RED TROUSER GATE: If Bristol City Council made lager …

If there’s ever a competition to find the crappest investigation in the world. Ever. Then Bristol City Council should enter their Complaints Manager, Tim Sheppard’s absolutely pathetic attempt to investigate the circumstances of the sale of Railway Path land at Greenbank to developers Square Peg and their red trousered buffoon of an architect, George Ferguson.

After another month of waiting, it turns out Sheppard’s investigation was nothing of the kind. Instead he’s had a cosy chat with the the man at the centre of the scandal, the council’s Head of Planning, David Bishop, published exactly what Bishop said without question and has called it an investigation. Pathetic.

The full transcript of the fiasco is available on Vowlsie’s blog with a useful commentary added by the campaigner. However the key statement is:

Discussion about the proposed land sale and the questions that it raised, was had with Transport, Property and senior Culture & Leisure Services staff

Note the term “discussion” as opposed to “meeting” or “reports obtained” here. And where are the minutes of this “discussion” leading directly to a delegated (from elected politicians) decision?

And this is interesting too:

If such a [development] came to fruition … more people would be attracted to cycle and walk along the path in future. Bristol’s residents would get healthier as a result and any traffic modal shift would make a contribution to reduced congestion and enhanced air quality, all aims the Council is vigorously pursuing.

I wonder if there’s an evidence base for any of these assertions? Or is this just what Ferguson and the developers told them? Vowlsie describes it as a sales pitch, which seems fair enough. To hype a “traffic modal shift” to cycling at a new development with 250 car parking spaces sounds unrealistic to say the least.

And that’s about it for the investigation really. A mysterious and secretive “discussion” between senior officers, a couple of evidence-free assertions and there goes our protected park land and the much-touted Parks and Open Spaces Strategy,

The Blogger understands that a further Freedom of Information request will now be going in to find out the time, date, location and attendance at these “discussions” and to ask for any agendas, minutes and reports that might derive from them. Enquiries will also be made about the evidence base the officers were using to inform their decision.

This, of course, is all stuff that pointless-waste-of-our-money Sheppard should have obtained as a matter course during his “investigation”. Why hasn’t he?

This entry was posted in Bristol, Bristol and Bath Railway Path, Bristol East, Cycling Demonstration City, Developments, Easton, Environment, Local government, Merchant Venturers, Transport and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to RED TROUSER GATE: If Bristol City Council made lager …

  1. Dona Qixota says:

    “Modal shift” … LOL …

    Much like the Council’s idea of a “quantum leap” then, eh?

  2. thebristolblogger says:

    I think they think if they put in a technical-sounding word we’ll all be blinded by the scientific basis of their argument.

  3. redzone says:

    i think the word ‘investigation’ is inappropriate here 😕
    i doubt mr sheppard knows what ‘traffic modal shift’ actually means & if he does, can he explain it to the rest of us 😕
    in his own words would be preferable too 😉

  4. BristolPatriot says:

    One seems to remember Tim Sheppard came from the retail sector .Debenhams I think it was .So he is quite used to fobbing people off,now that he is working for the “underworld” it isnt really surprising others are getting the Rosalie Walker treatment ” Ill look into that” and never hear another word.

  5. BristolPatriot says:

    This of course has to be expected from “OUTSIDERS” with a common purpose.

  6. Pingback: Pages tagged "cycling"

  7. Dona Qixota says:

    “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned… to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers.”

    Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

    Sound familiar?


    Just thought I’d mention that.

  8. Acesabe says:

    Just got this laughable fwd’d email in my inbox:

    ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: Apple orchards, not executive flats – 3 Dec
    Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 19:07:57 +0000
    From: Claire Milne
    To: Inez Aponte

    ***Pls forward far and wide** *apologies for any cross-posting*

    **Apple orchards, not executive flats!*
    *Wed 3 December, 7-9pm*
    Hamilton House, Stokes Croft

    Don’t miss this unprecedented opportunity to influence what land is used for
    in Bristol.

    Bristol City Council is currently consulting communities on how we think
    land should be used in Bristol between now and 2026. It is urgent that we
    make use of this opportunity to begin creating and realising our dreams of
    sustainable, local living.

    The Bristol Development Framework (BDF) – the plan that sets out a strategy
    for land use in Bristol – provides a way for communities, individuals and
    businesses to propose land use for specific sites to the Council. This means
    we can insist on land for food rather than flats, for example.

    *Get involved!*
    Come along on 3 Dec to find out how that disused petrol station or derelict
    building in your community could be turned into an orchard, community
    supported agriculture or other community space.

    This is a practical, action-focused session:

    1) If you can, come armed with ideas for sites in your area
    2) Find out more about what is and isn’t possible
    3) Discuss and develop the vision you have for your local neighbourhood.

    We look forward to seeing you there for an inspiring evening!

    Email for more information and to let us know you
    are coming.

    You can find Hamilton House BS1 3QY on Google Maps or click below:
    Housing development or fruit orchard?? Hmmmm – tough call for the council eh?
    -Yeah right!!

  9. Dona Qixota says:

    Ex-petrol stations for growing food? Is this BCC’s way of saving on the social services budget – by poisoning us all off?

  10. Chris Hutt says:

    Sounds like some naive soul actually took the Council bull shit at face value. It’s about this “calling for sites” bilge from the Bristol Development Framework lot in the Planning Department (or whatever it’s called these days).

    As George Ferguson made clear in his recent Evening Post column it’s really about finding scraps of “completely pointless” green space to build houses on. So do let them know about that special little wild corner you want to see preserved and protected, won’t you?

  11. Mr Duck says:

    In any competition to uncover “the crappiest investigation ever”, Bristol would suffer strong competition from Somerset. Always assuming you can find someone who dares to talk about it of course. PS I am not even referring to SouthWestOne!

  12. Sugar Rose says:

    Strange thing to encounter on a Thursday morning – the Bristol Blogger out shopping in Gap Kids, looking very tweedy, his arms deep in – what? a pile of junior-sized Red Trousers!

  13. BristleKRS says:

    Could this be the genesis of a Merchant Venturer Junior Dirlewanger Brigade?!


  14. thebristolblogger says:

    I wasn’t strictly speaking “shopping”. I was actually looking in Baby Gap before heading to H&M – cool clothes for the under-3s at knockdown prices folks – to buy the same stuff for half the price.

    It makes me feel much better, and helps me sleep at night, to know that the low costs of child labour and developing world sweatshops are passed directly on to me, the consumer.

  15. Sugar Rose says:

    Because it’s several miles by car from Baby Gap to the nearest H&M kids section and because I note you’ve noted that second hand clothes are better than any organic hemp hippy shit, here’s a link to info about a second hand clothes extravaganza I know you’ll love:

  16. thebristolblogger says:

    It’s a 3 minute walk from Baby Gap in Merchants Street, Broadmead to H&M (with kids section!) in Cabot Circus.

    I see the Tobacco Factory clothes swap doesn’t want “crap from Primark.’ Hmmm.

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