The recent successful Judicial Review by the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society of the planning permission granted by Bristol City Council to build 62 homes on Bristol Zoo’s car park puts a spotlight on the planning officer responsible, Peter “Deemed Consent” Westbury.
A judge agreed that permission for this “major scar on the landscape” was unlawful because it ignored Historic England Advice while Westbury’s report to councillors failed to consider the harm to heritage and weigh up the harm and public benefit.
Westbury also produced and presented the planning report for the controversial “monolithic blocks” on St Mary-le-Port at Castle Park. An application granted by councillors in December 2021. This has now been referred to the Planning Inspectorate by Bristol Civic Society for a public enquiry.
One concern is that Westbury’s report and the public forum at the planning meeting included the support of the ‘Friends of Castle Park’. However, it transpires that the support of the ‘Friends of Castle Park’ is actually the support of one person, Russ Leith. The self appointed moderator and “leader” of a ‘Friends of Castle Park Facebook group, he provided an ‘analysis’ of comments on his Facebook page to Westbury that allege public support for the application.
Word out of Bristol City council’s planning department is that Westbury, who also happens to be an elder at the Reverend Rees’s church, The Hope in Hotwells – enjoys a very poor reputation among planning colleagues. “Can’t administer policy for toffee, we’ve been told and “he’s the patsy they put on any scheme the mayor wants to go through.”
A late start to proceedings this morning as Crown Prosecutor, Sir William Scrotesack QC, had to motor back down into the provinces this morning from London after dining yesterday evening at his chambers after learning no establishment served swan in Bristol.
When things finally kicked off at 11.00am, Jon “Poodle” Finch was the first witness up from Scrotesack QC. Poodle is the council’s Director of Culture and Creative Industries and the useful idiot selected by the Reverend Rees to sign the council’s police complaint about criminal damage to the Colston Statue.
This is the complaint that the council and the Reverend deny ever making and they have, instead, described it as “a statement of facts”. But if there was no complaint what on earth was everyone doing at Bristol Crown Court today? Is it just some sort of establishment right wing reactionary racist cosplay thing? A shoot of some early scenes for a Little Britain remake? Daft Wig Expo 2021?
Whatever it is, it’s all bad news for poodle who, as a local authority culture manager, has been carefully constructing a public facade over many years of being a polite and concerned anti-racist liberal. Only to be stripped bare today, courtesy of the Reverend, to reveal he’s just another pathetic old racist white man selling his arse for a few crumbs off the table of the fabulously wealthy British establishment.
Poodle’s main contribution came when Scrotesack’s pavement fetish reappeared. A fetish, we understand, that may have been formed during a particularly tumultuous year in the fourth form dorms at Merchant Taylor’s School. Poodle dutifully confirmed to a gently probing Scrotescack that there had been £2,400 damage to a pavement when the statue came down.
We also learned from Poodle that yesterday’s claim by Scrotescack of £3,750 worth of damage to the Colston statue was bollocks. Instead £3,750 was the cost of of the plinth the council had built for the statue to display it in the M Shed. Indeed, it increasingly appears, that any damage to the statue came at zero cost and that this major prosecution with an international reach is over who’s responsible for the cost of some municipal pavement maintenance.
Poodle’s appearance also gave us first sight of Milo Ponsford’s brief, Tom Wainwright, best known for defending the ‘Stansted 15‘, and Rhianne Graham’s brief Blinne Ni Ghralaigh from well-known human rights firm, Matrix Chambers. We can only be eternally grateful to The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Ded for moving so swiftly into the 19th century and actually allowing a woman in his court.
Also appearing as a witness today was Simon Hickman, principle inspector of historic buildings for Historic England. He also miserably failed to cost any damage to the Colston statue.
Meanwhile, the coppers put in a written statement from WPC Julie Hayward, a protest liason officer and just about the lowest level of responsibility the cops could possibly find without getting the cleaner to write a statement. As predicted, the coppers admitted they stood around and watched while what Scrotesack QC tried to sell to the jury yesterday as a ‘serious crime’ took place.
The court adjourned at 3.30pm as Crown Prosecutor Sir William Scrotesack QC and The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Ded had been summoned to Venturers Hall in Clifton to attend a session of private prayer in the presence of the Colston toenails.
(Surely the court adjourned at 3.30pm for “legal discussions”. Roughly translated as Judge Ded trying to stop the defence asking witnesses any questions. Ed.)
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.
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.