Ashley Ward has a long history of offering refuge to many ‘socially marginal’ minority groups such as ‘travellers’ and ‘New Age Gypsies’. Some have been ‘resident’ before and since the infamous Battle of The Bean Field in June 1985 and are an integrated part of the community.
For many years this groups’ legal difficulties in the area were assisted by a specialist solicitor Brian Cox (now retired), an associate of Bobbetts Mackan Solicitors of Queens Square Clifton. Bobbetts still have Solicitors who do pro-bono work around civil liberties issues like travellers.
Living and working in a van is not illegal. Current road traffic regulations permit converted vans subject to weight and internal re-arrangements to be zero rated for Road Fund Duty and exempt from MOT regulations dependent on a ‘satisfactory’ mechanical inspection.
If a designated Living Van is seized it is effectively a ‘forcible eviction’ and should require a court order.
The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLC) recognises the difficulties ‘travellers’ have with registered addresses and have posted the following advice isinresponse to a Freedom of Information Request made on July 9 2012
From: FOI, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, 13 July 2012
In recognition of the difficulties involved for some keepers, (for example, travellers) in providing a permanent address, DVLA will accept a care of address. This address may be a friend, doctor, hotel, hostel or similar providing the resident gives permission for the keeper of the vehicle to use the address. PO Box addresses are not accepted for individuals.
If the DVLA, a government agency, accepts a ‘care of address’ as a suitable registration address for travellers then so should Bristol City Council when considering permit allocations for their proposed Resident Parking Schemes (RPS).
Bumped into our brilliant new Chief Executive Mrs Yates today while I was wandering around on the third floor trying to find something useful to do. She was at the photocopier running off a considerable amount of paperwork headed ‘GAGGING ORDER’. I asked her what she was up to as a bit of a conversational opening gambit and apparently she was just doing some early preparatory work to pop in the top drawer of her desk. Then she gave me a little grin, grabbed the paperwork and headed off to her office – sorry, I mean flexible work space.
I must say she seems very professional and efficient and she can operate a photocopier! Certainly an improvement on Mr Sims, who seemed to need a PA to switch a light on for him never mind operate a Blackberry or that iPad he was given that he thought was a clipboard for the first three weeks. I sense already that Nicola is the person to lead the new hi-tech open City Hall culture George and I are embedding. Good times!
High-level meeting with new Cabinet member, Labour’s superb Mark Bradshaw today. To be able to work alongside such a supremely gifted and able politician and first rate intellect is a privilege. Mark and I discussed very important matters relating to George’s proposed RPZ scheme that I can’t tell you about. Although we will inform the public at an appropriate time. As Mark said, car parking is far too important to discuss in public.
Had an excellent two o’clock with George today. I must say he’s in a far better mood since he went up to Harley Street to see his doctor about his anxiety issues. He’s now installed a comfy sofa in his office and he was lying on it wearing only his favourite Fairtrade silk dressing gown (red, of course) with his feet up reading Fifty Shades Of Grey! He’s also mentally firing on all cylinders again and has had yet another brilliant idea – ‘City of Cheese’
Apparently he bought a particularly ripe and vibrant brie at our first Make Sunday Special food market and he thinks Bristol Brie could be a really amazing international place-making tool for the city. I could only agree and promised – as the Cabinet lead on food – to get on it right away. I then had to leave as he needed to take his Effexor, whatever that is, and relax for a while.
Finally got in today to see Mr Mann, our transport boss, over at Brunel House. What a strange meeting. When I walked in Mr Mann was holding a small teddy bear at his face level and appeared to be having a conversation with it. “Hello Sir Gus,” he said, “this is Teddy. He helps me with policy.”
Thinking I had better change the subject sharpish, I pointed at a large green safe in the corner of the room that seemed to be wrapped in about four toughened steel chains secured by around six padlocks. “That’s where I keep the Greater Bristol Bus Network performance statistics,” explained Mr Mann. “We can’t be too careful. We don’t want them getting out to the press or public, do we?” he muttered quietly.
If nothing else, I suppose we should be impressed by Mr Mann’s commitment to information security. The rest of the meeting was about RPZs, which I can’t tell you anything about because car parking is quite rightly a top-secret issue.
Had a row today on Twitter with those horrible, nasty, beastly people at The BRISTOLIAN. They keep banging on about this missing £165,000 missing from the Market Service that I’m ultimately responsible for. It is of course all complete nonsense. As George has kindly explained to them there is no evidence of any wrongdoing at all. So come on guys, sometimes you just have to accept that £165,000 just disappears from public sector organisations without any explanation. Mankind isn’t perfect, is it? We just can’t explain everything, can we? Like how bees fly; UFOs; the Loch Ness Monster; the Bermuda Triangle; Alastair Sawday; homeopathy and David Lynch films. Some things are simply pure mystery.
Besides I’m happy to confirm that Mr Harvey, the Facilities Manager responsible for overseeing the money, has fully investigated himself and has confirmed nobody has done anything wrong. The Metropolitan Police seem to be able to investigate themselves without all this fuss. What more do these people want?
They should join UKIP with all the other racist stirrers and RPZ resisters who want to destroy mine and George’s progressive coalition for Green progress in Bristol with their relentless focusing on silly little details and small amounts of missing money rather than looking at the big canvas of Bristol George and I are busy colouring in green.
Talking of RPZs, one thing MAYOR FERGO didn’t mention when he was belatedly trying to sell RESIDENTS’ PARKING ZONES to a sceptical Bristolian public, is how he personally benefits from permit-free parking in Southville.
Yes, his very own trendy bar/theatre the TOBACCO FACTORY actually advises its patrons to park on neighbouring streets!
Until recently, the Tobacco Factory website (archived for posterity here) stated “WE RECOMMEND ON-STREET PARKING. There are a number of residential streets off Raleigh Road…which are probably your best bet.”
Of course, since the paper issue of The BRISTOLIAN with this story in it hit the streets, it has now been HASTILY AMENDED to a slightly less controversial version (see picture below).
Now that’s joined up thinking, George!
First meeting of the new four-strong city council Green Group and it went very well indeed. We almost fill a small corner of a Committee Room now! We covered everything from how totally opposed we are to any of the cuts we vote for, to hammering out some VERY SERIOUS POLICY POSITIONS.
First in the in-tray was the super controversial Resident Parking Zones. After some frank, open discussion and very serious debate, and with brilliant input from all our councillors, we agreed a consensus policy on the issue. Basically, on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, we are totally in favour of the Resident Parking Zones. We will meet again next week to hammer out what to do if there’s a fifth Wednesday in the month. On weekdays – except, obviously, the first and third Wednesdays – when the sun shines we are against the parking zones. On weekends, regardless of the weather, we think it should be left for the communities affected to decide.
We then had a vigorous debate about rainy days and Mondays, except – obviously – any rainy first and third Wednesdays and all days on weekends – but remain undecided.
We agreed to come back to the issue next week after George had made his mind up about it all anyway. We’ve also drawn up an EXTENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY on the issue to cascade to all Bristol Green Party members. It reads:
IT’S NOTHING TO DO WITH US – BLAME GEORGE.
Tried to pop in to see George afterwards but he was busy in a meeting with the very independently-minded MR PERRY FROM CLIFTON, so he asked me to come back tomorrow.
Popped back up to the third floor to see George this morning and bumped straight in to a beaming MR HOLT clutching a handful of BRISTOLIANs and shouting at me, “Have you seen it? Have you seen it? I’m in it!” I congratulated him and he skipped off to show ANGIE RIDGWELL. It must be said that being called by a girl’s name in The BRISTOLIAN may well turn out to be Peter’s crowning achievement from his time in the city.
Tried to see George but he was with Mr Perry again. Indeed Mr Perry was sitting in George’s Eames chair with his feet up on his desk while George appeared to be standing listening intently. In my opinion Mr Perry was very rude telling me to go away as they were busy running the city.
Tried to see George again. When I got to the third floor I could hear raised voices or, rather, a raised voice that sounded rather like Mr Perry’s. It was something to do with resident parking I think and the words “Stop dithering! Just bloody get on with it, you useless red-trousered old” something-or-other.
Mostly I could hear what they were saying, but I have never heard of a ‘STANKWAIN’ before, and it’s not in My First Illustrated Dictionary. When I tapped on George’s door he immediately opened it and shouted at me to – and even as I write this I’m blushing – “Eff-you-see-kay off and stop stalking me!”
Charming! After everything I’ve done for him. That’s the last time I iron his silk pyjamas as a favour before one of his late-night list-ticking sessions.
Decided it was time to start focusing on my new cabinet portfolio. Started with council housing today and explained in detail to the council housing boss MR PALMER how I wanted a wraparound strategy to retrofit our housing for the forthcoming environmental apocalypse in place ASAP. In the meantime I told Mr Palmer to set up a Twitter account to talk up solar panels and cavity wall insulation.
Mr Palmer said he thought his housing officers would be “thrilled” by my “creative approach” as it would make a change from all that depressing Bedroom Tax Spare Room Subsidy stuff. He also invited me to his leaving do, as he’s going next Tuesday. “Who’ll be in charge then?” I asked. He just laughed and said, “SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY, GUS!”
Tried to find out today who’s in charge of the city’s council housing from next Tuesday. Nobody seemed very sure. Also bumped into my new Cabinet colleague MRS MASSEY in the corridor this afternoon. She was trying to find out who was now in charge of education as the excellent MRS HUDSON was also leaving. We both decided to call it a day and go to the cider bar at Eat, Drink, Bristol.
Attended the Reed Service at St Mary Redcliffe Church today. It’s a special ceremony for us councillors, and a great opportunity to dress up. Someone asked me if I was a Christian and I did my usual response of staring at the ground and shuffling about a bit before changing the subject. As it was the weekend, I just said, “I think the communities affected should decide on parking zones, don’t you?”
But George didn’t find it funny, though.
Are the signs of strain already getting to Gorgeous George? His recent antics down at the Bearpit pedestrian underpass between Stokes Croft and Broadmead – which saw him telling a member of the public, one Paul Saville, to “FUCK OFF” simply for asking him about Resident Parking Zones – certainly suggest so.
As do his bizarre excuses to the media following his very public breakdown. “He was stalking me!” squealed the LIGHTWEIGHT RED-TROUSERED FANTASIST about a person who had spoken to the him all of, er … twice!
The madness of King George’s attacks on his critics are increasing exponentially by the month. Back in the halcyon days of his election campaign, he merely accused his critics of “party politicking”. Once in office his critics became “silly”. Now he regularly accuses any critics of being “stalkers”.
The BRISTOLIAN therefore suggests that if you want to disagree with George do it quick.
At this rate of attrition, by Christmas you’re likely to be labelled by the mayor as “rapist” or “paedophile”.
Feeling the pressure of high office in these early days of Bristol’s Rainbow Reich is George’s little Green helper, Cllr Sir Gus Hoyty-Toyty.
In between launching into crazed diatribes against vegetables and throwing around wild accusations of theft, the second most effective Green councillor for the Ashley ward has been upsetting his own constituents with his ERRATIC AND EVASIVE approach to their concerns over Resident Parking Zones.
This culminated recently in a bizarre outburst from Sir Gus, when he claimed a photo in the Evening, sorry, Bristol Post of a few pensioners on Cobourg Road in Montpelier BRANDISHING PITCHFORKS and mock threatening Gorgeous George over his Parking Zones represented a serious and present danger to Sir Gus’s personal safety.
“They’re doing this on the street I live [on],” whined the selfless Green, a vociferous champion of councillors living in the areas they represent. Except if the Electoral Register is to be believed, there is NO GUS HOYT now living on Cobourg Road.
Most strange. Perhaps Sir Gus has been taking lessons from Bristol Labour’s most deranged Alderman, Royston Griffey? Is Sir Gus now Lord of the Montpelier Manor and labouring under the belief that the whole ward belongs to him?
Have the pressures of being a high-flying local politician meant that Hoyty-Toyty has also forgotten to register his current address for Council Tax?