Tag Archives: Southville

GREEDY GREEN EVICTS TENANT

Another greedy green

Looks like yet another Green Party councillor’s PUBLIC pronouncements on housing don’t quite match his PRIVATE arrangements.

An irate ACORN tenants union member calls to tell us that the Green Party Councillor for Southville, Bristol Pound bigwig and er, ACORN tenants union member Stephen “Daddy” Clarke, has EVICTED a tenant from one of his numerous local buy-to-let investments after the tenant told him that his rent increase of 28 per cent was unaffordable!

The evicted tenant had been sharing with Daddy Clarke’s daughter, Katie “Snowflake” Finnegan-Clarke, a self-styled ‘SOCIAL JUSTICE CONSULTANT‘ who’s main contribution to progressive causes is ‘being around when the media arrive’ we’re told. Snowflake originally advertised daddy’s house as “LOW RENT in line with local housing allowance so people on a low income can afford to live here.”

At £292 per month plus £60 towards bills, the idea seemed to be about building a stable and secure home for people on low incomes. However towards the end of the tenant’s six month contract they received an email from Ms Finnegan-Clarke advising them of CHANGES to the rent.

Snowflake explained that daddy wanted to INCREASE the rent so each room was rented at the same price as THE REST of his properties in Bedminster and Totterdown. This would be £382 every four weeks. Snowflake claimed she had been trying to negotiate with daddy but “without a huge amount of luck”. So the rent would be increasing to £375 a month (excluding bills) from 27 June. “In-line with comparable properties in Easton,” she claimed.

When asked why the rent was being increased, Snowflake explained that daddy, who bought the property on a buy-to-let mortgage, was affected by changes in tax law to TOP RATE taxpaying landlords. This meant the poor dear could no longer put his mortgage repayments against his business expenses and Daddy didn’t want to ‘LOSE MONEY‘ … On a property which had only gone up £100,000 since he purchased it five years ago!

The tenant complained that the rent rise was not something they could AFFORD and Ms Finnegan-Clarke told them to negotiate directly with Daddy Clarke. However, the following Monday an email arrived from Snowflake.

“As  I labored to make clear in the room advert, in our initial skype interview and during our face-to-face interview, the lodgers agreement was only supposed to last six months in order to give us (and now me) the flexibility required and was reflected in the LOW RENT.

“The HOUSE DYNAMICS haven’t been working for me, and you do not seem happy in the house either, so I would like to formally end the extended lodgers agreement. Please accept this email as WRITTEN NOTICE of the end of your Lodger Agreement at Hinton Road, Bristol.”

And with that Clarke and his social justice warrior daughter –  who does lots of ‘work’ to raise awareness about issues of gender and race – evicted the tenant because the “house dynamics” were wrong.

ELECTORAL HOUSING BALLS

housing-development-design-and-regenerationNext up launching their mayoral election campaign … Step forward the Green Party. They even got their crackpot national leader, NUTTILY BENNETT, down for the occasion and their big promise is that they’re going to get private developers to build 8,000 HOMES by 2020 and 2,800 of these will be “affordable”, whatever the fuck that means this week.

So 35 PER CENT of homes built up to 2020 through some kind of unexplained city council/private sector partnership will be “affordable”. An ambitious target that the private sector has persistently FAILED to meet in Bristol and that they have little interest in meeting while they’re driven by a SHORT TERM PROFIT motive.

Quite why developers would suddenly start delivering these targets because the Green Party tell them to is anybodies’ guess. Especially when you consider that the local Greens’ favourite developer, URBIS, who have planning permission to build a tower block at St Catherine’s Place in Bedminster, are committed to delivering ZERO affordable or social housing there while waffling a lot about “sustainable housing”.

The other big question regarding this Green housing promise is where will they put all these homes? They are currently claiming they will build all of them on 91 HECTARES of city council land already identified in a council ‘Housing Land Prospectus‘ and that they will then “insist that MINIMUM DENSITY LEVELS are part of the deal for the future development of this land” according to Green mayoral candidate, Tony Dyer “Straits”.

However the council’s current plans for this land – mainly low quality OPEN SPACE on the outskirts of the city in the poorest areas – already proposes densities of over 70 people per hectare. While average density in Bristol is only 39 PEOPLE PER HECTARE.

The Greens’ proposals to pile 8,000 homes on to this land would therefore push densities up to around 250 – 300 PEOPLE PER HECTARE. An absurd level, way in excess of population densities in Horfield (54 people per hectare), Easton (92 pph) and Southville (49 pph) that the Greens have identified as desirable levels of population density.

The reality is that to deliver 8,000 homes in Bristol is going to take around 360 HECTARES of land, not the 90 currently on offer. This raises the question of where the Greens intend to build the rest of their homes?

However, not one to be outdone in the bullshit stakes, Labour’s Marvin “Luther” Rees is also promising to build 2,000 HOMES A YEAR by 2020. A similar amount to the Greens. Although he, also, has not identified the land he intends to build on.

The Bristolian’s advice is: watch out for your local green space. After May politicians might just want to give it away to their private developer friends …

NEW SCHOOL’S ROAD HELL

800_ashtongateprimaryschoolampmayor1-chrisbahn

The other side of the street: Mayor Cock-Up and friends opening Ashton Gate Primary

Much disquiet in Mayor Me-First’s SOUTHVILLE BACKYARD following the botched expansion of Ashton Gate Primary School into the old Imperial Tobacco offices on Upton Road.

Ashton Gate Primary School has now DOUBLED in size from a two-form intake to a four-form intake because of a population explosion in the leafy South Bristol suburb and the Upton Road site will eventually hold 480 children.

The original planning application proposed closing Upton Road as the school’s playground is on the OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD from the classrooms but this has not happened.

Instead, the council responded to objections from a few residents and people who use Upton road as an overflow car park by agreeing to leave the road OPEN to all traffic and promised to install some traffic calming measures instead.

The final planning decision states that the main reason for leaving Upton Road open to traffic was because of the loss of parking spaces and the fact that Upton Road is used as a diversion route when events are held at – wait for it … Mayor Self Serving’s TOBACCO FACTORY!

Some so-called traffic calming measures have been put in place although many parents are describing them as “PATHETIC“. One told us, “The ‘speed tables’ at either end of Upton road wouldn’t slow down a mobility scooter”!

Worse, there are no signs to warn drivers that a school is ahead and people driving past or through Upton Road are very confused indeed when they see HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN AND PARENTS flocking to an office block at 8.40am.

Neither have any crossing patrols been provided at either end of Upton Road nor yellow zig-zags have been kept to a MINIMUM in order to maximise the number of PARKING SPACES on the road.

Double yellow lines were still being painted onto the road on the Monday afternoon after the school had opened for the new term and the traffic calming measures appear to have been installed by a fly-by-night contractors as they resemble a “TARMAC TOUPEE“.

It has also become apparent that the classrooms at the front of the school cannot have any windows open because of TRAFFIC NOISE, which suggests it’s not a healthy site for a school unless the road is closed during school hours.

It’s also IMPOSSIBLE for any children to walk to school unaccompanied, which has always been seen as useful for year 6 children preparing to go to secondary school.

It’s blatantly obvious that the council have decided to prioritise pay parking meters for RPZ and supporting events at the Tobacco Factory above the safety of the children of Southville.

It’s not good enough. The Council must urgently agree to close Upton Road at least during school hours before there’s an accident…

Playing out at our expense?

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Well done to Alice Ferguson and Naomi Fuller, Director and Communications Director respectively of the hopelessly middle class Southville charity, PLAYING OUT, for delivering one of the best self-inflicted PR disasters we’ve ever seen.

A sort of Reclaim the Streets for the Cath Kidston set, this ridiculous charity blocks upmarket residential streets for a few hours every month so kids can get to play in the road “like we did in the old days”.

The two lovely Southville gals behind the charity, one of whom just happens to be Mayor Bent Trousers’ DAUGHTER, were given some space recently in the mayor’s new personal propaganda machine, the Bristol 24/7 website, to “set the record straight”.

What record ? Why was this record ever bent? What’s going on?

Playing Out wanted to assure us that the fairly LARGE SUMS of public money that have come the charity’s way from the council since daddy arrived on the hot seat at the Counts Louse is purely down to their brilliance and an overwhelming public need for middle class kids to access boutique retro play experiences.

What better possible way is there to spend public cash in this age of austerity? Especially while the mayor personally cuts real public services – where his relatives don’t work – to the bone.

“It’s funding which was ring-fenced for this kind of initiative. It doesn’t all just come out of one big pot, that’s not how it works,” the pair bleated to Bristol 24/7 while not bothering to explain how it did work.

“It’s two years before Bristol as a city even decided it wanted an elected mayor that Alice and Amy held their first playing out session,” the site wailed neatly sidestepping the issue of when their generous levels of funding began.

And then the coup de grace. A Bristol City Council PR is rustled up to RUBBERSTAMP the vacuous claims: “The Mayor has never been involved in a funding decision relating to Playing Out. He took office on November 19 2012, meaning the majority of funding decisions pre-date his time in office.”

Alas, within two hours of this bizarre PR manouevre – randomly denying any nepotism exists between the mayor and his daughter for no apparent reason  – an article had appeared from the mayor-watching Bristol News team rebutting the council’s and the charity’s claims.

Up to the Mayor’s election in 2012, Playing Out were paid by the council the fairly reasonable amount – for what they do – of £12,000. By the end of the Mayor’s first year in office that figure was £92,000!!!

That’s, almost, an EIGHT-FOLD increase and none of it from especially ring-fenced council funds for middle class mums with daft ideas in Southville so far as we can see.

So did this £92k not “come out of one big pot at the city council”? Who knows? Neither Playing Out nor 24/7 provide evidence one way or the other. Although the council’s published expenditure records do nothing to disabuse the public of the notion that Playing Out’s money did indeed just come out of one big pot at the council.

Now 24/7 and Playing Out have set the hare loose, this hugely embarrassing issue for the mayor looks set to run and run in the lead-up to next year’s mayoral election.

So who’s idea was it for Playing Out to go to the local media with a load of  partial information for us to pick over then?