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HISTORY COMMISSION’S OWN GOAL HELL

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Own Goal Cole: let’s hope his taste in history is better than his taste in shirts

What do you get if you combine a committee of snooty academics from the University of Bristol with a committee of time-serving Labour Party Hacks? THE BRISTOL HISTORY COMMISSION!

This ongoing FARCE, set up by the Reverend Rees in the wake of the Colston statue dethroning, has lurched from PR COCK-UP to PR DISASTER and now seems to be aiming to achieve all-out city-wide LAUGHING STOCK status. 

The Commission got off to bad start with lots of people from across the city when its newly appointed Chair – who no one had ever heard of – University of Bristol History Professor Tim “OWN GOAL” Cole, decided, after a phone call with the CPS over the summer, that his Commission would COLLABORATE with the Avon & Somerset Police and become part of the criminal justice system. 

Own Goal, we learn, UNILATERALLY made the dubious decision – of questionable academic ethics –  that his commission would be part of the PUNISHMENT for protestors who hauled down the Colston statue and got conditionally cautioned by police for criminal damage. Prof Own Goal agreed to oversee a questionnaire where protestors would set out their reasons for their actions. Remarkably, most members of the commission only learned of Own Goal’s dodgy decision when they read about it in the Guardian on 18 September!

Own Goal’s next brilliant wheeze was to get some interns in to do the commission’s work for them because all these very important people are “TOO BUSY“. Own Goal personally advertised the internships – exclusively for University of Bristol post grads – at £10 PER HOUR funded by his Brigstowe Institute who, we’re told, receive money from, er … Wait for it … the MERCHANT VENTURERS, the city’s loathsome Colston cultists and dodgy statue enthusiasts!

Own Goal’s ad immediately came to the attention of #shitjobwatch, who monitor “very precarious or exploitative University of Bristol jobs”. They described the four internships as a “FIRST CHOICE” example of such practices. What does History Commission member and head of the South West TUC Nigel Costley have to say about that then?

And finally, when is Own Goal going to get off the phone to the Guardian, get his arse in gear and answer the simple set of questions about his commission sent to him last August by the Bristol Radical History Group? 

Has Own Goal got any answers?

WE’VE GOT THE POWER?

WE'VE GOT THE POWER?

By our Engineering Correspondent
You may have heard the local Labour and Green parties, followed by our esteemed Mayor, making very public declarations about their plans to make Bristol Carbon Neutral in the coming decade. Very sensible given the recent UN statement that we only have twelve years to avoid climate catastrophe … And counting.

They’ve talked the talk, now they’ve got a chance to walk the walk. With Bristol’s very own ‘Tidal Lagoon’, a term actually used by the Green party. Although it’s usually called the ‘Floating Harbour’. In January the Mayor, Labour, and all Green Councillors were mailed, pointing out the unequalled opportunity to generate significant amounts of carbon neutral electricity at minimal cost, from Bristol’s water system.

You can think of the harbour as a tidal lagoon, in which case it’s got the highest tidal range, at its gates, in a city, in the world. Two massive surges every day. Or you can look at it as a simple reservoir and dam, fed by two rivers, both used historically for power generation.

Actually, it’s both. With a flood control outlet (at Tesco on the M32) that leads via a straight tunnel to Sea Mills. It’s difficult to imagine a better set-up for water-based power generation. Every weir, from the main inlet at the Netham on the Avon and Snuff Mills on the Frome, right down to the Underfall Yard and Sea Mills flood control outlets, are capable of making useful power.

Unlike the Swansea tidal lagoon scheme, the entire infrastructure already exists. All the dams, weirs and flood control features are in place. Some have been there for over a century. Literally all that’s needed is the installation of appropriate turbines, themselves stock production items already in use all over Europe.

First step is the not hugely expensive job of producing a map of the whole water system, including details of all the potential power generation points.  This map can be taken to European water power specialists, currently being contacted, to get an accurate estimate of potential outputs and costs. If Bristol doesn’t have this data it will be compiled from Google Maps plus photos and video. Then it’s decision time. Given satisfactory figures and effective management (executive ‘action this day’) it would be feasible to have power coming out of the easiest installations this year.

Response so far?  Zero. Nada. They’ll all be mailed again In March (eleven years and nine months…) It’s not totally surprising. BCC is an institution and the first instinct of all institutions is to ignore inputs from outside. But they don’t really have that option. This is an emergency. All solutions must be considered. Bristol City has to step up to the plate, if nothing else for their revolting children.

This is where we find out if our glorious leaders Can Do, or are just useless politicians.

Watch this space.


CRATE EXPECTATIONS

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Bearing a large marketing budget and a tireless PR team, BRISTOL HOUSING FESTIVAL launches itself upon an unsuspecting city. “Bristol is a city of innovation and creativity. It is a city that is prepared to stand up and lead. It is a city that punches above its weight,” runs the insufferable PR bullshit.

But what does it all mean? A recent spate of articles in the local press gushing about “INNOVATION” and “CREATIVITY” in housing have highlighted such creative ideas as dumping the homeless in shipping containers; plonking cheap flats on top of multi-storey car parks for key workers and grabbing gardens in Knowle West for trailer-sized eco homes for god knows who?

And who’s behind this shameless five year MARKETING DRIVE to warehouse the city’s poor in cheap, crap accommodation? Please step forward Patrick “Shit” Shine, a “specialist in global fixed income and derivatives” who’s now an employee of London-based Tory thinktank, the SHAFTESBURY PARTNERSHIP.

According to its website, the Shaftesbury Partnership is a “SOCIAL BUSINESS” and a “practice of professionals committed to large scale 21st Century social reform”. While the Co-founder of the Shaftesbury Partnership is Nat “Wee” Wei, a former MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT for McKinsey, the notorious right wing management consultancy, turned venture capitalist.

And, if you still have any doubt about what Wei means by “21ST CENTURY SOCIAL REFORM“, in 2010 he was made a life peer and appointed Chief Adviser on the Big Society by David Cameron. This was after the Shaftesbury Partnership under the management of Wee Wei and Shit Shine set up the “Challenge Network”, which got a big share of CASH from David Cameron’s Big Society scheme, the National Citizens Service, to send children to summer camps at a cost of £1,182 PER CHILD.

Now these deep blue Tories have pitched up in Bristol to “innovate” and “create” in the ruins of our public housing services by shoving the poor in crates. And the first to applaud their efforts and climb aboard this MARKET SOLUTION bandwagon are none other than Labour bigwigs, the Reverend Rees and his housing sidekick, Paul “Wolfie” Smith.

“The festival will turn Bristol into a showcase of the latest innovation in housing building and financing,” The Reverend BREATHLESSLY ANNOUNCED from his tedious blog while Wolfie booked himself in with the Tory boys to deliver a KEYNOTE SPEECH to help kick off this festival of crap housing for the poor.

And guess who’s chief executive of this miserable little Tory bandwagon? Please step forward failed lawyer Jez Sweetland who admits “I’M NO HOUSING EXPERT“. He is, however, a regular at the Reverend’s church, The Hope Church in Hotwells.

How cosy.

DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Another month and more greedy bastard builders are taking the piss out of our city by refusing to provide social and affordable homes on land owned by us and handed over to PRIVATE DEVELOPERS for housing by Bristol City Council who then grant them planning permission.

First, over to Speedwell where Crossman Homes, a chiselling shower of shit from Bath, are will be DEMOLISHING our amazing art deco swimming pool building and replace it with a HIDEOUS cell block of flats.

Out of the 31 flats being built on our land, Crossman Homes are providing only FOUR “affordable” – whatever that means – homes. Just 14 per cent of the total. Way below the council’s target of 40 per cent or around 12 of these homes.

Not surprisingly the Speedwell community is up in arms about this. Not only are they losing a popular and locally listed community building, they won’t even get any housing anyone in their community will be able to AFFORD. Another win for Bristol City Council?

Locally listed baths: will be demolished for flats

Meanwhile, over at REDCLIFF WHARF, council-owned and the last undeveloped site on the docks, another affordable homes FIASCO unfolds on this prime development land.

A special purpose vehicle – Complex Development Projects Ltd – quickly set up last December by businessmen from HERTFORDSHIRE in search of a fast, unaccountable buck are applying for planning permission to build a wanky mixed use development there. There’s lots of waffle (and cost) with this one about the need for a “HIGH QUALITY PUBLIC REALM” to appease Redcliff’s posh folk who want a poncy development that befits their status.

This means that, while over a MILLION QUID is poured into “public realm” improvements, granite suppliers and the provision of one tree, there’s sod all money left for affordable housing. In fact the dodgy developers are proposing NONE whatsoever!

Our brave council planners have rejected this LUDICROUS PROPOSAL out of hand, however, and told the developers that they must provide THREE one bed flats as affordable housing. Or about ONE FIFTH of the affordable housing requirement for the site.
Sod that. The council must take our land back from these dodgy developers and snooty wankers  immediately and use the site for 100 PER CENT SOCIAL HOUSING.

And, if the posh fuckers of Redcliff don’t like more council housing on their doorstep they can always fuck off to the Cotswolds.

HENGROVE HOUSING HORROR

Reverend Rees’s housing tsar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith’s promises to “build communities not just houses” on Hengrove Park have collapsed on first contact with the public.

The recent first round of public consultation in Hengrove found Wolfie’s Major Projects Team openly admit they will be providing NO FACILITIES as part of the development because “THEY ARE ALREADY HERE“. So don’t move there expecting anything other than McDonalds, KFC and Premier Inn to service your needs.

The only public investment planners are agreeing to will be a GP surgery – somewhere – which is already urgently required in the Whitchurch/Hengrove area due to CHRONIC over-subscription of the existing GP service – and more primary school places.

 However, there will be NO NEW SCHOOLS. Instead, existing primary schools in the working class area – highly regarded for their leafy and spacious grounds – will be extended and expanded. Conveniently REMOVING playing fields and open space from the schools and leaving more prime development land for corporate developers to transform into high density rabbit hutches (surely exciting sustainable housing in the ‘Bristol Vernacular’ style? Ed.).

The highlight of this major development shambles, mainly designed to place large sums of cash into corporate developers coffers, however, is the plan to SHUT the recently opened Family Cycling Centre on the old Whitchurch Athletics Track and build a main access road over it!

Not only does this plan DEMOLISH one of the few public facilities still allowed in the area, it also demonstrates Bristol City Council’s real level of commitment to so-called “sustainable transport” and “active travel” once the hard cash for corporates is on the table.

 The council’s current Quality of Life Survey lists the number of commuters cycling to work in the area as ZERO PER CENT while 60 per cent use their car. And car use will only increase once Wolfie throws up 2,000 extra homes with car parking spaces. Why would anyone want to promote cycling here?

Residents in and around Bamfield in Whitchurch are especially up in arms since their residential road is set to become the MAIN VEHICLE ACCESS to all this new housing. Thousands of vehicles will be encouraged to drive down Bamfield every day and then drive directly over the ex-running track to access Wolfie’s new “community”. Locals predict traffic chaos and say the level of congestion and pollution likely to be generated by this plan is “HUGE“.

 Meanwhile, the obvious road access to the development, directly off Hengrove Way – a MAIN TRUNK ROAD specifically designed for heavy traffic – will be buses only and blocked to private cars!

 Who thinks this shit up?

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.

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?

AVONMOUTH COUNCILLOR ENTERS WEIRD SPACE-TIME VORTEX AS LAUNDRY TRIAL DATE SET

Freedom for laundries!

Despite the express instructions of District Judge Rowe at Bristol County Court last month that they negotiate an immediate solution to ‘The Ridiculous Case of the Shuttered Laundry’ at Antona Court within two weeks, Bristol City Council’s legal and housing goons have done the EXACT OPPOSITE and made no effort whatsoever to settle the dispute.

The case, now regularly featured in the local and national press as a post-Grenfell tale of the underdog against stupid, incompetent and uncaring bureaucracy that wants you dead, will now go to FULL TRIAL on 25 September.

Council housing bosses – in their determination to maintain an iron grip on Antona Court’s shared laundry facility and to treat their social housing tenants like shit – will obviously be funded by YOU, the taxpayer, to take part in this magnificent courtroom drama attempting to prevent laundry being done between the hours of 8.00pm and 8.00am in Shirehampton.

The complainant, BBC Radio 4’s Steve “Stormin'” Norman will continue to cost you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING as he represents himself again in his hugely entertaining skirmish with the forces of arrogance, stupidity and small penises at the helm of Bristol City Council.

Meanwhile, creating an additional layer of utter CONFUSION and PARALYSIS to the affair is Avonmouth’s Labour councillor Don “Lenin” Alexander, who appears, now, to have taken up residence in his own personal parallel universe somewhere near Sea Mills.

Steve emailed Don earlier this week politely requesting his presence at the trial as a witness. “As the case is now SETTLED as far as the laundry is concerned I’d much rather use my time more profitably,” Don beamed back from his alternative space-time vortex.

Er, how can the case be settled if it’s in court on 25 September? Has the council secretly negotiated a settlement with itself behind closed doors that it’s banned from publication? Maybe the council’s sacked this irritating judge who expects them to do some work and appointed lazy sod Don and his culture of zero expectation instead? Is this a new Don/council definition of ‘settled’ that approximates to the traditional term ‘not settled’? Is Don simply OFF HIS FACE on something?  Who knows? But Don’s such consistently good value, he could be put on permanent special offer at the new Lidl in Lawrence Weston.

Meanwhile, the man running the show, The Reverend Rees – a SAD and LONELY figure at Bristol’s Labour Campaign Forum AGM this week as socialists seized control of his local party and consiged to the grave his wet-weekend third way politics of submission to the markets – tells Steve he thinks his grandmother will listen to the forthcoming Radio 4 documentary on Antona Court and its controversial laundry.

The idea of knocking some management heads together or kicking his officers and string-pullers extremely hard up their backsides until they do something involving common sense and the direct request of a District Judge is clearly way beyond this weak and feeble man (surely you mean GLOBAL LEADER indoctrinated in free market economics at Harvard, Ed).

BOG WANKING BOSS BANS BOATS FROM BOAT FEST

With just a week to go until our annual Harbour Festival, it’s time for Bristol City Council and its prize turd in human form, the Hitler of the harbour, Cap’n Tony “Ahab” Nichol, to treat some Bristol residents LIKE SHIT in order to facilitate some vacuous piece of old crap for the WEALTHY and PRIVILEGED.

This year’s victims are the 30-odd boat-owning residents of HANNOVER QUAY who have been instructed by Harbour Master Ahab, still apparently struggling with his considerable number of mental health issues, to shift their homes out of the way to the end of the harbour at Poole’s Wharf for TEN DAYS during a festival that’s supposed to celebrate, er, boats and our harbour.

We understand these residents are being uprooted so that Ahab and his tragic council management mates and hangers-on can move a SUPER YACHT on to Hannover Quay for the weekend so they can spend time aboard the vessel getting pissed and tugging each other off in style.

Perhaps they’ll be celebrating Ahab’s oversight of the dodgy repair of the Princes Street Swing Bridge? This only took him about THREE YEARS, cost MILLIONS and, we’re reliably assured, “will last about FIVE MINUTES“! Or perhaps they’ll raise a glass to Ahab’s last round of staff cuts, which created 1.25 bosses to every member of working staff accompanied by an unprecedented rise in the DEATH TOLL in his docks?

The boat owners are, of course, livid. Not least because there’s NO ELECTRICITY at Poole’s Wharf, which means the council are treating their long-term paying customers to ten days of living in the dark and eating cold food in the arse end of the harbour while they all enjoy themselves. What’s not to like?

The boat owners are also less than impressed that the consultation they were promised months ago by Bristol City Council prior to any move NEVER MATERIALISED. Instead Ahab – who only has a job because an investigation into his systematic workplace bullying practices in 2014 was called off because it took so long the investigator had retired – simply wandered down to Hannover Quay one day and INSTRUCTED the boat owners to leave or else.

Subsequent complaints to Ahab have all fallen on DEAF EARS, not least because he’s actually very, very ill and isn’t mentally capable of giving a fuck about people. But that’s only when boat owners have managed to get hold him at all. “He’s been spending a lot of time lately in the Harbour Office toilet with his prized copy of ‘Superyacht’ magazine,” we’re told.

“He’s not known around the Harbour Office as “crispy trousers” for nothing”!