Posts Tagged ‘Bristol’

  1. Duotone and Larkhall unite for Bristol gig

    September 26, 2016 by Elisabeth

     For immediate release

    Duotone and Larkhall unite for Bristol gig

    Press contact Elisabeth Winkler 0777 399 8642

    Sunday 6 November 2016 @ The Folk House, Bristol, UK 

    Enter a melodic soundscape with two singer-songwriters who push sonic boundaries while delivering damn good story-telling songs.

    Barney Morse-Brown, shot in East London by Tom Oldham

    Duotone, aka Barney Morse-Brown (cellist with triple-platinum artist Birdy) is a singer-songwriter creating evocative folk songs fusing electronica with crystal-clear vocals, guitar and cello, distilled with classical grace.

    “A hidden gem.”

    — Observer

    “[The] sound is light but cleverly layered, the songs minimal but resonant.”

    — Guardian/Observer

    Charlie Williams, pianist and singer, aka Larkhall

    Larkhall is Chicago-born Charlie Williams, a pianist who brings an indie-classical sensibility to his anthemic, melodic songs. Entrancing lyrics are raised up by the rise and swell of lyrical, heart-opening piano and strings. Expect unconventional add-ons including Blu Tack, one-handed drumming and metronome-as-percussion.

    “…Spoke directly to the Nils Frahm fan in me… glorious, heartfelt melody.”

    — Fresh on the Net

    “Exceptional, powerful… something you need to experience.”

    — No More Division

    Why Bristol? Larkhall’s singer and pianist, Charlie Williams, says: “Barney is based in Oxford, I’m in Bath, so it makes perfect sense for us to play in Bristol, with its thriving scene of indie musical creativity.”

    Venue The Folk House, 40a Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JG

    Date and time Sunday 6 November 2016, doors @7:30.

    Tickets £8.50 adv: 0117 926 2987 / £10 door

    Songs by Duotone and Larkhall

    Twitter @Duotonemusic

    Duotone and Larkhall on Facebook

    For high-res images, interviews and press passes, contact Elisabeth Winkler 

    | elisabeth. winkler @ uk | 0777 399 8642

  2. Press statement from Connolly & Callaghan

    June 8, 2016 by Elisabeth

    Solid wooden block of flats

    Builders and landlords, Connolly & Callaghan has been accommodating homeless people in Bristol for 30 years. The decision to focus the family business on helping the homeless is due to the vision of co-owner, Martin Connolly, to make the world a better place.

    Thanks to this vision, Connolly & Callaghan also pioneers sustainable housing including the award-winning solid-wooden apartment at Pennywell Green (pictured above), and zero-carbon strawbale homes in Shirehampton which eliminate fuel poverty. Connolly & Callaghan also owns Hamilton House (pictured below), supporting Coexist to create a community hub, and helping revitalise Stokes Croft, an inner city area in Bristol.

    Hamilton House

    This press statement seeks to respond transparently to criticism that Connolly & Callaghan is ‘buying up property’ in Bristol, making more people homeless and creating more ‘customers’ for its homelessness accommodation.

    In early spring 2016, Connolly & Callaghan bought Carpenters House, an apartment building with 19 tenanted flats, to increase availability of much-needed emergency accommodation.

    The property was bought subject to vacant possession. The sellers were under financial pressure to sell the building and its existing tenants were, sadly, at risk of eviction in any eventuality. Connolly & Callaghan decided to go ahead with the sale because of the pressing need for emergency accommodation,particularly in south east Bristol, and because it could, at least, offer the tenants support to move – something most landlords would not do.

    Martin Connolly says: “It was a horrendous dilemma: a pressing need for emergency accommodation versus disruption and hardship for working families. We did everything we could to alleviate the stress of moving home for the tenants.”

    Connolly & Callaghan’s support for tenants included:

    • A dedicated member of staff, a former estate agent, to help people find suitable accommodation
    • Paying back all deposits regardless of arrears
    • Paying deposits on two new accommodations.

    Martin Connolly adds: “This was the first time in 30 years we had bought an existing property. We prefer to create homes by refurbishing redundant buildings and constructing new homes on brownfield – we have created around 300 homes this way. However, statutory agencies have been asking us to help deal with an increase in homelessness, and the need to house some of the most vulnerable people in society felt priority.”

    Over four months, the majority of tenants were rehoused, with some writing letters to Connolly & Callaghan knows thanking them for their help in moving.

    Two rent increases have been issued only to the remaining two flats still occupied. These rent increases have yet to take effect, at which point the rent will match the local average, with the correct legal notice. If the circumstances stay the same, Connolly & Callaghan has no intention of evicting anyone.

    Connolly & Callaghan has not forcibly evicted anyone from the property nor taken anyone to court to gain possession, and, as far as it is aware, has not made anyone homeless.  

    Although Connolly & Callaghan is a business, and has to be in profit to be sustainable, its motivation is not for profit. If this were the case, there are more lucrative ways for builders to make a profit (for instance selling “luxury flats”) than providing emergency accommodation. However, the company’s twin mission is to alleviate homelessness and develop low-carbon housing.

    Allegations have been made on Acorn Communities’ 38 Degree petition about sub-standard conditions at Connolly & Callaghan’s emergency accommodation. Connolly & Callaghan does not recognise the description of its accommodation. It meets a comprehensive set of national and local quality standards, including the West of England Property Standard, which are the minimum legal requirements of its contract with Bristol City Council. Emergency accommodation is required to be open for inspection at all times.

    Connolly & Callaghan has routine daily inspections from staff, who are on site each day at every property, and available 24 hours a day. It is also subject to regular inspection by Bristol City Council. The wear-and-tear on accommodation is significant, and it has a large continuously employed maintenance team. Repairs are made within 48 hours (normally 24 hours) of being reported, and any property that requires further major work is taken out of use.

    Connolly & Callaghan is open to feedback and encourages reporting from its residents about any issues, which is why every resident has emergency contact numbers, and there is a contact form on the website.

    Connolly & Callaghan is proud of the quality of the accommodation and the service the staff provides. It has offered Acorn Communities the opportunity to inspect its maintenance log, and issued an open invitation to Acorn Communities to view the accommodation. Acorn Communities has not taken up these offers as yet.

    Martin Connolly says: “We support the campaigning work of Bristol’s politicians and community groups, including The Bristol Cable and Acorn Communities, and we welcome this opportunity to have open and transparent dialogue about the UK’s housing problem.”

    He adds: “The story is not about us. The real story is the UK’s national housing policy, government benefit cuts, the deregulation of house prices and rents and, as a consequence, an unprecedented rise in homelessness.

    Let us work together to remedy this situation.”

  3. UK’s first straw bale housing is answer to housing crisis says eco-developer

    March 5, 2015 by Elisabeth

    The seven straw bale homes, Shirehampton, Bristol, under construction

    In the week the Conservatives promise 200,000 new homes, a Bristol developer calls for more homes to be made sustainably, durably and affordably – from straw.

    “We have proven there is a huge demand for housing that does not cost the earth – financially or environmentally,” says Martin Connolly, the eco-developer at the heart of the straw bale housing in Shirehampton, Bristol, the first commercially-available UK straw bale homes.

    “Our homes help people out of fuel poverty because they are insulated so efficiently they need little heating, and are made of natural non-toxic materials.”

    Made to an unique design by Bristol-based designers, ModCell, they are the first UK straw bale homes to be mortgageable, having received BM Trada’s Q mark certification.

    Since the houses were advertised for sale last month, Martin Connolly has been inundated by requests from all over the world to build more straw bale homes.

    Martin Connolly, Bristol green developer and builder

    Martin Connolly’s family company, Connolly and Callaghan, won the 2009 Environmental/Conservation Development of the Year for its solid wooden blocks of flat at Pennywell Green, Bristol. He is also the landlord and sponsor of Hamilton House, a community hub that is helping regenerate the Stokes Croft inner-city area of Bristol.

    Following these successes, Martin scoured the news worldwide for a new green building enterprise to develop.

    He found it on his doorstep – after seeing ModCell featured on TV’s Grand Designs.

    Martin Connolly says: “We were especially impressed that ModCell was the first design we had come across that did not use plaster board which is horribly toxic, but compressed straw instead.”

    Martin Connolly relied on his 30 years experience in building houses to help make the designs more affordable and practical. “We especially wanted to make sure the design would get all the certification necessary to be mortgageable.”

    Benefits of straw bale housing

    The straw bale housing development of seven homes was erected on site in only nine days, thanks to their precision factory-made panels which slot together perfectly. Fitting-out the interior takes a further few months.

    Storm-proof, the homes are so well insulated they need little heating even in winter. The quickness of the build adds to their affordability. And, although as strong as a brick house, unlike brick, straw bale houses have a carbon-negative footprint.

    Grown in fields with the power of the sun, straw absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows and needs very little processing to be turned into bales for building. The compressed straw is fitted between sturdy wood panels.

    Alleviating housing crisis and climate change

    As a social landlord committed to helping homeless people since the 1980s, Martin Connolly is delighted the new straw bale technology will mean future housing can be affordable.

    Connolly & Callaghan has been building and running social housing for nearly thirty years, and provides emergency accommodation and food for homeless people every night of the year in premises in and around Bristol

    “We got into straw bale housing to explore how we could make housing more affordable,” says Martin Connolly. “What was behind it was concern about homelessness and the environment.”

    Martin Connolly says: “In the first instance, we wanted to achieve natural non-toxic house building which sequesters carbon. Hugely insulated and air-tight, the homes produce virtually all the energy they need to run. We are installing rain water harvesting to cut down water and sewage bills, and LED lights, solar panels and an air-source heat pump to reduce light and heating costs. Bath University research shows the running costs can be reduced by as much as 90%. And, as volume of sales increase, we can strive to make the house purchase price even more affordable.”

    Scientifically proven

    The ModCell design benefitted from a partnership with Bath University researchers, government-funded by Innovate UK, which has scientifically proven straw bale as an eco-friendly and robust building material.

    Director of ModCell, Craig White, and director of White Design, the scheme’s architects, says:

    “Working with an enlightened developer like Martin Connolly – whose mission is to deliver triple-bottom line in sustainability – has helped catalyse the means by which we can help deliver sustainable living in low-carbon affordable homes for more people than ever before.”

    Craig White adds: “Personally I think Martin is an extraordinary man – he is a natural social entrepreneur, even before the phrase was coined.”

    Yesterday (4 March 2015), it was announced ModCell had been awarded the prestigious Passive House Component Certification for its latest straw bale building system.

    PassivHaus is the the most rigorous energy standard in the world, reducing the need for heating or cooling to an absolute minimum.

    Because ModCell is made from the carbon capturing, renewable materials timber and straw, the homes actually bank more carbon than is emitted in making them, so it’s good for the planet.

    This new system will be used on Martin’s next developments.

    Next phase – community development

    Planned for June, the next development will build 49 homes in Shirehampton. These will be geared towards a community-led development.

    Benefitting from the Coalition’s localism agenda, new regulations now enable local people to deliver community-led developments.

    This trend is underlined by the Conservative Party’s housing policy which proposes to force councils to free up plots for people who want to build houses.

    One of the reasons houses are so expensive is that developers sell houses at the highest market price they can command.

    Martin Connolly has a radically different approach:

    “Our aim is to support communities to create housing at affordable prices in line with local wages, as ModCell has done for the successful Lilac housing cooperative in Yorkshire.”

    Martin is now looking for landowners and would-be community developers sympathetic to his ethical goals.

    “We want to work with local authorities or landowners in a more co-operative way to deliver affordable housing,” says Martin Connolly.

    Press contact: 0777 399 8642  Connolly and Callaghan  0117 942 0100

    Watch video by Plastic Buddha Productions: First glimpse