Whilst searching for a flat that accepts Local Housing Allowance (LHA), I have noticed that if I accept a Caridon shoebox at Imperial Apartments, the council will pay them £723. Whereas if I find a flat elsewhere in Bristol I am only entitled to £695.
Caridon have even altered the prices advertised from £700 to £725, possibly to reflect this? Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to why?
Do councillors, Members of Parliament and Caridon directors all use the same pub and have itchy backs?
I will be interested in people’s thoughts. Especially if hey can explain this. Looks decidedly fishy to.
An update on our notorious high-living slum landlord friends, Caridon, who took over ‘Imperial Apartments’, a cheap, shoddy conversion of the old Parkview council offices in Hartcliffe.
Caridon won a small lottery when they managed to rent 216 of their shitty little apartments, mostly studio flats, to the council. A policy promoted by defective housing department bosses over the summer who thought this was a great spot run by great people to dump the city’s homeless.
Alas, it transpires the council has only let 150 of these pokey little rabbit hutches in the middle of nowhere to the desperate and vulnerable. While the daft contract BCC housing officers signed with Caridon (publicly available online) states clearly that if BCC can’t let the spaces, then they still have to pay the rent in full. This is, we understand, £695 a month per empty studio flat. That’s about £45k a month being shovelled directly to the repulsive boss of Caridon for doing fuck all except owning a property.
An outcome that the pair of clowns who created this mess, Bristol HomeChoice Fuhrer Paul “Speer” Sylvester and his snooty boss from London, Housing Director Julian “Luvvie” Higson, assured everyone could not happen. They would expertly manage this obvious risk, they assured us, by “raising interest from people in the local community” and holding “a daily morning meeting to monitor progress”!
Wouldn’t it be fun to attend one of those morning meetings now to hear all the vain and self-serving excuses from Speer and Luvvie for their wholly predictable failure (surely sub optimal progress in a challenging environment? Ed)? A failure that will come as no surprise to the huge number of ordinary Bristolians without any high-earning housing management expertise who told them in the summer, “this is a totally shit idea on every level that you should have no part of”.
In further bad news, it appears that overpaid pillocks Speer and Luvvie have contracted the council to pay for all these apartments, whether full or empty, on a rolling contract with no fixed end in sight. And the pair even negotiated an option to take up a further 199 apartments on the site in January. Will our amazing housing business experts be taking up this exciting offer? Will their contract let them refuse? Do these chumps have the foggiest idea what they signed us up to?
Meanwhile, Health and Safety responsibility in this disastrous deal remains highly ambiguous. Officially, it’s Caridon’s lookout. But we all know how well a very similar relationship of this nature went at Grenfell Tower don’t we?
Speer and Luvvie’s Daily Progress Meeting when the first tenant on Caridon’s watch carks it will be interesting.
The Reverend Rees’s highly regarded Cabinet Member for Housing has sensationally QUIT the council. Paul “Wolfie” Smith resigned from Rees’s cabinet on Tuesday and also QUIT as a councillor to take up a lucrative £90k (plus bonus) a year position as Chief Exec at Elim Housing Association. The resignation leaves the Reverend without a majority at Bristol City Council.
According to social media, Wolfie was a great champion of social housing and has had some success over the last few years getting homes built and tackling homelessness. However, over the last year some increasingly erratic policies have emerged from Wolfie’s housing department where Jez Sweetland, who runs the Bristol Housing Festival and happens to be a prominent member of the Reverend’s Church at the Hope Chapel, Howells has become increasingly influential.
Harebrained initiatives emerging from Sweetland have included a plan to build 173 IKEA chipboard homes on the verge of the A4174 Airport Road and another madcap idea to build ‘Hope Rise’. Tiny modular flats for young people over the car park at St George Park. This week the council even started a queue jumping ‘super tenancy’ opportunity for these properties, directly offering a shared council home to applicants in exchange for voluntary work with vulnerable young people. A plan that is unlikely to comply with law.
Wolfie’s department also announced their intention last month to create the slums of the future. They will house 200 homeless people and families in the shoddily converted Parkview office complex in Hartcliffe. Homes that do not meet national space standards. The owner of the flats, Caridon, are also one of the country’s most notorious slum landlords.
Has Wolfie thrown in the towel? Has he quit while he was ahead? But how ahead was he anyway? Despite all the promises of council housing from the Rees administration and Wolfie’s regular assurances that his projections to meet a manifesto promise of 2,500 homes, 500 affordable, a year were ‘on target’, the stats say something quite different. In March 2016, there were 27,402 council homes in Bristol. By March 2020 there were 26,833. A net reduction of 469 council homes.
Of course, Wolfie can’t be held to blame for the Tory ‘Right to Buy’ policy, which has led to this reduction in council homes. But he can be blamed for spending four years delivering half-arsed market solutions and supporting timid private sector responses to the city’s housing crisis. These solutions have simply failed to deliver and were never going to deliver the quantity of council homes required to turn around a housing crisis.
Wolfie can also be blamed for entertaining Sweetland and his weirdo ideas for the last few years. The evangelical nutter is now left free to dominate the show with his Victorian Christian charity message and fill the city up with his cheap shit housing for the poor and vulnerable.
Are we in more of a housing mess than when Wolfie started?
On September 1, Bristol City Council’s Mayoral Executive will ram through a package to house many of Bristol’s homeless currently sheltered from Covid-19 in a series of inner-city hotels. They will be sent to a large office-to-housing development at Parkview (formerly the offices of Bristol City Council) off Whitchurch Lane in South Bristol.
These homeless, and any new homeless, are to be given places in 200+ alleged ‘flats’ in a converted office building at Parkview. Run by Caridon, a Croydon-based property company who will PROFIT from this scheme, it will be be known as ‘IMPERIAL APARTMENTS’.
Planning restrictions for an ‘office-into-home conversion’ do not hold the same weight as in residential properties, however. For example, they do not have to conform to normal health and safety regulations and cupboards or storage spaces can be turned into squeezed/minimal size ‘flats’ that do not even have a window.
Companies like Caridon – see this BBC investigation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT0pXJ8L_2g – specialise in EXPLOITING a new housing market devised by councils desperate for cheap housing in an ongoing housing crisis.
And who will deliver Caridon’s profits for their imperialist dream of providing’ sub-standard ‘accommodation’? The answer is of course the Bristol taxpayer, signed off by The Mayor and his Council Executive cronies at College Green on September 1. BCC will also offer Caridon the rent IN FULL as demanded by its Director Mario ‘Darth Vader’ Carrozzo, regardless of whether the residents can pay or not.
The flats run by Darth Vader’s Evil Caridon Empire will house the homeless, single parents, victims of domestic violence, the mentally ill, probationers etc; all together in one big happy family. Take a look at this Panorama documentary to see how well a very similar project, once again run by Caridon, worked out in Harlow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAuilFQYHKc
BCC appear to have told Caridon to keep mum about their Bristol adventure in light of this bad publicity, as the Caridon currently provide no relevant information or links on their website.