The Reverend’s own legal team inform him that Bristol City Council would only have “50:50” chance of winning a legal action if the current arena contractors for Temple Meads pursue Bristol City Council in the courts for abandoning the project.
The Bristolian, 1 September 2018
Due to the lack of information available, the experts said it must assume the council has a “50:50 chance of defending” a claim.
Evening Post, 7 September 2018
A friend of The BRISTOLIAN, who has had sight of the highly CONFIDENTIAL legal advice produced by Bristol City Council for the mayor regarding Tuesday’s arena decision, has been in touch.
This legal advice, which has only been made available to the MAYOR, his supine LABOUR CABINET and a small group of councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission, has been kept well away from us plebs.
And for good reason. The Reverend’s own legal team inform him that Bristol City Council would only have “50:50” chance of winning a legal action if the current arena contractors for Temple Meads pursue Bristol City Council in the courts for abandoning the project.
The likely financial risk to the council is in in the TENS OF MILLIONS the report says. Further advice clearly says that the council should engage with the Temple Meads contractors to seek to reduce the RISK OF LEGAL ACTION before publicly announcing any decision not to proceed with the arena.
Will we get another fudged decision from the Reverend on Tuesday or will he brazenly embark on a course of action helpful to his new Malaysian corporate friends likely to cost us tens of millions in the courts?
Can we be the first to thank Nigel “Independent” Greenhalgh, The Reverend Rees’s personally appointed ‘Arena Director’ for his sterling work on our behalf producing an official council report recommending the Reverend immediately scrap plans for an arena at Temple Meads?
Naturally Greenhalgh, as is the way at the Reverend’s council, isn’t actually an employee of the council. Instead he’s a well remunerated consultant operating through a service company, which sounds like a shit early 90s rave act – elev8.
It’s especially worth noting some of elev8’s past and present clients. For example, according to the company’s website, elev8 represented ‘Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood’, the group of landowners who masterplanned, along with South Gloucestershire Council, the proposed development of Filton airfield. The very neighbourhood where Malaysian corporation, YTL, wish to put their arena!
Also, according to elev8’s website, they continue to work for Deeley Freed – who have an option on ‘Cribbs Urban Village‘, a development site in the Filton area. They are therefore a highly interested party in creating an arena at Filton!
What this all means is that Greenhalgh, his company elev8 and his clients in Filton all stand to make an awful lot of money from cancelling the arena at Temple Meads and promoting one at Filton instead.
What better person than Greehalgh is there, then, to write an independent report for the Reverend and his cabinet recommending that they scrap an arena at Temple Meads and start promoting Filton as the ideal venue!
What do you mean conflict of interest?
Adepts at the art of reading runes, the philosophy of semiology or the mysteries of poetics and symbology may have noticed the Reverend’s recent PLAN put before his cabinet to “facilitate the necessary cycle lane works on Airport Road”.
So what? He’s building a cycle path on Airport Road in Hengrove? Big deal. But this is what catches the eye – “This proposal seeks approval to submit a Local Growth Fund (LGF) GRANT REALLOCATION request to the LEP”. So why might the Reverend be reallocating a grant and from where?
“Due to the fact that the coach parking scheme on ALBERT ROAD can no longer be completed within the originally agreed LGF funding window, this proposal seeks approval to reallocate £790k to the Airport Road scheme,” breezily explain the Reverend’s transport minions.
Of course, a coach parking scheme on Albert Road is an integral part of transport plans for the Arena at TEMPLE MEADS. If there’s no coach park planned then there’s no arena going ahead at Temple Meads.
So look out for that arena at Filton announcement coming soon and be sure to enjoy your cycling lane on Airport Road instead!
The recent announcement by the Reverend that he was launching a review by bent accountants KPMG of his review of the Arena and standing down the current developers is the final NAIL IN THE COFFIN of an arena at Temple Meads.
However, a new site for the venture seems to have suddenly found favour: the Brabazon Hangar in Filton. A development site owned by Malaysian firm YTL Developments that’s run by Merchant Venturer Colin “TORY BOY” Skellett, Wessex Water boss and former chair of TORY business quango, the Local Enterprise Partnership.
Coincidentally, working with Tory Boy on his new development project at Filton are a couple of familiar faces – former Bristol City Council Strategic Director Place, Barra Mac “NUGGET” Ruairi and former city council property boss Robert “SPUNKFACE” Orrett.
What a remarkably small world it is.
Even more coincidentally, the Reverend stopped off in Malaysia to meet YTL bosses on the way to his pointless China junket before Christmas. So how long before we’re handing over £120million quid plus any overspend and extras of public money to this gang of INSIDERS and CHANCERS at Filton to build our arena on their site and on their terms?
The Filton site is already no stranger to controversy and strange public-private shenanigans. YTL, run by Tory Boy Skellett, purchased the former airport after an extensive marketing exercise on behalf of owners BAE paid out of PUBLIC MONEY and carried out by er, Tory Boy Skellett’s Local Enterprise Partnership.
Another remarkable example of a remarkably small world up there in Filton where conflicts of interest appear to cease to exist.
Bizarre Cabinet reshuffle from the Reverend Rees last month. The highlight of which was a BLATANT LEAK to the press of his decision to fire his Labour rival for Mayor and transport chief Mark “LAME DUCK” Bradshaw days before the official announcement.
Quite what the Reverend and his PR point man Kevin “Don’t mention the private school education” Slocombe thought they might achieve by publicly firing Bradshaw is anyone’s guess. Maybe it boosted the pair’s FRAGILE EGOS and helped them feel like they were actually in charge of something?
The Reverend also took the opportunity to PROMOTE his close friend, hapless incompetent Asher “The Slasher” Craig, to Deputy Mayor alongside yes-man Craig “Crapita” Cheney, the cabinet’s overpromoted finance man.
Slasher’s promotion came just days before another LEAK to the press appeared. This one claiming Close-It’s enormous £5k council tax DEBT, run up over a number of years and still outstanding when she was elected councillor last May and promoted to Cabinet in the autumn, was paid off by the local Labour Party!
The LEGALITY of any of Slasher’s financial decisions while having an undeclared debt with the council is being carefully studied. As is her new portfolio extended to include public health and public transport alongside her existing and disastrous responsibilities for demolished kids’ playgrounds, collapsing Neighbourhood Partnerships, underfunded leisure centres, closing libraries, decaying community assets and up-for-sale parks.
“Even those on the right wing of the Bristol Labour Party think she’s A TORY!” is how one insider described Slasher to us recently.
Meanwhile, the Reverend is taking on PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for the ongoing Arena non-appearance project and for elements of the TRANSPORT brief, particularly congestion. Effectively splitting responsibility for the city’s difficult and badly managed transport brief between himself and useless Asher the Slasher. Of course, neither have any EXPERIENCE whatsoever of transport.
The Reverend and Kevin “Don’t mention the private school education” Slocombe are desperately touting this reshuffle as a “CONSOLIDATION OF POWER“. However, the press leaks; the Reverend’s new responsibility for two poisoned chalices and the promotion of an idiot – Asher the Slasher – look more like an administration UNRAVELLING.
There may be trouble ahead …
Whiny council twat, Barra Mac “NUGGET” Ruairi, jerking himself off under the title ‘Strategic Director of Place’ and struggling by on about £130k a year for hacking our public services apart was forced by the Rev Rees in November to attend a public meeting in Henbury about the cuts.
Many who attended openly EXPRESSED THEIR FRUSTRATION at clowns like Mac Nugget filling their boots at our expense while cocking up everything in sight.
Mac Nugget replied, “I’m an exec leader with SIGNIFICANT SALARY who moved from Sheffield to serve the city – seven days per week – genuinely doing my best. I work with £100million contracts, miles of roads, planning, 38 refurbished schools. It’s a significant job with over 1,000 staff. We need qualified people to deliver this kind of work.
“I chose to work in public but could work in the PRIVATE SECTOR. We have trouble recruiting as the private sector take our staff. We don’t just work 37 hours per week but put in as much time for the city as we can.”
Mac Nugget was noticeably light on detail about any of his ACHIEVEMENTS. So here’s some of the things he’s been working seven days a week to achieve:
An arena over two years behind schedule, 20 per cent plus over budget that doesn’t have anyone to build it; a Metrobus bus scheme that nobody wants with no one to run it that’s also over budget; unnecessary concreting over of bluefinger land and allotments at Stapleton for the Metrobus; destruction of hundreds of trees for the Metrobus scheme; endless traffic congestion that continues to get worse; collapsing city docks infrastructure that has culminated in the ongoing closure of Princes Street Bridge; cancellation without notice of vital bus services like the number 51 last year; occupation of council properties by guardian companies that don’t comply with his own council’s licencing and health and safety rules or the law; the proposal to build a five metre wide road through Victoria Park; an inexplicable £9m deficit in his Property Services Department run up between March and June last year; an ongoing failure to deliver smart ticketing on public transport.
Then there’s the risk of failure to the major infrastructure projects he’s managing. Such a failure is currently listed as ‘LIKELY‘ by Bristol City Council
Please private sector take this useless twat. He’s all yours
It hasn’t taken long for Marvin “The Reverend” Rees to turn into another nasty little Tory Boy RUINING THE LIVES of his low paid council staff so that he can FEATHER THE NESTS of the city’s wealthy elite has it?
Less than three months into his ‘REIGN OF ERROR‘ and Marvin has announced that he will need to make 1,000 staff at his council REDUNDANT to “balance the books”. Virtually all these staff will be low paid and will be working in ESSENTIAL public services like adult care, education, social services and housing.
These HORRIFYING CUTS have been spun by the Reverend’s new £63k a year trade union PR girl, Kevin “Slow Brain” Slocombe, as entirely the fault of Tory government austerity and Mayor-no-more George Ferguson. The dynamic business and corporate-friendly Labour duo claim that George left behind a £29m debt for 2016 – 17 of unachieved savings.
Really? So how come a report accepted by Marvin and his cabinet in July – just ONE MONTH before his cuts announcement – assured us, “This report shows that the Council has been able to deliver on its saving plans and balance its base budget in what continues to be a challenging fiscal environment.”
It then goes on to say, “The current financial strategy, consisting of the final year of the 2013-17 MTFS, will be sufficient to balance the Councils budget in 2016/17.”
So what happened in a month to create a £29m black hole in this balanced budget? WHO’S TELLING THE TRUTH? Marvin in July or Marvin in August?
Meanwhile, Slow Brain and the Reverend’s claim that they have no choice but to fire 1,000 staff on low pay fails to stand up to BASIC SCRUTINY when you start to look at the expenditure they’ve either already authorised or are intending authorise and for whom.
In late June Marvin and his cabinet had no problem in handing the COLSTON HALL £1.6m up front to develop their refurbishment plans while also agreeing in principle to chuck them a further £10m to achieve these plans.
At the same meeting, similar generosity was shown to the BRISTOL OLD VIC – who were awarded £1m to underwrite their refurbishment plans – and to another concert hall – ST GEORGE’S – who received £600k to help them with their rebuilding efforts.
And it doesn’t stop there. In September Marvin will award those famously poverty stricken organisations – BUSINESS WEST and the UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL – an undisclosed subsidy of over £500k to keep their ‘Set Squared’ creative industries ‘business incubator’ running the way they’ve become accustomed to at Brunel’s stylish ENGINE SHED at Temple Meads.
Also in the loop for an undisclosed public handout (of £500k plus) from the Reverend is the THE BOTTLE YARD film and TV studios in south Bristol. Because we can’t have austerity in the high-earning film industry can we?
This is all before we get on to the really high ticket projects Marvin is backing. He’s still committed to the £150m ARENA project, assuring anyone who will listen it’s affordable despite only having £100m to build it.
The other £50m will come from the council taxpayer until that income stream runs dry when Marvin, no doubt, will throw another few bodies on to his HUMAN BONFIRE and sack a few more staff running essential services to balance his crooked books.
Finally we have Marvin’s uncosted and unfunded EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE bid. To make himself look good in the ruins of the public services he’ll be running, the Reverend intends to make the city Capital of Culture in 2023 at an undisclosed cost.
HOW MUCH this will cost or WHAT USE it will be to any one not involved in of Marvin’s heavily subsidised high-earning creative industries is anyone’s guess. But what the hell? It’s only other people’s money and other people’s jobs isn’t it?
In less than THREE MONTHS Marvin’s mayoralty has turned into a hyopcritical farce and an elitist backscratching exercise.
“No one left behind” he says? Except for 1,000 council staff running essential services and their familes …
Bristol City Council have finally admitted that their £90M ARENA is now actually going to cost at least £118m and even this huge price increase resembles the tip of an iceberg.
The 30 per cent INCREASE IN COSTS is to cover work and access arrangements to the so-called ‘Arena Island’ site at Temple Meads. However, the price is likely to rise even further as the council has UNDERESTIMATED some costs and IGNORED others altogether.
For example, the latest estimates include just £2.5m for ‘REMEDIATION WORKS‘ to remove chemical pollution from the arena site when the cost of this could be as high as £7.5m. The council also didn’t bother including an £8m BUSINESS RATE BILL that might fall in their lap, while the newly proposed eight storey MULTI-STOREY CAR PARK, demanded by their PROFIT HUNGRY arena operators, is, as yet, uncosted.
Costs could, therefore, easily increase to £135M PLUS. A cool 50 PER CENT increase on the original estimate. But will it stop there? With a builder yet to step foot on the site, more cost increases are a racing certainty.
The Bristolian is happy to go on the record and state that the final bill for the arena is likely to be between £150m and £180m. An overspend of somewhere between 75 AND 100 PER CENT over Mayor Fagpacket’s initial cost claims. How this will be paid for is not explained by the council either. Although it’s likely to be through a generation’s worth of HEAVY DEBT for the city.
With an election looming, the city’s councillors, politicians and mayoral candidates are all oddly quiet on this urgent matter of a looming BLACK HOLE IN the city’s public finances. Perhaps they’ve concluded an arena is popular with the electorate and any negativity about it could cost them votes?
What could possibly go wrong when the provincial political careers of a few sad old men come before the sound financial management of a city?
On the same day it emerged that Mayor Hubris was spending up to £150m (and counting …) of OUR MONEY on a series of pet commercial development projects around Temple Meads, he published a CRAZED ARTICLE on posh people’s website, the Huffington Post, explaining how he was tackling inequality in Bristol.
“We are targeting investment in the most highly deprived areas,” blustered the old fool. Although capital investment by the council in deprived areas such as Avonmouth, Hartcliffe and Southmead is NON EXISTENT. While basic public services run by the council in these areas such as youth, housing and libraries have been consistently CUT by Mayor Deluded.
Even a proposed HARTCLIFFE RECYCLING CENTRE, a useful public service and a source of employment in a deprived area, has been on the backburner because George alleges he can’t find the £3m necessary to open it. So is a polluted old diesel yard next to Temple Meads Station – the subject of about £130m of council investment so far for an arena – one of these “most HIGHLY DEPRIVED AREAS” then?
Other “MOST HIGHLY DEPRIVED AREAS” – all conveniently situated around Temple Meads and worthy of the mayor’s energies and lots of our cash – include the City Point office building directly opposite the station purchased with £9m of our money; derelict land at Temple Meads owned by Skanska and subject to a SECRET financing deal with the mayor and the George Hotel site at Temple Gate, which Mayor Moneybags wants to purchase for an UNDISCLOSED FEE amounting to millions in public money.
Or how about an uncosted eight-storey car park on the Bath Road being built entirely for the benefit of the “most highly deprived” ARENA OPERATORS? Or the former Post Office site at Temple Meads, which George is fattening up for sale in the hope it will pay for some of his over budget arena?
Try to find similar financial commitments in any of Bristol’s REALLY deprived areas and there’s none. Quite the reverse. Deprived areas are subsidising commercial property developments at Temple Meads on an epic scale.
Instead, as George explains in the Huffington Post, he’s tackling any genuine inequality and deprivation with a bunch of CHEAP, INADEQUATE AND LAUGHABLE policies. Any old policy pursued by George over the last three years has been hastily assembled into a list by a council PR and then abstractly rebranded as an anti-poverty measure.
“From 20mph, to RPZ, to metrobus, to engagement hubs, to 10,000 new primary school places, to children planting 30,000 trees, to a rainbow cabinet – all these are integral evidence-based policies that help secure a foundation to position Bristol to sustainability and fiercely tackle inequality,” waffles Mayor Gonad.
Really? Reducing traffic speed tackles poverty and inequality? Likewise, surely even the most DEMENTED of hippies is unlikely to claim children planting trees is a realistic solution to poverty and deprivation?
We could just conclude, at this point, that our mayor is a crackpot in need of a long lie down but anyone who thinks providing deprived areas with a few road signs and a tree planting project for kids counts as serious investment while simultaneously funnelling HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS to corporate property interests is clearly mendacious.
Vote him out in May.