Tag Archives: YTL

JET SET TROUGH JOY

JET SET TROUGH JOY

The Reverend and the corporate land sales team he’s expensively assembled continue to impressively piss public money up against the wall while the rest of us are forced to tolerate austerity because “THERE’S NO MONEY”. The latest wheeze from the Reverend and his crew is another all-expenses trip to Cannes for that annual abomination, MIPIM: “the international gathering of property sharks” (surely “property professionals”? Ed).

A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST reveals that this year’s four day jolly to the Cote D’Azure for the UNACCOUNTABLE to shift our assets to the UNPALATABLE cost council taxpayers almost £12k.

Accompanying the Reverend at our expense was our dear old friend Colin “Head Boy” Molton, the £1,500 a day regeneration boss without a proper contract of employment; Nuala “Hoop” Gallagher, Director of City Growth, Investment & Infrastructure at the council and the Reverend’s handpicked RELIGIOUS LOONEY FRIEND from his Hotwells church for evangelical nutters, Jeremy “I’m no housing expert” Sweetland, the Director of Bristol Housing Festival, keen on shoving the poor into small, airless boxes to solve “the housing crisis”.

The £12k bill this little lot landed us with included rooms for each delegate at around £800 A NIGHT for three nights and a £200 TAXI FARE to get Head Boy from Nice Airport to Cannes following his premium £900 FLIGHT from the UK. Presumably because a man as idle and important as Head Boy can’t possibly get a bus to save us some money?

At the conference the group served up top nosh, drinks and hospitality at a variety of events and receptions on behalf of some very FAMILIAR INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE NAMES doing some very good business in Bristol – YTL, Skanska and Arup. Schmoozing services were also provided to local outfits such as Business West, property company Savills and the Merchant Venturer front organisation, Invest in Bath and Bristol.

And the point of all this? Who knows? Any purpose and outcome of these expensive trips is, always, shrouded in mystery and not revealed to the plebs who foot the bill.

MARVIN’S MARVELOUS MANIFESTO

Manifesto

Keeping his manifesto promises was always going to be challenging for the Reverend Rees, not least because we calculated at the time that it contained about 78 UNCOSTED PROMISES in all. However, what we couldn’t predict was how the Reverend would smash through any BARRIERS TO FAILURE quite so spectacularly.

Top of the list must come his promise to “COMPLETE THE ARENA“, which has now been downgraded to, “I will cancel the existing arena project I promised and instead support a global corporation’s efforts to build an arena in Filton named after an obscure dead bloke who owned our local privatised water utility scam”.

Meanwhile in terms of the Reverend’s highly contested housing promise – “WE WILL BUILD 2,000 NEW HOMES – 800 affordable – a year (by 2020)” – his housing guru, Paul “Wolfie” Smith continues to carefully calibrate the spin with the line that his PROJECTIONS are on target … Even if the actual number of houses being built isn’t!

Then there’s the recycling promise. The Reverend’s recently promoted former waste boss, The Former Socialist Known as Kye Dudd simply CHANGED THE TARGET and hoped no one would notice. We will “increase recycling, setting a target of 55% for all waste by 2020,” thundered the Reverend’s manifesto in 2016.

Fast forward to 2019 and we find The Former Socialist Known as Dudd’s waste overseer, Bristol Waste managing director Tony Lawless telling the Nazi Post, “We are delighted to see Bristol is on track to meet its ambitious RECYCLING RATE OF 50 PER CENT BY 2020.”

The comment came after the Reverend’s council managed to announce in January a measly ONE PER CENT increase in recycling rates since 2015 to 46%. Nothing like enough of an increase to reach 50 per cent, never mind 55 per cent, by 2020 as promised in their manifesto.

Have Rees and Dudd changed their promise in a vain attempt to claim they have courageously fallen a little short of a hugely ambitious target and hope we’ll not notice?

ARENA CONFLICT: CLOWN PRINCE

bristolarenaindex

Nigel “Independent” Greenhalgh’s blatant CONFLICT OF INTEREST was raised by Tory councillor Geoff “Cods” Gollop at the cabinet meeting on 3 September. The meeting where the Reverend cancelled the Temple Island Arena in favour of an office development on the site.

Cods Gollop was given a note by the Reverend’s NEW CLOWN PRINCE of the council’s legal department, “Uncle” Quentin Baker, another temp brought in to oversee a senior post of some significance in Rees’s administration.

And in a classic NON-DENIAL DENIAL, Uncle Quentin explained to Gollop: “The relevant officer [Greenhlagh] has confirmed that he hasn’t previously been employed by YTL as was alleged in the press and [a council] scrutiny meeting.”

Er, except no such thing was ever alleged in the press. The allegation was that Greenhalgh had worked for CRIBBS PATCHWAY NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD and was still working for CRIBBS URBAN VILLAGE. Both organisations that stood to gain from an arena at Filton.

This piece of non-denial denial bollocks from Uncle Quentin seems to have satisfied most Bristol City Councillors. Most Bristolians, however, are in a state of ABSOLUTE DISBELIEF that Greenhalgh has been paid by them to produce a report TRASHING their arena at Temple Island and promoting one at Filton, when he stands to financially benefit from the decision.

Again, in many countries, The Reverend, Head Boy and Greenhalgh would now be spending a considerable amount of time with law enforcement agencies DISCUSSING CORRUPTION.

Unfortunately the UK is not one of those countries.

ARENA CONFLICT: MAKING GREENHALGH

bristolarenaindex

Nigel “Independent” Greenhalgh, the council’s ‘Arena Director’ produced the official council cabinet report recommending that the Reverend SCRAP plans for an arena at Temple Meads in favour of a mixed use development. Advice the Reverend happily accepted on September 3.

Naturally Greenhalgh, as is the way at the Reverend’s council, isn’t actually an employee of Bristol City Council. Instead he’s a WELL-REMUNERATED CONSULTANT operating through a service company, which sounds like a shit early 90s rave act – ELEV8.

It’s well worth noting some of elev8’s past and present clients. For example, according to the company’s website, elev8 represented ‘CRIBBS PATCHWAY NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD’, the group of landowners who masterplanned, along with South Gloucestershire Council, the proposed development of Filton airfield. The very neighbourhood where Malaysian corporation, YTL, now wish to put an arena!

Also, according to elev8’s website, they continue to work for DEELEY FREED – who have an option on ‘CRIBBS URBAN VILLAGE‘, a development site in the Filton area. Greenhalgh and his firm are therefore an interested party in siting an arena at Filton and the effect this might have on land and property prices there.

What this all means is that Greenhalgh, his company elev8 and his clients in Filton may make a LOT OF MONEY from cancelling the arena at Temple Meads and promoting one at Filton instead.

What better person than Greehalgh is there, then, to write an INDEPENDENT REPORT for the Reverend and his cabinet asking them to SCRAP an arena at Temple Meads and start PROMOTING Filton as the ideal venue!

What do you mean conflict of interest?

ARENA CONFLICT: HEAD BOY TAKES OVER

bristolarenaindex

With Barra Mac Nugget safely employed at YTL, a new face appeared on the scene at Bristol City Council. Please step forward Colin “HEAD BOY” Molton, a former director at the HCA, the quango that sold Arena Island to Bristol City Council in the first place.

Initially employed as a temp to cover Mac Nugget’s post until a permanent replacement was found, Head Boy Molton was eventually handed the job to sort out Bristol’s arena on a SHORT-TERM CONTRACT basis, apparently without the hassle of having to go through any FORMAL RECRUITMENT PROCESS. Instead, Head Boy cut a deal with Bristol City Council to continue in his £1.5k a day post until May 2020 Conveniently enough, when the Reverend will likely be voted out of office.

Such a deal is, of course, outside all KNOWN PRINCIPLES of good employment practice and contrary to Bristol City Council’s constitution and equalities policies. How can an old white man with a chartered surveying qualification and a useful contacts book simply be handed a highly paid senior job at Bristol City Council without going through a COMPETITIVE RECRUITMENT PROCESS?

Since taking up his post, Molton has been glued to the Reverend’s side. Even attending the annual property development piss-up (surely networking event? Ed.), MIPIM in Cannes with the Reverend where the pair MET WITH YTL on at least TWO OCCASIONS.

However, perhaps Head Boy’s most interesting piece of handiwork – so far – was to employ yet another EXPENSIVE CONSULTANT as his ‘Arena Director’.

Please step forward, Nigel “Independent” Greenhalgh …

ARENA CONFLICTS: MAC NUGGET’S REVOLVING DOOR

bristolarenaindex

It’s a matter of PUBLIC RECORD, published in the The Nazi Post, that Barra Mac “Nugget” left his £136k a year job at Bristol City Council to work for YTL Developments as Chief Operating Officer on 5 May 2017.

However, emails published under FoI, courtesy of Frank Church, show Mac Nugget, still a senior city council boss with responsibility for the arena, arranging a SECRET MEETING in an UPMARKET BRISTOL HOTEL BAR with a representative of YTL for the 18 April. This meeting was “about the potential for using one of the HANGARS AT FILTON” as an arena and “HOTEL AND CONFERENCING AT TEMPLE MEADS“. Mac Nugget even asks the unknown YTL rep “can we keep this [meeting] as a one to one please”?

So, while serving out his NOTICE with Bristol City Council, Mac Nugget met his future employer to directly discuss SENSITIVE LAND AND FINANCIAL ISSUES with them on behalf of Bristol City Council, while going to great lengths to ensure that there were no witnesses to this meeting and no minutes.

In many countries Mac Nugget would now be spending a considerable amount of time with law enforcement agencies discussing CORRUPTION, conflicts of interest and the exchange of inside information. Unfortunately the UK is not one of those countries.

Instead, Mac Nugget moved on this spring from YTL to Bristol University on another FAT SALARY to manage the university’s Estates Department. In this post he’ll be responsible for delivering a new campus directly opposite, er, Arena Island.

The purpose of Mac Nugget’s year long stint with YTL remains shrouded in mystery as does any generous remuneration arrangements he may have had with them.

ARENA CONFLICTS: A TANGLED WEB

bristolarenaindex

Thanks to the hard work of a MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC, Frank Church, a number of emails between Bristol City Council and Malaysian multinational, YTL, potential developers of an arena at Filton were finally released under FoI in August. This saw, even, the Nazi Post bothering to read some emails in brief flurry of investigative activity courtesy of their local government correspondent, the fragrant Esme “DAN” Ashcroft.

“During the second of three extraordinary scrutiny meetings on June 20,” explained Ms Ashcroft, “Liberal Democrat councillor for Knowle Gary Hopkins asked when council officers were told to start drawing up plans for a MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT on Temple Island.”

Colin “Head Boy” Molton, the reverend’s PERSONALLY APPOINTED £1.5k a day regeneration chief replied to Hopkins: “It was around LATE AUTUMN last year when the YTL proposition came to the fore.”

However, observes Ms Ashcroft, “Freedom of Information (FoI) documents seen by Bristol Live reveal a SENIOR COUNCIL OFFICER was exchanging emails with Malaysian investment firm YTL LAST APRIL about the prospect of an arena in the Brabazon hangar at Filton Airfield.”

The senior council officer exchanging these emails was former Bristol City Council Strategic Director Place, Barra Mac “NUGGET” Ruairi, the man personally running Bristol’s arena project until he went to work for YTL, the opposition. But why was the Reverend’s personal property expert (troughing around £200k a year off the rates) Colin “HEAD BOY” Molton telling porkies about these emails?

Perhaps Ms Ashcroft should have paid a little more attention to Mac Nugget’s emails and the dates they contain? (To be continued …)

REES: DEAD AS A DODO

REES- DEAD AS A DODO

The decision by the Reverend Rees to SCRAP the arena at Temple Island finally puts a rubber stamp on the worst kept secret in the city. The Reverend finally revealed his hand on 3 September, after two years of arsing about, when he condemned the Temple Meads arena as “AN UNDELIVERABLE VANITY PROJECT”.

Instead the Reverend has opted for pension fund, Legal & General, to create a mixed-use development scheme including a conference centre for Bristol University on the EXTREMELY VALUABLE site adjacent to Temple Meads station. Sketches of plans so far produced by Legal & General have been unfavourably compared to “the worst kind of municipal scheme from the 1960s”.

Now the job of building an arena for Bristol falls to Malaysian multi-national, YTL Developments, who own the Brabazon Hangar in Filton and claim it can be converted into a state of the art 15,000 seat arena. However, there are NO GUARANTEES that the company, chaired in the UK by notorious wheeler-dealer, Merchant Venturer and Tory donor, Colin “Tory Boy” Skellett, will ever deliver an arena.

The saga of Rees and the Temple Island arena has dragged on for nearly two and a half years ever since he was elected on a clear manifesto promise to “COMPLETE THE ARENA“.  Since that commitment in spring 2016, Rees has promised an arena at Temple Island on numerous occasions while persistently delaying the “shovel ready scheme” at every opportunity.

This was a project where the design had been COMPLETED; funding had been AGREED and allocated; full planning permission was IN PLACE; the contract to build the thing had been AWARDED; operators to run the place had been CHOSEN and they’d even built the bridge across to the island so that access to the site was easier for the builders.

Now it’s BACK TO SQUARE ONE for the project on a new site at Filton, under new management and reliant on massive public funding to create the transport links that will make this private sector-led project viable.

The Temple Island site, probably the MOST VALUABLE piece of development land in the UK outside London, has now been handed over to pension fund, Legal & General to develop a high-rise mixed use development. Although – so far – Rees has been UNABLE to produce any evidence of a tender or bidding process for this prize city asset. Instead Legal & General appear to have been handed our land on the nod from Rees. We will report further on this SCANDAL as it unfolds in the coming months.

For Rees, this decision may be end of the line for this UNDERPERFORMING FLOP of a mayor. Bristol Labour Party bosses and members are openly discussing deselection while the rest of the city not only wants rid of Rees but the WHOLE MAYORAL SYSTEM.

Will Rees’s legacy be the scrapping of the mayoral system in Bristol at the earliest opportunity? We think so.

“THE NIHILIST MOB” vs “FORENSIC JOURNALISM”

The Reverend’s own legal team inform him that Bristol City Council would only have “50:50” chance of winning a legal action if the current arena contractors for Temple Meads pursue Bristol City Council in the courts for abandoning the project.

The Bristolian, 1 September 2018

Due to the lack of information available, the experts said it must assume the council has a “50:50 chance of defending” a claim.

Evening Post, 7 September 2018

ARENA: LEGAL ADVICE BOMBSHELL

A friend of The BRISTOLIAN, who has had sight of the highly CONFIDENTIAL legal advice produced by Bristol City Council for the mayor regarding Tuesday’s arena decision, has been in touch.

This legal advice, which has only been made available to the MAYOR, his supine LABOUR CABINET and a small group of councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission, has been kept well away from us plebs.

And for good reason. The Reverend’s own legal team inform him that Bristol City Council would only have “50:50” chance of winning a legal action if the current arena contractors for Temple Meads pursue Bristol City Council in the courts for abandoning the project.

The likely financial risk to the council is in in the TENS OF MILLIONS the report says.  Further advice clearly says that the council should engage with the Temple Meads contractors to seek to reduce the RISK OF LEGAL ACTION before publicly announcing any decision not to proceed with the arena.

Will we get another fudged decision from the Reverend on Tuesday or will he brazenly embark on a course of action helpful to his new Malaysian corporate friends likely to cost us tens of millions in the courts?