Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Multi-million-pound stadium questions Bristol must face

Liberal Democrat cabinet set to face multi-million pound decisions on public funding contributions to new stadium.

Article by yours truly on Bristol 24-7 website.  Link from here


  1. Here we have another load of exaggerated shit stirring from the tree hugging educated idiot.

    Tom B

  2. Not often the word "educated" is used as an insult.

    You've obviously touched a raw nerve Tony.

  3. Excellent expose. The New Stadium is already holding out the begging bowl. Lets all dip in our pockets to subsidise the millionaires at the football club.

  4. Hi Tony

    This is all a story about if's.
    What if England get the world cup, what if Sainsbury's are successful, what if BCFC's attendances are not above a certain figure(Roughly 4 seasons to repay the £6m) if they have to, what if the council didn't waive the affordable housing, basically your whole story is based on if's and it is itself a bit iffy.

    You say the council owned car park which the football club own the lease to is worth, up to £7m, wow! it could also be worth £300k.
    How can a portion of land less than one fith of the adjoining development site suddenly become worth one third of it's value?
    (cue the ransom suggestion).

    As stated before, the car park will remain a car park, it already has access rights of way to the main site, the council would not get the lease back for about 85 years.
    Obviously it will have a value, that of a car park, possibly with a petrol station, which of course will mean extra business rates over and above it's present value as a car park.

    I think you could be suggesting that the council hold the club to ransom and demand the fantasy valuation of £7m to also obtain the car park.
    Where did this figure come from?

    As for the other figures you quote, you portray these as monies the council will be expending.
    The reality is that the whole stadium development is not making a profit, in fact it is being subsidised by Mr Lansdown and the monies you refer to would only be gained from holding developers to ranson for a 106 payment.

    If it weren't for Mr Lansdown and his subsidy, this whole scheme would not get off the ground, we wouldnt be in the scenario of having the chance to better this part of Bristol or the chance to promote Bristol to the world.

    Your concern for the ratepayers of Bristol is admiral, unfortunately you are also fighting against those same ratepayers, this from the warm environs of South Glos.

    You oppose the new stadium.
    You oppose the new Sainsbury's
    You oppose the world cup bid.
    In fact you oppose every section of the proposals for south Bristol as a whole, you argue your case with a heavy emphasis on finacial points, this makes me question your environmental stance.

    I know, you can't gain support on environmental grounds so, let's frighten the natives with extortionate claims of monies spent and lost by the council.

  5. All this annoying waffle about Lansdown.
    He wants to "better this part of Bristol" like some 21st century John Wesley I suppose.
    Pass the vomit bag.
    If he wants to invest his millions in his private club good luck to him. But:

    1. I'm going to destroy your greenbelt.
    2. We're going to ram all your streets with traffic.
    3. We're gonna nick your allotments.
    4. We're gonna erect a monster hypermarket.
    5. We're determined to pollute your community with fumes.
    6. We'll make sure all your historic shopping streets are boarded-up.
    7. We'll make you pay for the world's biggest football bunfest.
    8. We'll give you a massive drive-thru McDonalds.
    9. Lets accidently drive a devisive wedge through the community.
    10. Lets make everyone, all citizens help pay for it, to be fair.

    Doesn't sound much like a social reformer to me.

  6. "If it weren't for Mr. Lansdown and his subsidy....". Stephen Lansdown was quoted in the EP as saying he did not believe in big gestures, it would not be fair on his family, but he would be prepared to make a loan or invest in the stadium. I thought at the time it was an honest remark. I have not seen any other comment to suggest this situation has changed. In this whole debate there is one question that is never answered. If the Ashton Gate site is the football clubs financial imput into the new stadium, say £20million, and the whole project, even taking into account the value of the housing, will be another £60million, does this not mean the football club will only own 25% of the new stadium, and so, my question, who will own the other 75%?

  7. The other 75% is a gift from the City to that kind Mr Lansdown (except that your figures Paul in fact show a 1/3 to 2/3 split)but a big gesture from the city nonetheless.

    Shame the residents of Ashton Vale will then be surrounded entirely by industrial estates - but hey they only live there and there's football at stake.


  8. Anon said: "You argue your case with a heavy emphasis on finacial points, this makes me question your environmental stance."

    The environment is all about economics anon. People make money by taking stuff produced by the planet (metal, oil, food, water, wood) modifying it and selling it. They make a profit because they do not pay for the pollution they cause in producing their goods.

    If Lansdown and Sextone and Sanesburys had to compensate residents for all the extra congestion, energy, fumes, and traffic accidents caused by their developments, this would seriously dig into their profits. If the council exacerbate this by providing subsidies in the form of waiving fees or selling land on the cheap, they improve the offer for Landsdown/Sextone/Saneburys, making them more likely to do it. In the current rules, they make the money leaving others to suffer the fall out from their development.

    This is why it makes sense to focus on the money, and does not mean Tony D is less bothered about the "environment". Your idea of the environment may be about tree hugging etc, but its about where your food comes from, the air you breathe and the water you drink.

    It has everything to do with the money.

    Chris U

  9. Paul

    At present the club is effectively owned by the shareholders, Mr Lansdown is the biggest of those by far so effectively he is the owner.

    The stadium build costs are about £65m, ( all figures are approximate as we are not party to them) Take off the £20m from the site sale, the £5m from selling the housing plot (moorelands), plus the hotel and fast food sites and you are left with a deficit of probably £35m plus, No doubt there will be some sponsorship monies of up to £10m so the remainder will be owed by the shareholders.
    So effectively Mr Lansdown will be picking up the bill, that is his investment in this project which is why he cashed in £47m of his shares in his company.

    So to Harry T and Chris U.
    Mr Lansdown is not making money from this project, it is actually costing him.

    Maybe as Paul says, it is a loan or an investment As Mr Lansdown said, either way no hard cash is coming from the council as a gift, Tony would have you believe it is.
    You've fallen for the propaganda from the opposition to these schemes.

    Where is the profit?

    Answer = There is no profit.

    Sainsbury's will make a profit, after purchase and development costs are paid back.

    maybe the stadium will be more valuable in it's uses than the present one.

    The thing that is obvious, is that both developments are going to take many years to provide a return on the investments,
    except in the benefits they will bring.


    Still LSD it it?


  10. Rich

    There is profit. The club gains 100% of the shares despite not putting in 100% of the money. The city (and ratepayers) get no percentage for their contributions in land, waived s.106 and other funding.

    You are also ignoring the huge gain on the property value to the landowners from their being allowed to build on greenbelt.

    You also ignore the enormous damage to the values of the housing next to the land, for which the residents get no compensation.


  11. Investment, n, "money placed so that it will increase in value"

    "In general terms, investment means the use of money in the hope of making more money"

  12. Hi All

    Do you invest in your home to make money, or to improve it?
    In general terms you would generally be correct, in this case though, it is not general terms, it is a football stadium.

    Football stadiums are not built to make profit, they are built to improve the teams chances of competing at the highest level possible.

    By improving your home, might increase it in value but, what good is that increased value, or profit if you cannot gain access to it?
    All it is is an improvement on what you already have, that is what BCFC are trying to do.

    Harry T
    The city council are not putting money in, how many times do you need this explaining?
    The only monetary investment is coming from the owners of the club.
    If this stadium did not go ahead, then the city and it's ratepayers would still not get the S.106 payments.
    The stadium will have a direct affect in terms of visionary impact on 14 houses only, unfortunately this has no baring in planning law.
    Only if it was affecting light, or was too imposing, due to it's proximity would it have any effect in planning terms, that is not the case in this instance.

    Those houses are at present, adjacent to a former tip, which some people claim is full of toxic waste, yet it is also described as a nature reserve, which is it?

    The property value increase as I've explained, is of no benefit to the owners, that is unless they wanted to sell the new stadium.

    They may well be able to raise revenue from the stadium but that is not profit, there would need to be an awful lot of increased revenue before the deficit was paid off.

    Now stop listening to the propaganda and think for yourselves.

    The club are planning to move to improve their chances of success, it is costing the owners millions of pounds and they are asking the council to waive what is effectively a tax on proposed profit making developments,
    this is not a profit making development.

    The council will have extra rateable revenue, from the stadium, from the hotel, from the restaurant, from the new housing at moorelands, from a bigger Sainsbury's, and from the housing and workshops at the present Sainsbury site, all without having to cough up a penny of ratepayers money.

    Plus, the city of Bristol gets to promote itself on the world stage and earn a fair bit of money in the process, that's not counting the amount of construction and permanent employment gained from these schemes, in an area that's been lacking major investment for years.


  13. Rich

    I don't accept your analysis at all and I don't think you are interested in anyone elses.

    You also have obviously never been to the site. The waste tip was at the northern end and is entirely covered over with grass and had been for 20 years. The nature reserve is at the other end. So, to answer your question, it is both, but in different parts.

    I have no idea where your "14 houses" bit comes from. But you know surprisingly little about the site for one who types so much.


  14. "The property value increase as I've explained, is of no benefit to the owners, that is unless they wanted to sell the new stadium."

    My God, the man is a total idiot.

    Of course the property value increase is of benefit to the owners - if the value of an asset increases than so does the level of funding that can be borrowed against the value of that asset if it is used as security for the loan.

    Millions of individuals and thousands of companies alike take loans every day in which they use their assets as security for the loan - the more the asset is worth the greater the amount of finance they can attract - but that doesn't mean they intend to sell the asset. In fact, Bristol City FC already have an existing loan which uses the current stadium as security.

    In Bristol City FC's case their own accounts show that without securing additional finance they will cease to be a going concern, and the accounts also show that their chairman has agreed to buy additional shares and/or loan stock to keep the company afloat.

    A new stadium with increased value will allow the club to borrow more.

    I happen to support the new stadium but this idiot "Rich" just doesn't know when to admit he is out of his depth.....

  15. Andrew,

    its like watching a car crash isn't it....

    As a rugby fan, I wouldn't try to argue about the intricacies of football so as a property development consultant when I see this;

    "The stadium build costs are about £65m, ( all figures are approximate as we are not party to them) Take off the £20m from the site sale, the £5m from selling the housing plot (moorelands), plus the hotel and fast food sites and you are left with a deficit of probably £35m plus, No doubt there will be some sponsorship monies of up to £10m so the remainder will be owed by the shareholders.
    So effectively Mr Lansdown will be picking up the bill, that is his investment in this project which is why he cashed in £47m of his shares in his company."

    it almost made me laugh out loud....

    He could just have written "I don't have a clue what I'm talking about, and I know it, but that's not going to stop me because I don't know enough to know how ridiculous I am making myself look"

  16. Before this thread degenerates too far into a series of ad hominem attacks......

    Having been away from my computer for a few days I was hoping to return to find that somebody completely supportive of the stadium had responded to the Bristol 24-7 article with some reasoned arguments debating the points raised. The key points raised in the article were;

    1) That as the stadium project comes closer to possible fruition so attention will turn to the fact that the current cabinet will have to make key decisions about public assets and, possibly, public funding, and what constitutes the "best value" for the public from the use of those public assets.

    2)That the funding element refers in particular to a reference in a cabinet report that the football club would be "seeking the support of the City Council to meet these costs [of £6m] through the provision of a loan facility", a cost which is over and above the £25m in gross expenditure already estimated for a World Cup bid.

    3) That it is not known how any loan, if agreed, would be paid back if ticket sales fail to meet anticipated levels.

    4)That the land known as "Moorelands" and given outline planning permission for housing is currently in public ownership.

    5)That, given the monetary value of the land, the cabinet will have to make a key decision regarding what the "best value" should be for this land if it is decided to transfer it to private ownership.

    6) That the car park at Ashton Gate is also in public ownership and will also be the subject of a key decision by the cabinet if planning permission is granted for a development at Ashton Gate.

    7) That "the value of the land [at Ashton Gate] has been stated as anything from merely the value of a share of the existing leasehold up to a third of the value of the total site as retail (i.e £7m)."

    8) That given the current squeeze on public funding, that the above decisions about land disposals and potential loans will be difficult ones for the cabinet to make, given the level of public interest both for and against the new stadium and especially as they are fully aware that they have to ensure they provide "best value" to the Bristol public.

    Instead of addressing the points raised, those supporting the new stadium have resorted to insults (educated?, moi?), preposterous comments (to suggest by opposing Sainsbury's that I oppose all efforts to regenerate south Bristol is in direct contradiction to planning officer's own concerns that the superstore proposal could actually undermine efforts to regenerate other parts of south Bristol), or a willingness to create their own version of what was said in order to suit their argument, as shown below;

    "no hard cash is coming from the council as a gift, Tony would have you believe it is"

    Rich, please provide a quote from me showing where I have said the council will be gifting hard cash to a private developer (which is, of course, illegal).

    I look forward to your response where, along with the quote requested above, you (or other stadium supporters) might actually directly address the points I raised in the original article. However given previous experience I don't have great expectations.

    PS The costs for the stadium development project as last stated was approx £122m; the £65m mentioned above is purely the construction costs for the stadium itself and does not include non-construction costs for the stadium (i.e. professional fees, planning costs etc) or any of the costs of the supporting infrastructure without which the stadium would be useless. Nor does it include any costs that the eventual stadium owners will need to pay the freehold or leasehold to the land the stadium will be built upon. I guess that this is what Jonathan R is referring to in his comment.

  17. Harry T
    For your information. The 14 houses are shown on the plans, if you care to have a look, they are the only ones directly affected.
    The quote about the nature reserve I refered to came from a spokesperson from HOLA (if you know who they are) it referred to the whole site.
    The former tip has not been covered in grass for 20 years, it was still in use until about 1991.
    I have been to the site, have you seen the gas pipes coming out of it? They are almost as bad as the rubbish strewn around the so called nature reserve, to describe it as a nature reserve is bordering on the rediculous, even with the three oak trees. As I understand it a nature reserve had to be managed as one, not just called one, perhaps I'm wrong.
    If you do know the area Harry, then you'll know that Ashton vale is already surrounded by trading estates, and train lines and main roads.

    Andrew MacArthur

    It does of course stand to reason that you can raise money, by way of a loan on the increased value of the stadium.
    If you were paying attention and not so quick to insult, you might have seen that a part of this discussion is about so called profits the development is going to make for the owners.
    I pointed out that it was going to be in deficit, so unless Mr Lansdown writes off his personal investment, there will be no assets to borrow against.
    In my statement I was making a point that to realise a profit, the stadium would need to be sold.

    Jonathan R
    As the much more intellectual type that watches rugger, perhaps you could enlighten us on the specific details of this developments financial structure.
    As it is you've taken a swipe at my assessment of the situation, where I've used the stadium figures which are available in the media, as I don't have access to the specific ones.

    Hi Tony

    My comments were directed to Harry T and Paul W, of course you have not said that there would be hard cash going to this development. You have not corrected people from thinking that this is not the case either, an example of this intended representation follows.

    1)" That as the stadium project comes closer to possible fruition so attention will turn to the fact that the current cabinet will have to make key decisions about public assets and, possibly, public funding, and what constitutes the "best value" for the public from the use of those public assets".

    Now as public funding goes that means that the public/council will fund something, which is the same as putting hard cash into something.
    You have implied that the waiving of S106
    contributions and lower land values, would mean the local authority effectively losing money, therefore implying that it would ultimately cost public money, that is of course wrong.

    Where did that valuation for the car park come from?

    £58m is an awful lot to pay for legal fees, planning fees and some infrastructure (not far off 50 percent).
    Maybe some of the other developments are included in those figures.

    Perhaps the superior, rugger watcher will enlighten us, because at the moment he has said nothing, or quoted contradictory figures that prove his point, apart from an insult, but that's what I'd expect from his sort.

    I think the councils decisions have already been taken and you are trying a last ditch attempt to upset the applecart, by focussing on the financial points.
    This article is just more of your iffy stirring, whilst using figures taken from the extreme ends of the scales, then used as headline grabbers to raise unjustified concerns.

    Where did that valuation of the car park come from?


  18. Oh dear Rich. That's alot of typing.

    I am now looking at the Register of Sites of Nature Conservation Interest for Ashton Vale Fields. It descirbes the southern 7 hectares of the site as a "Site of Nature Conservation Interest".

    I would invite anyone else to go and visit the site and see that your other comments are incorrect.


  19. Hi Tony

    I have just been informed that the first post could have come from my computer.
    Being an IT man, could you confirm this, I will take the appropriate action.
    If this proves to be the case, then I apologize in advance for any offence.

    PS, I thought the new overall figures were only £102m, there again I am only a fool who hasn't benefited from an education which turns me into a pompous, supercilious buffoon like two of the previous posters on here.


  20. Harry T
    Thank you for that it does clarify that point, it unfortunately is not a nature reserve, only a site of nature conservation interest.
    This is of course the area which is not being built on isn't it.
    Now could you go and look at the plans, find the 14 houses and look at all the trading estates, trainlines and roads that border the sites. All of which you have ignored.


  21. Rich

    It is precisely because they are bordered on 3 sides by industrial estates that they do not want to be bordered on the 4th side by stadiums and arenas. This is their only green space. I just don't understand your point.

    Nor do you seem to understand Tony Ds point either.


  22. Two facts from Tony must be reconciled and they represent Bristol ratepayers land assets.
    'Development Control (South and East) Committee – 4 November 2009
    Application No. 09/02242/P : Ashton Vale And Former Alderman Moore Allotments Off
    Ashton Road (B3128) Bristol'
    Zone 5: This is one of the proposed housing sites on the former Alderman Moore's allotment
    site and labelled "Moorelands" (this term is used in the rest of the report). It is proposed for up to 72 houses and 65 apartments.............The officer' review of
    the development appraisal has confirmed that housing development on this site makes a
    positive contribution to the delivery of a Stadium of £5m. (pg. 65)

    Value of the old stadium car park is dependent on the monster supermarket valuation which the club is hiding. If they'd open their books for inspection we could get a proper valuation of Bristol Ratepayers assets.
    Anyhow this would still be a massive gift of land assets to a private club/business.

  23. Harry T

    The Only residents of Ashton vale that will be surrounded, as you put it will be the 14 houses directly in line with the stadium, they of course will have a nature corridor screening them from the stadium.
    At present those 14 houses look out onto a field, this field was formerly the tip and is littered with gas pipes. They do have views through their trees, of the park n ride site, the Weston road embankment, the village of Long Ashton and with a pair of binoculars the hills of Failand.
    So the the rest of Ashton vale will stay as it is.


    The club already own the lease to the car park at Ashton gate, there is already access to the proposed site of Sainsbury's.

    Now let's think what will happen if BCFC suddenly pull out of this scheme.

    1. The council will still not get any S106 payments from the non profit making stadium development.
    2. The new store won't get built at Ashton gate, so no increased rates to the council.
    3. No desperately needed new housing will be built at the present Sainsbury's site.
    4. Thousands of construction jobs won't be created.
    5. Hundreds of permanent jobs in the other developments won't be created.
    6. The housing will get built on the former allotments, permission is granted and the contracts have probably already been signed and maybe completed, though the profits won't then go towards the new stadium.
    7. The car park at Ashton gate will remain in the hands of BCFC, so no income from the sale, or increase in rates to the council.
    8. The BRT will have less passengers to help make it viable.
    9. Bristol will not be involved in a future world cup, or for that matter, any international matches due to poor facilities, there will be lost prestige and again lost revenue.
    10. BCFC won't be able to develop the existing stadium as desired due to financial restraints, or increase revenue which will continue to be a considerable restriction on the clubs ambitions.
    11. The opportunity to provide better retail facilities for future and present population increases in the area will be lost, without encroaching on real Greenbelt land.

    What I am saying is, that in my opinion, there is much to be lost in not doing these developments.

    Insisting on S106 payments, demanding inflated valuations for a car park, encouraging a developer to pay for plans and obtain permissions for housing on the former allotments and then demand more money than agreed for the site, could kill off any hopes of a major investment and boost for south Bristol.

    In any new proposals there are going to be things that people don't like or think are unfair, on the flip side, there will also be many more people that will benefit from them.

    I think the benefits far outweigh any negatives.


  24. It's the self-centered ambition of the football club directors that is steamrollering this forward not a social and economic reform agenda.

  25. sacredspring

    And long may it continue, yehaaw.

    Rich after 2 bottles of red.