“Dick” Edrich: the latest boss drafted in to sort out the council’s docks and markets shambles

Over FOUR YEARS after we told them so, Bristol City Council finally notice that their HARBOUR OFFICE and MARKETS SERVICE are expensively mismanaged basketcases.

The council is now threatening some sort of ACTION after finally publicly acknowledging, “poor governance arrangements; a poorly managed balance between commercial rigour and democratic accountability; a failure to maintain the Harbour assets and poor management” at its Harbour Office.

This comes four years after The BRISTOLIAN revealed that turd in human form, Harbour Master, Cap’n Tony “Ahab” Nichol, was a serial and, apparently, unsackable BULLY who has got away with MULTIPLE BULLYING OFFENCES towards staff over many years. 

The docks infrastructure that he’s responsible for, meanwhile, remains at near-collapse after years of CHRONIC MISMANAGEMENT by underqualified Ahab and his handpicked team of clueless over-promoted supervisors and absent civil engineers.

We’re told that Bill “Dick” Edrich – the man who helped set up the loss-making Bristol Energy fiasco – has been urgently drafted in to BANG HEADS TOGETHER at the Harbour Master’s Office and in Markets, managed, for no coherent reason, by one of Ahab’s hapless minions in recent years.

However, those with longer memories may recall that recently departed property boss, Robert “SPUNKFACE” Orrett, was similarly ordered by Mayor No More Red Trousers – back in 2014 – to sort out the embarrassing management shambles exposed by The BRISTOLIAN in docks and markets.

Although the opposite happened when Spunkface left Ahab to reorganise the docks service as he saw fit. Ahab then used the opportunity to FIRE any experienced workers who had complained about his bullying and incompetence while ensuring his useless crew of management and supervisory bullies were kept on with enhanced salaries.

We can probably look forward to not much happening for a few years yet then


  1. paul

    I’m pretty sure Dick sat on the scrutiny committee regarding Bristol Energy’s business model. The business model (apparently also scrutinised by PwC) set out a profit margin of 35%, the industry standard for energy re sellers is 4% (Bristol Energy is simply a reseller of other generators product NOT an electricity generator as my thick Labour Councillor believes). So every other reseller makes an average 4% margin, following scrutiny by the top minds at the Council (& PwC) somehow they believed Bristol Energy would make a 35% margin. In 2016/17 Bristol Energy made a 3% margin. From what I gather from the info available, Marvins new break even claim by 2021 also seems to be based on a 35% profit margin, which anyone from 1st year GCSE economics will tell is unattainable. What I don’t know is how the current losses (approx -£20m as of today) and those future losses are to be funded. My initial thought was it was funded via PWLB, but following a few FOI. I don’t think it is. Does anyone know??

    I’m awaiting lots of FOI requests from BCC which obviously they are doing their absolute best not to fulfil.

    1. The Bristol Blogger

      Keep us posted on Bristol Energy.

      We had assumed the companies losses were being covered through loans. Can’t see how else BCC could fund the losses. It’s not from revenue unless their accounts are fraudulent.

      BCC appears to be buying shares to put money into Bristol Energy. Are the losses being disguised as council investments?

      1. paul

        I’m pretty sure they aren’t conventional commercial loans. BCC seem to be buying the shares themselves but I’m not sure what with. I thought they were being funded by the Public Works Board but I don’t think they are. My guess is its some kind of fixed term loan with all the interests and costs shoved into the backend like a LOBOS type arrangement. The problem is BCC and my local MP have gone into shutdown mode regarding Bristols Energys financing. I’ve got demands from the ICO telling BCC they have to release certain information about Bristol Energy from 12 Months ago and they’ve simply ignored it. Both my Labour Councillors and my Labour MP simply refuse to engage. I’ve even tried FOI addressed to my Councillors asking questions, but apparently they legally don’t have to answer. I’ve tried tabling questions at Council meetings but strangely they get lost, get forgotten, etc, etc, etc.

        Whatever happens I’m sure lessons will be learned.

  2. Blue

    Maybe not relevant to Bristol Energy’s business model. Never-the-less, where does the Housing Revenue Account Money get spent ? You know, that regular income from BCC’s social housing stock. It must be a tidy sum and certainly not spent on services or repairs.

      1. paul

        Re The Bristol Blogger
        Yea I saw that, initially BCC suggested the money had come from the PWLB but it didn’t, what I don’t know is what they refer to as ‘Market Debt’. As I can’t find any interest repayments it must be what we used to call ‘back end loaded’. It’s the sort of debt that commercial bankers love to sell to the Public Sector, knowing they’ll sign anything without actually reading the basic T&C’s. It’s basically the commercial equivalent of buying a mobile phone from Brighthouse but without the safeguards of consumer credit.

        I’m waiting for a FOI from the PWLB (now Months late) I suspect BCC tried to borrow the money from them, I’m wondering if they refused after seeing their 35% NET profit business model.

  3. Blue

    Regarding Harbour Master, Cap’n Tony “Ahab” Nichol, was a serial and, apparently, unsackable BULLY who has got away with MULTIPLE BULLYING OFFENCES towards staff over many years. Have you any more up-to-date news on this poor excuse for a human being, perhaps better described as an utter bullying bastard ? There are currently many out here who would love to know. For example – why oh why is he still in post ?

  4. Prol.

    Intresting looking back. In the summer of 2020 Bristol Live reported that Rees sold off the Passenger Shed and the Engine Shed at Temple Meads Railway Station to Network Rail for 20 million pound. Maybe that’s how he maked up some of the 50 million pound Rees has taken from the people of Bristol ?


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