On 5 September 2017 Tamara Finkelstein, Director General for the Building Safety Programme and Department of Communities and Local Government, wrote to all local authorities. This was after 3cm-wide cracks between concrete panels were identified in large panel system (LPS) buildings on the Ledbury estate in Peckham, south-east London.
Finkelstein told local authorities:
“It is important with all large panel system buildings that their structural history is known, and that their condition and continued structural integrity are understood and monitored. This should include desktop studies where necessary to establish what strengthening work has been undertaken, and to assess the original design of the building. In undertaking desktop studies, building owners may not be able to rely solely on their own records. They may also need to explore records prior to them taking ownership of the building and explore the accuracy of them. Depending on the records available and findings from non-intrusive investigations, building owners may wish to commission more intrusive forms of investigation to check condition and strength of critical connections.”
So how come Peter Apps and Robert Booth at the Guardian report today:
“Bristol city council said there was no record of any structural surveys of Barton House after remedial works were carried out around 1970.”
Why did the Rees administration disregard government advice for six years and allow one of their buildings to deteriorate to the point where its 400 residents need to be evacuated at a few hours notice and made homeless?
Council tower block, Barton House in Barton Hill was urgently evacuated last night due to mysterious “structural issues” that emerged, apparently, out of nowhere. And it hasn’t taken long for private sector vultures to spot a lucrative business opportunity. This email was sent to councillors today:
From: Carole Wingrove <CWingrove@lsh.co.uk> Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2023 4:12:19 PM To: Carole Wingrove <CWingrove@lsh.co.uk> Subject: Barton House Bristol – Assistance with Alternative Accommodation
We are sorry to hear of the challenge at Barton House in Bristol where 400 residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure while inspections are carried out.
We understand temporary rest centres have been equipped for residents in need.
I wanted to reach out to offer our assistance should you need temporary accommodation for residents who have not been able to stay with family or friends or if, for any reason residents are unable to return for a period of time.
Please let us know should you need assistance, our team of relocation experts are here to help. We have relocated over 100,000 people into cost effective alternative accommodation since 1999.
We would also like to offer the renowned and trusted expert Lambert Smith Hampton service as one of many solutions for the Temporary and Emergency Housing crisis that is gripping councils across the UK.
We understand today, there are about 575 social housing blocks that used Large Panel System as a construction method in England. According to Tower Blocks UK, this was used widely in the post-war housing boom and there have been problems on many different council estates, leading to residents being moved out and buildings demolished.
Whilst this is only speculative at Barton House, we understand there are other social housing blocks, Charleton House, John Cozens House, Haviland House and Langton House in Bristol.
Our expert teams of Asset and Property Management alongside procurement services include:
Leasing stock for short to long term requirements (which could comprise individual housing units or property suitable for conversion)
Entering into JV with a housing delivery partner
Innovative Pod and Grey Site accommodation
Acquisition or development of new stock
Emergency Pre-Funded Decant and relocation solutions
No sign of the private sector cash that’s supposed to pour into the City Leap public-private partnership to decarbonise the city.
One new project is “an £11m programme of energy efficient upgrades for fuel poor homes”, funded by the Department for Energy for just 150 homes across WECA.
Another project will spend £890k on heat decarbonisation plans and designs for council buildings. Funded by the, er, taxpayer through the Department for Energy. The plan is then to grab more government grants to fund the work.
Despite the smalltime public money approach, local journalists breathlessly report that shadowy ‘council bosses’ have told them “City Leap would lead to a massive extra 180 megawatts of renewable energy generation in Bristol.”
Bristol City Council’s wind turbines and solar farm in Avonmouth currently generate about 4.3 megawatts so that’s a 42 fold increase then.
Bristol City Council’s new planning boss Simone “The Concrete Queen” Wilding is off to an interesting start.
The Concrete Queen was headhunted by the council’s underperforming Chief Exec Stephen “Captain” Peacock and they are very friendly having worked together at that business-friendly clusterfuck, the SWRDA.
Since starting in May, the Concrete Queen has:
– attempted to ban councillors from calling in planning applications for a committee to consider to “streamline the process”.
– pulled a video of a planning meeting from 9 August where her officers tried to rig the minutes of a previous planning meeting regarding the controversial Broadwalk planning application.
– failed to take action after planning committee chair, Richard ‘Bunter’ Eddy, politically attacked a member of his non-political ‘quasi judicial’ committee in the Nazi Post for voting against an application Bunter voted for.
– lied to councillors at a 7 September planning meeting, claiming alternative sites had been looked at for the cemetery expansion into Yew Tree Farm on south Bristol’s greenbelt
– At the same meeting, she withheld from councillors a report by a contamination officer recommending refusal of the cemetery application.
– Attempted to rip up all SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Interest) designations in Bristol by claiming they can be built on if the effect is mitigated elsewhere.
How long will the people of Bristol be subjected to this dreadful woman?
‘How does local media serve local politics in Bristol?’ enquires “Meejah” Max Thrower, recently appointed political assistant to the Green councillor group. It’s the title, that’s just hit our newsdesk, of his recent dissertation for an MA in Political Communications from Goldsmiths College, London, a hotbed of fashionable post-modern drivel.
The first twenty pages of the forty-page effort are therefore inconsequential academic gobbledegook that even Goldsmiths’ tutors probably skipped reading judging by the amount of uncorrected typos twisting any vague bit of meaning in there.
The second section is where the action is. Featuring interviews with self-styled local experts like BristolCobblers’(surely Cable? Ed) part-timer Neil “Professional Bristolian” Maggs; the Nazi Post’s Tristan “Gruppenführer” Cork; Martin “Latte” Booth, Editor, Bristol 24/7; Alex “All At” Seabrook, a BBC Local Democracy Reporter (LDR) working out of the Post and Cobbler’s not-editor “Door” Matty Edwards. Also along for the ride were The Bristolian, the Greens’ Carla “Head Girl” Denyer plus a rare appearance from mayoral bag carrier “Slo” Kev Slocombe.
After a risible quote from the Press Gazette claiming these indistinguishable liberal left centrists of our local press have created “a media oasis“ in Bristol, it’s not long before our media stars are fighting like rats in a sack. “The issue of funding models and the supposed influence of corporate interests has created tension between media outlets,” and, “the tension between outlets was most apparent between The Bristol Cable and Bristol 24/7 and the way that people viewed their funding,” we’re told.
“According to Neil [“Professional Bristolian”, Cobblers], Bristol 24/7 received money from a tobacco company that they used to fund a community reporter scheme. Martin [“Latte”, 24/7] described this advertising as a ‘necessary evil” and would love to see them not accept any advertising.”
“The incident was called out by The Bristol Cable, who Tristan [“Gruppenführer”, Nazi Post], cheerily pointed out “get most of their money from philanthropic billionaires”.
“According to Martin [“Latte”, 24/7], The Cable’s grants allow them to “loudly criticize us [Bristol 24/7] for daring to accept advertising”.
And on it goes: “People were also critical of Bristol 24/7, with Tristan saying that they “get their money from… a handful of rich people in Bristol”. [“Slo”] Kev believed that financial loss means they must be “bankrolled by a group of businessmen” that run bars and restaurants. Tristan noted that Bristol 24/7 have been called out in the past for “writing favourable things to do with pubs in Easton”.”
Adding to a sense of dodgy money washing around our gormless local press: “Martin [“Latte”] stated that Bristol 24/7 is a community interest company, although he didn’t know the details and liked “to just get on with the journalism side of things”.”
Neil [“Professional Bristolian”, Cobblers] then calls out his Cobbler’s colleagues as “Marxist in their origins and… a bit pompous and self-righteous with that at times”. Surely more to do with being middle class twats than anything to do with Marxism? Or is this Goldsmiths College style Marxism we’re talking here?
Rounding off a thoroughly undignified episode, Local Democracy Reporter Alex “All At” Seabrook – Marxist proclivities unknown – revealed that the thought of going out and speaking with actual Bristolians rather than communicating with middle class people on Twitter was “horrifying”.
But last word to “Slo” Kev Slocombe (who should be a Marxist) hitting nails on heads: “[The Cable is] a vanity organization driven by mysterious tech money,” he explained.
In future, do look out for the local press complaining about politicians “squabbling”!
The dissertation’s solution to this local press hot mess is the completely shit idea of state funded media for Bristol. Probably the fastest route to creating the most dull ,unreadable crap imaginable. Censoriously micro-managed by some hideous unelected committee of wealthy establishment tosspots with a Merchant Venturer in the chair.
They will definitely not be Marxists.
Wanna read ‘How does local media serve local politics in Bristol‘? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll send you a copy.
Gotta a dissertation about Bristol? Send us a copy and we’ll give you the feedback your academic tutors won’t!
This comment “blurred into conspiracy theories” explained investigative experts at the Cable without bothering to explain why. Although we do know that ‘conspiracy theories’ soon blur into ‘right wing’ in the centrist lexicon of smears (with ‘anti-semite’ not far behind).
However, a brief look at the website of the World Economic Forum, a powerful, inarguably, right wing economic lobby group of unbelievable wealth who meet annually at the exclusive Swiss resort of Davos to lobby governments in the interests of US billionaire oligarchs, global corporations and the international banking and finance class, reveals they are openly promoting a series of ‘net zero’ policies. Including, er, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and ’15 Minute Cities’! Why is mentioning this a conspiracy theory?
Informed progressive commentary on the subject suggests that the Davos billionaire club is running a self-serving ‘net zero’ PR campaign aimed at protecting their own wealth and interests rather than the climate. Most of their proposals will have a marginal effect on climate and will not challenge the existing global economic order that’s driving it. But the charade might make the billionaires look like they’re doing something as they shovel more cash from another scam into their bank accounts. What’s wrong with calling this shit out?
It was pointed out on Twitter to Cable journalists that they were doing billionaires a favour by smearing people who draw attention to them. Along with the observation that one of the Cable‘s funders, Bill Gates, through his philanthropic foundation, was an ‘Agenda Contributor’ to the WEF, so maybe the Cable‘s views on Davos and the WEF are a little untrustworthy?
All sniffily rejected as more conspiracy nonsense by Cable contributors whose expensive educations seemingly didn’t stretch to the simple study of ‘what is a conflict of interest?’
The haughty snobs at the Cable want us to believe that Somalian taxi drivers and some bloke who runs a bar in London campaigning against traffic calming in East Bristol are an imminent right wing threat to your future and wellbeing. By contrast, the US billionaire oligarch class organising the world economy for their own benefit and trashing the planet are cuddly teddy bears in need of protection from dangerous ‘conspiracy theorists’.
A large dump of heavily redacted material has been released by Bristol City Council to local SEND campaigner and blogger Chopsy through a Subject Access Request – part of GDPR personal data rights regulations.
She’s one of the SEND parents severely harassed by senior council bosses through an ugly intimidatory campaign of systematic surveillance of her social media.
Despite their best efforts to cover-up their actions with redactions, this data release looks like even more bad news for council bosses. Revealing that they went beyond monitoring social media and were snooping on parents in ‘real life’ too.
In one email we now find the state openly collecting and circulating the names of people attending a small SEND protest at City Hall on 8 April 2001:
Another email suggests the council used covert human intelligence sources to find out what certain parents and third party organisations were up to:
Despite this type of intelligence gathering by the state being unlawful, a third party obtained information from persons unknown, sent it to a council boss who then circulated it among numerous colleagues.
Stasi, the KGB and Big Brother eat your heart out!
Full speed ahead with no one left behind in Bristol’s ‘just transition’ to Net Zero!
The council’s applied for a grant of £3.3m to install 200 on trend air source heat pumps in leafy Westbury-on-Trym. A subsidy of £16,500 per Tory household!
Why this pilot has to be run in one of the city’s wealthiest suburbs isn’t very well explained by Labour’s dim Climate Change head honcho Kye “The” Dudd or his increasingly unstable boss, the Reverend.
Instead Rees explained away his loopy heating subsidy to the wealthy by telling bored councillors he was “going to be at the US embassy tomorrow to speak about a just transition”. Guess that’s one way to keep us all warm next winter.
The Greens, potentially the largest party in Bristol after next year’s elections, were also getting wet in the pants at news of Net Zero handouts to the wealthy.
West Bristol’s ridiculous national Green Party leader, Carla “Posh Princess” Denyer gushed that the scheme was a “fabulous solution”.
Here’s what the unions told a recent cabinet meeting:
“Printed newspapers and magazines were cut in all libraries in October 2022; a vacancy freeze has been in operation since August 2022 with no sign of an end.
“Currently there are 35+ vacancies across the city. The loss of hours amounts to 554.5 hours a week across the city.
“The Library service has also had five posts deleted, without any formal process or discussion with unions. Three of these posts are at the Central Library.
“These five posts amount to a loss of 137.5 more hours on top of the vacancy hours listed above. Total hours lost is therefore 592 hours a week. Due to staff shortages the standard of delivery is compromised. This is a disservice to the citizens of Bristol.
“These shortages have led to unplanned closures every day somewhere in the city since the summer.
“The lack of recruitment has also meant flexible working requests are being denied. This includes refusal of flexible retirement. The book/materials fund has been cut twice within a year and no new books have been bought since August 2022. It is unclear what the situation will be like in April 2023.”
Exactly how much does the Labour Party hate our libraries?
Despite a promise to let councillors know, after a scrutiny meeting in June, senior council boss Stephen “Weak Man” Peacock has still failed to explain what a payment of £1.2m to Bristol Energy from his City Leap procurement fund was actually for.
The City Leap money was signed over to Bristol Energy by the council’s Section 151 Officer under the heading ‘Innovation Services’ in January 2020. At the precise time the failed council energy reseller had a cashflow crisis.
The Bristolian has obtained a copy of the contract between the city council and Bristol Energy for the £1.2m. It has an appendix where ‘Services Supplied’ should be listed but the page is blank.
To the untrained eye, this £1.2m, paid in an emergency to a collapsing firm, has all the characteristics of a public money ‘bung’ designed to keep a bellyflopping company afloat prior to an election later in the year. An election that, subsequently, never happened due to Covid.
Meanwhile, Weak Man, despite being unable to explain to councillors or the public what he spent £1.2m of public money on, has been promoted and given a pay rise! Now that Chief Exec Billie Jean Jackson has done Bristol a favour and fucked off to London, his interim replacement is … the inexperienced and underqualified Weak Man!
Is Weak Man being rewarded by Rees for bent payments rendered?