Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Expurgated !

There's a letter of mine in the Evening Post today. Well, part of it, anyway. It's been edited down, which is fair enough (though it would be far more honest if they marked each letter that's been cut, so readers know they're not looking at the original). What's more, they always seem to cut the best lines!

Have blog, will publish. Here is the original; the bits in bold never made it past the BEP editors.

" It's disappointing to see Stockwood councillor Jay Jethwa (August 5) condemn those councillors who decided, on the evidence, that the Sainsbury's superstore should not be permitted at Ashton Gate.  There is no reason for her to imply that party pressure was put on those councillors; after all, the LibDems have been as transparently pro-stadium as Tony Blair was pro-war.  Presumably Jay writes because, like all councillors, she's been targetted by the club's campaign to get fans to put pressure on individual members.

Jay might have been better advised to challenge the Cabinet decision to hand the club £5 million of land in an unsecured deal, in exchange for 'community benefits' spread over 30 years. 

Members of all parties, including her own, who scrutinised the sale advised against such a high-risk comitment of public assets to a very shaky business.  Jay's Tory instincts should have warned her against such extravagance with the public purse. Above all, her commitment to her Stockwood ward should have alerted her to the fact that every handout to the club, whether as land, as planning concessions (that's another £3.2 million plus), or as an inappropriate planning permission, must be recouped by squeezing wards like hers even harder. 

The 'affordable housing' that Steve Lansdown won't now have to provide at Moorelands will have to go disproportionately somewhere else.  The cash that should have come to the council from the Ashton land sales will have to be found by selling off land, or cutting services, somewhere else. Stockwood seems especially vulnerable.  And the changed traffic and cash flows caused by such a big superstore would have repercussions throughout South Bristol and beyond.

In short, however much we'd like a new Bristol City stadium, there are limits to the public risks and sacrifices that should be made to get it, especially in a time of savage cuts. 

Pete Goodwin
Green Party, Stockwood "


Paul/Bemmy Down said...

Hi Pete. Did you see the conclusion to the "Inland Revenue v. Portsmouth" court case last week? The IR were put on the waiting list with all the other creditors where as the players and staff were paid in full. This is what the BB said in a previous thread. If the IR can't get paid, what hope would there be for our council?

Stockwood Pete said...

That figures. It was John Goulandris, one of the Tories (a solicitor by trade, I think) who warned the Scrutiny Commission that without a proper legal charge on the business, this deal wasn't to be touched with a bargepole. The rest of that committee agreed.

Then when it came up in Cabinet, officers said it couldn't be done, other creditors already had first call on any assets if the club goes bust. So the Cabinet shrugged its collective shoulders and said it would go ahead anyway.

Charlie said...

Basically, they are just sold on the policy of the stadium. Simon Cook is tied to it, whatever the rest of his party thinks (and it is fairly obvious quite a few don't like supermarkets, or footie for that matter)

Anonymous said...

Supporting the stadium is one thing. Giving away public land is another. Dawn supports the stadium but has written to the Council for an explanation as to why there was no consultation so local people could express their views. It seems the leadership of the Council have ditched all their principles for the possibility of their 15 minutes of fame!

The Bristol Blogger said...

The stadium/Ashton Gate land deals are a joke.

The council hasn't even provided independent valuations of the land involved.

Senior council officer Alun Owen just seems to have made up a figure of £4m for the land involved and all 70 councillors have accepted it.

It's worth much more.

Leni Mafifa Riefenstahl said...

It's Fick Fufa and all the Cronies at work.

Labour / Tory / Same Old Story said...

You might be interested in what Private Eye are reporting in this fortnight's Rotten Boroughs column.

It involves similar ingredients to those in Bristol, only this time a tug of love between Stoke-on-Trent Council and Stoke City FC with council tax payers being the poor old rope in the middle getting frayed away.