The cost of a ‘world class’ private sector Youth Zone in south Bristol is rising.
The capital cost of building this large shed for wealthy philanthropists to pose in on open space at Inns Court was originally £8.4m with Bristol City Council paying one half, £4.2m.
Now we learn that the council will be paying a further £3.275m to build the access road and to level the site.
Philanthropic charitable partner, Onside, meanwhile, will only have to pay £600k towards this.
In terms of running the zone, once opened in 2026, the Reverend’s cabinet has now committed £400k of the measly £1m budget for youth services from 2026. Two years after the Labour Party are likely to have lost power in Bristol.
There will be, therefore, 40 per cent less youth provision in an already stretched service elsewhere in the city from 2026.
Youth workers and services not aboard the Youth Zone gravy train are not impressed.
Full speed ahead with no one left behind in Bristol’s ‘just transition’ to Net Zero!
The council’s applied for a grant of £3.3m to install 200 on trend air source heat pumps in leafy Westbury-on-Trym. A subsidy of £16,500 per Tory household!
Why this pilot has to be run in one of the city’s wealthiest suburbs isn’t very well explained by Labour’s dim Climate Change head honcho Kye “The” Dudd or his increasingly unstable boss, the Reverend.
Instead Rees explained away his loopy heating subsidy to the wealthy by telling bored councillors he was “going to be at the US embassy tomorrow to speak about a just transition”. Guess that’s one way to keep us all warm next winter.
The Greens, potentially the largest party in Bristol after next year’s elections, were also getting wet in the pants at news of Net Zero handouts to the wealthy.
West Bristol’s ridiculous national Green Party leader, Carla “Posh Princess” Denyer gushed that the scheme was a “fabulous solution”.
Here’s what the unions told a recent cabinet meeting:
“Printed newspapers and magazines were cut in all libraries in October 2022; a vacancy freeze has been in operation since August 2022 with no sign of an end.
“Currently there are 35+ vacancies across the city. The loss of hours amounts to 554.5 hours a week across the city.
“The Library service has also had five posts deleted, without any formal process or discussion with unions. Three of these posts are at the Central Library.
“These five posts amount to a loss of 137.5 more hours on top of the vacancy hours listed above. Total hours lost is therefore 592 hours a week. Due to staff shortages the standard of delivery is compromised. This is a disservice to the citizens of Bristol.
“These shortages have led to unplanned closures every day somewhere in the city since the summer.
“The lack of recruitment has also meant flexible working requests are being denied. This includes refusal of flexible retirement. The book/materials fund has been cut twice within a year and no new books have been bought since August 2022. It is unclear what the situation will be like in April 2023.”
Exactly how much does the Labour Party hate our libraries?
Labour councillors’ new object of fury is cycling campaigners. Some of them had the cheek to attend a Bristol City Council Full Council meeting and present a petition, that attracted almost 3,900 signatures, demanding the city have a proper cycling strategy.
During the ensuing debate most councillors seemed to agree that making cycling safer in the city by publishing a new Bristol Cycling Delivery Plan might be a good idea.
But this didn’t stop Labour Cabinet member Nicola “La La” Beech, having a pop at the campaigners when they left the Council Chamber after the debate.
The embittered councillor later Tweeted, “We support the need for continually improving cycle infrastructure BUT I am appalled at those @BristolCycling campaigners who couldn’t even wait until the break to leave and walked out on the important words from Alun Davies MBE on the work of Disability Equality Commission.”
The outburst came despite the Fancy Dress Mayor especially making time for campaigners to leave the council chamber before the disability item began.
Meanwhile, there was no Labour fury over the Mayor’s assistant, “Slo” Kevin Slocombe, who was filmed pulling a face when the agenda item on disability was announced. He then walked out before the cycling campaigners did!
Does Labour have different rules for mayoral bag carriers?
Plans to turn the ‘tramway’ – a section of the old North Somerset Railway Line in Brislington – into a PR-friendly hipster heaven Greenway for cyclists and snooty businesses running out of shipping containers have gone off the, er, rails.
Trendy property-less firm, Meanwhile Creative, got planning permission back in March from the council for the temporary greenway on land long earmarked for the Callington Link, on the route of the proposed A4 Bath Road relief road, by promising their greenway was “ready-to-go”.
Or perhaps not. Over six months down the line and Meanwhile Creative are now wheeling out that all-purpose excuse “the cost of living crisis” and claiming it’s unlikely to go ahead. Informed opinion, however, says this is because neither the applicants nor the council owned the land and the people who did wanted £250k for it.
None of this is surprising to some Brislington locals who have dubbed the efforts of Lib Dem Councillors Andrew “Reg” Varney and Jos “Peculiar” Clarke and Labour councillor Tim “The Ripper” Rippington along with Bike Bristol and the Meanwhiles as “an embarrassing failure”.
Lookout for that lovely link road coming to quiet green space in Brislington soon!
Another petulant outburst from our man-child Reverend mayor in the papers. He’s now got his knickers in a twist because opposition councillors aren’t attending his cabinet to watch him rubberstamp decisions he made earlier behind closed doors.
Seems councillors aren’t much interested in asking him questions at these meetings so that Rees can direct one of his bitchy little monologues at them that they’re not allowed to respond to.
It’s a shame the Reverend doesn’t take such a keen interest in Labour attendance at meetings. In three weeks in late September/early October there were four scrutiny meetings and one audit meeting and 18 places available to Labour.
They only filled five of them and, of those five, only two of them participated and spoke!
The current Labour record holder for not bothering to show up is the lazy bastards’ lazy bastard, Hartcliffe councillor Paul Goggin. He’s attended 33% of the meetings he’s been expected at. These are meetings like planning and licensing where he might have some input rather than a cabinet meeting where there’s no role for ordinary councillors.
But it’s not all bad news for Goggin. As it seems that this lucky council tenant has been gifted a brand new fence. Although no one quite knows how that works as it’s not council policy to provide tenants with new fencing.
Is it some sort of special award for being fucking lazy?
ANYONE FOUND A LOST LIB DEM
Has anyone seen the Lib Dem councillor for Hotwells and Harbourside, Alex “The Disappeared” Hartley? Residents say he doesn’t bother responding to emails and he hasn’t been near a council meeting for months? Has he died?
The councillor has quite an inbox too as the Reverend’s proposed plan to turn Cumberland Basin into a corporate high-rise hell is high on the agenda as are various other smaller developments that may involve height.
If anyone finds him, please return him to Hotwells and Harbourside pronto.
LABOUR LAWRENCE HELL
No article on councillor attendance would be complete without a mention of that legendary serial absentee, Labour’s Lawrence Hill councillor Hibaq “To Basics” Jama. Hardly ever at the Counts Louse, she’s reputed to spend a lot of time out of the country.
Ms Jama managed an attendance at council meetings of just 30 per cent for the first six months of this year and was nowhere to be seen afer the recent fire in her ward at council owned Twinnell House.
A fire that left one dead and eight hospitalised. Instead of visiting, Jama announced to residents that they could contact her by email if they needed to.
Was Jama out of the country? The Reverend definitely was. Hanging around at various obscure Bloomberg and Rockefeller meetings in the Big Apple, he finally managed to fit in a difficult visit to Twinnell residents five days after the fire.
Labour Cabinet housing boss, Tom “Plasticine Man” Renhard, meanwhile, was at the Labour conference on the morning after the fire from where he did manage to tweet his sympathies to the victims. He then happily spent the rest of the day tweeting and retweeting about various dull career-building conference events he attended.
‘Enough is Enough’, the left wing campaign trying to get gullible socialists, tankies and bitter Corbynites to vote for Starmer’s right wing authoritarian Labour Party next year, brought their bandwagon to Bristol on October 1.
Inexplicably, this self-styled ‘working class campaign’ held their rally at the overtly middle class St George Hall in leafiest west Bristol. “A venue,” we’re told, “a lot of the audience didn’t seem unfamiliar with.”
Local speakers included Acorn Union Ltd boss Nick Ballard and posho Green Party UK leader Carla Denyer. (Because it’s not a proper socialist meeting without a posh twit on the platform talking bollocks is it?) Both speakers talked a lot about “action and not just words” as the working classes face household economic meltdown this winter.
But the only action on offer seemed to be an opportunity to join the speakers’ respective organisations and listen to more “action and not just words” speeches on repeat from self-selected working class leaders with little idea what to do.
Our man on the spot says there were no concrete proposals from this meeting and “no rank and file worker spoke and no discussion was allowed. It felt very top down.”
About as effective as a Brahms recital then. The normal offering at St Georges.
Some tittle-tattle about the Labour Party and the mayoral referendum: a little birdy tells us Bristol Labour never passed a motion through their internal processes about any of it. Therefore the membership never confirmed that they supported having mayor in Bristol.
Instead, it seems,Labour councillors and members were instructed by the Reverend and his team to support a mayor for Bristol in a referendum all about, er, democracy and whether one person in the city making all the decisions was a good idea?
This may explain why few Labour members bothered to campaign and the Reverend suffered a crushing defeat.
Isn’t this also something a decent local journalist might have bothered to ask some questions about during the campaign?
A crap win, by just 52 votes over the Greens, by Labour’s self-styled working class hero Kye “The” Dudd at the Southmead by-election had The Dudd’s team reaching for their copies of The Labour Party Book of Crap Excuses. Divide and misrule was the excuse of choice.
‘Gentrification’ was to blame, announced local Labour mastermind ‘Slo’ Kev Slocombe. Pesky unidentified incomers and the damned middle classes of, er, Southmead voting Green instead of Labour like proper working class people do were to blame.
Labour also claimed that their core vote on Southmead’s long-neglected council estate had held firm. So firm that less than 9 per cent of people living in a solid Labour ward based around a council estate voted for them. The former Labour heartland now enters ultra-marginal territory with the Green Party likely to seize the ward at the next election in 2024.
Is it time for the Rees administration to stop lecturing us about how working class they are and, maybe, start actually spending some bloody money on working class voters in the suburbs? Rather than pouring all the city’s cash into corporate coffers to fund big projects in the centre, attractive and convenient for the city’s real gentrifiers. The wealthy white professionals who dominate the inner city and the management of our local institutions.
Has The Dudd got the message that Rees and his corporate gentrification agenda need a hard kick up the arse?