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Top dog runs Bristol City Council?

April 5, 2011

Tail wagging the dog syndrome has finally overcome the council as the Lib-Dems planning committee crumbles like a bad case of pig flu. One minute you have a planning committee  unafraid of asking the right questions and interpreting intelligently the issues placed before them.

Next minute most of them are removed in a purge that Stalin would be proud of. Get rid of your enemies is the No 1 target of any aspiring dictator. In this case the enemy being any democratically elected councillor who dares to oppose the wishes of Lansdown, the tax-exiled magnate, intent on turning South Bristol into one giant drive-thru supermarket and burger wasteland, (with a plastic football stadium tacked on the back).

Exactly what happened when the bulk of the planning committee were removed a few days before the meeting and replaced with a bunch of yes-clones? Completely beyond me and most normal people.

And I’d like to know how these councillors were able to read through the thousands of pages of documents reports and statements in a few days AND analyse the data in an intelligent manner. Assuming they also had other things in their lives like work, kids, meals, sleep etc. I can say for a fact that six months is not long enough for me to digest all the information and try to make sense of it all.

Yet these replacement councillors could do the superman act and digest the lot in a few days?

No chance, not that it would have made any difference. They were puppets placed in after the purge in order to get the yes vote. The daft bint Alexander being the perfect post-purge yes-chairperson. She of the immortal statement at the previous hearing about ‘car bombs could park underneath’ referring to the sewer-like underground car-park, and then asking if there could be metal detector-like thingys for the cars like they have at airports and then voting in favour of the bomb vulnerable building as though she can’t wait to park under it. Now there’s a perfect yes-chair, daft, plain stupid or very clever con-merchant, making out she’s daft and stupid when she’s not. Fooled me!

Top dog in Bristol is not the council, sadly. The tail is wagging too hard and has too much money.

  1. Richard Lane permalink
    April 5, 2011 5:10 am


    Let’s write that again through a different perspective.

    One minute you have a planning committee, led by an individual intent on furthering his own political carreer, questioning the profressional abilities of his own council officers. Whilst using evidence provided to him by one of the main objectors to the plans.

    Next minute those same inexperienced councillors are following him like sheep, without the ability to carry out their duties on such an important matter, even so say, with the time to read and digest the information.

    The replacement councillors, were given the same time to read and digest the information before them, as the more inexperienced councillors were.

    As for replacing the committee, for what reasons we will never know the details. I believe some asked to be removed and some were probably removed because they held predetermined ideas about the application. This would definately be the case with Simon Rayner, who would again have chaired the meeting. Could he be trusted to chair that meeting fairly, whilst holding the predetermined views he had and not infuence the outcome again with his vociferous questioning of the officers?

    Let’s not forget that members of planning committees have been changed before at the last minute, for example: several members of the planning committee, hearing the BRFC application for a stadium development at Horfield were changed just hours before the meeting because they held preconcived views about the development,they obviously did not have time to read and digest the information. This was under the previous Labour administration I believe.

    I think it was probably the fairest way to remove the burden of pressure on these councillors, who as you say have lives outside of their commitments as councillors. I think it’s known as politics.

    PS, to Colins ego. You have read my comments out of the time line they were written in, as usual like other posters you have made a judgement on me without digesting things properly. The final quote you used from me, was in the past tense and was referring to a previous quote, it was not a new quote as you’d like to make out.

  2. April 5, 2011 6:58 am

    Purge of the planning committee to get the yes-vote is one of the scandals of modern times.

    Replacing intelligent Rayner, who could rip the hypermarket conspiracy apart with batty Alexander who doesn’t know her arse from her elbow sums up how bent the last meeting turned out.

    Lane was one of the top whingers last time round, crying foul like a baby.

    This time the scandalous removal of majority of no-voters to replace with yes-puppets in the biggest planning conspiracy in Bristol’s history – well you couldn’t make it up.

    Except you could if you conspired to bombard the planning committee members with a foul and abusive campaign of personal intimidation. Lansdown, Sexton and the sainsburys used the football fans in the most cynical manner to ram a the hypermarket through planning against city-wide planning. Expect no more from a sport riddled with Rooney-like arrogance.

  3. ChrisU permalink
    April 5, 2011 7:31 am

    This is one of the most blatant attempts at directing a planning committee decision I have ever seen. Just how long did each new committee member have to digest the reports, submissions and take stock of the issues before the decision was taken?

    It was a cheat. A professional foul. We beat them when Tesco came along. We beat the first Sainsbury’s on planning grounds, so money and power did what it always does when people beat them at their own game, they cheat. They pulled the plug on proper process and short cut to a hollow victory. No-one should be surprised really.

    If the Councillors stepped down because they were afraid of intimidation, why not do it a month or so before? Why wait until the last minute when the new ones wouldn’t have time to read the material.

    Who was responsible for the intimidation? The cheaters.

  4. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    April 5, 2011 1:07 pm

    Sacredspring. You forgot to mention the EP who played the most shameful part of all. Can someone give me another example of when the names and pictures of a planning ctte. have appeared on the front page of that paper? I bet not. Blatant intimidation. As for “inexperienced councillors”, whilst I don’t even think this the case, what has it got to do with it anyway? You read the facts, listen to the arguments and make your decision on planning policy. Do you discharge a jury in a murder trial because they are not experienced? The whole episode is a sham, infact if this had been a trial and the jury had refused to take part, there would have been a police inquiry. As for Simon Raynor, he was a convenient scapegoat for the EP. I’ll bet my bottom dollar he did not stand down without some outside pressure.

  5. Richard Lane permalink
    April 5, 2011 9:26 pm


    Run that by me again. I don’t recall being one of the top whingers, crying foul like a baby. I may have had my say on the discussion boards but not to excess. Yet here we go again with another bullshit accusation. This is ripe when you consider it comes from the biggest moaner in South Bristol, pot, kettle and black spring to mind. The rest of you have been eating the wrong type of grapes as well.

    “This time the scandalous removal of majority of no-voters to replace with yes puppets”
    Says Sacredspring.
    There were only four votes against the application in the first meeting. Is it right that a decision of this magnitude affecting so many people can be decided by so few? Obviously yes, when the decision is in your favour.
    I believe that the party whip said that two of those that voted against in the first meeting, chose not to be involved in the second one. So only two were removed, so as to give a fresh un predetermined look at the application, one being Simon who had already nailed his colours to thew mast.

    The scandalous thing is, that the committee for decisions of this size should in my opinion be far larger, to give a better representation of the city as a whole and not be led by the chair, in the way the first one was.

    Isn’t it amazing that Basics and Chris Uttley did not mind when the planners pulled off a shock decision, when going against the professional advice of their officers. They loved it and lauded the fine councillors, even though there were only four of them.
    That decision was inspired by cheating, just as much as is claimed in the second one.
    By exagerating falsified figures enough times so as to throw doubt in the minds of the inexperienced councillors, who had been got at every bit as much as claimed for the second application. They duly followed their master like little lambs. That’s the difference to a jury Paul, in my opinion. The inexperienced were led by the more experienced who’d already made his decision, guilty.
    You expected to lose that one and didn’t moan about the way the committee were bullied by the chair and blatantly intimidated from the benches by George, Alice, and Charlie.
    Yet when the tables are turned you get non stop cries of foul play. Hypocrites.

    Those new committee members had as long as the other councillors to read the reports, as they are not given them until a short time before the meeting, about three days I think. The recommendation report is only available in the week prior to the meeting. But hey! never mind, I could be lying.

  6. Colin's Ego permalink
    April 6, 2011 8:23 am

    Mr Lane,

    Can you be clear.

    Did the football club tell you that they HAD conducted an investigation and found no evidence to support the brick throwing incidents?


    Did the fooball club tell you that they WERE GOING TO conduct an investigation? And therefore obviously could not tell you if they had found any evidence.

    It is simple question, please just answer it clearly. Either the investigation had already taken place or what was due to take place when you contacted them. Which is it?

  7. 'arry Redknapp permalink
    April 6, 2011 3:42 pm

    Sometimes, you’ve just got to admit you were beaten by a better team… 😉

  8. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    April 6, 2011 5:35 pm

    Hi Rich
    It was a decision for a new supermarket so why should the same ctte. not decide as they would for any other supermarket. It fell to the South and East planning ctte. and rightly so. Those members have been through all the relevant training and if not capable should make no decision on any planning application. One mans house extension is, in his eyes, just as important as another mans supermarket and may it always remain so!

  9. April 7, 2011 12:17 pm

    Lane is hypocrite full stop-whines continually about the first planning meeting when sainsbury greed-merchants thought they had it in the bag, and was rightfully thrown out. Still whinging about it now.

    Then, stone me! The planning committee made the right decision this time round and are not bent, even though they had massive intimidation from months of threats and Evening Lost stalking, such that the team was changed for yes-clones at the last minute.
    Lane-you are a hypocritical doughnut.

  10. 'arry Redknapp permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:48 pm

    Beaten by a better side on the day… move on.

  11. April 7, 2011 2:48 pm

    ‘Arry me old china, its not over yet.

  12. ChrisU permalink
    April 7, 2011 6:34 pm

    Beaten by a richer team ‘Arry, but thats abit different to better.
    Still, good to know that the side playing in their spare time for free were able to beat the shabby PR yes man machine with ££££s at their disposal TWICE, and as Sacred Spring says, its not quite over yet!

  13. Richard Lane permalink
    April 7, 2011 10:24 pm

    Colins Ego

    Here is my comment made on the 1st of April referring to brick throwing allegations:
    ” I have actually made enquiries about this unfounded allegation with the club and asked them to make a statement condemning these actions if true. They investigated it and found no evidence. They were very concerned about the allegations but thought making a statement might be counter productive. To date there is no proof, just rumours, please provide the proof”.

    You have made a mistake in thinking that the statements made were at different times, the second statement was a referrence to the first statement.

    I have looked at the corresponence again which took place on the 10th of March, between myself and someone at the club.
    The actual terminology used by my contact was that he would make enquiries, I used the term investigate. Now obviously at this time, the person I was speaking to had to tow the official line (no public statements while the investigation was ongoing) and later told me there was no evidence of the allegations. This is what I’ve printed.

    Even when I have tried to show that I do have concerns for the residents of BS3, by making requests to the club to try to get these alledged incidents to stop, someone has a pop at me.
    I have never condoned violence, or vandalism and never will. What do you think you are trying to achieve?
    So to sum up. A request to make enquiries was made to the club, before the enquiry by the club was made, simple answer?


    There is no reason why the councillors should not have been capable of making a decision an any planning application, I agree.
    You say: “Those members have been through all the relevant training and if not capable should make no decision on any planning application”. I believe that some did not want the responsability of this important decision in the first place. Perhaps that’s why two abstained and another two were willing to be cajoled into refusing it, after first dicussing the merits or not, of narrower footpaths and staff travel plans. Remember that when the motion to refuse the decision was made, it was I believe seconded by the chair. Now if that’s not pushing for a refusal from the top and influencing the less experienced members, I don’t know what is. The chairman was in a very strong position to influence the proceedings and duly did so from the outset with his questioning. No other councillor raised as many queries, I believe.
    As I’ve said before, I think this should have been decided by a larger committee as befitting such a large development. For small developments an officer is appointed and makes the decision. Why not have that system? He is after all trained in planning law and procedures so should not be influenced, oh yes! they ignore those officers don’t they.


    Bath city have a good team, Man Utd have a richer team. Who’s the best team?

    The opposition team had a wealth of experience and a very well organised collusion of opposition groups. You know they actually numbered very few. They did a very good job of making that small opposition seem very much bigger. I would also like to point out that the people making the application were doing a job of work, very much different than a group of people that are motivated and driven by their beliefs.

    I agree, no fat lady is singing yet. The government could well call in the application and jeopordise the injection of hundreds of millions of pounds into the local economy, in these times of public funding cutbacks. Strange things happen, councillors could go against the advice from their trained officers.

  14. ChrisU permalink
    April 8, 2011 12:17 am

    I have a habit of supporting the underdog, so you can guess which team I would support from your two, given the choice. Money can buy quality and time but it doesn’t make it right or just.

    I think you would be surprised at just how many people were involved in opposing this, particularly from very near to the stadium and also the very small part played by your Ferguson nemsis. You have consistently failed to understand the depth of feeling of normal people (beyond a football fan constituency), or their motivation to defeat this supermarket and it has always been a comfort to you to label them as part of green conspiracy, as though they have been hoodwinked by some green mafia. I hope that makes you feel better? The guys with the money and the power were always going to win, that was never in doubt really, it was a question of how long we could hold them off. It doesn’t make them better, or more justified it just means they were able to successfully buy the result they needed in the end.

    Finally, the result doesn’t look dodgy because the committee went against advice (that is a semi normal occurance), it stinks because they changed the committee. That is a very different thing. Would you not be more happy and confident in the result if the original committee had voted for approval?

  15. Richard lane permalink
    April 11, 2011 6:28 pm


    May I say how pleasant it is to discuss things with someone not intent on merely insulting.

    I am not surprised at the number of people opposing this application, or of their locality near to the stadium. Obviously those nearer the site are more affected, which again raises the question of why there is more opposition and always has been, from the Southville side of North St. The surprising thing for me as a former resident, frequent visitor and user of the areas facilities, is the lack of numbers actually opposing it, when you take into account the long running publicity it has had.

    As for the part the Ferguson dynasty has played in the whole process, it probably raised the profile to provoke others and institutions like the civic society to oppose it. It probably did their business no harm either.

    I have not failed to understand the depth of feeling opposed to the supermarket. I think the opposition have failed to accept that apart from those that regularly attend community groups and as such only get the views of like minded people, there is the far bigger majority of residents that don’t partake in these gatherings. They are content, or too busy, so just carry on living their lives without imposing their will on others. I speak with many people in the area who are still unaware of who the GBCP actually are or do, as an example.

    I have never claimed there was a green conspiracy, only that the green party and it’s members were at the forefront of the opposition to, predominantly the stadium but also the supermarket. This was an attempt by them, in my opinion, to hold up the stadium by holding up the financing. You only had to see who was involved and visit the various blogs to see that they were entrenched and linked in their opposition. Other people used the term (conspiracy) in an attempt to discredit me.

    I would I agree, have been far happier if the original application had reached the same verdict.
    I don’t however think, that the original committee were impartial enough to have achieved this. As I’ve said before, a larger more representative committee would have been better suited to an application of this magnitude.

  16. April 11, 2011 10:22 pm

    Local residents imposing their will on other local residents?
    How about tax-dodging non-resident imposing monster greed-merchant hypermarket on a community he doesn’t live in. All in the noble cause of lining his pockets with extra cash. Lansdowns admitted that’s what its all about.

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