Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

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?

CASTLE PARK: WHAT A GAS!

News drifts in about what’s in store for the former city council parks depot on Castle Park. At a cabinet meeting over the summer it was announced that the site would be used for … Wait for it … A MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT! Basically luxury flats and a mid-market chain restaurant, then. However, the Reverend’s Cabinet have also agreed to use the site as a ‘PERMANENT ENERGY CENTRE’. With the PR claiming that a Water Source Heat Pump “which draws waste heat from the floating harbour along with gas peak and reserve boilers” will be located there.

co2--thermal-efficiency-energy-efficiency

The reason for the sudden need for an energy centre on the site is that in December 2018 the council’s first COMMERCIAL HEAT NETWORK AGREEMENT was finalised with Castle Park View, the 26-storey residential block being built on the site of the old ambulance station at the edge of the park. On paper, a Water Source Heat Pump is a good thing, providing low cost, low carbon energy from the docks. However, The BRISTOLIAN learns, this ‘low cost’, ‘low carbon’ energy solution will not be ready in time.

Instead, “while the Permanent Energy Centre is being designed and built, heat will be provided by ‘INTERIM GAS BOILERS’, one at Castle Park Depot and the other at Gardiner Haskins car park” just a few metres from HANNAH MORE PRIMARY SCHOOL. Yes, Bristol City Council is installing highly polluting gas power plants in Castle Park and by a Primary School to provide CHEAP HEAT to a commercial development.

The council acknowledge, “this is not a low carbon solution and therefore increases the need for the Water Source Heat Pump which will ultimately replace the use of the gas boilers at Gardner Hoskins which will then be removed with gas boilers at Castle Park Depot retained as peak and reserve boilers only”.

So the long term plan is for a permanent gas boiler on Castle Park to supply cheap heat to luxury flats. Who’s up for that then?

EASTON ROAD RAGE

All Hallows

There’s still a lot of anger in Easton as the final phase of a council traffic scheme, designed by Sustrans, is implemented with the CLOSURE of All Hallows Road at the Bannerman Road School site.

Critics of the HAREBRAINED TRANSPORT SCHEME claim that in a ward of approximately 14,000 people, just 855 people – about six per cent of residents – were involved in an expensive £180k ‘consultation’ based on hookie stats such as the claim that “39,883… vehicles enter and/or leave the area during a 24 hour period” (by comparison, 60,000 vehicles use the M32 every day). However, since NO RECORDS of this consultation were kept, the council can’t confirm that the people who took part even live in Easton and they can’t deny that the same people attended multiple consultation meetings.

The closure of All Hallows Road is especially controversial as this “additional filtered permeability” didn’t appear until the final phase of the consultation which had less than 92 participants. So, even assuming every single one of them was enthusiastic, we’re talking about LESS THAN 1% OF THE POPULATION in favour. Residents say they were never offered any different ideas or plans. There was never any vote held nor public meetings to discuss options. There was just an announcement “WE’RE CLOSING THE ROAD“. The closure has been opposed at public meetings; opposed in a resident-run survey of over 1,000 people and opposed by local businesses, faith groups and the community centre.

Residents recently fought the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to close the road and requested evidence of how the closure would achieve any of the things being claimed for it such as a REDUCTION IN TRAFFIC, CLEANER AIR and SAFER STREETS? Indeed, they asked, how would the council even measure success since they made no effort to quantify their aims, goals or success level?

A resident says, “They are literally spending money with no way to tell if it has done any good. And you know that this is the case because they have REFUSED at every opportunity to address any of our concerns. Instead, at every phase we have been told “PEOPLE WANT THIS” and “IT MEETS OUR TRANSPORT OBJECTIVES“. Who wants this? Because I can find no-one outside of a tiny group of a dozen people who actually want it. How does it meet their transport objectives? Which ones? In what way?”

Residents continue to say there is an alternative. Close the road between 8am and 9am and 3pm and 4pm. Two hours a day and open on weekends. Simple. Straightforward. Protects the children, makes the area safer at the times when it needs to be safer and doesn’t disrupt traffic into well-known accident hotspots. The council and their councillors just say, “IT’S TOO LATE“.  

Welcome to democracy, Bristol-style.











HEAD BOY’S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER HIGH RISE HELL

HEAD BOY'S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER HIGH RISE HELL

Disquiet over the Reverend Rees’s plans to ‘transform’ the Cumberland Basin and its aging 1960s road system into ‘Western Harbour’, a GLOBAL CITY HIGH RISE HELL, in the shadow of Clifton Suspension Bridge is growing. A ‘public engagement’ on the gruesome plan, while everyone was away on holiday in August, led to an OUTCRY after it emerged that the Reverend was consulting the public on just THREE of the ten proposals he had received from his consultants, Arup. The remaining seven proposals remain SECRET.

The three proposals the Reverend deemed suitably “transformational” all involve DEMOLISHING the existing road system to “RELEASE LAND FOR DEVELOPMENT“. All three lack detail – just pink lines on a map indicating where any new road system may go – while potentially having A HUGE IMPACT on surrounding communities and the landscape around the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Concerns are also emerging about the involvement of The ENGLISH CITIES FUND (ECF) in any plans. ECF is a joint venture between HOMES ENGLAND, LEGAL & GENERAL and MUSE DEVELOPMENTS. Which raises questions about the role and independence of the Reverend’s semi-detatched £1,500 a day regeneration chief, our old friend COLIN “Head Boy” MOLTON, who will have had a major influence on any plans.

Head Boy was chief exec at HOMES ENGLAND – when it was the Housing and Communities Agency – until he joined Bristol City Council on a unique TAX EFFICIENT PAY ARRANGEMENT in 2017 and immediately cut a secretive, unminuted deal, on behalf of the council, with LEGAL & GENERAL. A deal handing these developers the land at Arena Island should the arena be cancelled.

Remarkably, this is the SECOND TIME Head Boy has been involved in cancelling an arena at the Arena Island site as he happened to be Executive Director of Operations & Development at the SOUTH WEST REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (SWRDA) in 2007 when they cancelled their plans for an arena on the site that they then owned.

Head Boy left the SWRDA in 2008 to become director at the South and South West Region of the HCA (now HOMES ENGLAND). By remarkable coincidence, with the winding up of the SWRDA by the Tories in 2011, the Arena Island site was transferred to the HCA. In early 2015, Molton’s HCA, handed the site to Bristol City Council to build an arena and then Molton PITCHED UP at Bristol City Council in 2017 to work for the Reverend. He immediately set to work CANCELLING an arena and negotiating his sweetheart deal with LEGAL & GENERAL to hand them the site for an unispiring, if highly profitable, mixed use development.

Head Boy is now being thrown out of the job he never went through a competitive recruitment process for at Bristol City Council. But will the man, who lists his address with Companies House as Donington Le Heath, Leicestershire, continue to take a personal, proprietorial interest in ANOTHER VALUABLE PIECE OF PUBLIC LAND in Bristol?

Watch this space.

REWARDING FAILURE

REWARDING FAILURE

During a rambling speech to long suffering parents of SEND children in June, council Education and Social Services boss, Jacqui “Trust Me I’m a Doctor” Jensen, admitted there was  “A KIND OF MIX BETWEEN PARALYSIS AND PANIC” in her SEND department. A department that she was paid £150k a year to run with a kind of mix between efficiency and professionalism.

During the same speech she also made the barking mad claim that the humiliating Judicial Review she lost to SEND parents forcing her to reverse the unlawful cuts she had made in her department was, in fact, a  “A TECHNICAL PIECE OF CONSULTATION“.

So what is the council’s response to this shambolic performance from their very own VILLAGE IDIOT? Er, a pay rise! At an HR Committee meeting less than a month after this exercise in absurdity by a senior council boss in front of parents, councillors agreed to accept a recommendation from Jensen’s subordinates that “the annual salary for this appointment be set at the maximum of the range for the Executive Director – People role”. The maximum range being £165k. Or a £15K PAY RISE.

What would a council boss have to do to not get a generous pay rise?

DON AND DUDD’S DOOLLALY BRIDGE SHAME

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Built in 1820, Kingsweston Iron Bridge, which takes pedestrians safely across busy Kings Weston Road, is Grade II listed and a source of pride and affection across North Bristol. It’s now been CLOSED FOR OVER THREE YEARS after a lorry hit it in November 2015. This happened immediately after a botched resurfacing job by Bristol City Council, which raised the height of the road, built on solid bedrock.

Bristol City Council finally released a bizarre plan to repair and restore the bridge in March but have now CANCELLED any works because “there’s a lot of heritage issues” according to clueless Labour transport boss, Kye “The” Dudd. This latest delay arrives after The Dudd personally fronted a madcap and expensive proposal to DISMANTLE THE BRIDGE and then attempt to raise it by a metre to stop lorries smashing into it.

A plan that The Dudd’s own impact assessment states would cause “SUBSTANTIAL HARM” to the bridge and a plan immediately rejected by Historic England, concerned that if the council dismantled the bridge it would never be put back up.  “Historic England have seen other examples of structures being ‘temporarily’ dismantled for repair, only for their reinstatement to be abandoned for financial or operational reasons,” they warn. Instead Historic England say it would be cheaper and quicker to put up some SIMPLE METAL POSTS either side of the bridge to protect it from tall vehicles.

Meanwhile, exasperated residents in north Bristol have been left scratching their heads at a fiasco that’s taking longer to resolve than Brexit. They’re especially pissed off with their local councillor, our dear old friend Don “Lenin” Alexander. Promising residents he would sort their bridge out, Lenin has FARTED ABOUT FOR THREE YEARS now failing to keep any promises while assuring residents that council highways middle management clown Chris “Doolally” Dooley had the solution. The man who fucked the bridge up in the first place.

At present the only winners seem to be the scaffolding contractors, responsible for keeping our bridge up. They are now into a fourth year of easy money from the council taxpayer.

TRANSPARENCY WATCH

Another showpiece meeting of the council’s Human Resources Committee in early July left Bristolians none the wiser about what’s going on and who’s earning what in the council they fund. No less than three items on a very short agenda of, er, four items for the meeting were conveniently ‘exempt’ and therefore KEPT SECRET FROM THE PUBLIC.

And what were these items marked as top secret? The ‘SALARY OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – PEOPLE’ and the SALARIES OF ‘DIRECTOR EDUCATION & SKILLS AND EXECUTIVE CHAIR BRISTOL HOLDING COMPANY‘. A final secret item was an ‘Exempt Minute extract’ on the subject of the SECRET PAYOUT by the mayor to his former Chief Exec, Anna Klonowski.

Meanwhile, another report sneaked out by the council to the cabinet tells us that, “organisational redesign including the council’s senior management structures” OVERSPENT BY £248K IN THE LAST YEAR. This means the Reverend’s heavily publicised claim to have cut executive pay at the council is not accurate.

No wonder a committee with a Labour majority is keen to keep secrets about any further executive handouts.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS CRISIS

As it emerges that they’re going to miss their affordable housing target of 800 homes by 2020, the Reverend and his housing sidekick, Paul “Wolfie” Smith are now resorting to DESPERATE MEASURES and cheerleading some pretty shabby development proposals through the planning system.

In June a Bristol City Council planning committee waved through permission for a 15 storey tower block on the Bath Road at Totterdown. THE HUGE AMOUNT OF CONCERN in the local community over a development that doesn’t meet the requirements for tall buildings outlined in the Local Plan – a policy revised just months before by the Reverend’s administration – was overlooked by a Labour majority Planning Committee, apparently IN A HURRY TO JUST GET SHIT BUILT.

The Reverend’s Housing Czar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith took to social media before the planning meeting to give the development a PR BOOST, announcing, “Great to see Hadley group commit to at least 30% affordable housing and up to 50% for their proposed development on the old garage site on the Bath Road”.

Although developers, Hadley, had actually committed to just 20 per cent affordable housing and the council had agreed to SUBSIDISE a further 10 per cent (with possibly a bigger bung to come) with public money. This is despite the development being unsuitable for families and children, not least because it’s on one of Bristol’s busiest roads and has NO OUTDOOR PLAY AREA.

Meanwhile over at Hengrove Park – where the council’s vision of 1,500 homes on a public park was thrown out by planners just a few months ago because it didn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan – A NEW PLAN has appeared proposing just 50 houses less, which still doesn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan.

Residents in Hengrove and Whitchurch are UP IN ARMS at the poorly revised plans, which look set to be forced through by another Labour majority planning committee seeking affordable housing numbers rather than decent development. However, if the committee passes the plans, the community are promising a messy Judicial Review. And we all know Bristol City Council’s record at Judicial Review is ABYSMAL.

Watch this space.

COUNCIL SCREWS VULNERABLE RESIDENTS OF ‘HOSTEL FROM HELL’

Despite the EMERGENCY CLOSURE of a hostel at 57 Prince Street for fire hazard and impending criminal charges for negligence, the disgusting capitalist scum, unregistered landleech Jayne Brown and her scamming, corrupt ‘business partners’ in the University of Bristol, Barbados and Spain are allowed to hold on to their STINKING PROFITS.

Meanwhile, 85, mainly young Spanish people, evicted from the hostel have been refused help from Bristol City Council because they “DIDN’T MEET PRIORITY CRITERIA“.

Neither, as promised, have the city council opened a hostel at St Anne’s for these victims of capitalist gangsterism. This means 85 mostly young Bristol-Spanish service sector workers are now SOFA-SURFING and many have LOST THEIR JOBS in the shite end of Bristol’s low pay gig economy.

In the words of one forcibly-homeless Spanish worker speaking to BCC staff yesterday in the Temple of Doom: ‘The GOVERNMENT in Spain is FUCKING SHIT, but at least EVEN THEY would have GOT US RE-HOUSED BY NOW.’

Unfortunately not in Bristol, a ‘CITY OF SANCTUARY’. Neither has this blatant evidence of the mass warehousing of foreign gig economy workers in dangerous conditions and the involvement of
dubious employment agencies,  attracted the attention of Bristol’s, usually, noisy modern slavery campaigners.

Are they on holiday? Or do low waged European nationals not count in Bristol?