Category Archives: News

Juicy tales of corruption and stupidity from across Bristol

NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY IN SOUTH BRISTOL?

NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY IN SOUTH BRISTOL?

An alliance of LABOUR and GREEN councillors – taking a break from pre-election climate emergency PR fisticuffs for the benefit of the gullible Guardian-readers of Bristol West – have granted planning permission for 1,400 homes on Hengrove Park, THE LARGEST PUBLIC OPEN SPACE IN SOUTH BRISTOL. Their reason for this crap decision is that old chestnut for foisting sub-standard shite on us – “THE HOUSING CRISIS”.

The development means the LOSS, not only, of a huge amount of PUBLIC OPEN SPACE and PLAYING FIELDS but of 850 TREES on the land. The poorly connected new housing estate is also likely to bring TRAFFIC CHAOS to local residential roads as more car users are poured into a working class suburb where a rapid transit system isn’t even AN UNLIKELY PROMISE from the Reverend Rees.

This is also the suburb already earmarked by the same climate emergency obsessed councillors as an ideal location for a NEW RING ROAD designed to CHOKE CHILDREN in south Bristol in order to get traffic out of the city centre to improve air quality there. The new road will also help get punters to an EXPANDED AIRPORT at Lulsgate.

Residents in Whitchurch and Hengrove are “LIVID” at the loss of their park and the planned destruction of their neighbourhood and local social media pages are full of lively chat about THE SELL-OUT COUNCILLORS and the scheme’s political architect, the Reverend Rees. The usually quiet and undersubscribed pages have leaped to life and are full of RIPE LANGUAGE on the subject of the city’s politicians. Popular terms include “wankers”; “arseholes”; “hypocrites” and “tossers”.

Hengrove and Whitchurch are unlikely to be returning any Labour or Green politicians to power any time soon, then.

A LABOUR KINDA LOVE by Soapie Oprah

A LABOUR KINDA LOVE

It’s quite the bromance isn’t it? Will the lovestruck Reverend Rees ever let his wannabe property speculator FRIEND WITH BENEFITS, city council Executive Director of Growth and Regeneration, Colin “Head Boy” Molton, go?

Stephen “Preening” Peacock, the replacement for the Reverend’s dubiously appointed CONSTITUTIONAL WRECK of a £1,500 a day council exec with a taste for £200 taxi trips on us, finally arrived at the Counts Louse on the 26 September. However, we were soon informed that Head (Lover) Boy would NOT BE WALKING OUT on the Reverend just yet and that the starry-eyed lovers could carry on sharing their public land giveaway fetish, romantic Cote D’Azure mini breaks and secret trysts on the third floor of the Council House for a while yet.

The latest excuse provided by a council PR for the NON-EXIT of Lover Boy and his ample wage demands is that “There will be a sensible period of handover between Colin and Stephen to ensure a smooth transition and to maintain momentum with major projects”. Although, the poorly briefed PR was UNABLE TO SAY when this bizarre ménage a trois might end. How much longer will we have to pay Lover Boy £1,500 a day for services rendered to the mayor? Days? Weeks? Months?

Rees’s new love interest, Peacock, will have to struggle along on a wage of just £165k a year and the GOOD NEWS is that he will also be subject to PAYE like his employees. The BAD NEWS is that Peacock’s another South West Regional Development Agency reject with a “huge amount of experience of economic development, major regeneration projects, technology and the energy sector”.

Doesn’t this sound dangerously similar to Lover Boy? Has the Reverend fallen head over heels for yet another naive career bureaucrat with a high opinion of himself who’ll get SHAGGED ABSOLUTELY SENSELESS when he falls prey to CORPORATE PROPERTY PIMPS with an eye for his assets?

Will there be more kiss ‘n’ tells to follow?

LOST LABOUR WORLD DISCOVERED IN BRISTOL

LOST LABOUR WORLD DISCOVERED IN BRISTOL

Have the stroppy TRIGGER BALLOTS going off all over the place to see if our local Labour MPs should face a selection contest created a CHAIN REACTION in the fabric of the city’s time-space continuum? How else to explain a MYSTERIOUS LOST WORLD that has been discovered in Bristol by the Labour Party’s Regional Office?

Unscientific reports say the newly discovered land is in BISHOPSTON AND ASHLEY DOWN in the Bristol West constituency. However, due to some sort of unexplained Schrodinger’s cat-type time-space quantum field, it “is NOT PART OF BISHOPSTON AND ASHLEY DOWN” and is actually somewhere else entirely in Bristol North West, the constituency of under-threat honorary Lib Dem MP, “Dipshit” Darren Jones.

Even more remarkably, A LOST TRIBE OF 20 MYSTERIOUS LABOUR PARTY MEMBERS are alive and well in this impossible new land and were able to vote as their own branch to decide whether Dipshit should be put up for reselection as a Labour candidate.

Have you noticed any mysterious time-space displacement phenomena in your area recently? Maybe flying discs in the sky or portals to Bristol North West? Has the Labour Party discovered a lost world and set up a quantum branch near you?

A BRIDGE NOT FAR

Locals in North Bristol have come out against The Reverend’s cabinet transport supremo, Kye “The” Dudd’s CRAZED and EXPENSIVE plan to increase the height of the damaged grade II listed Kingsweston Iron Bridge on Kingsweston Hill to stop more high vehicles crashing in to it. The Kingsweston Action Group (KWAG) is instead SUPPORTING Historic England’s SENSIBLE and considerably CHEAPER plan to install sacrificial “goalpost” height restrictors at the junctions with Shirehampton Road and Westbury Lane to the south of Kingsweston Hill, and Kings Weston Lane in the north.

The damaged bridge could then be dismantled, taken away for repair and restoration, and rebuilt back in place as it now is and at a far cheaper price than the £2MILLION estimated for The Dudd’s plan. KWAG’s advisers, Dorothea Restoration, say it would take a week to dismantle the bridge, three months to strip, repair, re-cast broken sections and repaint and then a further week to reassemble back in place. Job done! KWAG say, “We genuinely need public feedback on these proposals before we develop them into a more finished form for planning”.

Support these plans and help get the bridge back in action sooner rather than later.

MORE MARKETS

Our story in BRISTOLIAN 50 about the council’s ODD ACCOUNTING and WEIRD PROPOSALS for rent hikes at St Nicholas Market created a flurry of activity suggesting that old habits are dying hard when it comes to management of our historic market.

A number of sources tell us that the market’s ‘Food Coordinator’, Lorna Knapman, described as a friend of the current interim market manager, was appointed WITHOUT ANY FORMAL RECRUITMENT PROCESS. Moreover, it seems, Ms Knapman, who has worked at the market for some years, was NOT ON THE COUNCIL PAYROLL for much of this time and instead collected her salary through a tax-efficient private company, claiming she was a contractor for the council.

This cosy tax-dodging arrangement was almost certainly CONTRARY to all known council HR policy and it’s unlikely that the council has met its obligations under so-called ‘IR35’ tax legislation by paying what is almost certainly an employee in this fashion. To add insult to injury, we’re informed that the markets coordinated by Ms Knapman “ARE DYING A DEATH“.

There’s “often only one trader for the ‘Award Winning Vegan Market’ on a Monday and traders are RAPIDLY DESERTING the popular Farmers Market,” we’re told. Meanwhile, Ms Knapman appears to have personal control of all the market’s social media accounts, which she uses to SOLELY promote her street food markets, ignoring any traders in the main market.

Presumably because they don’t matter to market bosses who have other plans for their stalls?

“HOUSING OF THE FUTURE” NEWS

"HOUSING OF THE FUTURE" NEWS

It looks like more problems may lie ahead for TV celeb Kevin McCloud’s HAB HOUSING COMPANY’s eco housing development at the former Dunmail School site in Southmead.

Launched in a blaze of ecstatic c-list publicity by snooty Channel 4 property presenter McCloud alongside Mayor No More Ferguson in 2015, they promised us the “HOUSING OF THE FUTURE“. And the future duly arrived in 2017 when Bristol City Council agreed to BAILOUT the project by underwriting it with £500k of our money.

Now news emerges about a HAB development, ‘Lovedean Fields’ near Winchester in Hampshire, which a local councillor has described as “RESEMBLING A BOMB SITE“. Originally marketed as “a collection of beautiful three, four and five-bedroom homes” with facilities including allotments, play areas, an orchard and a wildflower meadow, the reality is turning out to be very different.

The councillor reports some of the roads on the development “DON’T HAVE THE TARMAC ON,” while completed roads are already CRUMBLING. A number of homes, due for completion in 2017, have “MAJOR PROBLEMS” including flooding and many are still covered in scaffolding. As for allotments, play areas, orchards and wildflower meadows, they’re all reported to resemble “A BUILDING SITE“.

This latest HAB cock-up follows press reports over the summer revealing that small investors who sank millions of pounds into HAB – which stands for “Happiness Architecture Beauty” – to fund bonds for this celebrity eco-housing adventure have been told they could face LOSING UP TO 97% OF THEIR MONEY. In September it emerged that attempts to restructure HAB bonds had failed and the company risked being wound up or falling into INSOLVENCY.

Quite where this leaves Bristol City Council is anyone’s guess. But if they want their “housing of the future” in Southmead to be habitable and have road access they may have to fork out some large sums of money.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEWS

Urban Quarter

The first tranche of new housing at HENGROVE PARK, courtesy of corporate developer Kier, has appeared next to Hengrove Park Leisure Centre. Despite being obviously located in SUBURBAN SOUTH BRISTOL, it’s called ‘Urban Quarter’ and is being marketed with the tired strapline “Modern living in Bristol”. Meanwhile, Kier’s website illustrates its Hengrove Park location with photos of, er, COLLEGE GREEN and the WILLS BUILDING.

It also says here, “Urban Quarter is an EXCITING DEVELOPMENT of 261 new homes. The development offers a variety of bespoke 2, 3 & 4 bedroom homes. Ideal for FIRST-TIME BUYERS, THOSE LOOKING TO MOVE UP THE PROPERTY LADDER along with GROWING FAMILIES looking for their forever home.”

Although any first time buyers or Bristolians with a growing family may be interested to hear that prices for a 3-bed home start at £310,000 and for a 4-bed at £410,000. This means any property available in this “attractive urban living environment” is, at least, TEN TIMES MORE than the average salary in south Bristol.

Don’t all rush at once.

ENERGY SHAMBLES

bristol-energy

As the Reverend launches his long, tedious re-election campaign with the comedy slogan “GETTING STUFF DONE”, devised by his tin-eared PR guru “Slo” Kev Slocombe, let’s take a look at what stuff the Rev’s got done with his energy reselling business Bristol Energy shall we?

The headline stuff is that he’s lost a load more of our money with the company announcing a  £10 MILLION OPERATING LOSS in the year to March 2019. Virtually identical to the £10 million loss he notched up last year! This brings total losses, so far, at Bristol Energy to about £34MILLION.

Our man in the energy business says it’s worth comparing the Reverend’s mess at Bristol Energy with Robin Hood Energy, the energy company wholly owned by Nottingham City Council. “Bristol Energy has 165,000 CUSTOMERS, a TURNOVER £76.2 MILLION and a GROSS MARGIN OF 7.3 PER CENT,” he says. “Meanwhile Robin Hood has 167,000 CUSTOMERS, a TURNOVER OF £70.3 MILLION and a GROSS MARGIN OF 7.2 PER CENT. So they’re broadly comparable.”

“But Robin Hood made an OPERATING PROFIT on these figures of £742,000. On the same turnover and customers, Bristol Energy made a thumping OPERATING LOSS of £10.1 million. Will the Reverend be asking hard questions as to why this is?”

“Does it have something to do with the 200 STAFF Bristol Energy employ for an identical customer base to Robin Hood who manage with just 99 STAFF? Or Bristol Energy’s wage bill of £7.23 MILLION while Robin Hood’s is just £3.31 MILLLION? Or the highest paid director at Bristol Energy pocketing £242,000 while Robin Hood’s scrapes by on £99,000?”

“Anyone who thinks that Bristol Energy can become profitable by 2021 only needs to study the 2019 accounts. Even if they doubled customers to 330k (highly unlikely) and made only modest increases in staffing/admin costs to support this customer growth they would STILL be loss making,”

These are the inconvenient facts. The Reverend may be able to spin his pet project as a success to a cabinet of clueless arselickers but the public requires a proper explanation for this LOSS-MAKING SHAMBLES overseen by a bunch of unaccountable MONEY GRUBBING SCROUNGERS.

I doubt we’ll get it





REVEREND’S HARA KIRI ELECTION PLAN

REVEREND'S HARA KIRI ELECTION PLAN

Is Bristol’s Labour Group at the council, led by the Reverend Rees, attempting to commit some weird form of RITUAL POLITICAL SUICIDE before the local elections next May? What other explanation is there for the STUPID DECISIONS and CRAZED OUTBURSTS emanating from the Reverend Mayor and his daft councillors?

The Reverend has already pissed off loads of communities throughout the city who are unlikely to vote for him or his party next year. These include WHITCHURCH where he’s proposed running a ring road through the community past a primary school; HOTWELLS, ASHTON and SOUTHVILLE where he wants to build his corporate high rise wet dream on their doorstep; STOKE BISHOP where he’s allowed their open space to be fenced off by Cotham School; TOTTERDOWN where his councillors voted through, contrary to the Local Plan, a hideous 15 storey tower block on the Bath Road; KNOWLE where he’s backed another tower block and WINDMILL HILL and BEDMINSTER where the Reverend’s been unable to get any grip on unruly private developers at Bedminster Green.

Then there’s the Reverend’s thicko cabinet sidekick, Kye “The” Dudd’s treatment of the FLY PROBLEM in Avonmouth. The Dudd has courted voters by variously accusing residents of planting dead flies to create a FAKE PROBLEM; blaming the flies on DOMESTIC WASTE left on St Andrews Road and, even, claiming there’s NO FLY PROBLEM and that fly levels in Avonmouth are the same as other areas of Bristol. A claim recently rubbished by the BBC who did their own tests for their ‘Inside Out West’ documentary slot.

Remarkably, things now seem to be TAKING A TURN FOR THE WORSE for Labour. At September’s Full Council, the Reverend, behaving like the last officer standing on a Pacific island as GIs storm the beach, raged about “SABOTAGE” by opposition councillors before burnishing his ANTI-UNION CREDENTIALS by refusing to allow his council to be involved in the Climate Strike on 20 September. The Reverend’s Labour colleague, Tom “Charming” Brooks, then PLUMBED FURTHER DEPTHS while responding to a petition from 3,979 voters calling for a moratorium on 5G rollout.

Rather than calmly quote scientific sources to rationally dispute the petitioners health claims, the Horfield councillor launched into a DEMENTED RANT instead. The petitioners were “naive people who had been taken in by MALICIOUS MISINFORMATION” and “conspiracy theorists fuelled by
fake news and misinformation” and were “PEDDLING PSEUDO-SCIENCE using technical sounding words to confuse people”. However, Brooks dismally failed to cite ANY EVIDENCE to support his insults. Instead, he argued, he was right because he had “the ability to Google and was also as an engineer working in risk and safety”.

Lib Dem, Green and, even, Tory councillors were much CANNIER and CALMER towards this large group of potential voters. Explaining they accepted Public Health England’s view on 5G for now but agreed the health situation should be monitored as the technology was rolled out.

That’s another 4,000 votes down the pan for Labour next May then

 

CITY LEAP SELL-OFF LATEST

Simple District Heat Layout

The ‘Permanent Energy Centre’ on Castle Park will eventually generate some of the energy for the wider ‘OLD MARKET HEAT NETWORK’. This is a plan to supply low or zero carbon heat to connected buildings around Old Market at a cost equivalent to, or lower than, mains gas. To this end the council has now agreed to spend £9.4MILLION (plus £8.8MILLION of government money) installing a heat network around the Old Market area.

However, rather than the people of Bristol and council tax payers DIRECTLY BENEFITING in lower bills from their PUBLIC INVESTMENT into CHEAP ENERGY, the council say, “these projects are important parts of the Bristol Heat Network system and will be important assets under the CITY LEAP INITIATIVE“.

In other words, once this network has been completed at PUBLIC EXPENSE, it will be FLOGGED to the private sector so that they can extract a PROFIT from the cheap, clean energy infrastructure we’ve paid for. A similar heat network at Redcliffe, directly serving SOCIAL HOUSING, has also been put up for sale to the private sector as part of the Reverend’s energy fire sale (surely the billion pound City LEAP Prospectus? Ed).

Why can’t these heating systems REMAIN IN PUBLIC HANDS to deliver any financial and social benefits directly to the Bristolians that paid for them? Why are they being SOLD, before they’re even built, to make PROFITS for a group of global shareholders? Why are Bristol Labour Party using public money to build assets that are already on the market to global corporations?

Who voted for this corporate scam?