Gossip from around the Nazi Post’s city centre flexible workdesk regarding their new editor Pete “Swindon” Gavan.
“When former editor Mike Norton was in charge, everything was at the whim of Norton and how his relationship with Kevin Slocombe (the mayor’s PR assistant) was going. If they fell out, a minor put down by Marvin to a reporter was front page news.
“If Norton and Slocombe were mates, Esme Ashcroft [former Post political editor] was prevented from investigating Marvin’s deal with YTL, conducted in the Far East, for an arena at Filton. Esme left because of it. Now though, it seems the new boss isn’t taking any shit. He don’t care who Slocombe is.”
Neither does anyone else in the city. What’s the big deal about pound shop spin doctor Slo Kev anyway? We watch events with interest …
The recent successful Judicial Review by the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society of the planning permission granted by Bristol City Council to build 62 homes on Bristol Zoo’s car park puts a spotlight on the planning officer responsible, Peter “Deemed Consent” Westbury.
A judge agreed that permission for this “major scar on the landscape” was unlawful because it ignored Historic England Advice while Westbury’s report to councillors failed to consider the harm to heritage and weigh up the harm and public benefit.
Westbury also produced and presented the planning report for the controversial “monolithic blocks” on St Mary-le-Port at Castle Park. An application granted by councillors in December 2021. This has now been referred to the Planning Inspectorate by Bristol Civic Society for a public enquiry.
One concern is that Westbury’s report and the public forum at the planning meeting included the support of the ‘Friends of Castle Park’. However, it transpires that the support of the ‘Friends of Castle Park’ is actually the support of one person, Russ Leith. The self appointed moderator and “leader” of a ‘Friends of Castle Park Facebook group, he provided an ‘analysis’ of comments on his Facebook page to Westbury that allege public support for the application.
Word out of Bristol City council’s planning department is that Westbury, who also happens to be an elder at the Reverend Rees’s church, The Hope in Hotwells – enjoys a very poor reputation among planning colleagues. “Can’t administer policy for toffee, we’ve been told and “he’s the patsy they put on any scheme the mayor wants to go through.”
Bristol City Council’s Estate Management Team of around 60 staff working in Landlord Services are going on strike after a union ballot that received a 70 per cent response rate and a 90 per cent vote for strike action.
The main gripe of the workers going on strike is the managerial abuse, contempt and incompetence they have had to put up with over the years, based on consistent workplace issues such as under-staffing, high stress, casework overload and ever fewer resources being assigned to their essential work with the most vulnerable. Management have consistently ignored, downplayed and gaslighted staff, forcing strike action as a last resort.
Responsibility rests with bullshit job artist Donald “Bastard” Graham, Director of Homes and Landlord Services, paid £280,000 pa via an interim contract for his inessential “work” at taxpayer expense until recently. The scumbag, now on a secretive city council fixed term contract of unknown value, appears to have been given this vast sum from the Housing Revenue Account to attack essential workers and make their lives intolerable.
We’d also like to call out chief bully Service Manager Fiona “Nurse Ratched” Lester, formerly of Sovereign Housing Association infamy. Let’s not, however, forget the Reverend’s ever-pliable idiot sidekick – Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery Tom “Plasticine Man” Renhard, under whose watch unacceptable management behaviour has flourished.
We’ve also heard of other rumblings elsewhere at the council. Who’s coming out next? Watch this space.
BoozePark (surely BoxPark? Ed?) bosses have announced that their BoozeHall (surely BoxHall? ed.) will open next year in two converted former council warehouses on Welsh Back. This is the site where campaigners wanted to put a slave trade museum and Bristol City Council spent £1.4m moving a house barge inconveniently moored outside the warehouses.
BoozeHall will basically be a large corporate shed full of food and drink retailers similar to BoxPark in Croydon, which has proved highly controversial. Not only for the amount of council subsidies and loans it has grabbed, including a £3m start-up loan; a £500k slice of Croydon’s arts festival budget and hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth of business rate relief, but for its treatment of traders.
Tenants at BoxPark are unhappy with the venue’s management running their own lucrative large-scale events, such as screenings of major football matches or the finale of Love Island. You even may have seen it on TV? Fans in Croydon throwing pints of lager in the air for TV news when England score a goal?
“On event days we lose 75 per cent of our business as we have no families visiting due to drunken people. Boxpark wants to sell all the alcohol and cover the area with drinkers,” says one trader. Many of whom have been voting with their feet since it opened in 2016. Contacts in Croydon say BoozePark is usually only three-quarters full with traders.
Will Bristol’s BoozeHall be any different to Croydon’s BoozePark?
It’s older than the Colston statue, founded by a Bristol ‘hero’, steeped in history, loved by fans and an icon of the city.
When the owners changed its name this spring, we expected hundreds of angry letters to the Bristol Post, furious radio phone-ins, angry debates on TV and Tory MPs and councillors threatening to boycott it. Instead there was silence … Not a fucking murmur.
To us, it is The County Ground, founded by cricket legend and Bristolian, W. G. Grace and home of Gloucester County Cricket Club since 1889. In March this year club members were informed, without warning, in an email that:
Gloucestershire’s home venue, the Bristol County Ground, has been renamed as the Seat Unique Stadium with immediate effect.No consultation with the fans; no debate; no thought of the history; just ‘fuck you’ it’s done. And what a shit name. The only plus is that it’s not named after some Arab dictatorship or Russian oligarch.
The last few years have been filled with bullshit as Colston lovers tried to defend the celebration and memorialisation of the slave trader in the city. They claimed ‘history was being erased’ by changing the name of the ex-Colston Hall. Why, when the County Ground is a far more popular, profitable and valid and not named after a slave-trader is there silence?
This stinks of hypocrisy. The owners of Gloucester County Cricket Club and slave-traders like Colston share the same values, they did it for the money.
The Nazi Post, after years of stories about Greggs vegan sausage rolls, lists of the 13 best pavements in Bristol and any other crap with a vaguely local angle their Facebook funded ‘content creators’ can dredge up from Insta or Reddit have finally appointed a new editor.
Please step forward Pete “Swindon” Gavan, fresh from the cut and thrust of the Swindon (yes, that fucking shitehole where nothing’s ever happened) Advertiser. He was recently featured in the Post with a photo that looks like one of his poorly paid content creators might be gently stimulating his rectum. Isn’t it amazing what Facebook will fund these days? Anyway, if Pete wants to know what the fuck a proper story looks like, he knows where to look.
To pad out this miserable news out of Swindon, the Post also announced, in the same story, that “the team is in the process of moving into a brand new city centre hub”. This comes after the long-suffering workforce have been forced to work from their bedrooms for the last two years by multinational shysters Reach who own the whole sad sorry mess of a newspaper.
How the mighty have fallen. Post staff used to work out of the Grey Lubianka, their own office block with its own print room knocking out two daily newspapers a day, Now they get a couple of hot desks in some shared open plan ‘space’ with a broken photocopier, a dodgy broadband connection and some inspirational quotes on the wall that make you want to die. All “Ideal for flexible creatives’ agile working needs”.
Welcome to the living corpse of Bristol’s newspaper industry
Yesterday, a report was set to go to Bristol City Council’s cabinet to agree a large capital spend to tackle the city’s crisis in school places for SEND children. Imagine the surprise when the agenda item disappeared off the agenda at middayyesterday prior to the meeting at 4.00pm.
The council later claimed that the item was pulled due to the spiralling costs of building work. Had these costs spiralled in the five days since the report was first published online?
Another theory is that the item was hastily pulled to avoid the public making statements and asking questions about SEND that could have included queries to the Reverend Rees about his dodgy SEND spying scandal. Has an urgent item of SEND expenditure been pulled to save our thin-skinned mayor from embarrassment and, possibly, legal complications?
Here’s one statement from a parent that got pulled when this agenda item got pulled at remarkably short notice. Read it and make up your own mind about what’s going on:
The Decision Pathway Report says: ‘Whilst this report puts forward a positive story about the council investing capital funds to deliver much needed capacity within the SEND sector, it is often the case that the reaction to such proposals is mixed. This should not deter BCC from proactively sharing this news ahead of the Cabinet decision in August and we’d recommend taking a positive stance on talking about the amount being invested and the impact it will deliver. Preparations can be made to put reactive lines in place to respond to likely counter’s [sic] from external commentators and we’d recommend ensuring a comprehensive stakeholder comms plan is in place to cover individual projects and ensure those impacted are fully aware of the proposed investments.’
This section has been added by a PR officer on 14 June 2022. Send families form the majority of external commentators in this context. These are families who have had the most traumatic of experiences. If nothing else is obvious to Cabinet, the need for an additional 450 Send places shows how many children and young people have been suffering and for how long.
To tone police and minimise the response from ‘external commentators’ shows that disability discrimination truly is an acceptable form of discrimination by the council and administration. Its external comms department is party to victimising the families of those with protected characteristics for speaking out and advocating for their needs.
Appendix D [pictured below] says there will be ‘reputational risk’ if the council is unable to name education settings in EHCPs. This is because ‘sufficient provision is not yet in place’. It says the key consequences of this ‘could result in increased complaints to the council and/or a judicial review’. The Key Mitigations state:
‘Communications plan required. External Communications Team engaged. Workshop to develop comms strategy to be held’. It is dated 27 July 2021. In addition, there are two restricted items, a first for council Send papers.
The One Page Business Case paper says that the lack of specialist provision results in: ‘CYP educated out of area, CYP needs not met, BCC not meeting legal duty, More expensive placements being used, Judicial reviews, Negative reputation, Political pressure, EHCPs cannot be finalised.’ All papers show the extent of the specialist places crisis and the impact of this, such as the LA ‘not meeting legal duty’ and ‘EHCPs cannot be finalised’.
These are things that families have been speaking out about for years. And yet, for speaking out they are ‘critical commentators’ with External Comms running a workshop to deal with it. This workshop was to develop a strategy to protect the council’s reputation against families using the entirely legitimate legal action of Judicial Review, against an LA not meeting its statutory duty.
Leaked emails by The Bristolian last month revealed that council staff, including at director level were monitoring the social media of Send parents and compiling lists of individuals and organisations they considered to be ‘critical’. This included cross referencing personal accounts and delving through photographs and sharing the data with third parties. The External Comms team just keeps popping up like some kind of Council Black Ops whenever something happens the LA doesn’t like.
The papers named above potentially indicate the council is in breach of Article 10 of the Convention on Human Rights [Freedom of Expression]. It supports residents’ concerns about unlawful covert surveillance taking place – as far back as July 2021 – as well as possible Victimisation under the Equality Act 2010.
Public Forum statement to Bristol City Council Cabinet 02 08 2022 (unpublished)