Tag Archives: Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone



Bristol Arena - white elephant - Dru Marland

The budget for mayor “Uncle” George Ferguson’s major VANITY PROJECT and RE-ELECTION STRATEGY is spiralling dangerously out of control.

Despite efforts from the mayor to GAG councillors from revealing the financial shambles, we know that CANCELLATION of any on-site car parking and the LOSS of revenue has smashed a £10m-sized budget black hole into mayor’s £90m Arena project.

Meanwhile a council Scrutiny Committee in August UNCOVERED a further £4m worth of costs for the project, pushing the total budget up to at least £94m.

Now it’s been revealed that the owners of the land, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), are DEMANDING payment for their land, which the council had originally claimed would be a freebie. The HCA are believed to want around £4m for the land.

So just a year into the project and costs have been already pushed up by around NINE PER CENT to £98m before a shovel’s got anywhere near the site. The total FUNDING GAP for the project is now at least £18m and this will have to be met by council taxpayers and through cuts to services already being hammered by austerity.

Concerns have also been expressed about other aspects of Uncle George’s funding proposals. He claims £53m will come from the City Deal ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUND.

A complicated mechanism based on borrowing against any increased receipts from business rates in the TEMPLE QUARTER ENTERPRISE ZONE. At present there’s little sign of much growth in these receipts, which leaves Bristol council taxpayers, as lenders of the last resort, to pick up that tab too.

Uncle George claims a further £38m of funding will come from rental and operating income from the arena. Although this figure has been described to us as “VERY AMBITIOUS” and, again, any shortfall will have to be met by the council taxpayer.

Uncle George, however, remains wedded to his basketcase project, which was one of the few actual promises he made in his election campaign. Delivering an arena, regardless of cost, may also be the only chance this highly unpopular mayor has of getting RE-ELECTED.

So worried is Uncle George about these PRECARIOUS FINANCES being revealed, he got his useless new legal boss SANJAY “UNDER” PRASHAR to invent a so-called ‘BLANKET EXEMPT STATUS’ gag to stop anyone discussing them.

Uncle George now has also removed the responsibility for the arena from the council’s PLACE SCRUTINY COMMISSION who had been asking some tricky questions and given it to the friendlier OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMISSION.

The commission’s Labour Chair, STEVE PEARCE, has already been quoted as saying “I won’t be pushing the mayor too hard on this.”

Thanks Steve. Nice to know you’re looking after us so well.


Looks like Mayor Fergo’s increasingly isolated and absurd Chief Exec NICOLA ‘LADY GAGA’ YATES has managed to piss of a lot of her staff who’ve been dispatched to ABU GHRAIB, her ugly new City Council headquarters on Temple Street.

Now Gaga has announced that 155 of these staff, having been forcibly removed from the so-called Park View Campus in Hengrove to this new hellhole HQ, are to be MOVED BACK AGAIN after just a few months to make way for Gaga and her entourage who’ve decided they want the space temporarily while the Council House is refurbished.

The BRISTOLIAN understands that horrifying snob Gaga rejected out of hand a temporary move to Hengrove, insisting she needed to be near the ‘Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone’ (see issue #4.5) and what she calls the “business community”. Although an insider told us, “to be honest, I think she just likes hanging around wealthy people, and there’s not many of them in Hengrove.”

Staff who are being forced to make way for Gaga and her growing gang of OVERPAID HANGERS-ON are said to be fuming. We’ve heard of at least two who sold their cars once they no longer needed to travel to south Bristol every day. What happens to them now? Will Gaga compensate them?

And how much has this pointless escapade cost the council taxpayer?


Ian Collinson: Bristol's impartial eco-voice

Great news. Our local regional quango, the WEST OF ENGLAND PARTNERSHIP – made up of the four ‘CUBAN’ (Counties that Used to Be Avon) councils – has appointed a new CONsultant! So give a big warm Bristolian welcome to IAN COLLINSON, who’s been put in sole charge of the West of England Nature Partnership on a consultancy basis with the strapline “doing nature differently”.

And he’s not wrong there. The WEST OF ENGLAND NATURE PARTNERSHIP is one of 48 Local Nature Partnerships set up by the ConDem government. They’re supposed to safeguard local natural environments and advise local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, such as the one here in Bristol running the stillborn Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, on the environment and nature conservation. Particularly on matters arising out of major building developments…

Most of the Partnerships across the country, therefore, are being run by environmental, conservation and wildlife organisations who have the necessary experience, expertise and skills in environmental and nature conservation matters. Former Bristol City Council town planner Collinson, however, has an entirely different skillset. A brief glance of his CV reveals his experience is in large-scale corporate development!

Among the highlights of a resumé that has earned him this CONsultancy, we find the former BCC senior planning officer boasting of “delivering consents for some of Bristol’s biggest city centre regeneration schemes” such as Temple Quarter and the £255m Finzels Reach development on the old Courage Brewery site. While a further undoubted environmental highlight of Ian’s career is his work for, umm, HINKLEY POINT NUCLEAR POWER PLANT!

So be sure to keep an eye out for Ian’s highly objective and insightful environmental advice whenever any developers come calling with a new plan for the city.

After all, there’s no way he’s just a corporate developers’ patsy, is there?