RED TROUSER GATE: Council contradicts itself within 2 minutes

A Bristol City Council spokeswoman said: “The developer of the chocolate factory is negotiating with the council, which is finalising an in-principle agreement to sell a small strip of land so that some houses could be accessed by bikes from the cycle track.
Bristol Evening Post, ‘Bristol City Council questioned over sale of land for homes’, 19 November 2008, 2.19pm

The confusion being caused is that there is an appearance that the council has agreed to sell the land in question to the developers of the Elizabeth Shaw factory site. No agreement has in fact been reached to sell the land
Email from Jane Greenaway, BCC Acting Parks Strategy Coordinator, 19 November 2008, 2.21pm

Go figure …

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11 Responses to RED TROUSER GATE: Council contradicts itself within 2 minutes

  1. Chris Hutt says:

    For a start the first BCC statement is wrong.

    The Railway Path land they have/have not (delete as applicable) agreed to sell to Squarepeg is NOT “so some houses could be accessed by bikes from the cycle track” but to allow the construction of a row of buildings including a 7 storey tower, 12 houses and a 4 storey block of flats.

    The strip of Railway Path land for access purposes is different and the intention there is not to sell it to Squarepeg but to agree “easements” for access. Or at least that’s what they were saying last week.

    On the question of whether they have or have not agreed to sell the land, I think the answer might be that they (or at least David Bishop) have agreed verbally but no documents have yet been signed.

    Squarepeg wouldn’t have spent months preparing their planning application on the basis of the Railway Path land being included in the development unless they had been given some high-level assurances that it would go through.

    Much as I’d like to think that we are witnessing some sort of conspiracy here, everyday it’s looking more and more like a monumental cock-up.

  2. BristolPatriot says:


  3. thebristolblogger says:

    Squarepeg wouldn’t have spent months preparing their planning application on the basis of the Railway Path land being included in the development unless they had been given some high-level assurances that it would go through.

    I think you’ll find Square Peg will have a legal case if BCC pull out of the sale (they’ve agreed to). Square Peg prepared a large and expensive planning application on the basis of Bishop/BCC agreeing to sell the land. Who ends up paying the cost if the land is pulled from sale?

  4. thebristolblogger says:

    Whoops. Both changed to 2008.

  5. BristleKRS says:

    it’s looking more and more like a monumental cock-up

    Hmm, yes, but the sort of cock-up created by those in authority consciously conspiring outwith the bright lights of transparent accountability and democratic oversight with those whose vested interests are backed up by filthy lucre 😉

  6. Factoid says:

    So, not sold, agreed to be sold, but not agreed properly, in writing. This is the sort of mess specifically designed to prevent the proles from knowing whats going on. And its working, I don’t know whats going on – but I am afraid that this land will not be owned by me for much longer.

  7. Martyn Whitelock says:

    So, judging from the webcast this development could be approved upon the basis of increasing the proportion of affordable housing (currently only 6%) at a postponed decision.

    Is it fair that people who take time and effort to make public statements return to a future meeting to repeat their objections? Couldn’t their opinions have been voted upon at the current meeting? This is a hole in the present planning process which astute developers can clearly take advantage of.

    George Ferguson’s own words were “Any issues about the cycle path are imagined ones. This is not a vital bit of the verge of the cycle path. It is a chunk which is taken out of it… it is simply a verge”. (See webcast, 21:52)

    Yes George! This is precisely what people are objecting to: the development of even a small section of our precious inner city green space, and as highlighted by Glenn Vowles the questionable processes related to the sale of green space set aside by the Council’s own Parks & Open Space Strategy.

    As we all know, greenways such as the amazingly successful Bristol-Bath Railway Path provide very high public amenity (for all sections of the community) and the habitat for important wildlife and biodiversity, but that clearly doesn’t matter to someone of your ilk.

    Yes, many people agree with the redevelopment of our historic industrial architecture (and this is long-overdue where the chocolate factory is concerned) but the current development proposal uses inappropriate green space which I can’t see the newly appointed LibDem administration giving the go-ahead as this would backtrack upon their green agenda for the future of Bristol. Hope I’m right on this one Gary and Jon?

    Webcast link: Development Control (South and East) Committee – Wed, 18th Feb 2009 @ 14:00

  8. Martyn Whitelock says:

    p.s. Please don’t take any personal offence George – I’m just an average member of the public who is deeply passionate about the environment and the future of Bristol.

  9. Gary Hopkins says:

    The planning committee is not under the control of the administration and the councillors who sit on there should not have any regard to party political allegiance.
    There are members from all parties in proportion to representation on council.
    The council could have had influence here by agreeing or not agreeing to sell the land.
    There appears to be a question of whether the council operated its own policy properly and there has been more than 1 occasion where that has happened with the PGSS.
    Clearly a new administration will find things that have been done that it does not approve of. Some of them are reversible some are not.

  10. thebristolblogger says:

    The land sale at Greenbank has not been agreed. It is reversible.

    It is also a political decision and should be taken out of the hands of the deeply unreliable David Bishop (who you’ve now hopefully got on some urgent filing duties?) and given to your executive member to take.

    Perhaps you would also like to immediately publish the consultation Bishop’s spent £12k on and then buried too?

    Or is it a case of you Lib Dems all falling into line to cover the Bishop’s rather exposed ugly arse?

    This is an interesting test of who really has power at the Council House isn’t it?

  11. Martyn Whitelock says:

    Gary – Thanks. I’m aware planning committees are not controlled by the administration and that development decisions should be made completely independently of political agendas, based upon professional advice from officers. This development is clearly one of the most important current issues which concerns the future of the city’s green policies, so let’s see how the LibDems deal with it.

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