Stadium planning report: 'minded to approve' joy

I think there is enough in this report to keep a small army of bloggers happy

Tony D

Indeed. So let’s get the ball rolling with this from page 59 then:

In summary, the council’s advisors disagree significantly with the applicant’s conclusion that there is a development gap of about £49.5m (i.e the difference between the development cost and the value of the project)”

[……]

“The main reason why the council’s advisors disagree with the applicant are;

1. The applicant has not included the enhanced value to Bristol City Football Co Ltd caused by the positive revenue impact of the new stadium on ticket revenue and other revenue streams. Therefore the appraisal underestimates the value of the completed project.

2. The applicants’ have valued the Ashton Vale site significantly above market value. It is understood that the figure used in based on a recent acquisition of an equity interest in the site. This is not considered to have been an arms length transaction and given the current planning policy on this land the value of the site is much lower. It is not reasonable to include other than current value of the land as a cost in the appraisal and therefore the applicant’s appraisal over-estimates the land cost.”

“The applicant has responded to the council’s scrutiny of the development appraisal by adjusting their assessment of the development shortfall down to to £30.3m.”

[…..]

“The Council’s advisors have reviewed the revised appraisal from the applicant but do not accept this reduced level of deficit, confirming their earlier advice that the project is near break even.”

And what the fuck does that all mean then?

Our man with a head for planning scams says:

“Basically Lansdown has tried to take the council for a ride to get a public subsidy of land and avoid planning obligations by trying to claim a funding gap of nearly £50m.

“He’s done this by getting Bristol City FC (chairman and major shareholder, Steve Lansdown) to undervalue the value of its new stadium while at the same time agreeing a value for the land that the stadium will be built on (landowner , Vence LLP: directors Steve Lansdown and his son) that is vastly inflated.

“When they got their hand caught in the cookie jar by the council they tried to bargain by dropping the gap down to £30m but planning officers have still said ‘no dice'”

So that’s how Bristol’s richest man carries on. More soon ….

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29 Responses to Stadium planning report: 'minded to approve' joy

  1. Factoid says:

    Sounds like it is time to congratulate the faceless planning officials you are so beloved of slagging off BB. If you won’t I will. Well done for catching Lansdown out. Now lets make sure the elected ones charge a full price for the car park.

  2. chris hutt says:

    I think BB, Tony, Berate and others can take a fair share of any credit for this because it’s their careful scrutiny and exposure of council shenanigans that leaves the council with little choice but to play it by the book.

  3. thebristolblogger says:

    Now lets make sure the elected ones charge a full price for the car park

    I shall be returning to that soon.

  4. SteveL says:

    Berate have done a lot, as have the long ashton campaigners -I think Charlie Bolton has too. But we’ve been though other planning situations where the planning people haven’t come out so strongly against the development as they did for Tesco, or so hard on the economics of the stadium, which seems to hint that is being done more for Landsdown’s profit than for “The City”. Would City supporters rather their ticket money was spent on better players or to pay Steve the inflated price of the land?

  5. thebristolblogger says:

    We don’t really know whether the planning mob have done a good job or not.

    Lansdown’s business case is top secret. This is just what they’re choosing to tell us and the planning committee.

    We don’t what else is in there do we?

  6. organiclocal says:

    Had a quick read through:

    GOOD: they’ve recommended pulling the Southlands housing proposal- is a blatant cash-cow attempt to concrete the green belt -nothing to do with the new stadium (funny how ‘enabling’ enables developers to try on anything).

    BAD: Looks to me like there’s a nice ‘bung’ heading Lansdowns way recommended by oficers. Development this size should trigger £5m plus in section 106 type community contribution (for education/libraries/ roads), according to officers. This has been reduced to £100k of contribution -in kind not cash (enabling again). That looks like £4,900,000 + to the Landowning rich in a brown envelope.

    BAD: No value put on the alderman moores site but hopefullythat will be rectified later and Bristol get paid a market rate.

    BAD: Scheme can’t afford to give up 20 allotment spaces to allotments association from the old allotment site according to officers (enabling?). We’ve got plenty already they say-bad luck to the people on the years waiting list.

    UGLY: The damage (destruction) to green belt is recognised by planners but it’s very important regionally this project so clearly it has to be built, and built here on green belt.

    SLOPPY: usual stuff on poor wildlife reports/mitigation; transport policy rubbish; sustainability credentials worse than the chinese; air quality well dodgy . These can all be rectified later, so not grounds for refusal. Might be good for planners to put in a few conditions here.

    Loads more for others to get stuck into. I like the way we’re given a week to labour through all this when they’ve been ‘negotiating’ in secret for 18 months.

  7. inks says:

    Sainsburys and BCFC have signed a deal subject to planning permission: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/8331186.stm.

  8. ohcorblimey says:

    Sainsbury’s have signed a deal with Bristol City FC to build a new store on the site of its Ashton Gate stadium. It’s on the BBC website so it must be true!

  9. MJ Ray says:

    LLPs don’t have directors – is that the only mistake?

  10. Dean says:

    MJ Ray

    A detailed disccussion of the exact nomenclature and terms of incorporation of a LLP probably not entirely germane to the point?

    But, for those who are really interested;

    A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) shares many of the features of a normal partnership – but it also offers reduced personal responsibility for business debts.

    Unlike members of ordinary partnerships, the LLP itself is responsible for any debts that it runs up, not the individual partners.

    So if the entire project goes bankrupt owning millions in unpaid fees and wages, it won’t come out of Stevie L’s bank account.

  11. MJ Ray says:

    Like a Ltd, there are limits on the limits, but you’re probably right in general.

    No, a detailed discussion isn’t germane (so why post one?) but if BB is playing fast-and-loose with basic business words like “director” and “member”, how accurate is the rest of what we read here? Is BB succumbing to Evening-Cancer-itis finally? Shakes the faith, really!

  12. Bored at work says:

    Steve L can’t be too bothered as he is out in Africa shooting at endangered species right now!

  13. Beddie Bill says:

    BB, I hope you can prove those allegations. If I was Steve Lansdown, I’d be suing your arse off for defamation.

  14. thebristolblogger says:

    Which allegations?

  15. Beddie Bill says:

    You’re joking… right? You’re suggesting a businessman with a reputation to protect has tried to mislead the council. I know you’re quoting someone else – but you are the publisher of that information and, as such, are culpable. If he sues, the onus of proof is on you. I’m a lawyer. If I was SL’s lawyer, I’d be rubbing my hands together.

  16. Beddie Bill says:

    By the way, as I have now pointed out that the post is potentially defamatory, technically you have 24 hours to remove it. After that, the (admittedly tenuous) defence of ignorant stupidity becomes null and void.

  17. thebristolblogger says:

    The facts are contained in the report.

    The interpretation of them can be disputed if you like.

  18. Harry Tuttle says:

    Beddie Bill. Not sure how much of a lawyer you are. But, misquoting law like that could get you in serious trouble. Representing yourself to be knowledgeable in libel law could get you into more.

    Now back off and stop suppressing debate.

  19. organiclocal says:

    yes beddie legal brain -trying to rip off local ratepayers is technically fraud but call it ‘enabling’ then that’s ok then. And undervaluing your property for tax or planning law evasion-doesn’t look too good- isn’t this what’s alleged by council officers?

  20. Beddie Bill says:

    BB and Harry. I was actually trying to help, not suppress debate. It is precisely your interpretation of the “facts” which, in my view, is defamatory. The report is protected by something called qualified privilege. You are not. There are laws about what you can and cannot say. In my opinion, you have risked breaking them. I’m sorry I took the trouble to warn you.

  21. dreamingspire says:

    If the travel plan in the application is anything like the travel plan for the Memorial Stadium development, those who know the Ashton Vale area and the way in which the current City Stadium handles match crowds need to take a very close look at the plan to see if in fact it is a plan rather than a farce, and further to see if the area can actually handle the projected crowds (including doing that safely) – remember that, despite the narrow roads and pavements outside the Mem, the Council does not do crowd and traffic management there (but it should), and neither do the police (unless there is an incident, and then the police usually but not always close the area of the incident).

  22. Harry Tuttle says:

    Beddie Bill. Your comments were clearly intended to frighten not help. You encouraged the withdrawal of this debate because of a threat of legal action.

    Any one who talks about anything “risks” breaking the law as you put it. There would be no debate at all if that approach was taken. Now stop getting all Trafigura about things and let people “risk” their liberty by debating important local issues.

    And remember there are also laws about how lawyers should behave when representing themselves as lawyers. Its called “conduct”.

  23. chris hutt says:

    I think we can assume that Steve Lansdown is a smart cookie (is that libelous?) and would realise that drawing national media attention to allegations made on an obscure (is that libelous?) local blog would not necessarily help his stadium or world cup ambitions.

  24. Rosso Verde says:

    Chris H is correct – Lansdown would be foolish to take action against BB for publishing exactly what a lot of us think on the issue.
    It would also make BB or whoever else he targets a “cause célèbre” and hopefully undermine the whole shady way this and other deals of this nature have been done to a wider public than the readers of this blog.

  25. inks says:

    TBB does sail pretty close to the wind sometimes and one day someone will have a go at a libel case.

    This thread isn’t one of them. I can’t see anything in the thread header that even approaches libel.

    The word “scam” is the only possibly libellous bit but it’s not applied to Steve Lansdown or the development proposal.

  26. Sock_Monkey says:

    I say respect to Stevie ‘L’, him and Peter ‘H’ who have, through a lot of hard work, become great ambassadors for the city. At the end of the day the stadium issue is about profit making companies, and anyone else in Stevi L’s shoes would do the same to maximise their profits.

  27. Jimbo says:

    Sock_Monkey – You could only be in his shoes if you were money grabbing bastard. Don’t you feel sick with the underhand manipulation of people’s aspirations just to make a few quid?

  28. thebristolblogger says:

    There are laws about what you can and cannot say.

    I may be fucking stupid and – unlike you – I’m not an expert in defamation – is there a lot of demand for libel lawyers in Bedminster these days? – but I do know there are no laws in this country about what you can and cannot say.

    You can say what the fuck you like. OK, once you’ve said it there’s various (mainly civil) avenues open to people for recourse but we do not have censorship backed up by criminal law in this country (with the honorable exception of ancient absurdities like sedition and treason).

    I can’t really be bothered to argue the toss on detail with a house conveyancer from Bedminster but the terms you’re worried about:

    “Take for a ride”; “hand in the cookie jar”

    Are conversational, idiomatic and, in the grand scheme of things pretty innocuous.

    Although you are correct that – if read literally – they’re not true. I mean Stevie couldn’t take Bristol City Council for a ride could he?

    They wouldn’t all fit in his car.

    Personally I’m more concerned about what organiclocal has said. But then is it really possible – or desirable – to stop people conversing on the internet?

  29. dreamingspire says:

    From a presentation given to a recent local govt conference, the planning regime is getting tighter and will end up with “Developers’ contributions as last resort”. So get your Section 106 demands in quick, Bristle.

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