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City Council/stadium State Aid Complaint-Brussels on the case -link to full document

November 18, 2010

Bristol Independent Media website has just published an article from the Bristol Blogger giving full details of the EU state-aid complaint. Hopeless Evening Lost editor can now publish it in full, with suitable citations of course. No more floundering around with biased waffle this time Mr Snortin!

http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/699967

There must be a few red faces at the council house as the facts are revealed about how they’ve gone about disposing of ratepayers land.

NEW-poll on right hand side of page. Please fill in your preferences on the democratic poll. All citizens now can vote on the community benefits they prefer-choose as many as you want. The results will then be analysed and presented to the Lib-Dem leader. Bristol residents at last get to choose for themselves what they really would like in exchange for the dodgy land transfer.

So far £2 off pint of cider leading with Snowdome at Ashton Gate second. Joint third is 20p off cadburys crunchie and weekend break in Guernsey.

Saturday update: Crazy golf surges into third place along with Guernsey trip and Crunchie discount. Snowdome second with cheap cider still way ahead. No takers yet for Hooters fun or sending the Welsh back.

Sunday update

Forensic analysis of the anonymous complaint has now been undertaken using super-sleuth detective kit. The following names have been identified as the possible culprit:

Tony Adams, Rory Delap, Tony Blair, Pope John, Lady Di, Andy Pandy, Loopy Loo, Noddy& Big-ears, although the last one may have too many letters.

Survey latest: Wholesome family nosh at Hooters is now in contention, but discount cider community benefit is still surging ahead and looks unstoppable.


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37 Comments
  1. Richard Lane permalink
    November 19, 2010 8:06 pm

    As usual, no facts as claimed.
    These are just accusations, when or indeed if they are proven, you can call them facts.

  2. November 19, 2010 11:05 pm

    Fact is this complaint has gone to Brussels.

  3. Richard Lane permalink
    November 19, 2010 11:27 pm

    You say: “There must be a few red faces at the council house as the facts are revealed about how they’ve gone about disposing of ratepayers land”.
    As I said these are not facts, they are allegations.

    The only fact here is that, you are once more misrepresenting the truth.
    Anyone can make a complaint, it then has to be dealt with.
    That does not mean it is factual.

  4. thebristolblogger permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:20 am

    Er, the facts are listed in the article:

    – the valuations of the land were not independently produced

    – the land was only valued by a council employee and only one valuation obtained

    – the valuations of the land are lower than previous valuations and significantly lower than values that could easily be obtained on the open market

    – the land was not offered for sale on the open market

    – no other party has been allowed to bid to buy the land

    – the benefits (ie. Gym membership) were not independently valued

    – the benefits were only valued by a council employee and only one valuation obtained

    – the benefits appear hugely overvalued

    – the benefits were valued by the same authority who valued the land

    – in fact the benefits were valued by the same man – Alun Owen, Director Special Projects – who valued the land

    – the benefits were not valued by someone with expertise in the valuation of gym and conference facilities

    – the authority has not informed the European Commission of its intention to provide state aid to Bristol City Football Club as required under Article 108 (3) of the EU Treaty, neither has the EU given consent to this aid.

  5. Will permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:59 am

    surely they don’t need to get an independent gym and conferencing evaluator ( if there is such a thing) in, they just look at what they are spending on those services currently, and project them forward to get the amount they will save, as well as getting a higher quality of facility.

    the reality is this is peanuts compared to what every other city council has thrown at it’s football clubs, and most of them don’t ask for anything in return.

    land is also not worth as much as it was a few years ago, this might explain why the evaluation is lower to some extent.

    not provided any source material for the “facts”. I can’t believe a random complaint from “Anonymous” delivered “anonymously” by another “anonymous” person who could be 15 times removed from the complaint / complainer.
    you are all very shadowy, it’s like stumbling around in the dark.

  6. Chris permalink
    November 20, 2010 9:37 am

    The complain submission form hasn’t even been completed correctly as we see it. #fail

  7. November 20, 2010 9:56 am

    Its good to get these facts out into the open. Dodgy deals behind closed doors get found out.

  8. November 20, 2010 9:59 am

    Anonymous complaint is obviously to protect the person concerned due to high level of threat and intimidation from Sextons frenzied mob.

  9. Will permalink
    November 20, 2010 11:06 am

    if there have been threats I expect there will be police reports, people charged etc… I have not heard of any such thing.

  10. Deano permalink
    November 20, 2010 11:26 am

    “you are all very shadowy, it’s like stumbling around in the dark”

    says Will aka Brian Tompson aka who knows?

  11. thebristolblogger permalink
    November 20, 2010 12:43 pm

    The source material is provided in Section 9 ‘Supporting documents’.

    The complainant is not anonymous to the European Commission only to the council and the football club.

  12. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    November 20, 2010 1:28 pm

    Can somebody please explain what the “community” in “community benefits” actually means. Is it the community of Ashton Vale, of South Bristol, or of the whole of Bristol? It is another in a long line of ambiguous descriptions that do infact make a difference.

  13. BobS permalink
    November 20, 2010 2:42 pm

    Very weak chris.

  14. BobS permalink
    November 20, 2010 2:44 pm

    You obviously don’t read otib then.

    Call for “direct action” against those who brought EU complaint this week.

  15. Will permalink
    November 20, 2010 4:53 pm

    You are confused I have nothing against User names on forums or blogs (I actually used to have a WP using Brian Tompson so thats why I used it)

    In my view If you are willing to make legal action you should have the courage of your convictions and use your name publicly. But I guess I am old fashioned, apparently Seems you can do all manner of thing Anonymously with no repercussions.

  16. Richard Lane permalink
    November 20, 2010 7:48 pm

    Bill
    So as I have said, no facts just allegations.
    None of these things are proven, they are alleged to have happened. I expect it will be investigated. If there have been any wrong doings and they are as alleged, they will then become fact.
    You say: “- the land was only valued by a council employee and only one valuation obtained”
    If that were the case why do you then say: “- the valuations of the land are lower than previous valuations and significantly lower than values that could easily be obtained on the open market”
    If there was only one valuation, why do you say there were previous valuations?
    As I have said these are not facts, they are allegations which appear to invalidate the claim.

  17. Richard Lane permalink
    November 20, 2010 8:12 pm

    The name on the complainants form looks just like (Tony Dyer) blanked out.
    It would not surprise me in the slightest.

  18. Richard Lane permalink
    November 20, 2010 8:19 pm

    The complainant is not anonymous to the European Commission only to the council and the football club.

    It looks like Tony Dyer.

  19. Richard Lane permalink
    November 20, 2010 8:24 pm

    Anonymous complaint is obviously to protect the person concerned due to high level of threat and intimidation from Sextons frenzied mob.

    It looks like Tony Dyer on the form. Two four letter names, extended down on the y in Dyer and in Tony. A long dash like a T on the first letter of the first name. A slight curve to the first letter of the second name.
    I thought he’d been quiet lately.
    Pure speculation of course but I could be correct.

  20. November 20, 2010 9:19 pm

    Kid in the Riot

    *

    * Group: Members
    * Posts: 555
    * Joined: 14-December 09

    Posted 15 November 2010 – 10:08 PM
    I’m getting sick and tired of these *****.

    Isn’t it time for some direct action?

    Rich

    *

    * Group: Members
    * Posts: 865
    * Joined: 13-June 05

    Posted 15 November 2010 – 11:11 PM

    View PostMatty-H, on 15 November 2010 – 08:55 PM, said:
    And bear in mind these petty attempts to stop things will go right to the bitter end. Mark my words the final fling will be a bunch of dreadlocked, low-life, jobless, futureless morons chaining themselves to trees, cowpats and anything else they can find as the diggers move in.

    I have a lovely picture of Sacredspring, Stillwaters, HarryT, BobS, Deano and Tony Dyer chained to cow pats.

    Mr Lane you are beginning to troll my blog again. You will get sent back to your OTIB bin for 10 days…..

  21. November 20, 2010 9:27 pm

    Good point. I suspect they have their own interpretation of it. Don’t recall any community consultation as with planning applications or networking neighbourhoods.
    I suspect they (the cabinet) mean Bristol as a whole as the arena was mentioned more than once at the council meeting when deciding the handover.

  22. Still Waters permalink
    November 20, 2010 9:51 pm

    The benefits must extend to include the rights to fishing for alkali-resistant fish in the concrete jungle runoff/flood storage.. oops, I mean ‘improved wetland area’ (based on artist ‘impressions’ currently flaunted at the walk-in centre – a gym that will be in competition with the new facilities, oddly)

  23. bobS permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:20 am

    I reckonit is “Rich Lane” and you are a secret double agent !!!

    Nice cover tactic by blaming Dyer.

  24. Richard Lane permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:44 am

    Sacredspring
    Only this comment is mine “I have a lovely picture of Sacredspring, Stillwaters, HarryT, BobS, Deano and Tony Dyer chained to cow pats”.

    I believe the other comments refer to the hope of legal action being taken, that’s how I read them.

  25. Richard Lane permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:50 am

    BobS
    I didn’t blame Tony Dyer I just said the name on the complaint form looks like Tony Dyer.

  26. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    November 21, 2010 11:04 am

    It’s proably an age thing, but I find it quite sad that the EU has to be brought in to what should basically be a local issue. It shows how much they now intrude into life in this country, and how much we accept it. I don’t blame anyone for using any lawful way of winning their arguement, this happens all the time, but I do think we are being neutered by European legislation and will live to regret it.

  27. Richard Lane permalink
    November 21, 2010 8:58 pm

    Sacredspring
    Your sunday update points out that the last name put forward, has too many letters : Tony Adams, Rory Delap, Tony Blair, Pope John, Lady Di, Andy Pandy, Loopy Loo, Noddy& Big-ears, although the last one may have too many letters.
    May I point out that only one of the names suggested has the correct amount of letters, that being (Pope John).
    I believe that pope is dead, so unless he has risen from the grave, the only name which resembles the letters not totally blanked out on the form, that has so far been suggested is, Tony Dyer.

  28. November 21, 2010 10:35 pm

    In a spirit of open-ness and accountability, the decision makers will be able to put their case, no reason why BCC should have a problem. No reason why Bristol citizens should have to put up with dodgy asset disposal on the cheap either. Not when there’s slashing cuts across all sectors.

  29. Richard Lane permalink
    November 21, 2010 11:17 pm

    Sacredspring
    I quite agree that there should be open-ness and accountabilty.
    This complaint is not about that though, is it?
    People opposing the stadium brought this matter up a long time ago, before any cuts were announced, in fact even before the election. So why wasn’t the complaint made then?
    If the reason for delaying the complaint was to collate information, how could the accusations have been made back then with no proof?
    This information was so say known when the commitee had their meeting in July, why wasn’t it submitted then?
    This is just another attempt to disrail or stall the stadium plans.
    Hopefully there will have been no wrong doing. In the complaint is a section where it is claimed that this asset disposal will give BCFC an advantage over other competing clubs. Would that be the clubs that have had stadiums built for them by the local authorities, or land given to them? I don’t know the details but, Manchester, Milton Keynes or Cardiff would seem to scupper that argument.

  30. November 22, 2010 7:23 am

    New stadium is private venture-if BCC had interest in it and BCC decided to sponsor it then different situation entirely. Money can be handed over in return for shares, not trumped-up gym membership discount.

  31. bobS permalink
    November 22, 2010 8:53 am

    Nice cover Agent Lane. Keep up the work.

  32. Country Cousin permalink
    November 22, 2010 10:27 am

    Mr Lane,
    The complaint could only be submitted when the land deal had been made and confirmed, otherwise, there is nothing to complain about is there? Also, presumably there was an interlude whilst the complainers asked the council to confirm some aspects of the deal. No point complaining about aspects of the deal until the facts are known.

    Looking at the Bristol Bloggers article, if the the facts listed are indeed “facts”, then the issue is whether these constitute the illegal provision of state aid or not. The EU have issued guidance on how member states can avoid state aid. The complaint will be assessed against the criteria in this document:
    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31997Y0710(01):EN:HTML

    As you will see, there is an emphasis on independent valuations, valuations of benefits, notification of the EU etc. BCC do not appear to have complied with the guidance on a number of counts, but I’m sure they are currently launching a stout defence. As for this being a tactic to stop the stadium, then you can rest assured it cannot. What it may do is stop BCC from gifting valuable public assets to business’s & individuals that can surely afford to pay the market rates?

    Paul Bemmy Down – For good or bad, the EU is the market we live and operate within and the rules are created to allow fair competition between states so that one cannot in theory have lower social/environmental/subsidy standards than another. Bad aspects include CAP, CFP, free market idealogues. Good aspects include preventing a race to the social/environmental bottom of the pile. I’ll swallow the bad for the good personally, but understand thats not everyones choice.

  33. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    November 22, 2010 4:20 pm

    Country Cousin. Without going too far down the EU line, and I do agree with what you say, my biggest problem is not being able to influence anything that happens in Brussels, or is it Strasburg. Shamefully, I don’t know the name of my MEP. What I am sure of however, is we adopt EU legislation with far more enthusiasm than most others, usually to our detriment.

  34. Richard Lane permalink
    November 22, 2010 6:51 pm

    country cousin
    Yet another poster that does not have the balls to use a real name, for all we know you could be Tony Dyer, You certainly have the same boring style of presentation and reference to documents.
    Tony Dyer was confident enough to make these claims on the 6 January 2010,
    when he said, “However, it appears that the top brass at Bristol City FC are reluctant to concede even a minority share to the City Council in an effort to maintain the impression of the stadium development being a purely privately funded operation – despite the fact that the project is already reliant on public sector land being provided at favourable terms below commercial valuations”.

    Now as I said before. If he knew these were facts then, printed on his site for all to see, why wasn’t a complaint made then?
    The committee meeting to decide the transfer was in July, it only takes a short time for freedom of information requests to be dealt with, to clarify what somebody already knows. so why the delay since July?
    I maintain that this is a stalling, rather spiteful act by a desperate person that has held them in reserve.

  35. BobS permalink
    November 22, 2010 10:00 pm

    Yeh Country cousin. How dare you refer to documents and facts to prove your argument. Stick to disinformation and emotion like Agent Rich.

  36. Country Cousin permalink
    November 22, 2010 11:53 pm

    Mr Lane,
    You are clearly in a delusional state of self importance if you believe I care tw’pennce for what you think of my balls.

    I will, like the vast majority of posters online, continue to use an alias whether you like it or not.

    It seems that you cannot undertake a reasoned debate without insult or attack.

    I do not know why the person or persons who have complained decided to do it on a particular date, but the timing is irrelevant to the main fact, which is that in providing land at less than market value, BCC had a number of duties under state aid rules, which they appear not to have carried out. If the land swap is so clearly in the public interest, why were some basic safeguards to ensure legal compliance not put in place?

    Although the stadium appears to be the centre of your world, there are plenty of people who might be ambivalent about the town green or a stadium (and I am one) who might have good cause to question the handover of many millions in public assets to people who can quite clearly afford to pay the market price.

    Concern about how public money is spent and our assets used is not limited to those who you and many others clearly love to stereotype as Nimbys, which is presumably why this complaint has been made. Personally, given the choice (and part of the problem is that we weren’t) I would prefer BCC coffers to be richer to the tune of £10m rather than subsidised private gym membership and naming rights for a meeting room.

    And although you dislike references, maybe BCC should have read the Ashton Park Sports Centre website before giving away land for a new gym in the area;

    “Ashton Park Sports Centre is a self sustaining business, it relies purely on income generated by community use therefore we strongly encourage and aim to achieve as much local community use as possible to keep us sustainable and in operation.”

  37. Richard Lane permalink
    November 23, 2010 12:32 am

    Thank you for your reply Tony.
    If you think I care about your balls then it is you that is delusional, I said you didn’t have any because you chose anonymity, just like the complainant.

    I’m sorry but who did I insult or attack?
    There are many unfounded attacks on myself in your post.

    When saying this is a spiteful act carried out by a desperate person, that was my rational explanation of the actions of the complainant and the current circumstances, it is not delusional. It certainly has touched a nerve though, are you the complainant I refer to?
    You claim the timing is irrelevant in one sentence but refer to it not being able to be submitted until the deal had been confirmed in another, so tell me. Why wasn’t the complaint submitted once the deal had been confirmed in July?
    Surely you had the facts then.
    Could you also explain where this gross overvaluation of £10m has come from. Some people might believe this propoganda unless it is explained properly.

Comments are closed.