What you’ve been telling us

A few weeks ago we sent out an update on the Carriageworks and, in particular, Fifth Capital the company that now says it’s going to develop the site.  Lots of people wrote in with their thoughts.  Here’s what they said (to respect individuals we’ve removed actual names). The comments stand in contrast to Fifth Capital’s PR which is claiming that local people are saying “just get on with it”.

Thank you for your informative email — I was wondering about the leaflet, and was deeply suspicious after reading it. I used to (be) a financial journalist — this smells bad. As well as bearing the hallmarks of various kinds of dodgy dealing, it’s exactly how the ‘dead hand of gentrification’ works — as soon as an area becomes ‘up and coming’, with the trotting out of promises that ‘developers’ have no intention of delivering on (or being around long enough to deliver on) being a major aspect of it.
I am very pleased to see that you sound already very aware of this, and trust that we’ll be able to put together a robust demolition of their planning application unless the bad smell proves unfounded, and the motives and plan better than rotten. With links to major developers and financiers, they’ll be good at it, so we’ll need to be quicker and smarter — a strong collaborative relationship with BCC, whatever the limitations on what Planning can and can’t take into account, may well prove to be our greatest asset! It will be fascinating to see what they present at their exhibition.
Keep up the good work. Stokes Croft CAN do regeneration differently!
best, J
P.S. How old is the photo they used on their leaflet?!

Thank you very much for this – for those of us without the time to really follow these things too closely, but with a very keen interest in what happens there, this is a perfect summary. I appreciate this level of brevity, with links to as much further info as anyone interested and with the time can follow. It is an excellent update for people like me, of which I am sure there are many.
Thanks again

I had lunch with a friend in Glastonbury, who described the owners of the Carriageworks site (on what evidence I don’t know) as a ‘bunch of gangsters’.
I must say the situation as described in the newsletter supports this view. There is no evidence of any kind to support the proposals of this company with less money than I have as a retired and not very wealthy individual. It all sounds like ‘Stokes Croft is the place to be in Bristol. We can make lots of money by banging up some overpriced flats with just enough minor alterations to get the planning permission.’
Let’s hope Knightstone, a local and relatively well known organization trusted to a large degree, can get their vision up, but if I know developers they will be shafted in the interests of a quick buck.

I hope Fifth Capital do not have any association with Hong Kong estate agents who seem to be selling off London at the rate of knots.
Thanks for the update.

[The next message was sent to Fifth Capital and copied to us]
We respond to the ‘Carriageworks Community News’ put through our letterbox as local residents.
We think your consultation with the local community is commendable, despite being an obligatory requirement of submitting a planning application of this scale.
However the fact that on the site map/plan contained on your Community News three of the surrounding streets have been misnamed or misspelled (see attached), is a sloppiness that doesn’t suggest any kind of local awareness, let alone inspire confidence.
Of course, all the questions being asked by the Carriageworks Action Group (as below) require good answers, that according to them seem so far to be lacking.
I’m not entirely convinced that hiring an independent communications company suggests real commitment to direct engagement with the local community either.
And Fifth Capital having no website and a possibly residential business address doesn’t inspire confidence either I’m afraid.

Why are you giving all this publicity to Fifth Capital ?
They have turned up too late to enter the race. Surely the race has already run, with Knightstone the winner. Let’s just let them get on with it .

Dont worry about the leaflet – thats a small issue.
The bigger issue with this group is that Marc Pennicks mate is Peter Bingle, who works for Bell Pottinger – a Public Affairs.
I think BPPA used to work for the government, but certainly Peter has connections in Westminster.
Will keep digging.

It seems from looking at your histories that what these people with no money who have just bought a controlling interest are after is a fat profit from the compulsory purchase. After all you buy the place for little money on a loan, then prepare, cheaply and quickly, a set of plans that are obviously not sufficient for what is required, but which, if implemented, would make a lot of money for you, and then when the Council decides to compulsorily purchase, you claim all kinds of business losses and make a huge profit for doing nothing, leaving Bristol impoverished and less money for the proper implementation of the original scheme. Worse than that if TTIP* goes through you will have a legal right to sue for all losses made as the result of any government or council decision, and that will probably include projected profits over the next 50 years assuming the most favourable possible position.
We may well get the Knightstone option, but at a cost several times what it should be, thanks to these fly by night operators.

* TTIP = Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. For more see 38 Degrees campaign

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