Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

OFFICIAL: “WE’RE INCOMPETENT” ADMIT SENIOR COUNCIL BOSSES

contract

The enthusiasm with which our serially useless senior council bosses are suddenly embracing advertising their INCOMPETENCE is a new and novel innovation for our Counts Louse’s Third Floor DEPARTMENT OF DUNCES.

Their public confessional follows a report from Green Councillor and Audit Committee vice chair Clive “Shakin'” Stevens into how former chief exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski walked away from Bristol in 2017 after just SIX MONTHS’ OF INDIFFERENT WORK with £98k in her pocket. Shaky, was given access to carefully selected top secret documents by dodgy council bosses and has devised a personal “MOST LIKELY SCENARIO” regarding the payout.

Shaky claims it was all down to SERIAL INCOMPETENCE and council bosses are queuing up to cheerfully admit it. Not least because their only other option would be to admit to UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY. What Shaky alleges transpired is that Big Wedge’s colleague and associate, Jackie “You’re Fired!” McGeachie – the former Tesco exec turned jobbing senior local authority HR interim – “ACCIDENTALLY” sent the wrong Chief Exec contract to lawyers in 2017, which allegedly entitled Big Wedge to a big wedge and, er, nobody noticed it was the wrong contract until it was too late.

However, Shaky’s “most likely scenario”, which we’re invited to believe over “the conspiracy theories”, raises as many questions as it answers. For instance, if the payment to Klonowski was an error, WHY AREN’T WE ASKING FOR IT BACK? And what type of contract was sent by Big Wedge’s personally appointed HR boss that allows someone to resign and scarper with immediate effect but contractually obliges the employer to fork out six months’ pay in lieu of notice? AN UNPRECEDENTED ARRANGEMENT Shaky fails to explain.

Of course, this mysterious ‘top secret ROGUE CONTRACT remains safely locked away from the public, despite, by Shaky’s definition, being an out-of-date generic document and not personal information relating to a named individual. Shaky also says he discovered evidence of “GROSS OBFUSCATION” or “A COVER-UP” from bosses over the payment. Only to meekly announce “they should be ashamed”. But why isn’t Shaky recommending IMMEDIATE DISCIPLINARY ACTION against them? Why would anyone want bent and dishonest bosses to remain in post running our council?

Is it because these bosses might start revealing what really happened and who authorised paying Klonowski £98k of hush money that we weren’t obliged to pay?

KING PRAWN RISING

king-prawn

UKS Group are at it again. The company built a block of flats in Bishopsworth in 2017 – Litfield Court – that was LARGER than they had planning permission for (see  ‘PLANNNING NEWS’, BRISTOLIAN 36), pissing off many locals in the process. After the REFUSAL of a retrospective planning application by the council, the company finally got permission for the enlarged block on appeal.

Now one of UKS’s directors Sam Litt, is trying to REPEAT THE TRICK at 32 – 38 St John’s Lane, Bedminster, where a blatant OVERDEVELOPMENT of ugly housing has sprung up with a glaring problem. Some of the properties are listed on the planning application as 3-BEDROOM, with a much smaller floor space than actually constructed. In reality they are 4-BEDROOM PROPERTIES.

Now Mr Litt, to overcome this little problem, is applying to the city council’s planning department for a ‘variation of conditions’ to make “MINOR AMENDMENTS” to his original planning application. And the planning officer dealing with this? Step forward our dear old friend ANGELO “KING PRAWN” CALABRESE, who had to be hastily shifted out of Avonmouth after a series of UNLAWFUL officer-delegated planning decisions favourable to the Port of Bristol Company and various corporate waste firms came to light.

Has King Prawn learned any lessons? Or is he overseeing dodgy planning decisions in South Bristol instead?

SOUTH BRISTOL: “YOU CAN’T HAVE GREEN SPACE”

broadbury
Plans at Broadbury Road

The Reverend Rees’s deranged efforts to build his way out of his carefully branded “HOUSING CRISIS” is hitting south Bristol and its open spaces very hard. Following last month’s unveiling of the Reverend’s IKEA/BOKLOKS housing solution, giving his loopey evangelical mate Jez “I’m no housing expert” Sweetland free rein to build 200 IKEA chipboard homes for the DESPERATE and the VULNERABLE on the narrow verge of a trunk road in Hengrove, comes news of another attempt to grab open space in south Bristol.

Filwood residents expressed their displeasure at Rees’s madcap “CHIPBOARD AND PRAYER” plans for the Airport Road at a cabinet meeting last month and community GROUP KNOWLE WEST FUTURE asked that the council, at least, reduce the number of homes planned for the small and narrow tree-filled site to 100. The group said, “A possible 400 people emanating from this site would be a significant addition to that area and if that is to happen other parts of community retail and infrastructure need to be improved.”

Meanwhile, less than a mile away at Broadbury Road in the heart of Knowle West, Curo Housing Association have unveiled plans for 47 homes on a small piece of COUNCIL-OWNED OPEN SPACE WITH A PLAYGROUND behind Broad Plain House. And the community are not impressed that their wildlife and rights of way are to be traded away by the council for concrete, traffic and overshadowing by large buildings.

Residents have also pointed out that the site is part of GARDEN CITY PLANNING PRINCIPLES and that the area was built to have green spaces. However, principles, planning or otherwise, are in short supply at Rees’s DUMBED DOWN FREE MARKET COUNCIL or at even dumber Curo. Instead Curo Communications Manager Valentina Warren gives the game away by gormlessly explaining the complex planning vision underpinning the Reverend’s “housing crisis”. “You can’t build new homes and have green space at the same time,” she’s announced.

So that’s south Bristol’s NEW ENVIRONMENTAL AND PLANNING STRATEGY sorted by Rees and his ragbag of religious looney mates, voluntary sector morons and second rate Counts Louse planning officials, then:

“No green space for you – losers.”

GLORIOUS LEADERS PHOTO JOY

Jensen
Some pictures of some pillocks to help make you trust them

What are the council’s glorious leadership doing about the results of their staff survey published earlier this year? Remember the survey that revealed that a huge majority of staff at the council correctly viewed their bent and bonkers senior leaders as a bunch of UNTRUSTWORTHY CHARLATANS who were so out of touch they had no idea what their staff even did?

Fear not, enthusiastic Labour-supporter and council Head of Paid Service, Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson has devised A BRILLIANT SOLUTION to reinvigorate trust and belief in him and his hapless senior leadership politburo colleagues Colin “Head Boy” Molton and Jacqui “Village” Jensen. 

All was revealed to councillors last month when Billie Jean unveiled the kind of creative and innovative response he’s paid TOP-WHACK to deliver. He plans to … Wait for it … publish a “new structure chart with photos of senior leaders”!  

Impressive or wot? Billie Jean’s really earning his six-figure sum with this NON-EVENT isn’t he? Quite how publishing photos of Head Boy Molton, who closely resembles a pig; Village Jensen who might be promoting ITV 4’s new “When Makeovers Go Wrong” and “Billie Jean” Jackson himself, channelling the style of a provincial accountant, will engender IMMEDIATE AND TOTAL TRUST from their staff is not a question Billie-Jean directly addresses.

Isn’t it time this useless shower of shit with no clue left Bristol alone and fucked off back to Devon or Leicester or wherever else it is they came from last year?

IS THE SEND HURLY-BURLY DONE?

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BCC management working on new SEND strategy

The fatuous twat’s fatuous twat departed back to Bath as he arrived, wearing a really shit suit and talking bollocks. Finally, we bid adieu to Alan “Stubby” Stubbersfield, Bristol City Council’s bizarre interim Director of Education – THE BOSS WHO COULDN’T SEEM TO COUNT – appointed by council social care exec, Jacqui “Village” Jensen to sort out the shambles in her SEND department.

Stubby, best known for maintaining a reasonably cheerful disposition while trousering A SIX-FIGURE SUM for overseeing, possibly, the worst run local authority department in the country, had a habit of releasing formal reports regarding Bristol’s SEND department to councillors and the public, only to have to WITHDRAW significant facts and figures in these reports because they were wrong.

As his parting shot to Bristol, Stubby of the Bailey had a crack at some law. Releasing his final report to a scrutiny committee meeting, he announced that the decision by the High Court in 2018 that found Bristol City Council had acted unlawfully when it cut £5million from its SEND budget was INCORRECT and the council had therefore done nothing WRONG.

This counter-factual nonsense didn’t go down well with either parents or politicians and left Stubby mumbling inanely about “legal advice from Bristol lawyers”. After receiving a THOROUGH BOLLOCKING from virtually everyone present at the meeting, Stubby issued another one of his grovelling public apologies for getting it all wrong (again).

Stubby and his AMAZING ACCIDENTAL REPORTS have now been replaced by new boss Alison Hurley “Burly”. We don’t know much about Alison yet, but her name provides opportunities for naff references to Macbeth. And, let’s face it, three witches huddled around a cauldron in the basement of the Counts Louse incanting “Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog” HAS AS MUCH CHANCE OF SUCCESS as any strategy devised by Stubby and the council’s resident village idiot Jacqui Jensen.

We await Alison’s formal actions on SEND with interest. Can she exceed Stubby’s extraordinary failures?

PARENTS SEND THEIR REGARDS

REWARDING FAILURE
Cash for carnage

Parents of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) kids, royally SHAFTED by useless council social care boss Jacqui “Village” Jensen and her merry-go-round of clueless and unaccountable interim education chiefs on BIG MONEY were out in force at the Counts Louse on Tuesday 2 October. This was after OFSTED inspectors put out a call to parents to pop in and tell them what they think of SEND provision in Bristol as part of their statutory inspection of the Bristol City Council’s SEND disaster area.

Terms such as “CARNAGE” and “BLOODBATH” were liberally supplied to The BRISTOLIAN to describe the scenes as around 40 stressed and disgusted parents queued up to BLAST Village’s useless department that has failed to produce 98 PER CENT of their Education, Health and Social Care Plan (EHCP) on time. Without one of these plans many of the city’s most vulnerable children are UNABLE to access any kind of education in the city and children have been stranded at home with some parents having to give up work to care for and educate their kids themselves.

Village was clearly expecting trouble as she was spotted, with a host of her social and education ‘top guns’ fawning over her, loitering near the parents as they waited to meet the Ofsted inspectors. One parent commented to us that highly paid council bosses aimlessly hanging about at the Council House feigning concern, “PERFECTLY SYMBOLISED THE COUNCIL’S RESPONSE TO THEIR ONGOING SEND CRISIS“.

But the big question is, when the abysmal OFSTED report arrives, will Jensen do the decent thing and do us all a favour and agree to aimlessly hang about at home on her own time on a permanent basis?

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?

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.