Tag Archives: Legal & General

HEAD BOY’S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER HIGH RISE HELL

HEAD BOY'S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER HIGH RISE HELL

Disquiet over the Reverend Rees’s plans to ‘transform’ the Cumberland Basin and its aging 1960s road system into ‘Western Harbour’, a GLOBAL CITY HIGH RISE HELL, in the shadow of Clifton Suspension Bridge is growing. A ‘public engagement’ on the gruesome plan, while everyone was away on holiday in August, led to an OUTCRY after it emerged that the Reverend was consulting the public on just THREE of the ten proposals he had received from his consultants, Arup. The remaining seven proposals remain SECRET.

The three proposals the Reverend deemed suitably “transformational” all involve DEMOLISHING the existing road system to “RELEASE LAND FOR DEVELOPMENT“. All three lack detail – just pink lines on a map indicating where any new road system may go – while potentially having A HUGE IMPACT on surrounding communities and the landscape around the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Concerns are also emerging about the involvement of The ENGLISH CITIES FUND (ECF) in any plans. ECF is a joint venture between HOMES ENGLAND, LEGAL & GENERAL and MUSE DEVELOPMENTS. Which raises questions about the role and independence of the Reverend’s semi-detatched £1,500 a day regeneration chief, our old friend COLIN “Head Boy” MOLTON, who will have had a major influence on any plans.

Head Boy was chief exec at HOMES ENGLAND – when it was the Housing and Communities Agency – until he joined Bristol City Council on a unique TAX EFFICIENT PAY ARRANGEMENT in 2017 and immediately cut a secretive, unminuted deal, on behalf of the council, with LEGAL & GENERAL. A deal handing these developers the land at Arena Island should the arena be cancelled.

Remarkably, this is the SECOND TIME Head Boy has been involved in cancelling an arena at the Arena Island site as he happened to be Executive Director of Operations & Development at the SOUTH WEST REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (SWRDA) in 2007 when they cancelled their plans for an arena on the site that they then owned.

Head Boy left the SWRDA in 2008 to become director at the South and South West Region of the HCA (now HOMES ENGLAND). By remarkable coincidence, with the winding up of the SWRDA by the Tories in 2011, the Arena Island site was transferred to the HCA. In early 2015, Molton’s HCA, handed the site to Bristol City Council to build an arena and then Molton PITCHED UP at Bristol City Council in 2017 to work for the Reverend. He immediately set to work CANCELLING an arena and negotiating his sweetheart deal with LEGAL & GENERAL to hand them the site for an unispiring, if highly profitable, mixed use development.

Head Boy is now being thrown out of the job he never went through a competitive recruitment process for at Bristol City Council. But will the man, who lists his address with Companies House as Donington Le Heath, Leicestershire, continue to take a personal, proprietorial interest in ANOTHER VALUABLE PIECE OF PUBLIC LAND in Bristol?

Watch this space.

LOOKING KINDLY ON THE CORPORATES WATCH

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The Reverend Rees’s most recent Q&A on Facebook found him in top lying form explaining his super tough policy on developers who FAILED TO DELIVER on affordable housing for the city.

“If on your piece land you FAIL TO DELIVER what Bristol needs, we won’t be very impressed by that and WE WON’T LOOK KINDLY on that when we’re looking to develop our own land and looking for partners to come and develop with us,” he boomed from his Facebook pulpit.

But is this the same Reverend Rees who’s apparently awarded a lucrative contract to a London-based corporate, LEGAL AND GENERAL (L&G) to create a mixed use development on the extremely VALUABLE council-owned Arena Island site? And is this the same L&G that was exposed last autumn as only offering 4 AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS out of a potential 120 on another valuable Temple Quarter site on Bread Street?

When it comes to saying one thing and doing another, the Reverend really is on to something. Indeed, it would appear that the Reverend and his personally appointed £200k a year friend and regeneration chief, Colin “Head Boy” Molton, have looked INCREDIBLY KINDLY on L&G despite them totally failing to “DELIVER WHAT BRISTOL NEEDS” in Temple Quarter and have, instead, embarked on an expensive planning appeal process to get exactly what L&G needs at the city’s expense.

When he was first MYSTERIOUSLY APPOINTED by persons unknown, virtually the first thing Head Boy Molton did was visit the London offices of L&G ALONE on12 December 2017. He met them again ON HIS OWN at the Council House on 24 January 2018. On 5 March 2018 he had a telephone call with representatives of L&G and “NO NOTES FROM THE CONVERSATION EXIST“. On 8 June 2018 Molton and the Reverend met representatives of L&G in the Mayor’s Offices.

Early on Tuesday 2 October 2018, the Reverend and and Colin Molton attended a breakfast with representatives of Legal &  General and the Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative on “how we can create renewed infrastructure, housing, energy and urban regeneration in Bristol”. Later that morning the Reverend and Molton met with the CEO and the Head of Public Affairs of L&G at City Hall and “NO NOTES FROM THIS MEETING EXIST“.

During this time the Reverend and Molton FAILED to meet with arena developers, Arena Island Ltd at all. Then on 23 August 2018 L&G released a press statement titled ‘Legal & General unveils vision for major urban regeneration project at the Temple Island (former Arena Island) site in Bristol’.

Failing to deliver for Bristol seems to work rather well for some corporate developers who have the ear of the right people doesn’t it?

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.