Tag Archives: Housing

AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS CRISIS

As it emerges that they’re going to miss their affordable housing target of 800 homes by 2020, the Reverend and his housing sidekick, Paul “Wolfie” Smith are now resorting to DESPERATE MEASURES and cheerleading some pretty shabby development proposals through the planning system.

In June a Bristol City Council planning committee waved through permission for a 15 storey tower block on the Bath Road at Totterdown. THE HUGE AMOUNT OF CONCERN in the local community over a development that doesn’t meet the requirements for tall buildings outlined in the Local Plan – a policy revised just months before by the Reverend’s administration – was overlooked by a Labour majority Planning Committee, apparently IN A HURRY TO JUST GET SHIT BUILT.

The Reverend’s Housing Czar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith took to social media before the planning meeting to give the development a PR BOOST, announcing, “Great to see Hadley group commit to at least 30% affordable housing and up to 50% for their proposed development on the old garage site on the Bath Road”.

Although developers, Hadley, had actually committed to just 20 per cent affordable housing and the council had agreed to SUBSIDISE a further 10 per cent (with possibly a bigger bung to come) with public money. This is despite the development being unsuitable for families and children, not least because it’s on one of Bristol’s busiest roads and has NO OUTDOOR PLAY AREA.

Meanwhile over at Hengrove Park – where the council’s vision of 1,500 homes on a public park was thrown out by planners just a few months ago because it didn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan – A NEW PLAN has appeared proposing just 50 houses less, which still doesn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan.

Residents in Hengrove and Whitchurch are UP IN ARMS at the poorly revised plans, which look set to be forced through by another Labour majority planning committee seeking affordable housing numbers rather than decent development. However, if the committee passes the plans, the community are promising a messy Judicial Review. And we all know Bristol City Council’s record at Judicial Review is ABYSMAL.

Watch this space.

MARVIN’S MARVELOUS MANIFESTO

Manifesto

Keeping his manifesto promises was always going to be challenging for the Reverend Rees, not least because we calculated at the time that it contained about 78 UNCOSTED PROMISES in all. However, what we couldn’t predict was how the Reverend would smash through any BARRIERS TO FAILURE quite so spectacularly.

Top of the list must come his promise to “COMPLETE THE ARENA“, which has now been downgraded to, “I will cancel the existing arena project I promised and instead support a global corporation’s efforts to build an arena in Filton named after an obscure dead bloke who owned our local privatised water utility scam”.

Meanwhile in terms of the Reverend’s highly contested housing promise – “WE WILL BUILD 2,000 NEW HOMES – 800 affordable – a year (by 2020)” – his housing guru, Paul “Wolfie” Smith continues to carefully calibrate the spin with the line that his PROJECTIONS are on target … Even if the actual number of houses being built isn’t!

Then there’s the recycling promise. The Reverend’s recently promoted former waste boss, The Former Socialist Known as Kye Dudd simply CHANGED THE TARGET and hoped no one would notice. We will “increase recycling, setting a target of 55% for all waste by 2020,” thundered the Reverend’s manifesto in 2016.

Fast forward to 2019 and we find The Former Socialist Known as Dudd’s waste overseer, Bristol Waste managing director Tony Lawless telling the Nazi Post, “We are delighted to see Bristol is on track to meet its ambitious RECYCLING RATE OF 50 PER CENT BY 2020.”

The comment came after the Reverend’s council managed to announce in January a measly ONE PER CENT increase in recycling rates since 2015 to 46%. Nothing like enough of an increase to reach 50 per cent, never mind 55 per cent, by 2020 as promised in their manifesto.

Have Rees and Dudd changed their promise in a vain attempt to claim they have courageously fallen a little short of a hugely ambitious target and hope we’ll not notice?

WEALTHY CASH IN ON THE HOMELESS

WEALTHY CASH IN ON THE HOMELESS

The SICKEST PLAN YET for helping the street homeless in the city has been quietly launched by the Reverend’s ‘Housing Czar’ Paul “Wolfie” Smith and the team of bureaucratic scumbags running the council’s housing department.

We hear that the council has quietly handed a contract called a SOCIAL IMPACT BOND to a brand new consortium – Social Impact Bristol Ltd (SIB Ltd) that’s been set up by charities, St Mungo’s, Second Step and Bristol Drugs Project – to support 125 street homeless over the next THREE YEARS.

The devil, however, is in the detail. Because SIB Ltd is funded with a LOAN from Resonance, a “social impact investment company” and Resonance, in turn, obtained the cash for their £112,500 stake in SIB Ltd from “HIGH NET WORTH INDIVIDUALS” seeking a return on their investment.

These investors will get this return when SIB Ltd achieve certain carefully listed “OUTPUTS” or targets from their homeless clients and are rewarded with CASH by the council. SIB Ltd then use the cash to repay Resonance’s loan with interest. This will be passed on to the “high net worth individuals” so that they receive the all-important “RETURN ON INVESTMENT”.

This sicko scheme, marks the start of the financialisation and securitisation of street homeless people for profit in Bristol. It has already been tried by St Mungos in London and been deemed a “SUCCESS“! For who?

Will it be a similar “success” in Bristol and usher in a new golden age of PROFIT to local high net worth individuals directly from homeless misery? And how many homeless clients/victims will be FORCIBLY MANIPULATED through this system designed to make a profit for the wealthy?

Is this the best we can do?

GOTCHA! YOU NAME ‘EM, WE SHAME ‘EM!

All was not well in the department of endless lies and cover-ups run by Bristol City Council housing boss GILLIAN “Irma Grese” DOUGLAS after our last issue.

We hear Ms Grese was less than pleased at our REVELATION that her department was slyly signing off eviction threats to homeless families who had fallen behind on a dodgy service charges demanded by Grese’s favoured landlord for the city’s most vulnerable – Connolly & Callaghan (Bristolian 40).

We’re reliably informed that an especially sour-faced Grese marched long suffering managers and supervisors into a meeting room and began waving a copy of The BRISTOLIAN above her head while screeching, “THERE’S BEEN A LEAK, THERE’S BEEN A LEAK.”

The scene, we’re assured, was “completely and utterly hilarious and it was hard to keep a straight face as this ludicrous Scottish banshee whined her dismal song of the thoroughly EXPOSED.”

Meanwhile, over in HR, President Assad look-a-like, HR Director Mark “BASHAR” Williams has been telling anyone who will listen (which isn’t many) that, “The BRISTOLIAN has been giving me sleepless nights.”

No, we’ve no idea why either. But if your caring, sharing BRISTOLIAN is inducing nervous breakdowns in pointless Bristol City Council middle managers, who are we to complain?

 Heard a boss whinging about The BRISTOLIAN? Get in touch.

ON THE DEATH OF MARTIN CONNOLLY, LANDLEECH & PARASITE

It was with great sadness that The BRISTOLIAN heard last week about the passing of Martin Connolly, former owner of Bristol’s CONNOLLY & CALLAGHAN property speculators – or “a family-run property business, creating homes that make a difference to people’s lives” as their online spin-waffle goes.

We are told he died of a heart attack, no doubt brought about by the sheer volume of cash being emptied into his bank account by Bristol City Council’s “strategic directors” for all the neoliberal landleeching that C&C is doing for it. Surely The Reverend Mayor could have been more considerate to the health of BCC’s favourite outsourced “emergency housing provider”, and avoided the shock that such a vast increase in his profit margins would cause him?

The BRISTOLIAN would like to remind readers of some of the qualities and contributions Mr Connolly brought to us in his long and illustrious career. Where does one start? Is it in the rip-off prices and spurious service charges he charged and his “family run-business” CONTINUES to charge BCC to house the homeless?

Is it the mothers evicted from C&C properties at Carpenters Place, Knowle West, in 2016? Is it the financial collapse of the “charity” he funded called Bristol Housing Foundation (BFH) in 2013? Or is it the ongoing sale of community space at Hamilton House on Stokes Croft by C&C to build luxury apartments?

“But we don’t stop there”, as the marketspeak on the C&C website attests, so perhaps the crowning achievement of Mr Connolly’s “strong social ethos” and will to “provide shelter for the vulnerable” had to be that North Street homeless hostel in 2016 where the basement was running with raw sewage, the bedrooms overrun with vermin, where exposed electric cables dangled, and holes in the outside wall were so big you could stick your arm through. Now that’s what you call really making a difference to people’s lives.

DISCLAIMER: In case of confusion we must establish that, despite his name, Martin Connolly bears NO relation whatsoever to James Connolly, the revolutionary socialist, trades unionist, syndicalist and Irish freedom fighter murdered by the British army in Dublin, 1916.

HENGROVE PARK LATEST

Labour housing czar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith’s efforts to “build communities not just houses” on Hengrove Park continue to go badly awry as his planning team persist in their attempt to dump 1,400 homes in a field in south Bristol and call it “planning”.

Some progress was made when Wolfie’s planners caught up with the rest of the sentient universe and agreed that a public road access to their development was REQUIRED from Hengrove Way, the only major arterial route to the site.

However, planners then decided that this route must STOP one third of the way into the development to prevent “rat-running” between Hengrove Way and Whitchurch Lane. However, this will also PREVENT vehicle access to two thirds of the proposed homes from the road with the best capacity to handle the traffic. Planners, when asked where they think they are preventing rat-runners going, deliver the BLANK LOOK of someone who’s spent about as much time in south Bristol as the average Japanese Puffer Fish.

Concern for rat running then DISPELS less than a mile away where an existing residential road and ‘rat-run’, Bamfield, will provide vehicle access for two thirds of the development. Is the plan to prioritise the quality of life in the NEW DEVELOPMENT by reducing traffic there at the expense of an EXISTING residential area already handling supermarket traffic for Asda, school run traffic for Perry Court Primary School and existing “rat-runners” going home to Hengrove and Whitchurch?

How Bamfield, a residential road, is supposed to cope with even more traffic is NOT EXPLAINED. While enquiries regarding how many vehicle movements the new development might generate go UNANSWERED by planners who are, apparently, near the end of their “masterplanning” with NO CLUE how much traffic their development might generate.

Throughout this process, planners have remained DEAF to concerns regarding traffic issues in the area. Instead, the council’s mantra is that the new housing is a major benefit that residents have been calling for. A view CONTRADICTED by the council’s own Quality of Life Survey, where concern over traffic and transport dwarfs housing issues by about four to one.

So far, planners’ only real response to impending TRAFFIC HELL, reduced air quality and increased pollution is to enthusiastically draw little blue lines all over their plans indicating where their cycle lanes will go. This is for an area where their own data shows ZERO PER CENT of people cycle to work and any new roads will be cycle-friendly 20mph anyway.

Another “benefit” planners are keen to highlight is the £10MILLION proposed spend on park facilities and landscaping for the open space they haven’t concreted over. Although the reality is that residents are losing huge amounts of open space to housing and roads while any benefit from more park facilities is QUESTIONABLE while the council is proposing to close the existing Hengrove Play Park on Mondays and Tuesdays.

It also appears that there will actually be £10million worth of landscaped PSEUDO PUBLIC SPACE as the land will be turned over to a dodgy Carillion-style private management firm, procured by a skint council, to run. The level of maintenance and upkeep of this space is therefore likely to be LOW with ZERO community or democratic oversight once the council signs our land away to the private sector to manage.

The latest highlight of this public-private pseudo public space LANDSCAPING BONANZA is an optimistically named “village green”, planned to be built over the popular Family Cycling Centre. However, any traditional sound of leather on willow may be a little subdued by the main road into the development running DIRECTLY THROUGH this village green.

It’s obvious that this development is being pursued at a RAMPANT PACE by Wolfie in order to chase numbers for a manifesto pledge on housing numbers. While it might – if we’re lucky – support the housing needs of the rest of the city, it provides little that’s much use to locals who’ll have to live with the predictably DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES of it all.

Wolfie needs to get back to the drawing board or accept responsibility as the architect of a new Hartcliffe (another public housing development full of bold promises where there was never any money for the services and facilities to fulfil them).

A HARPY NEW YEAR FROM CONNOLLY & CALLAGHAN!

Word reaches The BRISTOLIAN that Bristol City Council’s Housing Department are issuing EVICTION NOTICES TO HOMELESS FAMILIES that they have emergency-housed in rented flats owned by private property vultures Connolly & Callaghan. This is in order to try and recoup some of the enormous payouts that ROBBER BARONS Connolly & Callaghan are demanding from BCC as ransom.

BCC Housing Department are currently sending out THREATENING LETTERS to homeless families in Connolly & Callaghan properties who have fallen behind on what’s euphemistically termed a ‘service charge’. But there’s no precedent for people on BCC’s homeless list being compelled to pay charges for electricity, gas etc – and by rights, if the council insists on using the C&C shark pool as its ‘emergency accommodation’, THEN THEY SHOULD COVER THIS COST THEMSELVES.

C&C are already raking in £545 PER WEEK, PER FAMILY in their COUNTS LOUSE HOLD UP, and instead of BCC telling these GANGSTER SWINE where to get off, management came up with this sneaky ruse to swindle it out of the daily survival benefits and minimum wages of the TRAUMATISED RESIDENTS that they put in there!

The BRISTOLIAN has obtained a copy of the draft letter BCC are sending out:

What next? Is interim BCC housing manager Dorian ‘Grey’ Leatham going to carry through on these questionable legal threats and EVICT FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN just so they can be MADE HOMELESS ALL OVER AGAIN? All while C&C waltz off with their ILL-GOTTEN GAINS to the Cayman Islands and then come back greedy for more?

And what do Paul ‘Wolfie’ Smith and The Reverend have to say about this FUCKING OUTRAGE going on right under their noses and on their watch?

STAY TUNED: this story is only going to get bigger…

HENGROVE HOUSING HORROR

Reverend Rees’s housing tsar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith’s promises to “build communities not just houses” on Hengrove Park have collapsed on first contact with the public.

The recent first round of public consultation in Hengrove found Wolfie’s Major Projects Team openly admit they will be providing NO FACILITIES as part of the development because “THEY ARE ALREADY HERE“. So don’t move there expecting anything other than McDonalds, KFC and Premier Inn to service your needs.

The only public investment planners are agreeing to will be a GP surgery – somewhere – which is already urgently required in the Whitchurch/Hengrove area due to CHRONIC over-subscription of the existing GP service – and more primary school places.

 However, there will be NO NEW SCHOOLS. Instead, existing primary schools in the working class area – highly regarded for their leafy and spacious grounds – will be extended and expanded. Conveniently REMOVING playing fields and open space from the schools and leaving more prime development land for corporate developers to transform into high density rabbit hutches (surely exciting sustainable housing in the ‘Bristol Vernacular’ style? Ed.).

The highlight of this major development shambles, mainly designed to place large sums of cash into corporate developers coffers, however, is the plan to SHUT the recently opened Family Cycling Centre on the old Whitchurch Athletics Track and build a main access road over it!

Not only does this plan DEMOLISH one of the few public facilities still allowed in the area, it also demonstrates Bristol City Council’s real level of commitment to so-called “sustainable transport” and “active travel” once the hard cash for corporates is on the table.

 The council’s current Quality of Life Survey lists the number of commuters cycling to work in the area as ZERO PER CENT while 60 per cent use their car. And car use will only increase once Wolfie throws up 2,000 extra homes with car parking spaces. Why would anyone want to promote cycling here?

Residents in and around Bamfield in Whitchurch are especially up in arms since their residential road is set to become the MAIN VEHICLE ACCESS to all this new housing. Thousands of vehicles will be encouraged to drive down Bamfield every day and then drive directly over the ex-running track to access Wolfie’s new “community”. Locals predict traffic chaos and say the level of congestion and pollution likely to be generated by this plan is “HUGE“.

 Meanwhile, the obvious road access to the development, directly off Hengrove Way – a MAIN TRUNK ROAD specifically designed for heavy traffic – will be buses only and blocked to private cars!

 Who thinks this shit up?

WOLFIE’S GATEKEEPING SCAM EXPOSED

Bristol City Council’s gatekeeping policy on trial

Earlier this month, The BRISTOLIAN revealed that Bristol City Council was reintroducing the ILLEGAL practice of “gate keeping”, one that it had already been reprimanded for in July 2013 by the LOCAL GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN. The hush-hush policy aims to exclude certain categories of recently-made homeless from the assistance which a council is under a legal obligation to provide – all, of course, to allegedly “save money”.

We can reveal that BCC’s Housing Department Manager GILLIAN “Irma Grese” DOUGLAS and her boss, NICK “Pooper” HOOPER are the six-digit salary (and former “Dirty Thirty”) criminals responsible. In early September Pooper directed unterscharführer Irma to do his dirty work for him, which she promptly did. Telling the entire BCC Housing Department – by word of mouth ONLY so there was NO WRITTEN EVIDENCE – that from now on they were to EXCLUDE young Bristolians recently made homeless.

For example, if an applicant was a teenage single mother kicked out of her home, then she would have to go back to her parents and get a 28 DAY NOTICE TO QUIT and would not be helped until she had brought that “evidence” back IN WRITING.

The BRISTOLIAN can also reveal that word of this unauthorised scheme – drawn up by TWO OF HIS SUBORDINATES – landed on the desk of BCC’s Housing Czar, PAUL “Wolfie” SMITH, thanks to two concerned housing activists. In addition, it was revealed that not only were teenagers being excluded but also adults.

Wolfie responded that he was “very concerned” and would “investigate”. In addition he added that this would “at last” provide him with the evidence he needed to DRIVE OUT Pooper and SS unterscharführer Irma from BCC.

Well Wolfie, September is now finished and we’re still waiting for ANY ACTION AT ALL. Rumours are circulating that the latest BCC “gate keeping” policy introduced by two sociopathic apparatchiks on their own initiative is not only continuing, but has also been EXPANDED.

 Wolfie had better get cracking, as The BRISTOLIAN is amassing compelling evidence of this and MANY OTHER UNCONSCIONABLE FAILURES by the Director of Housing that it will reveal in due course and, of course, PASS ON TO THE OMBUDSMAN.