Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who supports a new BCFC stadium if funded by selling Ashton Gate to Tesco??

Very, very interesting - and highly convenient - assertion by Bristol City FC Chief Executive Colin Sexstone reported in todays Post. He asserts that there is a 'silent majority' in favour of the proposed new Bristol City stadium funded by selling the Ashton Gate ground to Tesco. There is little or no evidence to support this assertion that I'm aware of. By definition we dont know the
view(s) those who are silent hold !!!

Bearing in mind that there are many people who dont want our green belt built over, good numbers may still support a new stadium for Bristol City - but not at the cost of having a Tesco at Aston Gate!! My supporting evidence? Number who have to date signed the petition against Tesco at Ashton Gate 772 - number who have signed the petition in support of Tesco at Ashton gate 105.

If there is a 'silent majority' in favour of or against anything, anywhere I'd urge them to get as involved as they possibly can, getting together with like-minded people where appropriate -politicians and other decision makers at all levels have been left to get on with things far too much and would benefit greatly from high levels of public scrutiny and participation.


  1. Looks like the silent are now speaking - the pro-petition is growing rapidly.

  2. Yes, the signatures have increased in number on the pro-petition after the publicity in the local press recently...However, the pro-Tesco one is still outnumbered 2 to 1 by the anti-Tesco one. Now, I dont know how you define a majority but...

  3. Yes, there's a sizeable difference at the moment. I suspect this will change once more "regular" people become aware of the petition.

    I would describe the previous position as it being existant only to those who like to engage in local politics. Now it is becoming somewhat mainstream.

    On the contrary, the NIMBY types are probably petitioning every half-hour about something and it almost becomes an autonomous action performed without thought.

  4. Yes the difference is about 2 to 1 against Tesco anonymous. Maybe your other comments are just a wind up?? Do you really thinking that this name calling does your argument any good??

    What on Earth do you mean by 'regular' people? What is the basis of your rush to classify/judge people? Do we all really fit neatly into the groups you use anyway - I think not!!

    Interesting that you regard liking engagement in local politics as somehow 'irregular'. The more that get involved the merrier I'd say - and it makes perfect sense to want to and to try to influence those taking decisions that affect the lives of many.

    I cant agree that people who campaign eg by petitioning, do so with out thought! Surely its much more likely to be the other way around, with those not engaging not giving as much thought to the issues of the day??

  5. Well, the ratio is now somewhat closer to 1.5:1 and ever-decreasing.

    I think you have deliberately chosen to misinterpret my comments somewhat.

    Hence, I will again attempt to portray my viewpoint.

    By using the term "regular", I meant your typical man (or woman) on the street - someone who is a citizen but doesn't actively engage in local politics. Perhaps you can provide evidence to contrary, but I would strongly suggest that a tiny minority of Bristol citizens were aware of the petitions site, let alone aware of the pro-Tesco petition.

    I think your assertion that those engaged in local politics is wholly unfair and just part of an attack on me. It is fact that political engagement is a minority.

    I share your view that the more people who engage is an improvement to the situation. I fail to see how any reasonable-minded individual could have drawn any other conclusion from my comments.

    I think it could also be considered that those who are actively engaged are likely to be supporting/petitioning on a regular basis and that putting ones name to 'proposition X' becomes something of a reflex action.

    The supporting/petitioning of someone who doesn't regularly become involved in politics is likely to be much more focussed in my opinion in that they are driven to the site because they wish to declare a thought.

  6. Anon - no deliberate misinterpretation, I'm just trying to make some sense of and to question your statements. Not only do you claim to know all about the sort of people who usually engage in local politics but you also claim to be able to read my mind!!

    I realise that by 'regular' you meant something like typical man/woman! What I'm saying is that there is no such thing or that it is very difficult to classify people in such a way. You dont even know the hundreds of people who are signing the anti-Tesco petition and the many in Bedminster/Southville/Ashton who have got together and organised themselves (including raising awareness of a petition...).

    You appear to be prejudiced against people simply because they regularly take an interest in and engage in local politics. Tell me - what is wrong with doing this? Could it not be argued that its a civic duty to get involved??

  7. I'm sorry but if you think I'm prejudiced against people interested in and engaged in local politics, you are 100% misreading me. I heartily encourage that.

  8. But anonymous you have both said and implied that those who often engage in local politics somehow aren't 'regular' and that NIMBYs set up petition after petition without much thought. Clearly this is derogatory!

    If you aren't prejudiced against those engaged in local politics you should withdraw the derogatory language you have used against people who are involved - but who you disagree with!

    I for one welcome involvement from people on all sides of issues - and in a small way have helped to publicise a petition I disagree with in this instance!

  9. Glenn
    You don't seem to have changed your supporting evidence since the silent have spoken.
    Richard Lane.

  10. Would you like to list the number of people from the affected area who've signed the pro-Tesco petition vs the number who've signed the anti-Tesco one? Aren't they very largely from outside Ashton, Bedminister and Southville(??) ie locals are mostly opposed. I'm very happy to leave it to local democracy so why not put the issue to the vote in the affected wards??

  11. Glenn

    Having looked at the people signing from the area of the proposed development it would appear more people are signing from the area where the petition started, which is not the affected (as you call it)area.
    I did also note duplication of signatures and many also not from the area.

    As you yourself are not from the area does this mean you cannot express your opinion, or drum up support for your favoured causes.

    The people signing my petition are from the area or are a seperate community in their own right that being followers of a football club or supporters of the big bad Tesco.
    Should they be discriminated against because they might not live in the area (Say like Gypsies) and not have the luxury of having a say.



  12. I note that you dont answer my question about a vote for local people Richard - and that you dont use figures to back what you say. And I note that you acknowledge the point I made in my previous comment by saying 'they might not live in the area' (though by saying this you contradict your previous statements trying to cast doubt on the no petition).

    Sorry you are as clear as mud about who you regard as 'affected'! Bedminster, Ashton and Southville will all be affected by any new Tesco and the lead petitioner is Cllr for Southville Charlie Bolton - seems clear enough to me. According to an analyis of who is signing the petitions on another blog (http://aureamediocritas-tonyd.blogspot.com/2009/08/three-graphs-that-tell-story.html),
    up to late August 57% of those signing the No Tesco petition are from Southville/Bedminster as opposed to 8% on the Yes Tesco one. Is it not crystal clear that those concerned about their local shops and local environment dont want Tesco? Are their views not paramount or do you favour undemocratic imposition of plans??

    Yes, I agree anyone interested enough to sign a petition for or against or otherwise express an opinion should have their views taken into account. I've not said otherwise (though I'd point out that with the Evening Post and BCFC drumming up support continually, including in todays paper, you should be getting a lot more signing up than you have!!). However, as a believer in and advocate of local democracy and more power for local communities then I think the final say should be with them - do you agree??

  13. Glenn

    A vote for local people is not required here as we already have a democratic process being carried out by way of a planning procedure where all relevant parties get to have their say.

    I note you still have not answered my question about why the figures that you were using to justify your argument had not been updated.

    I do not need to use figures to back anything I say.
    You on the other hand seem to use out of date figures to back your argument at any chance.

    Your statement about me being as clear as mud is rather a strange one regarding the area affected . Let me explain, I don't believe the scaremongering tactics being used by the anti Tesco lobby when they and you state, the effect a new Tesco will have on Bedminster, Southville and Ashton.

    Let's get one thing straight the residents of Southville, not the ward of southville and not the residents of Ashton innitiated this petition and campaign which is so evident when you tour the area looking for Tesno leaflets displayed in windows.
    The vast majority are on the Southville side of North St furthest away from the site, with fewer than 30 counted in the streets surrounding the actual proposed site. This would indicate that this campaign is nothing short of a sham political protest under the guise of protecting the area.

    I note you are misquoting me by saying that
    I said the "people voting might not live in the area". I actually said there was a duplication of names and many also not from the area were signing the no to Tesco petition.

    This is about a proposal to build a store on the far edge of Ashton, not really near southville, and a fair way from bedminster with the intention of supplying the needs of residents and workers in the area, visitors to the area and people who want to shop in Tesco from the surrounding areas and also areas linked by good roads ie: A370 and the Portway.

    You seem to contradict yourself in the last paragraph with regards to who is more important in the democratic process by saying everyone should be heard but some should be heard more than others (now where have I heard that before?).

    No I don't think the final say should be with the dominant area of Southville over the residents or users of Ashton without which the area would not exist as it does today,(don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg).

    You are also wrong with your statement about Bristol City drumming up continual support in the evening post.
    You are confusing the promotion of Bristols world cup bid by the local paper with Bristol City Footbal Club and the Tesco development a common mistake (or is it?) by the opposers.

    As a last thought for you, how many signatures are there and where are they from on my petition?

    The answer is you don't know.



  14. Richard, I note that you feel a vote is not required in the affected wards. What is wrong with asking the many thousands that live there to determine their own area's fate?

    The planning process is not democratic, it is officially a statutory not a political committee that decides. There are a tiny number of people who act according to pretty rigid criteria and heavily influenced by unelected officers in regular contact with developers.

    The planning process is heavily weighted in favour of developers - its far from a level playing field for members of the public in terms of resources and expertise!!

    You are confused about the parts of Bristol I am talking about. I'm referring, consistently, to the council wards named Southville and Bedminster - you dont seem to realise or dont/wont acknowledge that in ward terms Ashton is part in Southville part in Bedminster. This confusion is throughout your comments.

  15. Continued from above -

    On your point about updating the figures - that's what the debate in these comments is doing!! My blog post is accurate because its dated and any changes to figures or any debate upon them can be put in the comments by anyone.

    By all means post figures here Richard - though you seem to feel, strangely, that you do not need to use any data to back what you say. I've given some figures and a reference to back my point and am willing to argue the toss about what they mean.

    Is it true that more than half the signatures on the No Tesco petition come from Bedminster/Southville wards (of which Ashton is a part) whose shopping and environment will be affected by any changes?? And is it true that less than 10% of those signing the Yes Tesco petition come from these wards? If so, then it looks like many more local people dont want Tesco (doesn't matter to you though, because you dont think they should have the final say anyway).

    If you look at the well reasoned arguments, supported by facts and figures, on both Cllr Charlie Bolton's blog and the BERATE website I think you will see that your reference to scaremongering about Tesco is completely unjustified.

    On my quoting - I've not misquoted you Richard. You did in fact say 'they might not live in the area' - take a look at the final sentence in your comment of Sept 9 and you will see your words there. You on the other hand dont accurately give the quote I gave and so dont quote yourself properly ('people voting might not live in the area' is what you state but its not what you said and not what I quoted!). If you are consistent and logical eg with quotes and use of ward names we can have a decent argument, otherwise confusion will reign!

    There is no contradiction in my last paragraph. The UK has layers of democracy - dont know if you've noticed the regional/national assemblies, county, city and other councils and so on. In my view local democracy should count for very much more than it does. Pretty straightforward view really (though of course this view does not mean people who are not local should have no say at all). You on the other hand seem happy that a development should be imposed upon local people without a local vote(s) taking place.

    On drumming up support - in order for BCFC and the Evening Post to get what they want they want max support for Tesco and thus they back your petition. The Post and BCFC have all along been the ones who have said the new stadium, world cup bid and Tesco plans are all tied together - so support for one is support for the package
    (see Steve Lansdown and Colin Sextone for quotes on this if you want Richard).

    The total number signing each petition is not known because there will be both paper and electronic signatures and paper signatures are not publicly available as yet - however at 10.44 today 1189 have signed the Yes Tesco electronic petition and 889 the No Tesco. An analysis of where electronic signatures were coming from up to late August was done here:


    This is the source I've previously given - and it shows that locals saying no to Tesco
    outnumber the locals saying yes to Tesco by around 5 to 1. The ratio may be different now and any paper signatures are not included but I'd say local opinion is pretty clear!

  16. Glenn
    You are 100% wrong in saying that BCFC or mr Lansdown have linked the bid.
    BCFC made a statement that they were planning a new stadium in Ashton Vale. The evening post broke news that BCFC were in negotiations to sell Ashton gate to Tesco.
    Mr Lansdown made a statement saying that this was the best deal for BCFC and to miss it would mean that "funds would need to be found elsewhere" if the Tesco plans never went through.

    Bristol City council are promoting the world cup bid.

    The Evening post in all news reports since have said that If the new stadium doesn't get built then the world cup won't come to Bristol.

    Up until Colin Sextone made the statement on the 18th of august that the new stadium was linked to selling to Tesco then no statement from Mr Lansdown or the club has ever stated otherwise and the source of this was the local media.

    I am not confused about the areas you are talking about, it is you who is confused.
    I am refering to the area/district call it what you want of Ashton not a political configaration of lumped together districts they call a ward.

    You seem to find it ok for a person that lives in the ward of Bedminster but miles from the site to have a say on it's future but someone from Hotwells or Bedminster Down Less than a mile away has no or less right than that person.

    I have to go now but will be back for more tomorrow if I can get the time.


  17. Rich,

    Those who have proposed the store have also identifed the catchment area that it will serve.

    Do you think that the people living in the area that is intended to be served by the store should decide if they want it or not?

  18. Richard - there's a huge amount in my replies to you that you have not commented on so I guess you concede on these (???) eg the planning system is not democratic; its important to give people who live in the locality of a development a vote on it...; my original blog post is updated by comments upon it; people in Bedminster and Southville wards overwhelmingly dont want Tesco at Ashton Gate; the case against Tesco is not based on scaremongering; you were not misquoted (though you misquote yourself!); and more. There are some very important points here.

    You do comment on two things. First, on the new stadium/world cup bid/Tesco linking, you appear to have conceded that from around mid-August BCFC went public with the view that building the new stadium was linked to selling to Tesco. Personally I think there were clear signs before that but am happy to leave this argument where it is (!!).

    Second,you are muddled and contradictory in your thinking about the importance that should be attached to local views. You say [comment Sept 10] that 'A vote for local people is not required here...' and have argued that the views of communities that are not local should count as much as the local - and yet [comment 11 Sept]you are stressing the importance of the views of local people in Ashton, Hotwells and Bedminster Down!! Do you think local views should count the most or not? I'm very happy to include all people who are local to the proposed development in a vote, whatever, ward or council area they live in [lets not forget the people of Long Aston for example!!]. Can we agree that all those living within a brisk half an hour walk or say 2 miles, should have the final say in a vote?? This satisfies my view on the importance of local democracy and it encompasses the areas you have named...

    So, will you give us a clear answer to this question (and to the one put by Tony D)??

  19. Tony D

    If you were to say what the catchment area was then I might be able to answer you.

    As I've already answered Glenn on this subject.
    The planning process is in place and is decided in a democratic way by appointed elected councillors from different political parties being advised by professionals in an open public meeting.


    As I have previously commented on those things I don't need to comment further.
    People reading your post will see that you appear to prove a point by quoting figures for and against the Tesco proposal, this is what they see first and you won't change it because that is what you want it to appear as. But only with the use of incorrect data.

    When those figures you were using to prove your argument suddenly changed to disprove your argument you changed track and discredited the figures because they were'nt the figures you wanted.

    Where is the proof that the people of Ashton and Bedminster don't want Tesco? So far about 1,800
    (of which over 700 are from outside the two wards) have signed the paper and e-petions against Tesco, approx 6%.
    This is hardly a majority when compared to the population of the area. Using figures as you do, it could be argued that the Vast majority of the population of some 20,000 in the area don't support the anti Tesco campaign approx 94%.

    Now I know that the same argument could be waged in the other direction but I am pointing out that only approximately six percent of the population in the two wards you say are massively against the proposals have so far signed up against it.

    So it is at best exaggeration of the level of support for BERATE but in reality figures being massaged to justify yours and their argument.

    As for the statement from Mr Sextone the old adage applies here which is, if enough people say something enough times which is the case here, then it becomes popular belief and you can't argue against it anymore.
    You say Mr lansdown has quoted all along that the stadium and Tesco are linked (see Steve Lansdown and Colin Sextone for quotes on this) now prove Mr Lansdown quoted that or admit you were wrong.

    As in all cases dealing with supposed intelligent people I find that all they do is ignore what they want and use what they want but never admit they were wrong.
    They do this by carefully changing the emphasis and avoiding sticky points.

    As for your last paragraph about referring to local communities, you know full well that I was making a comparison between you saying that the local communities should have a vote whilst naming the main areas of opposition as those communities.
    You then conveniently exclude areas which in some cases are closer in distance and in their ties to the affected area of Ashton from that process.
    Don't forget the further you go away from the green ward of southville the support diminishes.

    I'm sure you will remind me if I have missed something and I look forward to it.



  20. Look Rich, lets cut through all the quibbling and casting of aspersions - the issue of who's in favour or against Tesco at Ashton Gate can be settled once and for all by giving all those living within a few miles a vote!! Its what I've been advocating all along - can I assume from your earler comments that you oppose this idea??

  21. Glenn

    You know it's a much bigger picture than that.

    Try this as a scenario.
    If there was a green party headquarters planned for the city centre and there was opposition to it by some of the locals, would you like only the residents of the city centre (the locals)to have the casting vote over whether it was built? Or would you let the people that would use it or benefit from it have a say as well?

    I know you've been after a vote all along but as you know the existing process is about as democratic as you can hope for, other than changing the world (that may well come).

    In the mean time have your vote, I'm not opposed to voting as long as it represented the whole community rather than a drummed up campaign by political idealists trying to influence others.
    Remember at the moment only 6% would be voting against it with a diminishing figure the further away and more areas you include.

    Hopefully nobody reading this topic will see that you have failed to prove your statement about Mr Lansdown and his fictitious quotes
    or that you failed to admit you were wrong.

    Sorry about the last paragraph but I'm sure I wouldn't have got away with that.

    Good luck


  22. Rich - I'm very clear that in the case of your 'Green Party HQ' scenario I would want all stakeholders views taken into account and discussed but the final say should go to local people.

    I've given a crystal clear answer, so lets have one from you!! Your last post faces in two directions: 1- you argue at the beginning for giving an equal say to local and non-local and persist in saying that the current planning process is democratic (its not - see reasons given earlier but ignored by you) ; 2- you then say 'have your vote'! Lets have some clarity - should all people living within a few miles have the final say in a vote??

    Its a shame that you have not been able to resist casting aspersions. This does any genuine argument you put no good at all. I dont get your prejudice against people who get involved in issues or 'political idealists' (are you the earlier anonymous contributor who also expressed this view Rich?). You seem to be a pretty active campaigner your self, at least on this issue!

  23. "If you were to say what the catchment area was then I might be able to answer you."

    What difference does this make?

    The catchment area is where the store believes that the vast majority of its customers will come from - if you support the store because you believe that its potential customers want it, answer the question.

    Do you think that the people living in the area that is intended to be served by the store should decide if they want it or not?

  24. Glenn

    What an honourable man you are to give the casting vote to the locals knowing that in this hypothetical situation they would say No to the plans.
    So there would be no point pursuing those plans once opposition was first registered and in the world you yearn for nothing would ever get done due to opposition.

    Unfortunately you are not honourable enough to have admitted you were wrong.
    You still have not proven your statements about Mr Lansdowns fictitious quotes.
    You still have not changed the figures which are incorrect in your original statement. They still appear to be correct to an onlooker, giving a false impression from reality.

    How crystal clear do you want me to be?
    You laid down the criteria for the vote and asked me if I would agree to it, I did.

    What do you define as a few miles?

    The process is as democratic as it can be until changed. Because you say it is not democratic does not make it so, the reasons you give are only your opinion.

    And as a reminder I'll say it again, Ashton is an area in it's own right and as such is the only single area directly affected by the proposal.
    The fact it has been lumped in with other areas is only a decision made by politicians to create what is described as a ward for governing reasons only.

    I have no prejudice against people involved in these issues as you accuse me, only different opinions and a right to describe someone a political idealist if I so wish, you seem to take it as a derogatory term.

    I most certainly am not the previous anonymous contributor and refute your implication vehemently, I have no reason to be anonymous and gave my name from the outset.

    I have been straight with you, my opposition to the Tesno campaign was set up as an alternative e-petition so that people could have a say in the debate by registering their support for BCFC and Tesco, something which never existed before.

    This is my first foray into such a thing so I am quite active but not generally so, though I do have my own opinions.

    Because this was against your viewpoint you have tried to to prove your case by using irrelevant out of date figures.

    So until the fat lady sings nothing is decided.
    The proposals may be passed or thrown out by the powers that be however democratic or undemocratic that may seem to you.

    I note from all your replies you have not had the courtesy/decency to sign any of them.


    Richard Lane (not anonymous)

  25. Its very hard to have a sensible informed debate with someone who does not argue consistently and logically and then says 'I note from all your replies you have not had the courtesy/decency to sign any of them.' and so has not looked at my comments closely enough to see that at the top of each and every one are the words 'Glenn Vowles said'!! However, we seem finally to have agreement to giving the final say to people within a few miles in a vote - and in fact an admission that this would stop the development because locals would be opposed! Do I really have to say that by a few I mean two (especially given that I've said two miles in previous comments)??!!

  26. Glenn

    You still have not admitted you are wrong about the fictitious quote by Mr Lansdown.

    You are still using old incorrect data to justify your argument.

    Glenn vowles said, is a statement, not a signature which is normal to use at the end of a response to a particular person. So you are in my oppinion discourtious in your dealings with me.

    The only consistent thing in your responses are your refusal to admit you were wrong and are still wrong, also your constant changing of tract or ignoring of points made so as to prove your case.

    My position is and always has been consistent in my arguments and questioning of your statement that locals are the majority in not wanting this development. When in truth only six percent that's 6 % of the local population, which using anyones maths is a tiny minority not majority that have registered their opposition to this development.
    No doubt you will ignore this fact again.

    I have always been consistent in my arguments
    unlike you who in this latest response has succeeded in not actually saying or proving anything at all.
    You did imply that I admitted that the locals would stop the development. Again You have taken this statement from the hypothetical scenario and attributed it to the real debate. Not really very clever and you couldn't fool anyone with
    that sort of misrepresentation.

    What must be hard for you in this debate is admitting defeat to a person who is using a sensible and informed argument, this shows by your constant wrigling to avoid the facts.

    A few is an undetermined figure so I was clarifying your conflicting statements, firstly saying "two miles" secondly saying "a few miles"

    Until you rectify your mistakes it is pointless continuing this debate.

    Yours respectfully

    Richard Lane.

  27. Rich, I am with you 100%. Glenn V and the local green brigade only use figures to their advantage and quote their own evidence, ignoring everything else.

    If you look at the way he wants planning law to apply to this application it is totally contradictory to how he wanted it applied in the case of Tesco at the Friensship Inn.

    Also, that petition had loads outside of the immediate vicinity of the place.

  28. TC - looks like both you and Richard will do anything not to debate the real, central issues of substance. Take a look at the film made recently about the value of North Street's local small shops. Dont you think they have a very strong case??


    In any case I've explained my view on planning law and why I'm being consistent here on planning in the two instances here (in a debate with Sharon T):



Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.