Musings From The Padded Cell

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T&A 24th January

T&A 24th January

More news concerning Bradford Council’s secret plan to concrete any half decent bit of the City. Coming soon to a green field near you is an infestation of crappy boxes – see various – this story broke in the T&A last weekend.

“The former Hutton Middle School in Eccleshill is in line to be knocked down as part of plans to build 29 new houses on the site.”

Many years ago Bradford-born artist David Hockney was a pupil here and most recently the building was a gym, converted by international chain, Fitness First.

Should we care? Of course we should because, whilst not listed, beautiful old buildings of this type can and have been saved across the city, often turned into low occupancy apartments which is just what the city is crying out for.

The objectors here are not against housing, just the type being proposed.

However, Leeds based Gregory Property Group will not be bothered about aesthetics and a glance at their website suggests residential property developments are far from their core business.

GPG are used to building office blocks and retail parks not developing anything remotely pleasing on the eye. In a flash they can wipe out an elegant old building as the local authority sleeps on the job.

old sch

Local resident Andy Chilton has launched a campaign on Facebook ahead of the next Council meeting in February.

If like me you hate to see buildings of character flattened and replaced by Legoland, as faceless developers line their pockets, then you can find the planning application here.

My piece last week on Idle Moor illustrated the threats developers now pose to the more desirable parts of Bradford. And yes, there are some, albeit the Council seems intent on allowing them to be bulldozed at will.

It’s open season as the Government, desperate for new houses in pursuit of an impossible 200,000 new builds a year, allows developers with deep pockets to run amok across green fields.

Here’s what’s really happening in Bradford and what you won’t get explained by any local politician too scared to even approach the truth – which is an alien language to most of them anyway.

In terms of population, this is a “big” city but we have a broadly low-wage economy and judging by the latest GCSE results, our schools are not turning out that many rocket scientists; so this trend seems set.

We also have a younger population by national standards so clearly, the most obvious housing need is for affordable starter homes because most young people are skint.

Developers are not interested in building affordable because they make more money from “executive” developments often bought by incomers from more expensive cities like Leeds; social and commercial have never been happy bedfellows.

Consequently, they seek sites that will drive the highest returns.

They also don’t like complicated restoration or conversion projects which again eat into margins. They want clear sites so they can plonk boxes down ans scarper with the dosh.

Cash strapped councils prefer these too because they generate more Council Tax through higher banded – if fewer – properties with less discounts such as single occupancy and unemployed.

Now consider Bradford; where are the real population growth areas?

Certainly not in the more affluent areas on the extremities of the city. And yet these areas are exactly those targeted by developers seeking prime sites and resulting in enormous strains on local services.

At present, in a half mile radius of Apperley Bridge, there are plans in the pipeline for almost five hundred new houses all served by already choked roads and schools full to capacity.

Extend this a mile or so and by the time Persimmon have dusted off their cheque book and batted away our useless Council, nearby Cote Farm will add almost another three hundred added to Idle Moor’s seventy.

Now offer me – if you can – a convincing argument that this is part of any well thought out plan? In a nutshell, you have developers building the wrong properties in the wrong areas for the wrong people.

Affordable housing

Affordable housing

Meanwhile, those with access to abundant cheap capital continue to buy up existing affordable housing stock pushing up both prices and rents, which are paid for in part by more state benefits. So, in an indirect way, we actually subsidise the developers.

Captain Inspirational

Captain Inspirational

And our hapless Council, led by a middle-aged bloke with an ear-ring can do nothing because it is plainly clueless.

Polished Pussies!

Last week the Daily Mail reported on ITV’s This Morning featuring a treatment for saggy fannies; I kid you not.

In an age where it seems there is no cavity of the human body left unexplored by a camera, three old birds lined up to have their bits steam cleaned on live television.

From Mail Online - 74 year old fanny owner Abigail

From Mail Online – 74 year old fanny owner Abigail

Apparently, this is a growing trend amongst older women desperate to attract younger men. Indeed, a friend of mine confessed she too had had this treatment.

“When I was dating my first cub I looked downstairs and realised it looked a bit dry and wrinkly” she confessed “compared to when I was younger.” .

I suppose she could be grateful she could at least still see it given the shape of many people today but what happened to only worrying about your hair on a night out?

The developer of this new magic potion, 41 year old Lisa, said ‘The haggard looking vaginas of Britain need some natural remedial help to achieve a youthful vagina…”

Ed loves a good graze

Ed loves a good graze

If only Ed Miliband sounded as convincing!

In truth it reminded me more of gardening! Take a cauliflower that has gone past it’s best; the only thing you can do is to trim off the woody bits, buff up the surface, ignore the slightly bitter taste and pick the bits from your teeth.

Of course, you can do all you like to make the head look better but you still have the wrinkly neck and it never quite smells as fresh.

The final word though must go to self-appointed Fanny Guru Lisa who said “Younger men say I have the vagina of a 25-year-old!

It seems you can transplant anything these days!

Old Mad Eyes Is Back

gallow

Old George is feeling a bit left out and is demanding a slot on the forthcoming television debates. Our wonderfully self-publicising MP for Bradford West, having made such a cracking impact on the fortunes of Bradford, clearly sees the end of the gravy train.

You just cant keep the man down for long it seems

You just cant keep the man down for long it seems

A fearsome debater and orator, it’s unlikely that the scripted and choreographed Cameron, Clegg and Miliband will want him anywhere near. But Farage against Old Mad Eyes, now that would be entertaining, almost like a Punch & Judy show.

And with up to seven parties already primed to lie through their back teeth and simultaneously bore us all witless, why not throw in Mad Eyes and also introduce a new format?

Let’s make it like Strictly where the public get to vote one off each week? Imagine that, the thumping music and old Tess standing there with the bad news at hand. Sweating politicians wondering if it’s the last waltz.

Bye bye George and thanks for…well nothing really.

New Year’s Resolutions

Man in love with beer

Man in love with beer

Despite sincere assurances that any politician would have been proud of, our Molly did not quite make the whole of January “on the wagon”.

Indeed, having not climbed aboard it till the wee small hours of the 1st, rumours abounded that the many Cokes through the month were heavily laced with Smirnoff. Wife Carol knows him far too well so never relied on a lift home.

On Saturday, once more in attendance at the Old Grovians promotion charge, the big man was loaded with hip flasks. It seems January is a rather short month if you are Molly.

joe

Grovians made easy work of bottom of the table Hemsworth who seemed to have one or two lads from ZZ Top in their line up. Elsewhere, as we now know, league tables were counting for nothing.

Matalan's new Country range

Matalan’s new Country range

Insistent that he had had a “lighter” month than usual – though his alcohol consumption would still represent a challenge for many a mere mortal – Molly proudly announced he’d saved some money and spent it on a new coat which looked like a giant Pac-a-mac.

Should have gone to Specsavers?

Dare To Dream

city

Much of sport is so predictable these days and dominated by money; days like last Saturday therefore are once in a lifetime occurrences and deserve to be celebrated whoever your team is.

Who cares if the over-paid, brainless executives at the BBC and BT Sport think football only exists in the Premier League – demonstrated by the decision not to film City’s next slaying – this was one for the whole of Bradford.

Cock Up Almighty

The T&A revealed this week that West Yorkshire Police had incorrectly paid £27,000 to a nice young fellow called Arfan Younis. Having burst his door down by mistake in a bungled raid they had already paid him £800; some front door that must have been.

Flush with his new riches it appears young Arfan withdrew the lot and the local casino had a jolly good time on his, albeit brief, largesse.

Justice as ever was meted out with fury at Bradford Crown Court with a 120 hour community service order. So if you happen to chance on Arfan picking up some litter or painting a park-bench try not to worry about his hourly rate of £225.

Austerity?

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