Tory rat’s personal ‘fiefdom’ paid for by YOU – thanks to lax council management
Bristol’s city councillors voted en masse in early September to reject a retail levy on large supermarkets “preferring instead to support BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS” (BIDs).
Well, how about our councillors get their collective head out of their collective arse before taking these decisions?
For all has not been well in leafy and affluent Clifton Village – and the source of this trouble? None other than the Clifton Business Improvement District, where traders have been charged an extra 1.5% on top of their business rates by Bristol City Council for “improvements”.
The man originally selected to run this flagship BID was one Carl Francis ‘Uncle’ Pester, a North Somerset Conservative councillor and election agent for former Defence Secretary the noted right-wing wing-nut LIAM FOX MP – though he has had quite a few ‘issues’ with his Party…
Having been appointed to run the BID in January, UNCLE PESTER was never seen by traders and there was little evidence of ‘improvements’ around Clifton Village to show for the money. However, cash was handed over to the famously impoverished Catholic Church to fund Clifton Cathedral’s forthcoming 40th anniversary celebration. Traders were said to be “not happy”.
Further research on Uncle Pester reveals that just two years ago, while a North Somerset Councillor, he was subject to a liability order granted by North Somerset Magistrates for £904.69 in UNPAID COUNCIL TAX to, err… North Somerset Council. Not only that, he was also taken to court by Wessex Water and ordered to pay £825!
Meanwhile, as both President and Chair of North Somerset Conservative Association, Pester was the subject of a DISCIPLINARY PROCESS after locals raised concerns about his management. A disciplinary report from Tory HQ noted that Uncle Pester had awarded himself free office space at the Association’s HQ, and held him responsible for a dodgy minibus purchase. As the redfaced report authors put it:
“The Association has LOST CONSIDERABLE MONEY as a result.”
The report also says Pester ran the Association “in an inappropriate way treating it as his personal fiefdom” and barred him from holding office in the Tory Party for three years.
Pester DRAMATICALLY QUIT the BID post in June and the Clifton BID Board offered the explanation that “it would be inappropriate for the board to offer any explanation as it is a private and personal matter.”
So the question that needs to be asked is did Bristol City Council and its councillors have oversight over this BID and its recruitment process – and was Uncle Pester really the best candidate for the job?
We think we deserve to be told…