Strange goings-on at Housing Association Curo’s new social housing in Old Market. A few lucky new residents were all set to move in October when suddenly the whole thing was called off.
The properties were meant to be connected to the new Old Market Heat Network, currently owned and run by Bristol City Council but being secretively handed over to Swedish energy giant, Vattenfall, at a knockdown price.
Residents now have been told they can’t move in to their new homes until January at the earliest because of “a disagreement about the heating with the council”.
Let’s hope the disagreement is nothing serious and that our city’s public assets are still on the way to a global corporation to make a fat profit from.
Anyone heard anything lately about Bristol Heat Networks Ltd, the council company with no business plan and no recorded assets that’s supposed to be managing all of the city’s heat network assets?
The company is supposed to be handed over to Swedish multinational Vattenfall for free as a crucial part of the City Leap deal that will see the private sector decarbonising the city for fat undisclosed fees. A cabinet report in April assured us that “this asset transfer will be sought via a separate cabinet report currently anticipated to be coming forward in June 2022.”
So where is it? What’s the delay? Because without this asset transfer the whole City Leap project, which has cost us around £7.3m in procurement fees so far, goes tits-up. Are those “gaps and financial and operational risks” in relation to Bristol Heat Networks that the council’s Bristol Holding Company execs warned us about back in February still an issue?
Indeed, some people tell us that the city’s heat networks funded by central government aren’t the council’s to give away to a Swedish multinational. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.
After all, we don’t want another Bristol Energy shambles do we?