Keep proper journalism alive. It's time to Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

The offshore companies and billion pound corporations stealing Bristol’s homes

Four recent major applications reveal a picture of profiteering from the housing crisis


Words: Adam Cantwell-Corn

Design: Laurence Ware

READ MORE: How the housing crisis is not a crisis of housing

Bristol’s lost affordable homes from four developments

Four recent major applications reveal a picture of profiteering from the housing crisis

In what sometimes feels like a very local issue, Cable research has found that behind these four major development applications are a global web of offshore companies based in tax havens or billion pound multinational companies. Yet these developers can’t dig deep to provide much, if any, affordable housing.


Elizabeth Shaw chocolate factory, Easton

Fun fact: The international bankers financing the development, REVCAP, have significant dealings in tax havens including Luxembourg, Jersey and the Cayman Islands.

Total units: 135

Affordable proposed: 6 / 4.4%

Decision status: Following revelations about outdated profit calculations in the Cable and a concerted community campaign, councillors deferred the decision in November 2016, despite a last minute offer of six affordable units. The developer appealed in January 2017 to the Planning Inspectorate – Stay tuned for updates.


Brooks Dye Works, St Werburghs

Fun fact: The company that owns the land and applicant developer, Folland Limited, is registered to a Post Office box in the tax haven of Jersey. Due to corporate secrecy we don’t know much about who is behind Folland, and how much work really gets done in that little letter box.

Total units: 102

Affordable: 24 / 24%

Decision status: Approved by council as an ‘outline’ application in October 2016, with 24% affordable, following negotiations. A detailed application from a developer is still to be submitted.


Redcliff Quarter

Fun fact: The financier behind the development, ICG-Longbow, is based in the tax haven of Guernsey. In turn, it is owned by ICG PLC, where one director was paid £5.4 million for 2016, earning the same amount in three days as the average UK worker did in a year.

Total units: 300

Affordable: 32 / 12%

Decision status: Approved in November 2016


Blackberry Hill, Fishponds

Fun fact: The developer Galliford Try PLC was initially awarded the contract to build affordable housing by the government Homes and Communities Agency. Despite reporting record profits on its annual £2.76 billion turnover and boosting payouts to corporate shareholders in 2016, Galliford Try now can’t afford any affordable housing.

Total units: 305

Affordable: 0

Decision status: Pending decision in early 2017




Off the back of several Cable investigations and a campaign led by community union ACORN, in December 2016 councillors approved a Green Party motion to publish viability reports when developers attempt to avoid affordability obligations. Bristol councillors followed the lead of Islington, Greenwich and Lambeth councils, and now it falls to Marvin Rees and his team to give force to the motion. With several major developments on the horizon, it’s of crucial importance for the city that this happens pronto!

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?


Report a comment. Comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy.

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

Inclusive or exclusive: can community-led housing schemes provide for people most in need?

In recent years Bristol has seen the development of several new community-led housing schemes, which are often driven by small resident groups – but also aim to house people in need of a social home. How is the model working out – and with funds shrinking, does it have a future?

Bristol rogue landlord rented out room despite banning order, tenants say

Naomi Knapp was prohibited from renting out her properties to new tenants in 2022, but the Cable has uncovered evidence to suggest she brought in new tenants anyway.

‘I can do action’: cafe owner who organised tower block evacuation response aiming to be councillor

When she heard Barton House was being evacuated in November, Cafe Conscious owner Deniece Dixon got to work helping families who had become homeless. Two months on, she explains why she’s set her sights on City Hall

Exclusive: Banned rogue landlord under council investigation for listing properties on Airbnb

Holiday lettings firm removes listings after Cable investigation uncovers evidence showing Naomi Knapp's homes have been available to let on its website, via a third party.

Bristol raises £10k for Barton House residents in 48hrs

A Cable crowdfund to support the residents of Barton House is 1,200% funded - and counting.

Analysis: The national high-rise saga behind Barton House’s emergency evacuation

Housing journalist Peter Apps, who has written for years about Grenfell, explains how even the sudden collapse of a similar high rise block in London 50 years failed to spark enough action to make other towers safe.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning