FLY ON THE WALL: The ‘Save St. Marvin from His Plummeting Popularity’ Rally on College Green

The Fly: savouring Marvin’s shite

Enormous deposits of BULLSHIT were detected and tasted by The BRISTOLIAN’s six-legged friend flying overhead at Marvin’s ‘anti-austerity’ march and rally on Saturday September 9.

According to our blue-arsed correspondent, the vicar of Bristol and his collaborators in UNITE, UNISON, The Peoples’ Disassembly, ACORNYJOKE and the Labour Party made up a DISMAL, rain-bedraggled charade of no more than 2,000 on College Green.

It even included a big bouncy castle for speakers to jump up and down on while they whined infantile DRIVEL about ‘diversity’, ‘inclusiveness’, “hey, my dad was a Welsh miner and I was born in Southmead”, or “why I love Bristol” and other IRRELEVANT TOSH. Some of it even recounted in verse by ‘the city’s poet laureate’!

Every subject under the sun (or rain) was covered in fact. Except the one the march and rally was actually supposed to be about, namely AUSTERITY and THE CUTS. This ‘difficult’ subject was raised NOT ONCE by any of the OVERWHELMINGLY MIDDLE-CLASS speakers. One of whom was a LAWYER who offered WAGE-FREE LABOUR in her office to “any of you principled, under-employed folk out there who’d like some work experience”.

The sole rebellion against this pretentious downpour of excrement was offered by a small group of DISSIDENTS. During The Reverend’s speech, despite all attempts by UNITE stewards to thwart them, they repeatedly called St. Marvin out on: the fakery of his much-publicised ‘anti-austerity green paper’ submission to Theresa May (which doesn’t mention austerity once); his craven compliance with the Tory austerity programme when he could legally set a NO-CUTS BUDGET; the libraries and public toilets he’s closing; the social care programmes he’s shutting down; the park/street maintenance departments he’s stripping to the bone and the ILLEGAL ‘gate keeping’ of homeless categories currently being enforced at BCC’s Housing Department.

And all to pay for the continuing Metro/contractor disaster, his GOLDEN HANDSHAKES to the Dirty Thirty bosses; ever more ‘public-private partnerships’ with thieves and parasites and the hiring of a new generation of incompetent, six-figure salary ‘consultant’ twats to make even more of a mess at City Hall.

The REBELS were sorely put upon. First by ‘stewards’ trying to rip down a banner opposing Marvin’s cuts and, later, an enraged Momentum youth in a Jeremy Corbyn sweatshirt who tried to start a fight, before wisely thinking better of it.

In between her feast on the LASHINGS of BS spewed out through the stage microphone, The Fly observed a laughable attempt by one of Marv’s acolytes to silence the uproar, claiming the rebels were ‘failing to be inclusive to the hard-of-hearing group’! All of whom were, of course, straining to hear The Reverend’s every word.

Two of the disgruntled were also overheard wishing that they’d brought along a stanley knife or drill (as in ‘Driller Killer’, 1979??) to DEFLATE the rain shelter/bouncy castle over Marv’s head*. “Come better prepared next time”, buzzed The Fly as she savoured more of Marvellous’s shite.

*Of course The BRISTOLIAN warns that such a violent act could feasibly constitute a new ‘credible death threat’ to the embattled Mayor, instigating an ‘immediate investigation’ by the Stasi (ie. the UK Special Branch) – ed..

** STOP PRESS – two Broomhill EPH evictions 11AM 16.08.17, including an illegal one of a very ill young woman **

PRESS STATEMENT

The Real Reasons Why Broomhill Elderly Peoples Home (EPH)
Was Placed Under Occupation
<

This statement refutes the spurious claim made by Director of Housing Cllr Paul Smith of Bristol City Council (BCC) in the Bristol Post, August 10 that the remaining guardian-tenants at Broomhill EPH were ‘standing in the way’ of the council’s noble mission – allegedly by occupying the building, preventing its demolition, and the building of 10 social housing units. This is a deceitful manipulation of the facts, which we will now present.
Background Information

Following the crash of 2008 and subsequent austerity, many supposedly unviable BCC public buildings fell into disuse, including schools, care homes, leisure centres, fire stations etc. Later on BCC leased these buildings to two ‘Property Guardian Companies’ – Camelot and AdHoc, under the knowledge that these companies would, on a temporary basis, house renters (known under the legally ambiguous term of ‘guardians’) therein.

BCC then promptly forgot about the buildings, their occupants, and their original plans for demolition, while Camelot and AdHoc took advantage of the situation to make a fortune out of charging rent to hundreds of people priced out of Bristol’s private renting racket in sub-standard-to-outright-dangerous BCC owned properties.

However, following the Roynon v Camelot case in Feb 2017, which established that all guardians potentially had the full rights of tenants, BCC terminated its contract with both Camelot and AdHoc with effect from Christmas 2017, with the understanding that the companies would evict all residents by this date.

Points and Demands

It is in this context that we wish to make the following seven points:

  • As owner of the properties concerned, Bristol City Council has a duty to properly re-house all the guardians it left to the tender mercies of Camelot and AdHoc. Because there was no provision made, despite assurances given by Cllr Smith to the contrary, for protecting all guardians during the transition back to BCC control. This is simply unacceptable and a blatant reneging of BCC’s word.
  • Also the tenant legally evicted today was the whistleblower who first brought this scandal regarding Camelot’s behaviour out into the open so that BCC could take action against the corporate criminals operating on its property. Is it Cllr Smith’s moral duty to now wash his hands of him and let him be kicked out into the street, from a BCC owned property?
  • In the case of the second tenant, she is a young woman who is recovering from a serious illness, and in addition she was kicked out illegally. Camelot are being told as a legal warning that she has a right to go back in as this goes to print. BCC simply cannot tolerate these cowboy evictions on its conscience.
  • While some of the ‘guardian’ properties are clearly best demolished due to their age or unsuitability, in the current housing crisis it makes more sense to bring the remainder up to standard again and use them as temporary homeless shelters, but this time regulated under direct BCC control and not ‘leased’ out again to third parties of any description.
  • In relation to point 5 above, Broomhill EPH was selected for occupation as being a prime example of such erroneous BCC policy. Broomhill is a relatively modern and sturdy building, yet is scheduled for demolition and supposed replacement by 10 ‘social housing’ units at some indefinite point in the future. Why is ‘cash-strapped’ BCC not questioning the time taken and money required for such a task, while the necessary repairs and refurbishing required for 40-50 quality units of homeless accommodation could be carried out in the building as it stands, and for just a fraction of the cost and time. Why is this not being done?
  • Finally, under the 1996 Housing Act, in the case of a publicly owned building scheduled for demolition, if an evicted tenant has not made him/herself ‘intentionally homeless’, then the local authority that owns the building has the legal duty to assist him or her in finding alternative accommodation.

In addition, we make the demand that any properties that BCC keeps in operation as homeless accommodation must NOT be leased to either private profiteers or to the many so-called charities that use the discredited ‘guardian licensee’ contract or its equivalent.

ILLEGAL BCC GATE-KEEPING POLICY REINSTATED

Word is spreading that rogue bullshit jobbers (ie. middle management) in Bristol City Council’s Housing Department re-introduced the illegal practice of “gate-keeping” last week, presumably to restrict Bristol’s homeless access to public services they’re entitled to under the pretence of “saving money”.

Obviously aware that the council had already been reprimanded for this practice by the Ombudsman back in 2012, our very own bullshit jobforce (on huge salaries at taxpayer expense, and including members of the Dirty Thirty) went around all of BCC’s front-line housing staff in person and told them that they were to refuse all help to young Bristolians turfed out of their family homes, under the pretence that they “do not qualify as homeless” until they “can provide proof in the form of a legal notice to quit (28 days) from their families”. As if this is going to happen! Never mind, because the undeserving poor can just sleep on the streets until they get them.

So the question must be asked: Is Housing Director Paul “Wolfie” Smith aware of such illegal, clandestine shenanigans amongst his subordinates? Or are they simply doing whatever they want? And what is Nick “Pooper” Hooper’s role in all of this? Is the high priest of BCC’s bullshit jobbers still in charge of “administrating” the Housing Dept, or has he, as rumoured, been moved on to blight another department?

Maybe another visit by the Ombudsman can give us the answers to all of this and more…

CROOKS AT THE COUNCIL UPDATE

The Reverend Rees continues his rudderless rule of the city with another useless decision that reeks of gormless establishment backscratching and favours returned.

Our spies inform us that the vicar has now accepted a senior management staff secondment to his crappy CITY OFFICE from notorious public sector troughers and one of the world’s most useless audit firms – corporate accountants and Labour Party donors KPMG.

This latest unaccountable jobbing consultant with a recently purchased MBA to roll up at Bristol City Council is coming FREE OF CHARGE from the corporate beast to advise the Reverend on “public sector reform” or “vicious public sector cuts delivered in impenetrable management jargon” as it’s also known.

So look out for claims coming soon that lots of our money can be saved by replacing frontline staff and services with some absurd overpriced techno-fix available only from a pricey but well-placed corporate supplier. A recommendation that we employ even more management consultants – such as those available from KPMG – to interpret all their bullshit for us and implement their shite plans is also HIGHLY LIKELY.

KPMG are a “disconcertingly COMPLACENT” firm according to Parliament. As one of the so called “big four” global audit firms, they FAILED to notice that the banks they were auditing – including the notorious HBOS – were effectively INSOLVENT in the lead-up to the financial collapse of 2008.

Although, before this crisis unfolded, these auditors did manage to collect extremely LARGE FEES from those very same banks for audit work and for large amounts of additional “consultancy work”. Some would say this represented a blatant CONFLICT OF INTEREST with the notion of “independent” audit work as firms were auditing the results of their own advice and inevitably deciding that all was well!

KPMG received £55.8m in audit fees and £45.1m in non-audit fees from HBOS in the period before the financial crash in 2008. They also managed to produce an “independent” report claiming a whistleblower, HBOS’s group head of regulatory risk, Paul Moore’s concerns were “WITHOUT MERIT” shortly before the bank financially collapsed!

More recently, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has started investigating KPMG over their audits of the financial statements of Rolls-Royce between 2010 and 2013. The engine-maker has recently admitted it FALSIFIED accounts to commit a string of BRIBERY and CORRUPTION offences during this period and has agreed to pay £671 million to settle claims and avoid prosecution. Blatant criminal activity, alas, that the brilliant and highly-skilled staff of KPMG totally failed to spot!

Why on Earth is the Reverend giving this shower of shit house room at our council?

NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLEASE, WE’RE CHRISTIANS

Another day, another development before a planning committee of councillors in Bristol with absolutely NO affordable housing.

We’ve learned our dear old friends, the PG Group, the local multi-million property empire of dubious priest, Friar Gregory “Satan” Grant, have acquired a listed building, the EMPIRE SPORTS CLUB and its unlisted car park on Newfoundland Road, St Pauls. And, in a neat sleight of hand, they’ve put in two planning applications.

One for TEN HOUSES on the car park and another for 22 APARTMENTS in the listed building. All very convenient because the development on the car park falls below the minimum requirement for affordable housing while the listed Empire Sports building apparently qualifies for Vacant Building Credit (VBC) and is exempt from any affordable housing requirement.

So that’s a requirement for thirteen affordable units reduced to ZERO by the millionaire man of God. The only question now is whether councillors will let Friar Satan get away with this bullshit.

Watch this space.

HANDOUTS FOR THE RICH UPDATE

Posh fella needs public handout

Launched in a blaze of gushing publicity in the autumn of 2015, snooty TV celeb, Kevin McCloud’s HAB building company’s development on the site of Dunmail Primary School in Southmead was touted as the sustainable HOUSING OF THE FUTURE.

A major PR effort back in 2015 with public schoolboy Mayor No-more Ferguson front, back and centre alongside the Cambridge educated TV presenter waffled a lot about “partnership” and “sustainability”. So it was only a matter of time before the scheme would need a PUBLIC HANDOUT wasn’t it?

Fast forward to May 2017, eight months after master builder McCloud should have began work, and we find the shyster TV presenter has failed to “roll up his sleeves” and get a shovel in the ground in Southmead as promised. Instead, he’s working hard alongside accountants in his office and is now DEMANDING we – the council tax payer – UNDERWRITE his fancypants state-of-the-art development!

Just weeks before Kevin was finally threatening to get those shovels out, he discovered that the private rental element of the state-of-the-art mixed scheme of social housing, affordable housing, private rental and private purchase housing he promised was too much of a RISK!

So we, the council tax payer, will now act as guarantor for the scheme after the Rev Rees’s cabinet agreed to a last minute BAILOUT of £500k to get this private sector scheme off the ground.

Welcome to the future of housing development in Bristol where the private sector and well-heeled TV celebs pocket the profit and get the PR gush and the public takes all the risks …

BLANK CHEQUE FOR BENT BOSSES?

Soppy flow chart: where does it say what happens if you want to give a failed boss £100k?

While the Reverend Rees and his confused finance apprentice, Craig “Crapita” Cheney, cart their ridiculous Tory cuts bandwagon around the city’s neighbourhoods insisting services must be SLASHED to balance the books, their managers seem to have written themselves a BLANK CHEQUE for their excessive redundancy and pay-off expectations.

Figures recently released to the council’s Human Resources Committee show that of the 398 redundancies signed off by council Service Directors last year, 56 (15 per cent) of these were for sums in EXCESS of £60k. In total these 56 lucky people received £6,779,990 between them, which is 56 per cent of the total £11,929,765 in redundancy cash paid out by Bristol City Council last year.

Of the 56 lucky recipients of this FABULOUS LARGESSE by us, just SIX earned an average wage or below. The other 50 were on supervisory or managerial grades earning in excess of £30k a year. 21 (five per cent) especially lucky bosses received six figure pay-offs, sharing around £2.5m between them (22 per cent of the total paid out).

How strange this all is if you consult the council’s VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE POLICY, which tells us:

“The level of payment will be based upon ‘actual earnings’ to a maximum of £723 per week. The maximum payment that can be made to any employee is £43,380 which is the equivalent of 60 weeks’ pay.”

This ‘cap’ means no member of staff at the council can receive a redundancy payment of more than £43,380 . So what’s happened? Why has a democratically agreed policy been IGNORED by council service directors, who – according to the information handed to councillors on the HR committee – signed off these huge amounts of money to their friends and colleagues with no democratic oversight?

This latest OUTRAGE comes just days after Rees and Cheney were forced to admit that the council is now employing 36 more bosses on £50k plus salaries than a year ago at a cost to us of at least £2million a year. So not only have FAILED BOSSES – many of whom were involved in allowing councillors to set an unlawful budget in 2016 – been rewarded with excessive sums of redundancy money they are not entitled to, Rees and Cheney have employed even MORE bosses to replace them at MORE cost.

Why make one lot of bosses redundant at HUGE COST to save money and then employ even MORE? Is this even legal? If the posts are redundant then there should be no need to employ replacements and there should be less bosses and a lower salary bill.

We understand that councillors on the Audit Committee have queried with the HR Committee whether the Council’s Voluntary Severance Policy was “CORRECTLY IMPLEMENTED“. HR bosses have blandly and evasively brushed this off, responding: “to the best of officers’ knowledge, all exits were approved in line with the process set out at Appendix B.”

‘Appendix B’ is reproduced above. It is a soppy little flow chart that conveniently avoids legal and policy matters and neglects to refer in any way to the VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE POLICY and the ceiling on large redundancy payments or to the process for lifting this ceiling. Were these payments just signed off by Service Directors and HR middle managers as their chart suggests? On whose authority?

Oh dear. Do we have another financial scandal engineered by senior council bosses already? Shall we get Bundred back?

NOW FOR THE MAIN EVENT: FEATHERWEIGHT FLACCID FLOPPER REES vs THE PEOPLE

Avonmouth: unlawful poison plant too difficult and expensive for the council to enforce the law they are supposed to enforce?

With the Antona Court laundry case done and dusted, Avonmouth residents can now move on to their next legal target – the UNLAWFUL Day Group development of a poisonous bottom ash plant on Port of Bristol land right by their homes.

Day Group, with the help of the Port of Bristol and some hurriedly redeployed council planners, have built a POISONOUS and POLLUTING hellhole right next to a residential area in Avonmouth after dubious Bristol City Council planning bosses granted Day Group a ‘Certificate of Lawful Use’ in 2015 to build the plant. Although the council now admit this certicate was, er, “WRONGLY ISSUED“.

The council finally issued a Planning Contravention Notice to day Group late last year over the unlawful development but they are now DECLINING to enforce the notice and force the demolition of the plant as residents want.

“There would be very considerable DIFFICULTIES and EXPENSE in seeking the demolition of the structures,” they bleat, which might come as a surprise to anyone who’s not a major corporate player and friend of the Port of Bristol and the Merchant Venturers who’s built anything in Bristol without planning permission.

Instead, Day Group, having effectively NEUTRALISED any serious city council action over their poison plant, are now attempting to get the Environment Agency to grant them a licence to start killing the residents of Avonmouth with their profitable toxic shit.

Day Group also tried to get this licence last year but got KNOCKED BACK by the Environment Agency, so now they’re now appealing to the Minister of State for DEFRA, Michael “Govey” Gove.

This has resulted in the following EMAIL being fired off to DEFRA last week:

From: Avonmouth Resident
To:environment.appeals@pins.gsi.gov.uk” <environment.appeals@pins.gsi.gov.uk>
Sent: Friday, 21 July 2017, 16:10
Subject: RE – EPR/TP3138DP/A001 – NOTICE OF APPEAL MADE UNDER THE ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITTING (ENGLAND AND WALES) REGULATIONS 2016 – REGULATION 31

Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The Right Honourable Michael Gove or responsible delegated officer

Environment Appeals Administration
The Planning Inspectorate
3/H Hawk Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol
BS1 6PN

Your ref: EPR/TP3138DP/A001
PINS ref: APP/EPR/511

Via e-mail.

Sir, Madam.

I am writing to you as I have been notified that the Day Group have appealed to your office in relation to the matters detailed above. I am writing as the closest sensitive receptor to the development, private householder and member of the Avonmouth Community Action Group.

I have a number of issues with the appeal as I understand it as presented to me by your office, please notify me of any errata or clarify my misunderstandings.

The Day Group (hereafter referred to as DG) have appealed the Environment Agency (hereafter referred to as EA) decision to refuse an environmental permit for their now constructed IBA plant at Avonmouth Dock adjacent to my property; I understand that the plant was constructed without the relevant planning permission being obtained from the local authority and that the Day Group are relying on the granting of a Lawful Use Of Land Certificate issued in error by Bristol City Council (hereafter referred to as BCC) as permission granted to erect the structure – Certificate ref:14/00824/CP.

DG have submitted a document titled: Avonmouth Grounds of Appeal 2.2 02 06 17-1.pdf (10 pages), which sets out their position and specific contested points of appealing the EA decision to you, for consideration as decision maker in those matters.

Your office has allocated 21 days from notice for interested parties to respond to you and a hearing will be set for later in 2017 (around October).

I do have a concern about the appeal process as set out currently: it would seem on examination of the document provided that DG have not actually included evidence for consideration, just a generalised statement that at some point they will be presenting statements of evidence that will illustrate that the EA were remiss and incorrect in their assessment of the original permit application; from my perspective this lack of detail, coupled with the restrictive timescale of 21 days placed upon me and any other notified individuals to submit our comments or evidence to your office, could disadvantage our cases and abrogate our rights unfairly.

BCC have issued a Planning Contravention Notice to DG as they have confirmed a material breach of planning regulations has taken place after DG started construction after BCC informed DG the permitted development rights relied upon did not cover an industrial installation. Letter from Jonathan Chick to the Port attached to this mail. Until the issue around planning permission has been resolved I do not see how the EA or the Sec State can grant a license to DG to begin operations as the site is both illegal and unlawful at present. BCC have indicated that should this matter go for retrospective planning permission it would be highly unlikely to succeed. I am in the process of giving instructions in relation to these matters and I am seeking a demolition notice to be served by BCC to DG to resolve the torts caused by the actions of DG and inactions of other parties.

I have included my original response to the application for your records and would welcome the opportunity to cross examine DG evidence at the hearing when eventually submitted for examination. Please let me know the dates so I can attend and give my own evidence for consideration as an impacted party.

The broad basis for my arguments against DG  are:

    • The definition of IBA as an inert and non-hazardous product rather than hazardous waste.
    • The failure of the planning framework, local authority and EA in permitting this site for industrial operations historically and for this development.
    • The failure of DEFRA and the previous secretary of state Liz Truss to act upon the known issues with this site and others permitted in the immediate vicinity previously.
    • The original submission by DG to the EA on points not appealed by DG.

I would like to be provided with any further submissions by parties involved in good time before the hearing, please forward when received. I reserve my rights to add to my submissions as evidence becomes available within the case.

Regards,

Avonmouth Resident.

Yes, you did read that correctly – ” I am in the process of giving INSTRUCTIONS in relation to these matters and I am seeking a demolition notice to be served by BCC to DG.”

The “Instructions” are from Avonmouth residents to LAWYERS and the stated objective is for the Day Group/Port of Bristol poison plant to go – regardless of what Bristol City Council’s bent planners overseen by a bunch of fucking useless councillors, cabinet members and mayors, in the back pocket of port-owning Merchant Venturers, want.

We urge you to watch this space. This is going to get very interesting indeed …

DODGY PLANNERS LATEST

More news on the Cheltenham Road library luxury apartment redevelopment, which is going ahead on land that used to be owned by Bristol City Council with no affordable housing whatsoever.

A letter written in 2011 by Peter Westbury, the Planning Coordinator, Development Management, to the then applicant,Chatsworth Homes, confirmed that the development could be implemented without further consent “on the basis of work undertaken on 12 October 2011”.

The letter explained that sufficient work on the development had been carried out within the three year period the application was valid to allow it to proceed without any further planning consent being required.

This is odd, because the building was still operating as a library on 12 October 2011, which also happened to be one day before the planning consent expired. What work was done on the development to negate the need to reapply for planning permission as the law requires?

Looks like another sorry chapter in the old story of Bristol City Council granting planning permission and then stretching the rules to increase the value of something they want to flog off.

Is that the Ombudsman we see on the horizon?

KEBAB-ED!

This is what now passes for style among the city’s cognoscenti

Having trashed a couple of the city’s finest Georgian buildings with decor that looks like a tasteless tart has commissioned a pissed-up David Walliams to decorate her boudoir, Bristol Harbour Hotel is now setting about ruining local small businesses.

The Corn Street boutique hotel – on the site of the former Lloyds Bank – opened in October last year to a muted fanfare from anyone with a basic regard for STYLE or CLASS. Or anyone who had unfortunately seen the hotel’s ghastly interiors, overpriced restaurants and appalling self-regarding PR and gushing fake news articles for themselves on the internet.

Now we learn this over-the-top shithouse for the wealthy with no taste has made a formal LICENCING COMPLAINT to the city council, “about the presence of a fast food van that is located on the corner of Corn Street directly opposite our entrance that is present 5 nights per week.”

“Late night refreshments are served from the Van between the hours of 7pm and 3am and this service is the source of considerable noise and disturbance to our hotel residents,” whines the hotel’s general manager. As if no one involved in this hotel noticed, until after they had opened, the rather excellent MARKET KEBABS van that’s been out there doing no harm whatsoever for over ten years?

For some reason, the hotel is “now of the opinion” that this kebab van “represents a SERIOUS THREAT to the operations of the hotel”! Which roughly translates as “we don’t want plebs scoffing kebabs anywhere near the kind of snooty morons daft enough to fork out to use our dreadful business “.

Obviously those council-funded supporters of local business, Destination Bristol, AGREE with the owners of the horrifying hotel. The tourist board’s Kommandant, our old friend John “Fuhrer” Hirst, has also written to the licencing department expressing his “concern” about the kebab van.

“Having a fast food trader within metres of the main door is not conducive to a new and developing UP MARKET establishment,” rants das Fuhrer, neatly indicating who he cares about in our city.

“We are delighted that the Harbour Hotel has opened in such an historic location with a MASSIVE financial investment from the investors, which should be nurtured and protected,” he concludes.

Welcome to Bristol: the city where the wealthy are nurtured and protected and the plebs can fuck off out the way round the corner!