Tag Archives: Colin Skellett

ARENA CONFLICTS: MAC NUGGET’S REVOLVING DOOR

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It’s a matter of PUBLIC RECORD, published in the The Nazi Post, that Barra Mac “Nugget” left his £136k a year job at Bristol City Council to work for YTL Developments as Chief Operating Officer on 5 May 2017.

However, emails published under FoI, courtesy of Frank Church, show Mac Nugget, still a senior city council boss with responsibility for the arena, arranging a SECRET MEETING in an UPMARKET BRISTOL HOTEL BAR with a representative of YTL for the 18 April. This meeting was “about the potential for using one of the HANGARS AT FILTON” as an arena and “HOTEL AND CONFERENCING AT TEMPLE MEADS“. Mac Nugget even asks the unknown YTL rep “can we keep this [meeting] as a one to one please”?

So, while serving out his NOTICE with Bristol City Council, Mac Nugget met his future employer to directly discuss SENSITIVE LAND AND FINANCIAL ISSUES with them on behalf of Bristol City Council, while going to great lengths to ensure that there were no witnesses to this meeting and no minutes.

In many countries Mac Nugget would now be spending a considerable amount of time with law enforcement agencies discussing CORRUPTION, conflicts of interest and the exchange of inside information. Unfortunately the UK is not one of those countries.

Instead, Mac Nugget moved on this spring from YTL to Bristol University on another FAT SALARY to manage the university’s Estates Department. In this post he’ll be responsible for delivering a new campus directly opposite, er, Arena Island.

The purpose of Mac Nugget’s year long stint with YTL remains shrouded in mystery as does any generous remuneration arrangements he may have had with them.

ARENA CONFLICTS: A TANGLED WEB

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Thanks to the hard work of a MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC, Frank Church, a number of emails between Bristol City Council and Malaysian multinational, YTL, potential developers of an arena at Filton were finally released under FoI in August. This saw, even, the Nazi Post bothering to read some emails in brief flurry of investigative activity courtesy of their local government correspondent, the fragrant Esme “DAN” Ashcroft.

“During the second of three extraordinary scrutiny meetings on June 20,” explained Ms Ashcroft, “Liberal Democrat councillor for Knowle Gary Hopkins asked when council officers were told to start drawing up plans for a MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT on Temple Island.”

Colin “Head Boy” Molton, the reverend’s PERSONALLY APPOINTED £1.5k a day regeneration chief replied to Hopkins: “It was around LATE AUTUMN last year when the YTL proposition came to the fore.”

However, observes Ms Ashcroft, “Freedom of Information (FoI) documents seen by Bristol Live reveal a SENIOR COUNCIL OFFICER was exchanging emails with Malaysian investment firm YTL LAST APRIL about the prospect of an arena in the Brabazon hangar at Filton Airfield.”

The senior council officer exchanging these emails was former Bristol City Council Strategic Director Place, Barra Mac “NUGGET” Ruairi, the man personally running Bristol’s arena project until he went to work for YTL, the opposition. But why was the Reverend’s personal property expert (troughing around £200k a year off the rates) Colin “HEAD BOY” Molton telling porkies about these emails?

Perhaps Ms Ashcroft should have paid a little more attention to Mac Nugget’s emails and the dates they contain? (To be continued …)

REES: DEAD AS A DODO

REES- DEAD AS A DODO

The decision by the Reverend Rees to SCRAP the arena at Temple Island finally puts a rubber stamp on the worst kept secret in the city. The Reverend finally revealed his hand on 3 September, after two years of arsing about, when he condemned the Temple Meads arena as “AN UNDELIVERABLE VANITY PROJECT”.

Instead the Reverend has opted for pension fund, Legal & General, to create a mixed-use development scheme including a conference centre for Bristol University on the EXTREMELY VALUABLE site adjacent to Temple Meads station. Sketches of plans so far produced by Legal & General have been unfavourably compared to “the worst kind of municipal scheme from the 1960s”.

Now the job of building an arena for Bristol falls to Malaysian multi-national, YTL Developments, who own the Brabazon Hangar in Filton and claim it can be converted into a state of the art 15,000 seat arena. However, there are NO GUARANTEES that the company, chaired in the UK by notorious wheeler-dealer, Merchant Venturer and Tory donor, Colin “Tory Boy” Skellett, will ever deliver an arena.

The saga of Rees and the Temple Island arena has dragged on for nearly two and a half years ever since he was elected on a clear manifesto promise to “COMPLETE THE ARENA“.  Since that commitment in spring 2016, Rees has promised an arena at Temple Island on numerous occasions while persistently delaying the “shovel ready scheme” at every opportunity.

This was a project where the design had been COMPLETED; funding had been AGREED and allocated; full planning permission was IN PLACE; the contract to build the thing had been AWARDED; operators to run the place had been CHOSEN and they’d even built the bridge across to the island so that access to the site was easier for the builders.

Now it’s BACK TO SQUARE ONE for the project on a new site at Filton, under new management and reliant on massive public funding to create the transport links that will make this private sector-led project viable.

The Temple Island site, probably the MOST VALUABLE piece of development land in the UK outside London, has now been handed over to pension fund, Legal & General to develop a high-rise mixed use development. Although – so far – Rees has been UNABLE to produce any evidence of a tender or bidding process for this prize city asset. Instead Legal & General appear to have been handed our land on the nod from Rees. We will report further on this SCANDAL as it unfolds in the coming months.

For Rees, this decision may be end of the line for this UNDERPERFORMING FLOP of a mayor. Bristol Labour Party bosses and members are openly discussing deselection while the rest of the city not only wants rid of Rees but the WHOLE MAYORAL SYSTEM.

Will Rees’s legacy be the scrapping of the mayoral system in Bristol at the earliest opportunity? We think so.

ARENA: LEGAL ADVICE BOMBSHELL

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?

REES’S ARENA BELLYFLOP LATEST

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.

PROPERTY IS DEBT

Ding, dong the Spunkface is dead!

 Council property boss Robert “Spunkface” Orrett, brought in to the council in 2012 for his “PRIVATE SECTOR EXPERTISE” has ceased to run the world’s most useless council department that specialised in draining us of public money.

Last year, Spunkface’s department – responsible for all the council’s buildings and its lucrative land and property portfolio – posted an inexplicably HUGE LOSS of £7.7million due to his failure “to achieve savings”. This ABJECT FAILURE went on to comprehensively fuck up the whole of the council’s accounts. This year, Spunkface, already facing losses of – at least – £2.6million in more unachieved savings, has finally quit.

Perhaps the Reverend Rees was no longer prepared to tolerate Spunkface, who  – when not losing enormous amounts of public money – is best known for his crude COVER-UPS of “mismanaged” cash in his Facilities Management Department’s markets and security operations?

We understand that Spunkface has now taken up a role locally at YTL PROPERTY alongside his former boss at the council, Barra Mac Ruari, the posh urbanist twit mate of Mayor No More Ferguson. YTL is Merchant Venturer, Colin Skellett’s development firm that bought the huge Filton Airfield site for development after an extensive marketing exercise by, er, Colin Skellet’s Local Enterprise Partnership!

Housing Tsar, Paul “Wolfie Smith” was handed responsibility for the council’s Property Services over the summer, mainly to act as nursemaid to the latest  multi-million pound Broadmead corporate makeover.

But did Wolfie finally pull the trigger on Spunkface and put our city out of the misery he imposed?

BOARD NEWS

A home. How many will we get for £160million?

Bristol City Council has very, very quietly released limited membership details of its BRISTOL HOMES BOARD, tasked with spending a headline figure of £160m of our money to resolve the city’s housing crisis.

Naturally the equaliser, the Reverend Rees, has opted for a 75 per cent male, all-white board (except himself) stuffed with incompetent TIME-SERVERS and serial QUANGOCRATS to spend this large wedge of public money.

Alongside the Reverend and his sidekick, Labour housing boss, Paul “Wolfie” Smith, you’ll find Alison “THREE JOBS” Comley, a senior city council boss and direct subordinate of Rees and Smith, hardly best placed to speak truth to power. Especially as she’s up to her neck in the council’s £30m unlawful budget scandal and is yet to be cleared.

Alison is joined by luminaries such as Stephen “What Crisis?”Teagle from Galliford Try Partnerships, a front for the corporate that runs house builders, LINDEN HOMES. Last year, Linden saw profits rise 21 per cent to £74.3m while its average house cost a mere £338,000. The company also boasts to shareholders that it has a LANDBANK of 14,250 plots. Doesn’t sound much like a crisis for them does it?

Also on the board is Knightstone Housing Association boss Nick Horne “Blower”. He was last seen sat on his useless lazy arse as a board member for West of England LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP) while, directly under his nose, BAE sold their Filton Airfield land to YTL Homes UK. YTL is run by Colin “Tory Boy” Skellett who also happened to be the Chair of er, the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership! This blatant CONFLICT OF INTEREST clearly passed Nick by, even though the LEP was given a key role in marketing and developing the airfield for sale with the public money he was overseeing!

Nick also waved through TWO PAYMENTS from the LEP to board member George Ferguson’s Beer Factory and Bristol Brewing Company totalling £62k. A further £92k was paid to a company owned by one of Ferguson’s political donors, Alasdair “Sorearse” Sawday. What were these handouts for? Who knows? Because NO MINUTES exist of these board decisions and no documents indicating Ferguson’s interests were ever published by Horne’s LEP!

Also getting rewarded for serial incompetence and moving across from the useless board of the LEP to oversee millions of pounds of our money for housing in Bristol is Business West bigwig James “Licker” Durie.  Not only is he unlikely to raise any difficult questions about any handouts to wealthy locals, he’s also a notorious salaried lackey for the MERCHANT VENTURERS.

Making up the numbers on the Rev’s quietly appointed board are a couple of posh public schoolboys turned voluntary sector luvvies – David “HAPPY CAMPER” Ingerslev from multi-million homeless charity St Mungos and the CEO of Elim Housing Association, Alistair “HEAD BOY” Allender. No doubt Head Boy can bring his street-level experience from Birkenhead School, “a top performing independent day school for boys and girls aged 3 months to 18” and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he studied Natural Sciences to bear?

Further INEFFECTUAL luvvie input on our Homes Board will be supplied by Bevis Watts “The Fuck”, Managing Director of Triodos Bank. He’s a serial quangocrat who boasts the pie, booze and cash giveaway to the wealthy that was the board of the Green Capital, Bristol 2015 Ltd, on his CV!

Adding a healthy dose of surrealism to the whole affair, the board also has a ‘Head of Multi-Channel Fulfilment’ at the table – Debbie “Fulfil Me” Franklin from the Andrews Property Group, a local LETTINGS AGENCY, no less. Career bureaucrat David “The Loaf” Warburton from the Homes and Community Agency quango is also along for the £160m public money ride

The small amount of hope we can invest in this board lies with the final two members. Geraldine Winkler, a housing solicitor with the Avon & Bristol Law Centre and Tom Renhard, a member of tenants union ACORN. He also sits on the board of the Avon Pension Fund for some random reason and we note with concern that Renhard was funded by local authority bosses’ union UNISON to help him get on to this pension board. It’s unclear, too, whether Renhard was a personal appointment by the Vicar or whether he was chosen directly by Acorn members.

As always, it’s just as interesting to note who ISN’T on the committee – seasoned troublemakers or gobshites known to be prepared to stand up to a committee of pie-munching land dealing wankers who forget to keep minutes. And It’s further worth noting that there was no sign of a competitive application process to join this board disbursing £160m of our cash. Instead membership is entirely courtesy of the political PATRONAGE of the Reverend Mayor Rees well away from any scrutiny by councillors and public.

The last “PUBLIC MEETING” of this board took place on 29 June. Despite being “public”, no reports were issued and the board was, instead, treated to a series of Max Wide “Boy” style verbal briefings and crappy Powerpoint presentations that will never be seen again. Already, we have to ask, are these board members doing their jobs properly?

There may be trouble ahead …

JUNKET GEORGE JETS OFF YET AGAIN: YES HE CANNES!

It’s that time of the year once more – so our illustrious MAYOR FERGO has packed his BUDGIE HAMMOCKS AND BRONZER and buggered off to Cannes on the French Riviera for the annual MIPIM Property Conference!

Yes, just like last year, when we reported how George and his pals racked up a tab of more than £100,000 at an industry get-together known as “basically a four-day party with loads of LOBSTER AND CHAMPAGNE ON YACHTS”…

This time, though, he will be part of a “high level delegation” of city bosses from CUBA (that’s the Councils that Used to Be Avon), as well as his close, personal Merchant Venturer chum COLIN SKELLETT from Wessex Water.

The icing on the cake? George’s jolly is being organised through regional quango Invest Bristol+Bath – and sponsored by HorseWorld lawyers BURGES SALMON!

What a small world…

‘PLOT 6’ THICKENS…

Politicians from across the spectrum are quick to insist that ‘Plot 6’ at Temple Meads train station – situated in the heart of the Tories’ so-called ENTERPRISE ZONE next to Brunel’s original building – is pencilled in to become a much-needed transport interchange. No, ‘onest guv!

This seems a bit strange as plans for the site have always shown Plot 6 occupied by a grotty speculative development of office blocks. And now The BRISTOLIAN learns that desperate planning bosses offered the plot to the BBC last year as a base for their operations in the city – and as part of a transparent attempt to boost the Enterprise Zone’s thin claims to be a centre for the creative industries.

Alas, the BBC declined the offer, presumably not really wanting to move to a DULL WASTELAND of office blocks and car parks.

But surely our councillors and Mayor Fergo need to have an urgent chat with Enterprise Zone boss – unelected Tory-boy Merchant Venturer Colin Skellett – and find out what his plans really are?