The council’s PR department, under the hapless management of thicko public sector PR, Tim “Zombie” Borrett, has popped out from under the stone it’s been hiding beneath, taken careful aim at its own foot and fired off a comment on THE GREAT SIEGE OF RICHMOND TERRACE.
These giants of communication thundered to Bristol 24/7 on Wednesday:
“During the course of the occupation the illegal occupiers have raised a number of issues around the sale of council houses, and the condition of the house on Richmond Terrace, that we would like to address. The decision was made to take the property to auction following a structural report that revealed structural damage, which would be uneconomic for the council to repair.
“Costs to bring the property up to the standard we aspire to for council houses were estimated in excess of £35,000, which meant the council took the decision to take the property to auction in accordance with current practice.”
Unfortunately for Zombie Borrett and his brain dead gang of strategic communicators, however, someone else in the council had released this so-called “structural report” on Tuesday under Freedom of Information legislation and it casts their confident claims in a somewhat DIFFERENT LIGHT.
The so-called ‘structural report’ is a half page that runs to just 224 words. It’s on unheaded paper and is neither signed nor dated. So who produced this piece of UNDERWHELMING DROSS and when?
All the ‘report’ tells us is that ‘Carlos’ (presumably a reference to council in-house structural surveyor Carlos De Lima?) visited the property briefly at an UNKNOWN time and date and then telephoned the mystery author of the ‘structural report’ at another UNKNOWN time and date.
Carlos’s brief verbal comments – anonymously reported second hand – do NOT make a compelling case that the property is structurally unsound as the council’s PRs claim. The only identified PROBLEM is that the loft conversion – where the bathroom is located – built by the council in the first place, is “an insubstantial build” and “not a liveable space”.
This is NOT “structural damage” to the property as claimed by the council’s PR drones then. It simply means the quality of the council’s own workmanship doesn’t, apparently, meet their own standards.
The ‘report’ then goes on to provide a GUESSTIMATE of £30k (not £35k as claimed by the PRs) to move the bathroom and upgrade the loft space to a standard the council now requires from itself since installing a new bathroom in the loft sometime in the last six months.
How is this “uneconomic”? An investment of £30k – in a property that will command a rent of at least £5k a year and rising over the next 20 years, while housing a family in need that would cost us £12k a year in temporary accommodation – seems reasonable.
Indeed, at this LOW PRICE quoted, you could turn this ‘structural report’s’ conclusion and Zombie Borrett’s PR claim on its head and say, “it is difficult to see the value in disposing of this property”.
It’s also revealing to look at the METADATA contained in the Microsoft Word document that the council published their ‘structural report’ in.
While it’s not possible to discern when this ‘structural report’ document was first created as the creation date is listed as 24/05/2016 15:39 – the time and date the document was uploaded to the internet – it is possible to discover some information about the CREATION of this document.
For example, we know the document was created by Peter “Mary” Quantick, a boss in the council’s housing department. If we assume he is the AUTHOR of the report, this raises the question as to why a ‘structural report’ appears to have been directly produced by a manager who also might make a decision about the property’s future based on the content of the report.
The metadata also tells us that this document has NEVER been printed at any point in its existence. This seems ODD as the report would have had to be viewed by a number of managers within the council to get the sale of the property SIGNED OFF. Did no one print a copy for this purpose?
This contrasts with some of the more LEGITIMATE looking Word documents released at the same time under FoI.
For example, the document called ‘FOI MAYOR BRIEFING NOTE1.docx’ – a report prepared for the mayor to view – was last printed 22/03/2016 at 12:31. While the document ‘FOI PSS broad strategy Cabinet 15th July.doc’ was last printed 27/06/2003 at 16:52.
To add to this overwhelming sense of DODGY CONDUCT from Mary Quantick and his team, the council’s FoI team also helpfully published a real Bristol City Council structural survey report on another property, 148 City Road. And the difference is remarkable.
This report runs to 44 pages, is on headed paper and is signed and dated 9 December 2015 by Carlos De Lima, Structural Engineer. A glance at its metadata tells us it was created on 10 12 2015 and modified on 24 05 2016 when it was published on the internet.
The CONTRAST with Mary Quantick’s half page anonymous ‘structural report’ is significant. Indeed so shit is Quantick’s report, it’s difficult to understand how he and his fellow managers could make a coherent decision regarding the sale of a PUBLIC ASSET based on it.
The decision to sell 44 Richmond Terrace is quite obviously BENT and this Mary Quantick chancer in the housing department is a fucking CROOK who should be should be DISMISSED. If Quantick doesn’t like what we have to say about him, the BENT twat is welcome to try and sue us.
Onwards and upwards!