Eastwood Road, Broomhill – allowing them to do as they pleased in the hope that these brigands would ‘ease Bristol’s chronic shortage of cheap housing’ while protecting the building.

Scam-a-lot immediately moved in its guardians/licensees (for this council-backed company is averse to using the correct legal term ‘tenants’) and proceeded to fleece 60 of them … Twice! Not only for ‘rent’ but also for COUNCIL TAX to the tune of £20 a month!

Unfortunately Scam-a-lot were too busy gloating over their ill-earned loot to reckon with the resourcefulness of some of the TENANTS (yes, let’s call them what they really are). They are not only CHALLENGING their dubious status as ‘licensees’ rather than tenants in court but they have also discovered that the property is not eligible for council tax. So Scam-a-lot are fraudulently stuffing at least £30,000 every year from Broomhill EPH residents alone into their bottomless chainmail pockets! Are these rack-rent charges made under false pretences ever declared to HMRC?

In addition, our plucky Robin Hoods of Broomhill were none too pleased with the condition of the property and got it INSPECTED by the council’s Environmental Health Team. They found the property in dangerous disrepair and in need of an HMO license! Therefore BCC had leased their property to Scam-a-lot in outright BREACH of their own licensing regs!!! Will they be prosecuting themselves or, perhaps, Robert “Spunkface” Orrett, the council property boss overseeing this public-private partnership disgrace?

Scam-a-lot have not repaired the heating and hot water since they BROKE DOWNshortly after residents moved in, nor have they fixed dodgy shower fittings that give people ELECTRIC SHOCKS. They have, however  – to try and intimidate the rebellious peasants demanding their legal rights – sent their thugs round to chivalrously rip out fire doors, trash the lighting in the corridors and criminally enter and damage resident-occupied room spaces.

Stay tuned to The BRISTOLIAN for further reports concerning these Knights of the Crooked Table and their useful idiot Spunkface Orrett as the epic struggle between the Merry Folk of Broomhill and the Sheriffs of Notasinglescruplebetweenem continues …

Finally, here’s a few choice utterances made by related authorities and agencies to the residents:

Steve Noble of Avon Fire Rescue Service: “You’re not deemed as being ‘relevant people’ by the fire authorities.”

Homeless Charity Shelter: “You’re paying cheap rent. Just grin and bear it.”