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European match : Council Asset giveaway Chiefs vs European commission trade Defenders. Venue Brussels.

October 27, 2010
European Trade defence

European trade defence mission statement

The EU anti-subsidy rules define a subsidy as “a financial contribution made by (or on behalf of) a government or public body which confers a benefit to the recipient”.

Looks like the council policy of giving away prime construction land to favoured companies/individuals may be in breach of European law.

Handing over a large chunk of  allotments and car-park for a private development of exclusive housing and Hypermarket filling station is not the brightest idea to emerge from the Lib-Dem cabinet. Can’t blame the new Stadium Company aka Lansdown for hedging up the deal. All he has to do is give cut-price membership of his gym for a few years and a couple of days free rent on his Grand Hall.

Did anyone consider this may be breaking the law (or are they blinded by world-cup fever?). Giving an unfair, uncompetitive advantage to Lansdowns gym by virtue of a state subsidy is likely to be frowned upon by the European rules by which our free trade has to subscribe to. Other gyms that do not receive the subsidy will be at a trading disadvantage. Ditto the community halls and hotels that will have to compete with state-subsidised conference rooms of the new stadium, and may be forced under.

What a stupid disreputable deal, unbelievable. Typical of matey, back-scratching discussions in secret behind closed doors, probably over a long liquid refreshed dinner. A democratic open public debate over land/asset gifts would have avoided this embarrassing situation.

Now the berks are going to look red-faced with the good name of the council possibly listed in the investigations of the European Union along with Russia and China.

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60 Comments
  1. bobS permalink
    October 28, 2010 7:49 am

    Hi

    The 3 major allegations of the breach of “state aid” rules are:

    1. the gross undervaluation of the land at about half its true value

    2. the gross overvaluation of the community benefits exchanged for the land (by not taking into account the benefit to BCFC from giving the benefits and the detriment to the competitors)

    3. the fact that all these misvaluations were made internally by BCC when the law requires external valuation when the open market is not being used.

  2. October 28, 2010 8:40 am

    Thanks for the details. God knows why they decided to dispose of these valuable assets without going through the normal honest open bidding or sealed tender route. Internal valuations are handy and cosy but open to abuse. The soon to be skint council could get a bin-full more cash in the real world.

  3. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    October 28, 2010 8:42 am

    And without public consultation.

  4. bobS permalink
    October 28, 2010 9:18 am

    Valuing the gym and conference room “discount vouchers” at full value is particularly bizarre.

    It surprising they did not also include the full value of some Sainsbury’s 2-for-1 offers on its value meals range and the 5 pence/litre off petrol when you spend more than £30 at the store.

  5. bobS permalink
    October 28, 2010 9:27 am

    The EU law does not require public consultation. However, it does require that the EU be informed every time a publically owned asset is disposed of for “community benefits”.

    This did not occur in this case (the council officers declared that it was not necessary) and is a 4th allegation of breach of the “state aid” rules.

  6. Williams Peaks permalink
    October 28, 2010 9:56 am

    Does anybody know what happened with the Secretary of State referral that BCC proposed?

  7. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 28, 2010 10:24 am

    well if the village green goes through it won’t matter as the land will be worthless anyway. the council are getting services (for free) which they are currently spending our tax on. it’s better for Bristol citizens. this way we get world class facilities bringing investment and money into the city and the council will be making a huge saving ( lots more than the sod all they are making out of the scrub land ATM aka zilch)

  8. harryT permalink
    October 28, 2010 10:39 am

    This EU matters concerns BCCs decision to give away the Alderman Moores allotment site and the car park at Ashton Gate to the company that owns BCFC’s land and stadiums. I’m not sure that decision was ever going to be referred to the Sec of State (but I may be wrong).

    The decision to permit the same company to build on greenbelt land at Ashton Vale was referred but not called in by the Sec iof State.

  9. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 28, 2010 1:19 pm

    surely if it Is bordered by development on three sides it isn’t greenbelt, green belt wraps around cities it doesn’t stick into it, that’s just undeveloped land ( undeveloped due to it being a / next to a, land fill site until recently)

  10. Williams Peaks permalink
    October 28, 2010 3:55 pm

    Yes, I was referring to disposal of land and property interests.

    “Secretary of State Consent
    Specific consent must be obtained from the Secretary of State for
    disposals of land where the difference between the value of the land
    and the payment received is greater than £2,000,000 (two million
    pounds).

    The financial value of the community benefits being provided mean that
    this is not the sort of arrangement that must be referred to the
    Secretary of State. Nonetheless, as a matter of good practice and in
    order to provide further assurance of the lawfulness of the
    arrangements, an application will be made to obtain Secretary of State
    consent.”

    http://www.bristol.gov.uk/committee/2010/ua/ua000/0722_6.pdf

  11. October 28, 2010 8:07 pm

    I suppose the secretary of State for home office currently Theresa May will get a full copy delivered to her desk.
    In July 1827, the secretary of State for the home department was Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne.

    Correction -not important enough to land on Theresa’s desk :it will be the The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, the rotund but no less interesting sec. of state for communities and local government. With a famous appetite to match his name, a recent speech mentioning ‘salami slicing’ services, he highlights concerns that ‘Town halls are letting money slip through their fingers’
    http://www.communities.gov.uk/speeches/corporate/townhallwaste

    He’ll be very interested in the cut-price gym membership.

  12. harryT permalink
    October 29, 2010 7:31 am

    You mean greenbelts can only run in straight lines – what a bizarre idea.

    Its on the edge of the city, on the border with Somerset and it is registered greenbelt. FACT as they like to say on other sites.

  13. harryT permalink
    October 29, 2010 7:39 am

    What another bizarre post.

    1.Alderman Moores is not on the Ashton Vale greenbelt/SNCI wetlands/proposed stadium site. It is further in to Ashton Vale. It is allotment land.

    2. Further, Town Green status will not effect the value of the Ashton Vale land. The land was bought as greenbelt/agricultural land/wetlands and that is what it will remain. The landfill with buuilder’s rubble was aimed at imporving the agricultyural value of the land (bizarre it may seem but that is what the application for the license claims). It is true that the landowner will not now make a profit on the land value but that is what happens when you make a speculative purchase.

    3. “the council are getting services (for free) which they are currently spending our tax on” – this doesn’t make any sense at all. How can BCC spend tax on something they are getting for free ? And what are they geting for free anyway ?

    4. I have not seen anyone on this website argue against a stadium. Just put it on brownfield land near existing major roads (e.g. Temple Meads, Severnside, Hartcliffe are the three major suggestions). But his is off-topic. We are talking about giving away £10million of council assets to a privately oswned corporation at a time when cuts are effecting us all.

  14. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 29, 2010 4:00 pm

    ” “the council are getting services (for free) which they are currently spending our tax on” – this doesn’t make any sense at all. How can BCC spend tax on something they are getting for free ? And what are they geting for free anyway ? ”

    -What I was saying was…. (with this deal) they have given (sort of, but not really ) land that they are currently making no use / money out of, to a cause where they will make a big saving due to the facilities they will get to use for free. where at the moment they are spending money (our council tax) to private firms for these services.

    “1.Alderman Moores is not on the Ashton Vale greenbelt/SNCI wetlands/proposed stadium site. It is further in to Ashton Vale. It is allotment land.”

    -unused/unwanted allotment land adjoining to the stadium site. the worth of this land is nought unless it is developed ( that wont happen outside of the stadium plans due to it being to small for any developer to consider IMO. as an unwanted allotment site it will not sell for even a fraction of he prices stated further up this page.

    “Further, Town Green status will not effect the value of the Ashton Vale land. The land was bought as greenbelt/agricultural land/wetlands and that is what it will remain. The landfill with buuilder’s rubble was aimed at imporving the agricultyural value of the land (bizarre it may seem but that is what the application for the license claims). It is true that the landowner will not now make a profit on the land value but that is what happens when you make a speculative purchase.”

    -Personally I dont think the town Green laws should be abused / open to abuse and I can only see situations like this eventually damaging to real loved and historical town greens when the law is changed.
    That quote certainly is bizarre you are right I fail to see how asbestos etc… could improve agriculture but hey people will say many things to get their way… maybe the impact on the local agriculture of this landfill should be investigated. but as you say this is not the discussion subject lets leave it.

    “I have not seen anyone on this website argue against a stadium. Just put it on brownfield land near existing major roads (e.g. Temple Meads, Severnside, Hartcliffe are the three major suggestions). But his is off-topic. We are talking about giving away £10million of council assets to a privately oswned corporation at a time when cuts are effecting us all.”

    – Bristol City Bring in alot of money to the city and therefore have a big impact on communites and local businesses, Here the benefits of building on “greenBelt”(again I don’t see how green belt can stick into a city but i’ll leave it) land far outway the cons, Not only will it rejuvenate a forgotten area of South Bristol but is also just a five minute walk from The Clubs Current base, this means many local businesses that rely on that football fans trade will not have the carpet pulled out from under their feet.
    Bristol City are and always have been a South Bristol club and due to the current / proposed stadium many fans (including me) can walk to and from Games (most of the people that drive come from North Somerset and therefore cannnot walk to matches. To Build Bristol Citys stadium at Templemeads would not only rip the soul of south Bristol away but force many people (including me) to drive to matches therefore causing much more damage (if not environmentally then traffic wise).
    As for your other sugestions Severnside… really??
    I dont know if you remember Bristol City did some years ago have plans to build at hartcliffe these were butchered by the insistance that Rovers play there, then Rugby was added in, then Speedway was suggested by the Gas and council…. the plans were then thrown out due to the noise that speedway would make… We did try, and there were many more objectors to those plans then there have been to this.
    Finally as I have said land is only worth what someone will pay for it and 10million is wildly optimistic.

  15. Still Waters permalink
    October 29, 2010 6:10 pm

    I just needed to ask (sorry to butt in):

    ‘the worth of this land is nought unless it is developed’

    ‘land is only worth what someone will pay for it and 10million is wildly optimistic.’

    Do you know how much Mr Lansdown spent on the land that wasn’t handed to him on a plate? I mean that area of farm grazing, that ‘worthless’ greenbelt landfill?

  16. Deano permalink
    October 29, 2010 6:17 pm

    So £10m is a wildly optimistic figure for the 4 hectares of land at Alderman Moore’s plus the 1/2 hectare of land that the council owns at Ashton Gate?

    Meanwhile BCFC are planning to sell their 4 hectares of land at Ashton Gate for……£23 million. A proposal to raise £8-12m from the Ashton Gate site as a mixed-use development has also been published.

    Alderman Moore’s is a greenfield site, Ashton Gate is a brownfield site with a stadium on it that will have to be demolished. Usually greenfield sites are more attractive to developers so £10m would not seem to as wildly optimistic as Brian seems to think.

  17. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 29, 2010 7:47 pm

    no I do not know how much lansdown paid for his land but as it is in a good location with good scope for an access road from a fairly main road that many of the football fans use to get from their homes in North Somerset to the football it is prime development land and would I imagine catch a fairly pretty penny. take this land out of the equation and try to sell alderman moores allotments for development alone and I would say they would not get the interest to raise that sum of cash yes. This is because there is very little scope for access. and the cost of developing that land, in that space, with that poor access, would mean the development would have to bring in a very high income to turn a profit, and profit is the only reason anyone else would want to buy and develop the land.

    As for why This land would get much less than Ashton gate when they are similar sizes is many fold; As above access is a good starting point The ashton Gate site has two very good existing access points meaning that the Scope for development in both design and cost are immeadiatly improved. another thing to remember is what Ashton gates 23million sale is for, A super market, this could not be built at the Alderman Moores site due to among other things no main roads to the site, no seperate access for goods trucks and the fact they would not get planning permission as no-one in Ashton vale would want that sort of traffic outside their houses. Another reason is location Ashton gate share an access road with an existing retail park big retail chains would want to be here instead of tucked behind car showrooms and off the main road.
    The two sites though similar size are incomparable when it comes to worth for development despite previous development.

    What would people rather the allotments were sold/used for?? I’d much prefer it to be a stadium (and hopefully arena) for Bristolians to enjoy than another car showroom or Bathroom Discount Centre.

  18. October 29, 2010 8:31 pm

    If the allotment land owned by the people of Bristol is to be given away then it should be given to the citizens of Bristol as allotments for them to grow nice tasty food on. Massive current waiting list for plots (3 years).
    If to be sold then true market value by tender or sealed bid or auction, whatever is better than the crooked backroom deal of reduced price gym membership for x years.

  19. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 29, 2010 9:53 pm

    not in this area. very few people want to travel over the city to their allotments.

    the land has not Been used as allotments for a long time and no one cared or raised any objections and now you are desperate for it.
    also I don’t think that BCFC asked for this land for free, and it was hardly a backroom deal and seems a very good deal if you look at it in a balanced way. this land wasn’t even in the public eye before and was sitting there making no money, serving no use to the community and no one cared a jot.

    so suddenly from arguing that the land is worth millions and that we are missing out on that investment in the city, you would rather we give the land away as allotments gaining even less from the land and only benefiting a few (as of yet) non existant veg growers instead of the thousands of football fans that go to watch Bristol city play every week.

  20. Richard Lane permalink
    October 29, 2010 11:22 pm

    Temple Meads is not a large enough site for the proposed stadium, let alone the planned expansion for WC matches, so forget it.
    Still waters would have people believe it is large enough and uses it as some sort of smoke screen to win support for not having the stadium at Ashton Vale.
    Harry T always suggests having the stadium on Brownfield sites, such as severnside which really is a non starter (ask Rovers). He would also like everyone to travel there by car (not very green eh Harry). It would also as has been said, mean many thousands of pounds missed by the shops and pubs in Ashton and Bedminster, a surefire way to close down North St, now wouldn’t that be popular Harry?
    Mr Lansdown bought the land at Ashton Vale for I believe £11m.
    The land transferred in the dodgy deals as you lot refer to them (and some of which is in leasehold to BCFC for over 80 years anyway) will be to the benefit of the City of Bristol and it’s citizens for many years to come in facilities currently unavailable. The stadium will be offered for use by BCFC to FIFA in Bristols bid to be a host city, not one of you have offered to give a valuation on how much that would be worth to the city (if successful) when it hosts these matches. obviously it would be worthless to the City if that facility weren’t available.

  21. harryT permalink
    October 30, 2010 10:40 am

    Brian Thompson states -“Personally I dont think the town Green laws should be abused / open to abuse and I can only see situations like this eventually damaging to real loved and historical town greens when the law is changed.”

    This is a common misrepresentation about Town Green laws.

    A Green is not something that looks like a green – duck ponds, cricket pitches, nice middle class village. A Green is a place which is used by local people for informal recreation. In working class districts, these greens will not be pretty. There was no abuse in this case. Ashton Vale fitted perfectly the legal description of a Green because of its USE. That was why an independent Inspector expert in the law appointed by BCC said so.

    As to the deal for Alderman Moores being a good one for the city – lets wait and see what the EU say about it. I find that the views expressed by spokepeople for BCFC (both appointed and unappointed) on what is good for “the city united” have very little value.

  22. October 30, 2010 2:20 pm

    If this land transfer had been discussed openly instead of shifty decisions in secret then the dodgy dealing currently subject to EU anti-trust complaint wouldn’t have happened. Whether anyone thinks its a good deal for the city hasn’t been openly and independently assessed. What if there’s no need or demand for reduced price gym membership for 30 years (which I believe is the case)? And there’s no a need or demand for subsidised community rooms-community groups currently are serviced by a number of community centres and pubs etc which offer cheap or free facilities. The idea that a charity would be happy to tell its hard working volunteers and donors that it will spend a days conference in a ‘Grand Hall’ subsidised by ratepayers at the jaw-dropping rate of thousands of pounds per day, is laughable. That’s what the dodgy land transfer for free deal is suggesting is good for the city. May be good for Cook’s ego, but why is Lansdown stooping so low as to deprive people of much needed allotments so he can build posh houses to make a fat profit? (Brian check your facts with the HDAA-lots of people have been following the future of this allotment land for a long time).
    You can forget the world cup red herring rubbish-Sepp Blotter and his corrupt voting cronies have had their dodgy dealing exposed at the highest level.

  23. Still Waters permalink
    October 30, 2010 6:49 pm

    Just a couple of points;

    Richard, it was £8.5 million (£5 mill up-front, a further wedge on successful planning application) – bought from a company that has a heavy interest in the mass expansion of SW Bristol (mainly because they seem to own a shedload of land all the way to Weston that’s adjoining the plots of interest, but haven’t to date managed to get ‘exceptional’ development’ excuses to start the ball rolling).

    I believe, after reading their many submissions to planning meetings, that they offered this section of their land bank to Mr Lansdown at a fairly knockdown price (with strings attached), knowing that the exceptional development cause may well have acted as a domino effect. Unfortunately, the demise of the RSS kicked them in the nuts a bit.

    Btw, can I ask, as you are an independent builder of some repute, whether you might have financial interest in this development in some way? Just curious, no need to answer if you think it too personal.

    However, I’m going off-topic, sorry.

    Brian, the waiting lists for allotments has reached such a peak that I’m sure people will decide to travel to an available allotment – ok, not very green, but people will ‘make do’ with what’s available when times are hard (echoes of regenerating a stadium there).

    Sacred: ‘May be good for Cook’s ego, but why is Lansdown stooping so low as to deprive people of much needed allotments so he can build posh houses to make a fat profit? (Brian check your facts with the HDAA-lots of people have been following the future of this allotment land for a long time).’

    I agree 90% on this, ‘if’ anything were built here (I’m not sure if it’s classed as green belt, greenfield or brownfield though), I’d think at least 50/50 social/private builds, BUT the bean counters of Mr Lansdown stated there was a £49 mill shortfall on the stadium costs that they needed to recoup by flogging off ‘high value’ properties on the freeby land.

    Strangely, although the Council planning officers rejected this as pie in the sky and said they thought there was no shortfall, it’s still being pumped through as (wait for it…) FACT.

  24. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 30, 2010 7:22 pm

    With this subject thread going do we have the list of similar City Clubs that have had finacial backing from Councils to build stadia many without asking for anything in return? Its a long list and I was wondering if it were available online, maybe the wrong place to ask :/ but you gotta try aint ya.

  25. Richard Lane permalink
    October 30, 2010 7:51 pm

    Still waters, your comment “Btw, can I ask, as you are an independent builder of some repute, whether you might have financial interest in this development in some way?”
    Builder of some repute where did that come from?
    If you had been involved in this debate from the outset, you would have read all sorts of accusations about me. They ranged from me being paid thousands of pounds by BCFC or Mr Lansdown, to possibly being involved in these proposed developments in a professional capacity, this is not the case. I have nothing to hide and nothing to gain, other than the knowledge that I am actually trying to help my city to prosper.
    I got involved initially due to being off work and having some time on my hands. It was and still is a cause I firmly believe in and one which is generally good for Bristol and the region.
    As in all proposed developments, someone is going to have their nose put out of joint,
    in this instance the Tesco development caused strong feelings amongst the green voters of Southville. The rest is history, with those activists now encompassing help for their cause from as far as away as Redcar Cleveland.

  26. Richard Lane permalink
    October 30, 2010 8:24 pm

    Deano,
    The Ashton Gate site already has a building footprint on it of substantial size and has existing use by thousands of vehicle movements.
    This would enable another building to be erected on that site of similar size.
    This would give it a vastly increased value than if it were a greenfield site.
    So the Allotment site would be ideal for housing with a reduced valuation when compared to the Ashton Gate stadium site.
    I believe the open market figure was about £3.5m (someone will correct me). The Car park will remain predominately a car park apart from the filling station and had a value of about £350k so total value of about £4m of land transferred, again someone will correct me.
    The confusion comes when that land is transferred/sold to help finance the stadium build. Some people claim, it is that increased value due to planning permissions that the council is transferring. and losing. Obviously if the stadium does not go ahead then these land valuations are irrelevant and the objectors have lost the council the revenue from those valuations as well as the future rates.
    For example the housing on the allotments is likely to produce somewhere in the region of £300,000 per annum in rates, in twelve years you have the land value back in rates, so not as still waters would have you believe a minimal amount.
    Obviously there would also be large amounts received in rates from the increased stadium, the Hotel, Restaurants, enlarged supermarket, extra housing and commercial units at the former Sainsbury site.
    So it’s not all about the council losing valuation on these sites, they gain as well.

  27. Still Waters permalink
    October 31, 2010 1:13 am

    Richard; ‘Builder of some repute where did that come from?’

    just a bit of google, the BEP stated you as such. As I said – nothing personal, I just wanted to clarify your position.

    I’ve read your Tesco development support letters, and the petition details.

    Nothing in the company accounts to date states you as an ‘interested person’ -but recently, Mr Lansdown has become very private in his dealings.

    What do you make of his recent liquidation of stock?

  28. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    October 31, 2010 1:38 pm

    Sort of returning to the subject, it was Jan Ormondroid who said “the whole agreement is subject to Secretary of State approval…..” and went on to say “No transfer of land will take place until the stadium is completed.” This provokes the questioning of the original claim that without this land there would not be enough finance to get the stadium built, although the same claim was made regarding “Southlands, before that application was rejected. And then there is the question of affordable homes at Moorelands. If revenue is not going to be available until after the stadium is built, does the claim that there won’t be enough profit if affordable homes are built still stack up? There has been to much “crying wolf” in this whole affair.

  29. Richard Lane permalink
    October 31, 2010 3:10 pm

    Still waters.
    I don’t think you are correct with the BEP reference, how would they know of my reputation?
    I’d like to make something of his recent stock liquidation,wouldn’t we all.
    The truth is that I’ve never even met him, though I did meet his wife at a hospitality do at Ashton Gate years ago.
    You still seem to be implying something, It would be better if you were more specific.
    Is it also possible to clarify your position and what you aim to gain personally by your opposition?

  30. Richard Lane permalink
    October 31, 2010 3:22 pm

    Harry T
    Your statement:- “I find that the views expressed by spokepeople for BCFC (both appointed and unappointed) on what is good for “the city united” have very little value”.
    They have the same value as you have regarding TVG, stadiums, road access, greenbelts, dodgy deals, supermarkets and arenas. They are opinions and as such you are saying that because they are not the same as yours they are irrelevant, how bizarre!

  31. Richard Lane permalink
    October 31, 2010 3:31 pm

    Paul with all due respect, it is usual when carrying out a development ,to borrow monies for that development on the strength of assets and future land/property values.
    This is normal practice, so the money for the stadium is borrowed and paid back once the property/land has been sold.
    As for Southlands, that money will need to be raised elsewhere now (possibly the latest stock sales). So not a case of crying wolf, more a case of reality.

  32. Richard Lane permalink
    October 31, 2010 3:50 pm

    Still waters.
    There is a shortfall, FACT. Can you enlighten us what you would describe as a shortfall?
    If you had to build something for £65m and your only asset was a stadium worth £20m max, what would you describe the missing funding as? In FACT, there is no money towards the stadium as yet, unless you count the proposed investment from Mr Lansdown (which is unknown), so there is a massive shortfall at the moment, FACT.

  33. harryT permalink
    October 31, 2010 4:16 pm

    Richard

    Lets see what the EU have to say about it. I have little doubt that they will find that:

    1. BCC grossly undervalued the Alderman Moores land
    2. BCC grossly overvalued the gym vouchers
    3. By using internal valautions, BCC breached EU law.

    You saying its great value for the City means nothing to me.

  34. Tony Dyer permalink
    October 31, 2010 5:04 pm

    Richard Lane says:
    “The Car park will remain predominately a car park apart from the filling station”

    The reality is that the council owned car park at Ashton Gate will cease to be used as a car park.

    A drawing submitted by Sainsbury’s illustrating the layout is available here:
    http://tinyurl.com/34whxpk (pdf)

    I will let people make up their own mind whether the council owned car park will remain predominately a car park with or without the filling station.

    This map and others were made available in printed form and also used in the officer’s presentation at the 21st July planning committee meeting..

  35. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    October 31, 2010 6:48 pm

    Hi Rich. Just returned from another extremely frustrating rugby match. Being near the bottom certainly tests your resolve as a supporter. So why did they not go ahead and build the stadium, and realise all the assets afterwards?

  36. Richard Lane permalink
    October 31, 2010 6:59 pm

    Harry T, I admire your confidence.
    I find it a little presumptious.It means absolutely nothing to me, coming from the person that advocates the closure and decimation of North st shops by relocating BCFC to severnside amongst the chemical works and motorways.
    How bizarre.

  37. Richard Lane permalink
    October 31, 2010 7:04 pm

    Paul, you know why. They are being held up by people exploiting the law, this is still he intention.

  38. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 31, 2010 7:05 pm

    I dont understand, so they are putting a filling station on the existing (crumbling) Carpark and adding about six times as many car parking spaces including disabled and bike racks a few metres away, whats the problem?

  39. Richard Lane permalink
    October 31, 2010 7:10 pm

    Tony D, the map as you call it will show that the new store will be built on the footprint of the existing stadium and it’s car park.
    I was trying to get the point across that the other car park (leased to BCFC for 80 + years) is not being built on (apart from the filling station). I cannot access it on that link but from memory, it will remain an overflow car park and road access to the store and service yard.

  40. October 31, 2010 7:13 pm

    Sexton and Lansdown are the ones busy trying to exploit the law at the moment.

  41. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 31, 2010 7:15 pm

    The “Village” “Green” fiasco Paul.
    I believe Richard is right. I think (with my sketchy knowledge in small developments) its fairly common to essentially borrow against the value of the completed development. It is usual (In small, one house developments) to get this money some way into the build(Half way), with site inspections and depending on if you have kept to a budget and building schedule. But I am sure with large developments it is a different similar system.

  42. October 31, 2010 7:18 pm

    Law has said greenbelt is Town Green and Sainsburys must bin the Monster

  43. October 31, 2010 7:20 pm

    Law has said greenbelt is Town Green. That is the law.

  44. October 31, 2010 7:23 pm

    Law says Ashton Vale greenbelt is Town Green. That is the law.

  45. October 31, 2010 7:29 pm

    Multi-million turnover filling station is not no longer a council car park no more, has no resemblence to one in the real world and is worth more than the dodgy 100 year lease that the club was strangely given on the cheap.

  46. Brian Tompson permalink
    October 31, 2010 9:11 pm

    law says it is up to Bristol city council to decide not you.

  47. harryT permalink
    November 1, 2010 8:53 am

    And if they turn it down because they want a football stadium on the land, then they will be acting unlawfully.

    They can only turn it down if the Inspector is obviously wrong or acted fraudulently. FACT, as you like to say (and taken from BCCs own legal advice on town green matters).

  48. Brian Tompson permalink
    November 1, 2010 12:29 pm

    they could turn it down due to lack of support for town green. matbe independent poll showing majority of local residents believing it not to be town green.. seams good evidence to me.

  49. Brian Tompson permalink
    November 1, 2010 1:00 pm

    any way if I am not mistaken wont the majority of this land actually be used as a public footpath/ cycle path access to stadium / long Ashton, it is also designed to be available for buses ( bendy or not) doesn’t sound like it’s going to get much money from development just ease traffic and provide safer route to long ashton / Ashton court for pedestrians and cyclists.

  50. Richard Lane permalink
    November 1, 2010 6:18 pm

    Sacredspring.
    The club always were the leaseholders of the car park as far as I know, so not dodgy as you claim.
    So what if it’s a multi million pound turnover filling station. It will only replace the existing one down the road, which in turn releases land for social housing on that site. The type of housing you seem to crave for Ashton Gate and elsewhere.
    The resemblance to a car park is that there are no buildings planned for the land (other than one used by cars for refueling) and the rest is used for roads and parking, somewhat similar to a car park.
    You make so many accusations/allegations yet never back them up with any facts.
    How is the lease of the car park from the council to BCFC dodgy? It would be nice to know your reasons for this claim.

  51. November 1, 2010 7:56 pm

    Unusally long lease for council property. Negotiated in secret probably when the monster hypermarket/new stadium on greenbelt/world-cup bunfight was dangled before awestruck officials like a monster carrot at a donkey derby.

  52. Still Waters permalink
    November 1, 2010 9:37 pm

    Brian,

    maybe the poll that stated 71% of Ashton Vale residents (i.e., locals, not Greater Bristol) wanted a green rather than a stadium is correct then?

    I’ve posted the full spreadsheet on Sacred’s latest blog post.

    Rich;

    I wasn’t implying anything ref: ‘Lansdoom’s share sale, just curious as to your view.

    the only invested interest I have in the area is a continuation of somewhere local to walk my (loveable) rat-bag of a dog, pick blackberries and sloes, birdwatch and enjoy the unobstructed views.

    Some things in life really are priceless.

  53. Still Waters permalink
    November 1, 2010 9:38 pm

    @Brian; (dang you guys post fast)

    any way if I am not mistaken wont the majority of this land actually be used as a public footpath/ cycle path access to stadium / long Ashton

    42 acres mate.. that’s a bloody wide footpath + stadium..

  54. Richard Lane permalink
    November 1, 2010 9:48 pm

    No, the law does not say it is a village green, no legal decision has been made as yet.
    One member of the legal profession has said that she recommends it for TVG status. This was based on the evidence she had seen and heard.
    That evidence might or might not be factually correct, or it could have been exagerated to portray more use than actually occured. Or the evidence could have been obtained and used by the applicants in a way that the people giving the evidence, did not know it would be used in this way, such as in a house to house survey.

    If someone like you had given evidence to her, then the recommendation would be retracted. As like your statement: ” Law says Ashton Vale greenbelt is Town Green. That is the law” for that would surely be a lie or an exageration of the facts at.

  55. Richard Lane permalink
    November 1, 2010 10:04 pm

    Sacredspring
    The lease is not unusually long at 100 years for a long term leaseholder, most property leases are for 100 years. As you may or may not know, a lease can be sold or transfered in most circumstances.
    There is now only 84 or 85 years remaining on that lease I believe, meaning it was taken up 15 or 16 years ago, long before a new stadium, new supermarket or world cup bid were even talked about. So you have once more made a spectacular monster mistake with your latest accusation.

  56. November 1, 2010 10:22 pm

    Town Green is the verdict of the Law.
    That’s what the verdict was from the hearing.
    It was all properly done as has been commented on lots of times.
    The club had their opportunity to prove it wasn’t town green , and lost, because it is town green as laid down by act of parliament.

  57. Richard Lane permalink
    November 1, 2010 10:25 pm

    If I am not mistaken, you would still be able to walk your dog, pick blackberries and sloes and watch the birds because buildings don’t stop the birds, the stadium certainly falls into this categry. And unless you are in one of the 14 houses directly affected by the visual impact of the stadium towards Ashton Court from Silbury Rd, then your views will be uninterupted.
    Peregrine falcons, are nesting in the centre of Bath, as they also do in the Avon gorge and a rather large snowy owl used Bristol university buildings as a refuge for several months last year. Nature and the wildlife are very adaptable, after all, they got used to your houses and the tip didn’t they? Not to mention your dog, what effect does he have to the ground nesting birds and deer by the way.

  58. Brian Tompson permalink
    November 1, 2010 10:55 pm

    long leases like this are very common it was cheap because it benefits council tax paying locals who need to park their cars there when enjoying the football, It was / is also the venue for a Open air market I seem to remember that this took place every week.
    This is common practice for every council in the country long leases are very simple when the land is used by a large tax paying public. and I am sure the lease was there long before the supermarket and stadium plans were produced. I cant remember it being anything other than the stadium carpark.

  59. November 2, 2010 12:08 am

    They can also be renewed with new terms. Its possible that the lease was re-assessed recently. You’ve got no more factual information on this, if you have then lets have it, ( not interested in your beliefs, heard enough of them tonight to bore my pants off).

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