Help us reach our campaign target: Become a member
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Decision status: Following revelations about outdated profit calculations in the Cable and a concerted community campaign, councillors deferred the decision in November 2016, despite a last minute offer of six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!


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

From city of sanctuary to ‘city of opportunity’ – how Bristol can better integrate refugees

Asylum seekers and refugees should be thought of as ‘citizens-in-waiting’, people with rights, skills and potential, a new report argues. Instead, many people at the sharp end of the system feel shut out of contributing to society.

How the Help to Buy scheme became a massive hindrance to my family moving house

Government loans promised an affordable path onto the housing ladder. But for some they have only deferred unmanageable debt, and a change in the firm administering Help to Buy has set off a nightmare for people trying to move.

No fault evictions on the rise in Bristol amid calls for renting reforms to be strengthened

The Renters Reform Bill, which is slowly going through parliament, doesn’t tackle the affordability crisis and could allow no fault evictions to continue, say campaigners.

Revealed: Renters living in mouldy flats handed steep rent hike by millionaire London landlords

Residents of the iconic Queens Court housing block in Clifton are fed up with living in poor conditions and their complaints being ignored, a Cable investigation has uncovered.

South Bristol shopping centre will be knocked down after planning councillors’ shock U-turn

Opposition councillors slammed a decision to redevelop the Broadwalk Shopping Centre after a developer said it could deliver extra affordable homes there – although no promises were made.

Service cuts, redundancies and rising caseloads: St. Mungo’s staff vote for indefinite strike action

Unite members from St.Mungo’s vote to escalate their month-long strike to indefinitely, after charity refuses to meet pay demands

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