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Fat Cat developers in Bristol section106 orgy

October 28, 2011

I thought I’d seen everything with the spineless council cheerleaders who gave Lansdown’s development company carte blanche to build a posh housing estate on the former allotments at Ashton Vale. ‘Couldn’t afford’ the affordable housing they said even though the council was giving them the multi-million pound land for sweet FA. Talk about Big Kick in the teeth to the young families of the city trying to buy a house.
After the boot in the gob comes the stab in the homebuyers back as a whole procession of fatcat building and self-proclaimeddevelopment companies then come out of the woodwork claiming poverty and renaging on their planning promises.
HDG Mansur at Finzels Reach ‘hugely relieved’ at having dumped 37 affordable homes, I’ll bet they are. Champagne all round from Michael Baker- the suit from the HDG rogue traders who’s smugly bamboozled the planners and the public-who’s effectively lied about section 106 agreements he never intended to fulfil. Deeleys at the old gasworks are another bunch fleecing the council and the city. What’s the point of s106 planning conditions when money-grabbing companies like these dump their agreed contributions to schools, roads, public art and affordable homes?
What an embarrassing shambles to let the bully-boy builders have their way and shaft the good citizens who need homes and schools. Guess who lets the people get screwed over-yes your friendly elected representatives.
Have we got paper tigers in the college Green chambers who capitulate at the first blackmailing threats of the land-grabbers? Like er yes.
They must be laughing all the way to their bankers.
It’s obvious now if it wasn’t already that the mainstream and multi-national building companies have no interest in community especially when their traditional grotesque profit margins have taken a hit.

Following the wholesale stab in the back for the citizens of Bristol comes the unkindest cut of all. Most of the faceless new blocks of flats and slab like offices around the docks are an abomination-Utter Crap design and build they may as well call themselves.

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17 Comments
  1. Richard Lane permalink
    October 28, 2011 10:07 pm

    I have to say that on most points I agree with you. To go back on these planning agreements is bad and as the councillors said, Like having a gun held to their heads. This is not the first time this has happened at that site. The old Bath Hotel (I think it was called) was supposed to be brought back into use when the original refurbishment took place. It was not developed and the courage directors told the council to like it or lump it.

    Where I don’t agree with you is. Where there were S106 agreements to provide affordable housing on this site in the planning agreement, there was no such agreement, regarding the housing on Moorelands. The whole stadium development is a non profit making excercise. Unlike the Finzels reach development, where they will still make profits, even if they are smaller.
    The Moorelands development had no S106 agreement to start with. as it’s designed to provide finance towards the stadium, a facility to benefit Bristol and the region generally, as well as the football club.Plus the land at Moorelands and the car park are being paid for in return for facilities provided, so are not gifts as you again wrongly claim.

  2. Richard Lane permalink
    October 28, 2011 10:16 pm

    As for your description of posh housing, do you really think this will be the case? When you consider that according to you and others, the whole area will be blighted by a concreting over of the only green facilities in the area, the poor residents will be subject to regular outbreaks of violence and mayhem. Not to mention, the traffic jams, polution, no access to their homes on matchdays, litter, noise and light problems. Oh and I forgot to mention the monster Sainsbury’s. Hardly a place for a posh housing development, is it?

  3. October 29, 2011 8:26 am

    All building companies cashing in on big housing have a duty to provide a percentage of affordable homes. It is enshrined in planning guidelines.
    Except it isn’t when you’re mega-rich, have good political favours done, and utilise cage-fighting techniques against wimpish councillors. Hence the ‘Morelands’ ie the allotment site owned by the people of Bristol is given away with no requirement for affordable homes. Kick in teeth for first time buyers.
    Good to see you agreeing with me Mr Lane at last. I talk complete sense as you well know.

    The Finzels reach brewery rip-off is another site Deeley -Freed cashed in on. That’s after the previous owners did a ‘Krafty-Cadburys’-anyone remember Scottish/Newcastle brewers saying they’d keep the Courage brewery going with its George’s legacy and hundreds of years of history? Then within days shutting the place down depriving the people of the excellent Directors Bitter. They couldn’t give a toss about the cultural importance of that site. The very least the profit-mongers could do is provide housing that people can afford but even that has been pretty much dumped.
    Someone who had a nosy round the brewery soon after it closed told me there were rooms of filing cabinets tipped over with decades of photos of pubs and people scattered about the floor and in skips.

  4. October 29, 2011 8:39 am

    The whole stadium development is a non profit making excercise. Unlike the Finzels reach development, where they will still make profits, even if they are smaller.

    You refer to the new stadium as non-profit making. What’s the point of building a new stadium if its not going to generate profits? May as well stay at the old lossmaking stadium or rebuild that.

  5. Richard Lane permalink
    October 29, 2011 7:28 pm

    No it isn’t. yes it is, no it isn’t.
    It’s a matter of opinion and decision making, of what gives a benefit to the area as a whole, or to the benefit of a few shareholders of profit making schemes. The comparisons you make are as usual, unfair.
    The new stadium is intended to provide a stable base for future success, not merely short term profits for shareholders dividends.
    Let me correct your statement, you should have said: “Good to see you agreeing with me Mr Lane at last. I talk complete NONsense as you well know”.

    Your idea of profits and the financial world are based on pure fantasy.
    What you want, is for Mr Lansdown to fund all the stadium redevelopment costs at AG and subsidise the playing side as well. IT aint gonna happen in the real world, is it?.

  6. October 30, 2011 11:03 am

    The reality of what you want is local residents subsidising the gross fatcat wages of a bunch of blokes kicking a piece of leather around. The bankrolling of the wages bill is unsustainable and the price extorted from local residents and young house buying families is a sad reflection of the money-grabbing society. If i got lucky like lansdown i’d have no problem funding community stadium facilities AND affordable housing.

  7. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    October 30, 2011 4:19 pm

    I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that S106 money would shortly be compulsary on all developments over a certain size and that a proportion of this would be the funding spent by Neighbourhood Partnerships. I also thought that Affordable Homes were now basically compulsary on developments over 15 except in exceptional circumstances, and in BS3 it would be 30%. The Council were, in fairness, in a difficult position. Had they told the developers to get stuffed, and then the project was pulled, you can imagine all those saying “what about the jobs”, and Bristol being a city not wanting investment, and how we prefer to live in the past, so I don’t think they really could win. And of course the last Gov. did a similar thing by financing private developers with public money when their projects stopped, Lakeshore being a prime example. I was personally against this untill I visited the said development, and was so impressed by what they were doing and where, I had a change of mind. I believe part of the deal there was to provide a certain no. of affordable homes, and I hope they go to locals!

  8. Richard Lane permalink
    October 30, 2011 8:58 pm

    Sacredspring
    your statements are contradictory as usual. You advocate keeping the loss making stadium, in one post. Then in another post, claim that the bankrolling of the clubs wages bill is unsustainable.
    So according to you. there can be no new stadium to help cater for the wages bill. But keeping things as they are, is even more unsustainable. Then on top of that unsustainable position, you suggest renovating the existing stadium, wonderful logic there.

    You claim that local residents will subsidise the new stadium, absolute rubbish again.
    It’s about time that you started to ackowledge that there will be some benefits to the city of Bristol and the region as a whole.
    I’ve always acknowledged that there will be some pitfalls with the planned developments. But the benefits far outway any pitfalls. There will be some losers of course, though there will be countless more winners. Come and join us in the real world, instead of your idealistic fantasy land and recognise that there are benefits as well.

    The new stadium will help immensely with providing customers/passengers to the park and ride, as well as whatever form of transport is decided for the route from Ashton to the centre, and also hopefully the rail link to Portishead. That same level of investment will not be provided for the existing stadium, and you won’t get the extra housing on the existing Sainsbury site either, which will include affordable housing.

    Paul
    Are you suggesting that the council should subsidise affordable housing by forgoing the S106 payments? It sounds like it. Or perhaps forego S106 payments to enable a certain type of development going ahead for the greater good?

  9. October 31, 2011 3:27 pm

    Mr Logic-Lane why should ratepayers subsidise fatcat players wages? That’s the reason why the club is losing money and has an unsustainable business model bankrolled by the expat.
    This whole greenbelt appropriation is one of securing the capital interests of the club directors and sainsburies. I dont see any benefits sorry mate. I see massive traffic congestion, pollution, high st destruction, loss of greenbelt and irreplaceble habitat, no affordable homes and a piss-poor b&q plastic box of a hideous stadium. Those are the realities for most of us, just so a few overpaid soccerheads can buy themselves a new Bentley.

  10. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    October 31, 2011 5:33 pm

    Hi Rich. I’m saying that the Council were in a difficult situation. Not everybody in this city regard developers as the “devil”, and had this not been bluff, and the development not gone ahead because of the affordable homes, there would have been many ready to criticise the council. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and second guess, but the council had a decision to make. In general I think S106 money is a good idea, but if it puts a development in doubt, a decision has to be made by someone. I’m not so sure with Affordable Homes. If the site gets developed without them, you can’t go back after and say we really needed them because it’s too late. Personally I would have called their bluff over the A/Homes. Far easier to “blacken” their name over a social issue than a financial one, but the council have probably more scruples than me!

  11. Richard Lane permalink
    November 1, 2011 11:14 pm

    The words of Chairman spring
    “Lane why should ratepayers subsidise fatcat players wages? That’s the reason why the club is losing money and has an unsustainable business model bankrolled by the expat”.
    So it’s the local ratepayers fault that the club are losing money now is it?

    Paul
    I also would have called their bluff, this instance at Finzells reach is about to trying to make more profit for the shareholders, not making sure the project goes through and delivers the goods.
    It’s all a question of balancing the options. Somewhat like with the stadium. Mr Lansdown was quoted initially that he would deliver a new stadium for BCFC, the city and region. But he wanted to know that the city was behind him in this, as he could not be expected to deliver the project on his own.
    I believe the council decided to back him, for the good of the city, with the relaxation of those S 106 agreements, the affordable housing and the release of land. No public money has gone into this stadium project but there has been a will to succeed shown by the council in it’s actions to deliver the project, as you would expect there to be with an investment into the city of this size.

  12. November 2, 2011 6:42 pm

    ..project goes through and delivers the goods.

    Translation: Delivers fat profits and massive land capital value windfall.

    No public money has gone into this stadium project…….

    Translation: Millions of £££ in land assets have been transferred from council coffers to a private building company as a BUNG.

  13. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    November 2, 2011 7:02 pm

    Sacredspring. But it’s not unique to this situation. Surely that was the remit of the RDA’s who used public money to smooth the way for private companies, and hundreds of millions were spent, and often wasted, encouraging foreign firms to invest or relocate to this country. What I object to, is the spurious way the land at AMoores was supposedly in exchange for community benefits. If they wanted to give Lansdown the money, they should have been honest enough to say so.

  14. Richard Lane permalink
    November 2, 2011 10:44 pm

    Sacredspring
    Please explain how the land value will realise a profit for the investor.
    He will be long gone before his investment starts paying anything back in terms of profit, probably his son as well.

    You claim, that the council are bunging/bribing Mr Lansdown with this gift of land, if this is the case, please explain who is behind this bribe and why they are doing this. Or is this yet another throw away unsubstantiated rant of an accusation, like all the others you’ve made.

  15. November 3, 2011 10:14 pm

    Agreed Paul the RDA’s have been a victim of their own misfortune. Too much focus from them on bigboys grandiose schemes and marketing ‘yachts’ in Cannes.

    Mr Lane, the stadium freehold and land freehold and everything else freehold will be owned by your client.
    What was once dirt cheap greenbelt not worth a carrot to a builder has then somewhat uplifted in value with full planning.
    The council in the form of councillors and officers did a secret deal and BUNGED a big chunk of land to enable the High St Busting Sainsbury Monster and BUNGED an even bigger chunk of land in the form of ex-allotments for a posh housing estate.
    A bung doesn’t have to be a large brown envelope in a boot. It can represent being let off s106 obligations which seems to be a happy gratuity being dished out by the bucketful across the city right now with no public consultation.
    There’s nothing to stop the Lansdowns or whoever from cashing in by selling out to the next sheikh or Russian that comes along. Still no security for the club and the ratepayers see valuable assets dissapear faster than you can say Greek referendum.
    Laney would appear to have a memory lapse as I’ve explained all this in great detail many times.

  16. Richard Lane permalink
    November 4, 2011 6:14 pm

    No memory lapse springy baby.
    Your inference was to wrong doings and underhand, dodgy as you call them, deals. You’ve just watered down your accusations. You could even classify the S106 agreements, a sort of bung in the opposite direction. Give us the money say the council, or no permision. These agreements are a relatively new form of local taxation and nothing else, designed to exploit profitable schemes.
    As you well know, because it’s been explained to you in great detail many times before, the stadium is not a profitable scheme, it’s being subsidised by a massive amount by MR Lansdown.

    As for selling to wealthy Russians, or anyone else for that matter, the security is staring you in the face but you can’t, or refuse, more likely, to see it, because of your biassed blinkered stance. It is a stadium that we’re talking about here. Who would want to buy a stadium with nobody to use it?

  17. November 4, 2011 8:33 pm

    These agreements are a relatively new form of local taxation and nothing else, designed to exploit profitable schemes.

    Maybe the agreements are in place because the councils rumbled the profit making rip-off merchants who added no benefit to communities that needed affordable homes, schools, public transport etc.
    Taxation is obviously not enough when the big-boys can upsticks to some offshore island.

    It is a stadium that we’re talking about here. Who would want to buy a stadium with nobody to use it?

    Er, stadium., leisure centre, conference centre, drive-thru burger joint, hotel, bars, carparks, posh housing estate…….
    Don’t keep dishing out the ‘ just a stadium’ lies.
    Like the Sainsbury porkers who say the hypermarket is just a foodstore
    If Lansdown had an open book we could see how much the development company benefits.
    Fact is they were found out once when they claimed the other greenbelt housing estate was vital for finance. Council didn’t buy those porkies did they?
    Shame they swallowed the massive monster stadium enabling Sainsburys king size porkies though.
    Your lot could open your own drive-thru Pieminister factory, complete with championship pie-makers such as yourself.

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