A wealthy bloke from leafy West Bristol has decided that the residents of Avonmouth must, literally, live in shit so he can have a dick waving contest with a group of gypsies.
Council Service Director, Nick Hooper, has ruled that a portaloo cannot be provided to a temporary gypsy site in Avonmouth in case it “create[s] any impression that the Council is sanctioning the use of this land”.
Naturally, as a council boss, Hooper is far more concerned with “impressions”, “brand”, “image” and tolerating public health hazards conveniently situated several miles away from his own upmarket home than the health and welfare of ordinary Bristolians and their children.
But wouldn’t it be interesting to go and dump a load of shit on Hooper’s street, tell him it’s a good thing and see how he and his family react?
Here’s the latest council email on shit. Read it and weep some more …
CC: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Unlawful gypsy and traveller encampment
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2014 18:03:38 +0000
Dear Mr Norman
I refer to Zoe Sear’s message to you earlier. I am the director responsible for the Council’s work with gypsies and travellers, including enforcement where that is necessary. I fully understand your concerns and those of nearby residents, and we are doing all we can to deal with the unlawful encampment. Steve Hearsey was quite right to say that we would not provide a portaloo – it is vital that we do not create any impression that the Council is sanctioning the use of this land for travellers by installing facilities. Instead we will do all we can to remove them from the land, through proper legal process. I am sure that Mr Hearsey explained that we have obtained an eviction order to recover the land. However lawyers for the traveller household obtained an injunction preventing us from using the eviction order. As part of the process to try and quash the injunction we have a duty to ensure that we have done all that we can to assist the travellers to meet their needs, as well as be as certain as we can that we will win the case. There has been contact, by Mr Hearsey and other council staff, with the traveller household to make sure that we fully understand their needs and that we have done what we can to assist them, which will will form part of our evidence. Part of the process of gathering evidence has also included complaints we have received from yourself and others about the impact of the unlawful encampment.
Tomorrow there is a hearing in the High Court in London at which the Council will be seeking to get the injunction lifted. Once we know the outcome of the Court’s decision, and assuming the Council is successful, we will be able to determine how quickly we can evict them from the site, or they may decide to go voluntarily. If we have to evict them then this may take a couple of weeks. After the court decision we will review the next steps, about which we will keep you informed. This will include any further cleaning needed and considering the question of barriers to deter future occupation.
And here’s the response to Hooper, neatly pointing out he’s sidestepping the question of whether he’s tolerating a public health hazard in our city because he wants to act the tough guy (from the safety of his secure Counts Louse office, natch) and score a few points against some, er, gypsies!
(It’s also worth noting that while Hooper is merrily laying off staff to save money, he seems to have an unlimited budget to pay for privatised shit shovellers).
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: RE: Unlawful gypsy and traveller encampment
Date: Thu, 1 May 2014 08:23:47 +0100
Dear Mr Hooper,
Thank you for your email the contents of which have been noted.
I however note with interest that it does not address or provide answers to the three direct questions asked in my email to Mayor Ferguson. Nor does it address the questions asked regarding costs of cleaning and how those costs compare to the installation of a portaloo. These can clearly be found out after the matter has been resolved through an FOI request if you are not prepared to supply these figures at this moment in time.
I find it quite amazing that educated and highly paid officers of the council can trivialize a public health problem with the word IMPRESSION. Now, without wishing to sound facetious, I feel sure I could muster up enough fellow constituents to clean-up and bag the excrement free of charge and deliver it to your’s and Mayor Ferguson’s abodes. Clearly it is your intentions to take us back to the dark ages in Shirehampton/Avonmouth because deciding to act otherwise will give the wrong ‘impression’.
I fail to see why those fortunate enough to live in leafy suburbs should not have some of what we are expected to accept and tolerate.
In your email you mention the welfare of the Gypsies. Well I would have thought toilet facilities would be included in the word welfare. It would to most rational thinking people. After all is said and done, even prisoners are provided with hygienic conditions.
Clearly it is accepted that gypsy encampments are a problem for BCC. However that does not exonerate the local authority from avoiding its responsibilities or legal duties under public health and safety laws. It would be extremely helpful if you could provide me with a copy of the section of legislation or public health & safety law you rely on for denying the installation of portaloos or what part of the law or legislation states you can deny this based on ‘impression’.
In any event your current argument for not installing portaloos, whilst the legal process is being played out, is sinking faster than the Titanic on a cold April night and is like the deck chair attendant trying to rearrange the deck chairs after the event.
Clearly the installation of a said temporary toilet would not be sanctioning the site but would merely show BCC acting as a responsible authority and protecting the health and public safety of residents in the vicinity of the site and preventing the possible spread of life threatening diseases such as hepatitis.
To be quite frank and brutal, the contents of your email amounts to nothing more than bureaucratic waffle that has no legal foundation and your decision is being endorsed by a group of narcissistic nodding dogs around a table.
I would now ask that either you or are esteemed Mayor answer the three questions that were directly asked in my first email and those questions asked in my second email.
Q, Are You Happy That Humans Are Expelling Human Body Waste In A Public Place
Q Is It The Intention Under Your Mayor ship To Take Us Back To The Dark Ages
Q, Do You And Your Overpaid Officer Accept Full Responsibility That The Expelling Of Human Waste & Urine Can Create A Public Health Problem
Will you also please clarify if a cleaning team will be on 24hr call out or if it will be attending on a daily bases to remove the excrement and toilet tissue and what the cost of such an operation will be compared to the cost of hiring a temporary toilet whilst BCC get back possession of the land.
Clearly it may be the case that I need to consider seeking an emergency injunction from the court seeking BCC to install a portloo in the interest of public health & safety. I certainly believe I have a strong prima facie case for the court to consider
Mr Stephen Norman
And here’s the mayor’s response. Again sidestepping the issue of whether they’re deliberately leaving a load of shit and a public health hazard in the middle of Avonmouth. So much for straight talking …
Date: Thu, 1 May 2014 09:20:48 +0000
To re-iterate the final section of Nick Hooper’s note, today is a key date, in that there is a hearing in the High Court in London at which the Council will be seeking to get the injunction lifted.
Once we know the outcome of the Court’s decision, and assuming the Council is successful, we will be able to determine how quickly we can evict them from the site, or they may decide to go voluntarily.
If we have to evict them then this may take a couple of weeks. After the court decision we will review the next steps, about which we will keep you informed. This will include any further cleaning needed and considering the question of barriers to deter future occupation.
The Mayor’s Office