One Planet Developments

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

This is a subject I’ve tackled before; I’m returning to it because the problem seems to be spreading, yea! even unto the city of my dreams.

This is another ‘biggie’ but, as usual, broken down into easily-digestible chunks. Enjoy!

INTRODUCTION

For those new to the subject, One Planet Developments were introduced and encouraged by the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition management team (2007 – 2011), at the instigation of – among others – Jane Davidson, who served in that team as the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing.

The issue being addressed was, we were told, how Wales could play its part in saving the planet. Yet this excuse was – as we political commentators are wont to put it – bollocks. The lie is exposed by the claim that OPDs will reduce Wales’ carbon footprint – by attracting more people into the country.

For Wales is the only country on Earth to allow OPDs. No one else has been so stupid.

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The true motivation was that Davidson’s ‘alternative’ friends wanted smallholdings in Wales but didn’t want to pay commercial property prices. Enacting legislation –TAN 6 strengthened with the Well-being of Future Generations Act – allowed hippies to settle just about anywhere by claiming OPD status, then demanding – and getting! – planning permission for structures that no one else would be allowed to build.

This meant they could set up a smallholding on a shoestring.

Her work done in Corruption Bay, Davidson moved on after the 2011 election to take advantage of the group-think she had helped engender. A post was created for her at UWTSD Lampeter with the Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE), a department that began life with her arrival in January 2012.

Perhaps in the hope of disguising the relationship between the Labour Party and higher education, and to give her some academic credibility, Davidson is billed as ‘Dr Jane Davidson’, but her doctorate is purely honorary, and from another Labour-linked institution in Pontypridd.

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Predictably, ‘Dr’ Davidson lives on a smallholding of her own.

MOVING EAST

The majority of OPDs are to be found in Pembrokeshire and west Carmarthenshire, but as I’ve suggested, they’re creeping east.

Earlier this month a planning application was submitted to Carmarthenshire County Council for a OPD at Llansteffan. To be exact, in ‘Pentowyn farm yard’. Here’s the full planning application.

Pentowyn farm is located across the Tâf estuary from Dylan Thomas’s boathouse at Laugharne. Nice.

Note that the work on this OPD started on 1 May last year, so it’s taken over a year for what is now the retrospective planning application to be submitted. Which is how OPDs operate, knowing that no matter what the local planning authority might say, the ‘Welsh Government’ or the Planning Inspectorate will always grant planning consent.

To help you follow the tale, here’s the plan submitted with the planning application. It shows a long, thin section of land to the east and north east of the farm buildings, with a more compact area to the south and south west, on the other side of the road. The planned buildings are located on this second area.

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A number of things struck me about this application. First, the agent is Tao Wimbush; and if that name rings a bell, then it’s because he is a hetman in the Lammas commune not far away, up towards Crymych.

I’d always assumed that these enviro-colons were vegans, or at least, vegetarians – so why is there a ‘butchers unit’ and a ‘mobile refrigeration unit’ at this OPD? But then, Wimbush is only the agent, the adviser.

The applicants are Mark and Ann Oriel, and even though their company name as given on the planning application is ‘Lammas Earth Centre’, and their address that for the Lammas commune, I suspect the Oriels live in Bancyfelin, and Mark runs a slap, rub and squeeze outlet in nearby Sanclêr. (No, not that kind of establishment.)

Which might suggest he too lacks the necessary background in the butchering of livestock and the preparing of meat for sale. So why the ‘butchers unit’? (I wish to God people would use apostrophes.)

Certainly, the Oriels own the land to the east of the farmhouse, the land edged in red on the Land Registry title document plan (scroll down). But the land to the south of the farmhouse, where the shack and the butcher’s building will be located, is not on that title document. So who owns that land?

When I tried to get the document from the Land Registry I drew a blank. The land is either not registered or not yet re-registered.

Copyright Ordnance Survey. Click to enlarge

If you go back to the planning application (20) you’ll read, ‘A butchers unit for processing meat grown on the farm’. I’m not sure that the Oriels have enough land to graze many animals so this must refer to other land.

When asked if neighbours or the local community have been consulted about the proposed development (23) the applicant answers, ‘I have discussed the proposal with my direct neighbours’. So who are the ‘direct neighbours’?

The farm buildings and the land down as far as the road are owned by a woman living in Sketty, Swansea. Shown here edged in red on the Land Registry title plan. I suspect they (or some of them) have been converted into holiday cottages.

Copyright Ordnance Survey. Click to enlarge

The land across the road to the south east, adjoining the land for which planning permission is sought, is owned a local farming family. Are they the ‘direct neighbours’?

Copyright Ordnance Survey. Click to enlarge

The more I think about this, the weirder it seems. We have a hippy asking for planning permission for a sports therapist to have a OPD complete with what reads like a mini abattoir. And we don’t know who owns the land on which the new buildings are to go.

Is someone using the near-certainly of planning permission being granted for an OPD to get consent for something that might otherwise be difficult to get past the planners and other authorities?

If so, then this is a dangerous development, and might signal that OPDs are now being used in a way that I’m sure was not intended by the buffoons who agreed to this idiocy back in the days of the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition.

ANOTHER STRANGE ONE

Someone has also directed me to a property being advertised by Rees Richards, a long-established firm of estate agents in Swansea and the surrounding area. The company was advertising a property with ‘Potential for ‘One Planet’ development (subject to planning)’.

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As we know, planning is never a problem for OPDs, so we can take that for granted.

Of course, if someone wanted to repair and renovate the old house then they wouldn’t need planning permission for an OPD. But that house needs a lot of work, and it would cost a lot of money.

So I assume that the house and the outbuildings are not the big selling point.

Certainly, Cwm-Garenig is a bit off the beaten track, and there’s no mains electricity, so that might attract potential OPD dwellers. But it’s still only 19 acres, and the area round about has been mined for centuries.

I’d hate to switch on the Evening News to hear that, ‘Police and rescue teams are still searching for survivors after a yurt-full of tofu tasters disappeared today down the old Number 9 shaft . . . ‘.

Wouldn’t that just be too, too awful!

Cwm-Garenig marked on both maps

It seems to me that Rees Richards is selling 19 acres of land, some of it possibly unstable. Not only that, but we have a Swansea-based estate agency cottoning on to the possibility of bumping up the price of low value land by adding the magic letters ‘OPD’.

Clearly, this is no longer a rural thing, as you’ll learn from reading on.

If estate agents and others have latched on to the fact that OPDs are a sure-fire way of getting planning permission for dwellings in open country (and maybe not just open country), then who knows where it might lead?

It certainly leads us to Swansea.

BRIGHTON COMES TO GOWER

I introduced this scam scheme to you in Miscellany 06.06.2020, just scroll down to the section ‘Brighton Greens discover Gower’. It’s called the Furzehill Project. Here’s the link to the article from which the image below is taken.

The Brighton gang goes by the name of the Ecological Land Cooperative (ELC) and want two smallholdings on an 18 acre site it bought in December 2017. These smallholdings will be of 5.5 acres each because the rest of the land is already being used by the ELC’s local partner, Cae Tân CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Though there are very few locals involved with Cae Tân and so it’s questionable how well it’s supported by the wider community.

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The leading light in Cae Tân would appear to be Anthony ‘Ant’ Flanagan, who has set up a string of companies, none of which seem able to survive without public largesse, and at least one of which has entered into a disastrous partnership.

It may be worth listing these companies, seeing where their money comes from, and checking on their fates. (CIC means Community Interest Company.)

I suspect that the inspiration for all these start-ups in June 2015 were the municipal energy companies in England, such as Bristol Energy. But Bristol Energy is docked in Shit Creek. The council is hoping to find a buyer.

Others are Robin Hood Energy in – where else? – Nottingham, which lost £23m last year; and Victory Energy in Portsmouth, which in May had its licence revoked by Ofgen.

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So why did Gower Power enter into a deal with Bristol Energy in January?

These council-owned energy companies end up costing council taxpayers a hell of a lot of money. We know that Swansea council has been very generous to Ant Flanagan, so how indebted are my fellow-Jacks as a result of this generosity?

Ant Flanagan and his playmates are responsible for the arrival in Wales of the Ecological Land Cooperative of Brighton, who want the smallholdings at Ilston.

A point I made about the planning application in the earlier piece was that letters of support for Furzehill were coming in from all over England but there were few letters from locals. Well that’s changed. And the locals haven’t held back in their criticisms.

If we click on the ‘Comments’ tab, then from local residents we read:

‘This is nothing more than a vanity project from a group of opportunists who are hell bent on claiming community grant subsidies and then feeding that funding through its various other side projects . . . ‘.

Another writes:

‘ . . . In the meantime small farmers trying to scratch a living from the earth are being displaced by larger cooperatives, being unable to compete with grant led, subsidised or community funded groups.’

A third says, referring to OPD legislation:

‘The Ecological Land Coop, an organisation based in South England, would not be likely to be investing money in land in Wales if this planning law applied equally to England.’

This writer continues:

‘As a former organic market gardener, serving people in and around Swansea by growing and selling through a veg box scheme between 1994 and 2018, I no longer even try to compete with these market rigging opportunists.’

While a another objector has this to say:

‘I object about this proposal on two grounds
That this a means of laundering and misappropriating WG and any LA grant funds, rather than a being of benefit for local produce growers/vendors, many of which are being put out of business because of the practices unscrupulous organisation.

There were other objections along similar lines. Arguing that these people are exploiting OPD legislation, they’re only here because of easy access to public funding, which then helps them under-cut genuinely local growers and companies. Some objectors make specific claims of dishonesty.

How the hell did we get to a situation where we are funding interlopers to put local people out of business?

Because . . .

Wales is a land of make-believe, especially when socialists are in charge, and image is more important than reality. Being seen to do the right thing has become more important than actually doing the right thing . . . and far, far easier.

Which is how we end up with One Planet Developments, and the mantra that Wales can show everyone how to save the planet. Idiocies that are welcomed in the Guardian, cheered by superannuated hippies in California, and will have Eco-capitalists from Sweden to Australia rubbing their hands with glee as they think about how many bird-slicing, flood-causing wind turbines they can erect on our hills . . .

The kind of headline the ‘Welsh Government’ loves to see. But does it provide any benefits for us Welsh? Not in this life! Click to enlarge

There are no material benefits for us Welsh from OPDs, and wind turbines, and saving the planet, yet we are lectured that it’s done for some greater good, and for generations to come. Intangible and unquantifiable benefits that may never materialise. But then, virtue signalling is so much easier than coming up with a serious economic strategy for Wales that might create business opportunities, careers and jobs.

When you think about it, the message being put out today by the ‘progressive’ parties in the Senedd is not a lot different to that preached in earlier times by clerics in the pay of landowners and industrialists. It runs, ‘There’s nothing for you in this life, but if you’re virtuous and obedient then your reward is in heaven’.

Those clergymen were serving someone else’s interests, not the interests of those to whom they preached. And it’s the same with the ‘Welsh Government’ today.

‘FARMLETS’

In the companies listed for ‘Ant’ Flanagan you may have noticed Killan Solar CIC, which converted in 2017 into Community Benefit Society Gower Regeneration Ltd.

Anthony Flanagan appears to be still in charge, but with other directors on board, prominent among them, Roy Kenneth Church. The Church family has for many years run the Gower Heritage Centre at Parkmill, which seems to be the base for most of the Flanagan Companies.

Roy Kenneth Church is also a director of Swansea Bay Community Energy Ltd, which has now been deregistered and for which documents are no longer available on the FCA website. Yet another ‘Energy’ company, and given the name, this one suggests ambition on the scale of the municipal failures we looked at earlier.

Though on the FCA document Church is also listed as a director of Swansea Bay Community Energy Two Ltd, for which I can find nothing. Did a ‘phoenix’ company rise from the ashes of Swansea Bay Community Energy Ltd?

Church is also one of the two directors of Tourism Swansea Bay Ltd which, despite the grand title, is a shoestring outfit based, again, in Parkmill. But at a different address to the Gower Heritage Centre.

Then there’s Gower Power Solar Ltd, where we find Church, Flanagan and John Christopher Whiten. The only documents filed, in October 2017, tell of a dormant company. Possibly linked with Gower Power Co-op CIC, where we find Flanagan and Whiten among the directors.

But back to Killan Solar CIC which metamorphosed into Gower Regeneration Ltd.

The name ‘Killan’ refers to a couple of farms which give their name to a road in Dunvant, on the western outskirts of Swansea. We need to focus on the land to the right of the land outlined in red on this plan of Killan-fach farm, Land Registry title number WA289902.

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The land we’re looking at is covered by title number WA289901.

There we find a solar complex owned by Gower Regeneration Ltd, with Roy Kenneth Church and Ant Flanagan as directors. The money to build the complex came in the form of three loans from Finance Wales Investments. All three loans remain outstanding.

So, in a sense, you and I own those solar panels because like most things we look at in this piece – they were paid for with public money that has yet to be repaid.

A request for pre-planning application guidance has been made to Swansea council for this land. Land that seems to be owned by Dunvant SBG Ltd. The only director of which is Roy Kenneth Church.

Dunvant SBG was formed in 2001 and the five outstanding charges go back almost as far. Roy Kenneth Church was a director from 24 December 2001 until 1 October 2009, and then rejoined in September 2019, probably following the death of his father.

Covered by Land Registry title number WA289901. Click to enlarge

The plan being hatched, it seems, is to build an ‘Eco village’ of 12 ‘farmlets’. Yes, ‘farmlets’. What a twee word, I wonder what idiot thought that up? I ask because even though the land seems to be owned by Roy Kenneth Church the pre-application submission came from Gerald Blain associates of Whitland.

‘Farmlets’ of 2 acres or less. Not much bigger than decent-sized allotments. What the hell is going on? (Here’s a link to the council website.)

Equally perplexing is why Church couldn’t find an architect in Swansea, which might have spared him a trip to Whitland. But wait! Whitland . . . now who do we know in that area? Why, Tao Wimbush’s postal address is Whitland. And having a background in architecture himself I’m sure he knows Gerald Blain and his mate Mark Sanders.

Gerald Blain Associates seems to be another shoestring outfit. The latest accounts at Companies House show total assets of £49. Confirmed by Company Check. Why would Church rush down west to hire this lot?

I say Church, but the applicant for these ‘farmlets’ is named as a Captain Steve Croaker. But I cannot find a Captain Steve Croaker. Who is he? Does he even exist?

UPDATE 01.07.2020: ‘Captain Croaker’ has been identified. He is Steven William Crocker of Cefn Gwlad Solutions Ltd, though I’m assured he has other strings to his bow. A Swansea man with strong links to Roy Kenneth Church and Parkmill.

What we have is an area on the edge of Swansea where development is not permitted because it would result in Dunvant, a part of the city, merging with the village of Three Crosses, viewed as Gower. But OPD promises a way around this problem.

Because anyone who could get planning permission for substantial properties sitting in an acre or more of land, with Gower on the doorstep, could rake it in.

Gerald Blain mentions OPD more than once in his submission. He makes a big play on how difficult it is for young people to get into farming. Which may be true, but this is not farming. You won’t see any of the old Gower families on these ‘farmlets’.

For they are intended for the friends of Tao Wimbush, and the land-grabbers from Brighton. Using OPD almost as blackmail – “If you don’t give us planning permission we’ll scream ‘OPD’ and our friends in Corruption Bay will give us what we want”.

The council clearly sees what’s behind this plan – expensive dwellings in the green belt with planning permission obtained by subterfuge. This extract from the council’s response to Gerald Blain makes that clear.

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It seems very unlikely that the council will look favourably on this project when it’s discussed at 2pm today (Monday). It may be possible to follow proceedings by installing this Microsoft app.

But what happens if the mysterious Cap’n Croaker appeals to the so-called ‘Welsh Government’? Will those clowns allow it?

CONCLUSION

The problems with OPD go beyond what I’ve listed here.

For example, a lady in Powys writes to me regularly with tales of a family that thinks OPD status gives them carte blanche to erect other buildings, to dump vehicles, etc. The parents and adult children who live on this OPD cause havoc on a narrow access track.

It seems they’re now looking for someone to sell what little they produce in the way of vegetables because they’re too busy themselves at the jobs that take them away every day from the ‘OPD’!

One Planet Developments should be self-sufficient agricultural smallholdings, not a little place in the country from which you commute to your job.

The supine behaviour of Powys County Council towards this OPD encourages others to behave in a similar fashion.

Taking the lead from OPDs in Powys. Ain’t it cute? Click to enlarge

As might be expected, Powys County Council’s refusal to act, and local AS’s and MP’s unwillingness to get involved, not only encourages mess like you see in the picture, it drives out decent residents and it deters investors.

I shall return to problems in Powys in more detail at a later date.

Information comes in from various sources about OPD problems in other areas.

For example, a reliable source who has provided information before writes:

‘What I can tell you briefly is that the most, if not all, of the plots at Tir y Gafel are no longer Lammas as such but are freehold properties that can be brought and sold without restrictions.

This is a game changer.’

This source also advises that the hub, central to the Lammas community, and built with funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London, has been abandoned because it is structurally unsound.

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Furthermore, it is now surrounded by freeholders unwilling to take responsibility for what was intended to be a shared, community building. Presumably it will now be allowed to fall down.

Another source directed to me to certain Facebook postings. Here’s one from David Thorpe of Cynefin Community Land Trust.

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What’s being promoted here is a new village, a new English village in Wales. And note how this new village will be tagged onto ‘an existing settlement’, just like the ‘farmlets’ in Dunvant. OPDs were not supposed to be new suburbs.

Thorpe is a patron of the One Planet Council . . . along with Jane Davidson.

Here’s another contribution from Thorpe.

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Andrew Slade? Does that name ring a bell? It should. Slade is one of the English civil servants who run the ‘Welsh Government’. He it was who took EU money off our farmers (Pillar 1) and transferred it to ‘Rural Development Projects’ (Pillar 2).

He’s worked with ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty, who’s rogering Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs.

Together they’re all working to get Welsh farming families off their land – so they can be replaced by OPDs, and ‘rewilders’, and Mongolian yak herders . . . any bugger will do, just as long as they’re not Welsh.

This is naked racism. This is ethnic cleansing. Yet this is what One Planet Developments have become.

♦ end ♦




Weep for Wales 18

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

I hadn’t planned on writing another Weep for Wales so soon after the previous one but, you know how it is, things just crop up.

A LETTER IS DELIVERED

What cropped up was a letter I received on Saturday morning, delivered by Royal Mail. A letter giving information on the latest goings-on at Plas Glynllifon.

Here it is. Just click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge

Although it’s dated last Tuesday it wasn’t posted until Friday. Was someone in two minds about sending it?

You’ll also see that the letter contains links that are of course useless in a printed letter. This suggests that the original intention might have been to send this letter as an e-mail, or perhaps as an attachment to an e-mail.

What the writer wants me to know is that Paul and Rowena Williams have a new ‘best friend’, ‘partner’ and ‘investor’, and he is David Russell of the Property Alliance Group of Manchester.

To avoid us viewing David Russell entirely as a victim the writer adds that, ‘David isn’t whiter than white’. The fact that Russell is referred to twice as ‘David’ suggests that the writer knows him.

David Russell. Image: Manchester Evening News. Click to enlarge

Yet the writer claims to be an ‘ex-employer’ (sic) of Paul and Rowena Williams, which is odd. The writer must have left the Williams’ employ very recently to know the new boy. But everything’s been closed down for a while and the Williams’ are now holed up at Little Hereford, so who have they employed recently?

The writer also wants us to know that ‘Paul has a number of court cases currently ongoing and people are suing him for theft and fraud, along with many other financial related matters’. That may well be true, so what’s new?

Though let’s not be too harsh on Paul Williams, a man cursed with an appalling memory. Evidenced a few years back when he set up the company, Leisure & Development Ltd, to buy hotels that he and his good lady wife already owned!

Not only that, but he borrowed millions of pounds from NatWest Bank to buy those hotels that he already owned!

This state of confusion saw him ‘sell’ the company in February 2018 to an old friend and time-served fraudster, Keith Harvey Partdridge. Partdridge then closed the hotels, dozens of people lost their jobs, suppliers and tradesmen went unpaid.

From the most recent administrator’s report for Leisure & Development Ltd. Click to enlarge

The £1.29m shown as ‘Paid to date’ represents the money realised from the sale of the properties Paul and Rowena Williams paid £13m for when they bought them from themselves.

As an example of their pitiable state, they paid themselves £2,881,599 for the Knighton Hotel in July 2015, but when it was sold by the receiver a few months ago (pre-Covid) it realised just £300,000.

Throw in the differences on the other properties and it soon accounts for the £6.2m NatWest is chasing. For of course, with his terrible memory Paul Williams had forgotten to pay back the bank . . . from the £13m he paid himself, but wasn’t paid by Keith Partdridge. No, wait . . .

I’m sure Dudley Cross of Lambert Smith Hampton can throw light on the valuations that resulted in Paul and Rowena Williams making such tear-jerking mistakes. For Dudley was very close to Paul and Rowena over a number of years.

Dudley Cross of Lambert Smith Hampton. Click to enlarge

By the time the results of their confusion became known in Powys, Mr and Mrs Williams had wandered up to Gwynedd, where delusions of grandeur was added to memory loss, leading to them playing Lord and Lady Muck at Plas Glynllifon.

But Cross stuck with them. And for the Plas Glynllifon Open Day in June 2018 Dud even put on his peaked cap to act as a guide!

I thought about the letter’s contents before the 12:30 kick-offs on Saturday, hoping the Swans game was being televised. (It wasn’t.) My thoughts led me to conclude that whoever wrote this letter clearly knows how Paul and Rowena Williams operate. (Who doesn’t by now?)

The writer would also seem to know David Russell, and isn’t averse to snidely drawing my attention – in one of the links – to a MEN story about Russell speeding in his Bentley Bentayga.

I considered the possibility that tittle-tattle such as I had been sent could have been picked up in Manchester property circles easier than in the proximity of deserted properties in Gwynedd.

And so I thought, who do I know who is familiar with the Williams gang and has links to Manchester? To help find an answer I pulled up a letter I received from Myles Andrew Cunliffe last August and compared it with the letter delivered on Saturday.

The addressee on the letter received on Saturday has been partly redacted. Click to enlarge

In both letters the addressee is on the left and it’s spelled ‘Mr.’, but how many use a full stop after ‘Mr’? Then there is the comma following the salutation, which is correct, but something many people nowadays seem to ignore. Both letters are made up of relatively short paragraphs, which are spaced and not indented. With single spacing after each sentence.

But what struck me most was the date. Which on both letters is on the right-hand side (I centre it); on both letters the date is underlined; there is a colon after ‘date’/’dated’; an upper case ‘th’; and no comma between month and year. The chances of two different people writing the date in that manner must be slim.

And then there’s the address. If this letter came from a former employee of the Gruesome Twosome in Gwynedd, to someone else in Gwynedd, then putting ‘Wales’ in the address is rather unnecessary.

Talking of my address, how would a former employee of Paul and Rowena Williams know my house number? Yet Cunliffe knows where I live because his boy Hindle has put threatening letters through my door, twice.

Then there’s the final paragraph and its allusion to driving out invaders.

As if somebody is trying a little too hard to appeal to ‘Jac o’ the North, Unreconstructed Nationalist’.

Despite all this, I’m not saying that Myles Andrew Cunliffe wrote the letter I received on Saturday. I’m just saying that someone less generous than me might point a finger in his direction.

I’m certainly not convinced that the letter came from a former employee of Paul and Rowena Williams.

Given that North Wales Police seems to be taking greater interest in this whole business I sent them a copy. And seeing as David Russell is mentioned in the letter it’s only fair that he should know what someone is saying about him, so I’ve also sent a copy to him c/o the Property Alliance Group.

FOOLS’ GOLD

Let’s put this latest development into context.

I’d ignored those associated with Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor Hotel since Weep for Wales 16 was published on the second day of 2020. Until, that is, Myles Cunliffe goaded me back into action by renaming his company Waterford Interiors Limited Royston Jones LL36 9YF Limited.

This resulted in Weep for Wales 17 last week.

Yes, I know, Cunliffe ceased to be a director last November; the only director listed with Companies House now is the Thomas Jacob Hindle I mentioned earlier, the ‘postman’, but that’s just for appearances. Hindle fronts for Cunliffe just as Cunliffe fronts for Jonathan Disley, the ‘King of Marbella’.

In last week’s post I referred in passing to another Cunliffe, who had been a director of Goldmann and Sons PLC, along with Myles Cunliffe. This company being one of a veritable stable of ‘Goldmann’ companies.

UPDATE 23.06.2020: A comment made to this post satisfies me that the other Cunliffe involved with Goldmann and Sons PLC was a victim of crime rather than a perpetrator.

You’ll see that a number of the companies changed their name to Cunliffe Rogers and Ellis. The ‘Ellis’ is Tom Ellis, Disley’s son-in-law, the ‘Cunliffe’ is Myles Cunliffe, and the ‘Rogers’ is Dennis Rogers.

Even though Goldmann and Sons was dissolved in June 2019 someone forgot to close the Twitter account. And in case it disappears, I’ve done a screen capture.

Click to enlarge

Though there seem to have been a number of Goldmann and Son Twitter accounts.

All offering the same thing – no questions asked loans to businesses drifting towards Shit Creek. How it worked is explained here. And in the capture below from the linked article.

Click to enlarge

Dennis Rogers is the man linked with the money that swung Brexit. Done through Rock Holdings Ltd, of which Rogers was a nominee director. (But who nominated him?) Rock Holdings was based across the street from an address Rogers himself used on South Quay in Douglas. Explained in Weep for Wales 13.

But Rogers was a busy boy, into everything.

Let’s go back to Goldmann and Sons, to the Filing History, where we see entries for 01 May 2018. Telling us that Myles Cunliffe became the ‘person with significant control’, replacing Islandwide Advisory Ltd.

Islandwide Advisory Ltd was Incorporated 31 March 2010 as Island Wide Properties Ltd. It first directors were Dennis Rogers and Jodie Lee. Ms Lee soon became Mrs Rogers.

Islandwide Advisory Ltd was De-Registered as a company by the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development 18 May 2016. But it took nearly two years before Companies House was notified.

Dennis Rogers has long-standing Isle of Man connections, he was even said to have been an advisor to the IoM government.

The Goldmann companies are now all dissolved (most of them in 2019), with the exception of Goldmann and Sons (Spain) Ltd which changed its name to Cunliffe Rogers and Ellis Capital (Spain) Ltd.

This company currently has no directors. Confirmation statement and accounts are overdue, and I hope nobody at Companies House is waiting for these documents – cos they ain’t coming. This is another abandoned ship that, to believe what was filed, never did anything more than change its name and its address.

So many ‘Goldmann’ companies, and none of them apparently doing anything. No accounts filed. Nothing paid to HMRC. Just empty hulks drifting aimlessly on the ocean of (SIC) ‘Financial intermediation’.

Now let’s turn to Phillip John Cunliffe, who we find in a company called Disley Aviation Ltd, now defunct. In addition to Disley Aviation this Cunliffe has a string of dissolved companies to his own name.

So there are two Cunliffes, who have been involved with Jon Disley for at least a decade. With Rogers providing the Isle of Man connection and the faintest aura of respectability.

Dennis Rogers, the man who knows where Arron Banks’ Brexit money came from. Image: Warrington Guardian. Click to enlarge

Because for a brief period – and perhaps as a reward for his role in ‘shepherding’ the Brexit money – Rogers was the Brexit Party candidate for Warrington South. But his bid for Westminster was thwarted when electors started asking where he lived.

Disley, Ellis, the two Cunliffes, Rogers et al; one big happy family.

A BRIEF MESSAGE FOR DAVID RUSSELL

I don’t know you but I feel entitled to address you, on the assumption that you are now involved with Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor.

If you’re an honest man, then my advice is to get out while you can. If, on the other hand, you know what you’ve got involved with – welcome to the Weep for Wales saga!

♦ end ♦

UPDATE 23.06.2020: Received an e-mail from Ralli Solicitors LLP of Manchester on behalf of Myles Andrew Cunliffe. Is he saying he didn’t write the two threatening letters he sent me?

Does the message suggest that Cunliffe has forsaken his old cronies and is now following the path of the righteous?

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Weep for Wales 17

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

I suppose that when I wrote the original Weep for Wales two years ago I assumed it would be a one-off; I certainly didn’t think it would grow into a saga, with an ever-lengthening cast of characters. But here we are at Weep for Wales 17. Quite incredible.

What’s more, to the untrained eye it might appear that I’ve vacated my keyboard to join the cast! Confused? Read on . . .

WHERE WERE WE?

Weep for Wales 16 came out 2 January and in it I told of a dispute between Paul and Rowena Williams, who had owned Plas Glynllifon since April 2016 and the Seiont Manor Hotel since December of the same year, and Myles Andrew Cunliffe, who stepped in towards the end of 2018 when the Williams duo ran into financial problems.

The two sides are now engaged in a curious spat that seems to be about Cunliffe not submitting accounts to Companies House for Plas Glynllifon Ltd. Perhaps even changing the accounts that were given to him by Mr and Mrs Williams to file with CH. As I’ve remarked, it was an odd business because the accounts referred to the period before Cunliffe got involved. They really had nothing to do with him.

(I should add that the accounts were given to Cunliffe because he has the codes needed for online submission to Companies House. But seeing as they must have the original I can’t help wondering why Paul and Rowena Williams couldn’t submit the accounts by post.)

For whatever reason, the accounts were not submitted and the case was heard 17 January.

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When I read that headline I just had to go and lie down. ‘Illegality and fraud’! Is Paul Williams suggesting that Myles Cunliffe is dishonest?

Whatever next? Will some scoundrel try to tell us that the supreme pontiff is not a Calvinistic Methodist; or that our ursine friends are guilty of sylvan defecation?

The judge seemed to lean towards Cunliffe, adding,

“There are fundamental underlying questions about the sale of the properties that cannot at this stage be resolved in these proceedings.”

He added there are “fundamental issues of fact that have to be resolved”.

Too true, boss; and the best of luck getting facts out of those involved. Facts! Did I just say facts?

Lockdown has now of course intervened to block any resumption of the case.

But let’s go back a bit, to when Myles Cunliffe first appeared in Gwynedd, and the Daily Post described him as an ‘investor’. Cunliffe himself had this to say in December 2018:

“We have the funding needed to complete the project that Paul and Rowena Williams have started.

“Work has slowed down at Glynllifon but this will change shortly, within four to six weeks, and will step up.

“I am a finance guy, I started up with car finance and have moved into property with a property investment company.

“I can bring the funds to make this project happen.”

“The short term aim is to be open within six months as a hotel and wedding venue.”

There were no weddings, no openings, nothing. Not a penny spent on Plas Glynllifon, while the going concern, the Seiont Manor Hotel, was run down with staff not paid. Seiont Manor soon closed . . . ‘temporarily’.

Despite this ‘temporary closure’ being announced in early January receivers had already been appointed before Christmas, and Cunliffe would have known they were on their way even before then, so why the crap about ‘temporary closure’?

Rural Retreats & Development Ltd, which owns Seiont Manor, has two directors, Paul Williams and Myles Cunliffe. There are seven outstanding charges against the company for various parcels of land and property, with further charges against Seiont Manor itself listed on the title document.

The mansion, Plas Glynllifon, is owned by Plas Glynllifon Ltd. Receivers were appointed 17 December (the same day as for Rural Retreats & Development/Seiont Manor). The company’s directors are Cunliffe and Rowena Williams. There are eight outstanding charges with Together Commercial Finance Ltd.

Plas Glynllifon. Click to enlarge

The outstanding charges would appear to give Together Commercial Finance Ltd of Cheshire a claim on just about everything at Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor.

MYLES CUNLIFFE ET AL

You’ll recall that when he first appeared Owen Hughes at the Daily Post reported, “Now Mylo Capital Limited – run by ‘finance guy’ Myles Cunliffe – has entered into a 50/50 partnership on Glynllifon and Seiont Manor”; and later in the same piece, “Mr Cunliffe has a background in car and property finance and is currently chairman of property development firm Etaireia Investments PLC”.

So where are these companies today?

Let’s look first at Mylo Capital. Despite Owen Hughes’ encomium Mylo Capital, formed in September 2017, never really took off. It only ever filed accounts for a dormant company and now, with documents overdue, it appears to be drifting towards the rocks.

For a while, Cunliffe’s co-director was Dennis Rogers, a sometime resident on the Isle of Man, who may have been involved with the funny money funding for the EU referendum campaign. I’m referring now to the £8.4m that Arron Banks can’t account for. I wrote about Dennis in Weep for Wales 13.

One-time Brexit Party candidate Rogers has been involved with a number of companies that seem to enjoy a lifespan comparable to that of a mayfly.

The registered IoM office for a number of Dennis Rogers’ companies was the white building, a former pub. The redbrick building was the address for Arron Banks’ Rock Holdings Ltd, identified by John Sweeney of Newsnight as the conduit for the mysterious £8m used in the EU referendum campaign. Rogers was a nominee director of Rock Holdings, probably nominated by the person who gave the money. So who in Rogers’ circle would have that kind of loot? Click to enlarge

The other Cunliffe company mentioned by Owen Hughes was Etaireia Investments PLC, which went into administration 1 July, 2019. Formed in March 2007 as Aquarius Media PLC (changing the name in 2011), with Cunliffe and Rogers joining in 2018.

Do you see the pattern? Companies get into trouble and along comes Myles Cunliffe offering ‘investment’ . . . but it never seems to work out for those who hope they’re being helped. That’s because Cunliffe and Jon Disley, the ‘King of Marbella‘, and the man Cunliffe fronts for, are said to use the companies for their own purposes before letting them fold.

What are those purposes? This article might explain better than I can. I have grabbed a section of it from which you might recognise Cunliffe’s modus operandi.

Click to enlarge

Yes, it’s all here; diamond geezers, Costa del Crime, dirty money, Brexit, BritNats.

WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN HAPPENING?

In March it was reported that a considerable amount of scaffolding had gone missing from Plas Glynllifon. Paul Williams blamed Scousers (why does everybody pick on them?) and GogPlod is investigating.

Though things are rarely straightforward with these people. So I was not surprised to read Paul Williams suggest that the theft had actually occurred last summer. His theory being that the thieves took advantage of the scaffolding being dismantled by the equipment’s owners to grab some for themselves.

Whatever the truth, it was nice to read about a bit of honest thieving at Plas Glynllifon.

‘Now you see it . . . ‘ Click to enlarge

We established that the Seiont Manor Hotel is owned by Rural Retreats & Development Ltd, which has Paul Williams and Myles Cunliffe for directors. We also saw that the place is closed and that receivers were appointed 17 December. Yet there are, or have been, three other companies carrying the Seiont Manor name.

There was Gwesty Seiont Manor Ltd, set up by Paul and Rowena Williams in September 2016. Strike-off action began in February 2019 and was completed 21 May. The only accounts filed were for a dormant company. Another ‘mayfly’ company that appears to have done no business.

Then there was Seiont Manor Hotel Ltd, which enjoyed an even shorter lifespan, from 3 April 2018 to 10 September 2019. The only director was Rikki Reynolds and nothing was ever filed with Companies House. Remember Rikki, at one time the Williams duo’s right-hand man?

Where is he now?

A trio of ‘developers’ looking over Plas Tŷ Coch, a property they never had the money to buy, let alone develop. Click to enlarge

The image above is from a Daily Post report of February 2018 in which we read that Paul and Rowena Williams had bought both Plas Tŷ Coch and Plas Brereton, near Caernarfon, with ambitious plans for these properties.

The truth was that they hadn’t bought either property, and never did. It was yet more bullshit repeated verbatim by a desperate media.

Yes, I know the problem, journalists are overworked and don’t have time to check things out. But even when the Daily Post knew the truth about Paul and Rowena Williams it still kept publishing blurb after blurb that could have been dictated by the Gruesome Twosome themselves.

An all too common problem; almost as if the Welsh media is under some political directive to publish only good news, even when it’s lies.

The third company we should look at is still in the land of the living, it is Seiont Manor Ltd. Incorporated as recently as 4 January 2019 with Myles Cunliffe as the sole director. But he pulled out in November and responsibility for this thriving concern fell on the shoulders of Thomas Jacob Hindle.

Do you remember Tom?

I originally thought that he was working for Paul and Rowena Williams and then ‘transferred’ to Cunliffe as his involvement increased. But now I suspect that Tom Hindle was already associated with Disley and Cunliffe before arriving in Wales.

My reassessment is due to the fact that Hindle hails from Cunliffe’s territory of north west England whereas the Williams’ tend to recruit their ‘associates’ from their stomping ground in the Birmingham and West Midlands area.

Hindle seems to have showed up at Seiont Manor Hotel around the time Cunliffe got involved.

Which might explain why Hindle was allowed to live in the seven-bedroom property alongside Fronoleu, near Dolgellau. Though it made getting to work in Caernarfon quite a commute. Is he still there? Maybe I’ll pop up and see.

Tom Hindle is almost certainly the ‘postman’ who delivers the threatening letters I have received from Myles Cunliffe. Here and here.

Fronoleu. The house is to the left and out of shot. Click to enlarge

Fronoleu is owned by Rural Retreats & Development Ltd which, as we’ve seen, is in the hands of receivers. No purchase price is quoted on the title document because the word is that Paul Williams bought the property at auction for over £300,000 and paid in cash.

There are two charges against Fronoleu with Together Commercial Finance Ltd.

Myles Cunliffe seems to have withdrawn from many companies over the past year, including one he’d been involved with since 2007, Lifestyle 4u Finance Ltd. Another company he’s left, one formed only last October, is Gen 5 PLC.

Though one company he is still involved with is Get me Finance Ltd. Apart from a brief appearance by faux Manxman Dennis Rogers Myles Cunliffe has been the only director since the company was formed in January 2010.

This, presumably, is the ‘car finance’ company Cunliffe alluded to in the interview with the Daily Post in December 2018. And yet, it’s difficult to see how, or why, this company stays afloat.

The most recent (micro-entity) accounts show net current assets of £52,644, but even this is an improvement of twenty grand on the previous year.

That’s what sticks out a mile. Legitimate companies file audited accounts showing income, expenditure, creditors, debtors, turnover, tangible assets, payments to HMRC, staff wages, etc., etc. And then you look at the companies that get mentioned on this blog and they’re the commercial equivalent of Mother Hubbard’s cupboard – bare!

Yet those connected with these companies drive around in brand new Range Rovers, live in big houses, and splash the cash like inebriated seafarers.

JAC JOINS THE GANG!

In Weep for Wales 16 in January I reported that Myles Cunliffe and Tom Hindle had gone into the fitted kitchen business. Well, not really, it was the old MO of sniffing out companies in trouble.

One of those companies was Waterford Interiors Ltd. Which had begun life as Glynllifon Mansion Ltd in January 2019, became Waterford Interiors in December, and then, last week, the company name was changed to my name and post code.

As is now the practice, Cunliffe ceased to be a director in November and was replaced by Thomas Jacob Hindle.

Click to enlarge

As you can imagine, once I was made aware of this I contacted Companies House and told them that this had been done without my permission and I wanted it changed immediately.

I also contacted my political representatives and North Wales Police.

(UPDATE 16.06.2020: North Wales Police Victim Support Unit phoned me last week soon after I’d made my complaint, and yesterday a police officer phoned. We discussed the case and he was as amazed as I that Companies House allows this kind of thing. I suggested harassment but he seemed to say it needs more than one incident to qualify. So let’s wait and see.)

The Companies House response said:

‘Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for your email regarding the above named company.

Whilst I have noted your comments and appreciate your concerns, the name in question was properly accepted for registration, as it does not contravene any of the provisions of section 66(1) of the Companies Act 2006. Therefore, we do not have the power to remove the company from the register or direct it to change its name.’

And that’s it, you can give a company any name you like.

I’ve commented before that Companies House is nothing more than a filing exercise. All that matters is that companies file documents on time, even if those documents are lies from beginning to end. Or contain no information at all.

Which explains why a bunch of clowns naming a company after me is perfectly legal. Now I have to worry about what that company bearing my name may be used for. What a system!

But as I’ve said before, financial crime is ignored in the UK. Though what else can you expect from a state that maintains the fiction of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands being almost independent, and also has responsibility for most of the offshore tax havens around the world? A global dirty money economy co-ordinated from the City of London.

Financial crime is seen as ‘victimless’. And once money is in the system buying expensive cars, big houses, jewellery, 92 inch televisions, Bang and Olufsen sound systems, holiday homes, private education, etc, nobody gives a shit that it might have been made from drug trafficking, money laundering, child prostitution, or selling weapons to rogue states and terrorists.

What a system. What a state. What a reason to get out.

Before this latest brush with fame I had (metaphorically) mounted my horse, said, “My work here is done”, and was about to ride off into the sunset . . .

But once I saw what some twat had done I wheeled my nag around, interest rekindled.

If anything I’ve written here is factually wrong, and can be proved to be so, then I will correct the mistake.

Threatening letters, however, will be handed to the police; and solicitors should save themselves the bother of writing, no matter how much they’re being paid. (And make sure you are paid, because those who ‘star’ on this blog are infamous for their reluctance to pay what they owe.)

♦ end ♦




Miscellany 06.06.2020

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

After the Jake Berry saga it’s time to move on, though we stay on Ynys Môn for the first couple of pieces, before pushing on, even visiting the city of my dreams.

This is another ‘biggie’ but as usual with this format it’s broken down into digestible portions. So there’s no need to rush, you can take your time. Enjoy!

YNYS MÔN

As we used to hear in the old black and white movies, ‘Dead men tell no tales’. Maybe not, but on Ynys Môn dead men do put in planning applications.

In the previous post, Jake Berry MP, Part 4, I mentioned a property that had swum into view in the course of my investigations into Berry’s little empire. This property may have nothing to do with him, but it became interesting in its own right when I realised that a planning application was submitted in August 2019 – by a man who died early in 2017.

Let me explain, for those who may be unfamiliar with the planning system, that you don’t need to own a property to submit a planning application. A builder, an architect, a relative, even a prospective buyer, can submit a planning application, but this must be done with the consent of the owner. Which presupposes that the owner has not departed for the celestial realm.

Now in this case on Ynys Môn the owner was long dead, and those submitting the planning application knew he was dead. We know they knew because they’d put his name on the planning application with ‘(Deceased)’ alongside it!

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Which is difficult to explain; the Will was a straightforward transfer, so why didn’t the person who’d inherited the property put her name on the planning application?

Another curious feature – though it obviously links – is that the Land Registry title document still shows the late Mr Cuddy as the owner. Which might explain why, after putting out a tweet asking why the council had accepted this application from a dead man, I got a Twitter response from the Land Registry.

The LR reminded those in the thread that there is no legal obligation for anyone to update a title document. Which is unfortunately correct. But I believe we are all entitled to know the ownership of property. And money being laundered through property transactions is another reason for making immediate re-registration mandatory.

Does the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ have the power to legislate in this area? And if so, does it have the balls to do what needs to be done?

On the planning matter, I cannot believe that a dead man can be named as the applicant on a planning application. Which calls into question why Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn accepted that planning application.

Again, if this is legal, it should not be. And if the ‘Welsh Government’ can legislate to outlaw the absurdity of dead men making planning applications, then it should do so. Pronto.

Land Registry documents not updated after three years and planning applications in the name of a dead man suggest something is not quite right.

YNYS MÔN 2

I don’t want to paint Ynys Môn as Wales’ Sicily, but strange things do seem to happen there. One I dealt with fairly recently was the sale of the Shire Hall in Llangefni to Tristan Scott Haynes.

Last year I wrote Not another one! about the sale, and there was a January follow-up in Wales, colonialism and corruption (scroll down to ‘Llangefni Shire Hall’).

To put it mildly, Haynes has a ‘colourful’ past, but the county council saw no problem in selling him their old Shire Hall. And the sale was completed 22 August 2019 with money Haynes had borrowed from Together Commercial Finance Ltd.

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The caption tells that Haynes is managing director of Chief Properties Ltd and he also runs a “successful haulage firm”.

Chief Properties was set up in August 2018 for the purpose of buying a property like the Shire Hall. The accounts tell us that the company has fixed assets of £201,942 (the Shire Hall) but is in debt to the tune of £12,460.

As for the “successful haulage firm”, well the next meeting of shareholders will be delighted to learn that Falcon Transportation Ltd‘s total net assets come to £21,282. Roughly what they were the year previously. A truck?

Go back to the caption under the photograph and you’ll read, (Haynes) had never been to Anglesey before identifying Shire Hall as a possible location”. Which suggests that he found it online. And that any building, anywhere, might have done.

But for what purpose?

As far as I’m aware no work has been done on the Shire Hall, certainly no planning permission has been applied for, so why did Haynes borrow money to buy a building that he seems to have lost interest in?

And having bought it, why is Haynes so reluctant to inform the Land Registry? For the title document says that the council still owns the Shire Hall. So why doesn’t the council contact Haynes and ask him to update the LR document?

And if the county council has washed its hands of the Shire Hall don’t the burghers of Llangefni worry about the fate of one of their town’s prime assets?

RHODRI MORGAN AND THE WDA 

It’s generally agreed that despite certain failings the Welsh Development Agency was doing a good job in attracting inward investment, and to this day many people still don’t understand why it was done away with.

A comment to the previous post seemed to provide an answer:

“If any target should be in your sites (sic) in terms of Wales’s failing economy, it should be the former First Minister ‘Saint’ Rhodri Morgan. It was he, in a temper tantrum, midway through a phone call with the CEO of the Welsh Development Agency, threw his toys out of the pram when his instruction that the WDA should spend a chunk of it’s budget in a constituency of Cardiff where a certain Mrs Morgan was sitting MP. The CEO politely advised that this request could prove difficult because Cardiff was not in an EU Assisted Area . . . A person present . . . related that the First Minister threw his phone across the room. When he had calmed down (10 minutes later) he rang the CEO back and said that he was scrapping the WDA and bringing it’s functions under Assembly control. The CEO replied ‘Congratulations First Minster, you have just ruined the economy of Wales’ . . . In the 1980’s, 1990’s and into the 2000’s Wales, largely but not exclusively, due to WDA activities, secured 22% of all inward investment into the UK, an incredible achievement . . .  Sadly, the Assembly, with it’s suspicion and dislike of any ‘specialisms’ and groaning under the dead hand of so many ‘Sir Humphreys’ presided over the rapid decline of inward investment so that today, it stands at 2% of the UK figure. When the WDA was scrapped, Development Agencies in other countries were delighted . . . I was present at the party held by the Scottish Development Agency to celebrate the demise of it’s principal competitor for inward investment. English Estates, the Development Agency for England, was equally delighted for the same reason. That’s the real story of Wales’s decline as an economic force . . . It will be a huge challenge to reverse this decline, but with the right approach, and a massive change of attitude in Cardiff Bay it conceivably could be achieved.”

Click to enlarge

This contribution was reinforced in an e-mail from another source which, after a few tweaks, I’m allowed to publish as you see below. This source was also close to the action at the time in question.

“I don’t know (the writer of the comment), but the account with regard to Graham Hawker (CEO) telling Rhodri Morgan he’s screwed the Welsh economy is correct. 

While there is much talked about the WDA and it’s dealings in its early to mid years, in its later life it was an organisation of people (predominantly Welsh people) who actually gave a fuck about trying to lift the prosperity of the country. To this day, I am convinced that the termination of the WDA was done out of both jealousy by Welsh Gov and also a disregard by WDA to service the needs and wants of Ministers as they became more and more demanding for information from the organisation. It was not designed to service Welsh Government. It was designed to deliver economic development to external customers and it did it well. 

To be fair to Hawker, he had instigated a re-organisation programme that would have addressed some of the issues, but Morgan had made his decision for the bonfire of the quangos. Hawker had resigned in front of Senedd committee. He made Morgan look stupid, who then asked him publicly to reconsider his resignation. He didn’t and he left.  

Following Hawker, Gareth Hall was installed as Welsh Gov’s puppet CEO. Rhodri Morgan stated publicly that WDA staff would not see any change in the transition to Welsh Gov. That was total bollocks. There was a culture of cleansing any entrepreneurial spirit and drive in the organisation and a clear move from answering to the WDA board to Ministers. Hall was very close to Marc Clement of Swansea Uni fame. The WDA was being steered by Andrew Davies as Econ Dev Minister at the time, again with close links to Swansea. Make of that what you will. 

It is clear that the politicisation of economic development has killed off any hope of raising Wales’s GDP above 75% of the UK average. We are still below it and I blame total and utter mismanagement of EU funds coupled with what you write about regularly – pushing funding to the third sector ‘economy’, crap pet projects (Cardiff Airport) and shysters. 

Welsh Gov is a broken organisation. It cannot deliver economic development, full stop. 

The wind up of the WDA is a case study of how to destroy exemplar economic development practice and then replacing it with fantasy policies of inclusion, sustainable development, socialist ideologies and then paying those organisations who advocate such tripe to turn up in the Senedd committees to back you up.” 

Most students of Welsh politics know that Rhodri Morgan was the kind of man Doctor Johnson would have described as ‘clubbable’; a man who could be relied on for the witty quip or the diverting anecdote, but hard work was not really his bag.

The manner of the WDA’s demise tells us a lot about Rhodri Morgan and the Labour Party. Both quite happy to destroy what they cannot control however damaging such a course of action might be for Wales.

The incident also exposes the damning contradiction of ‘Welsh’ Labour – forever banging on about employment, blaming ‘London’ or the Tories for Wales not having enough decent jobs, but the beast itself is ideologically and temperamentally opposed to the business and commerce that would provide good jobs because it cannot control them.

‘Keep Wales poor, keep Wales dependent, keep Wales voting Labour’?

The first source reminds us that with the WDA gone Wales’ share of the UK’s inward investment fell from 22% to 2%. While the second source tells that the loss of the WDA saw the rise of the third sector, which is under the control of the Labour Party because the ‘Welsh Government’ controls the purse funding.

To the point where, in the parallel dimension that is Wales, third sector bosses receive awards for achievements in business.

Port Talbot and Afan Women’s Aid is a well-funded third sector body where – as with all third sector bodies – most of the money goes on salaries. Yet in Wales the third sector is regarded as ‘business’. Click to enlarge.

From 2007 until 2011 Labour was in coalition with Plaid Cymru, but Plaid made no attempt to bring back the WDA, for Plaid Cymru is another party made up of social workers, academics and others who think making profits and creating jobs is dirty.

‘Filthy capitalism, innit!’

Much better to live on hand-outs from England. Then enjoy the power of patronage that goes with distributing someone else’s money without the bother of creating it. That is, without the hard work involved organising a national economy.

Which is exactly how the Labour Party views devolution.

And explains why the cycle of decline will continue after next May’s election when Labour will fall short of a majority and need another coalition with Plaid Cymru to stay in power. Plaid Cymru will jump at the opportunity.

And Wales will continue to decline . . . with regular ‘dead cat on the table’ episodes of virtue signalling.

BRIGHTON GREENS DISCOVER GOWER

In my younger days I spent a lot of time on Gower. Oh yes. An aunt and uncle had a house above Port Eynon when such properties could be bought cheaply because most tourists came from within a radius of 40 or 50 miles. They came for a day trip or a holiday, but few of them thought of moving there permanently.

It was on their doorstep, they could visit whenever they liked.

School holidays spent crabbing at Port Eynon were succeeded by teenage years fishing just about everywhere for bass, with Worm’s Head a favourite spot.

Click to enlarge

In the twenty-first century it was inevitable I suppose that Gower would attract the eco-colonists, those who want to ‘live off the land’ . . . usually someone else’s land, often thanks to big dollops of public funding, and invariably by ignoring planning regulations.

And lo! it has come to pass.

To read the WalesOnline report from which the above image is taken just click here.

The Furzehill project is the brainchild of the Ecological Land Cooperative of Brighton. That is Brighton on the south coast of England. What attracts them to Wales is the One Planet lunacy, which proclaims that in order to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint people must be attracted to Wales to farm virgin land, burn wood, drive vehicles, and generally impose themselves on what were often pristine landscapes.

This is virtue signalling, big time, introduced when Jane Davidson was Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Housing from 2007 to 2011. This may also have been the period when the ‘Welsh Government’s ‘All Farmers are Bastards’ strategy was formulated. (Was ‘Game Show Gary’ [ahem] ‘advising’ Davidson?)

Nominally, Davidson was AM for Pontypridd, but she didn’t give a toss about Ponty. She was in Corruption Bay to promote her environmentalist friends’ agenda. The rest of the Labour Party could see the advantage in this because it gave scope for virtue signalling on a global stage while putting the boot into rural electorates that refuse to vote Labour.

Davidson went on to become an academic (of sorts) and an even more outspoken advocate for eco-invaders like herself.

Here’s Davidson’s book on her work in government that culminated in One Planet Developments (OPD) and Future Generations legislation. Which have done nothing for us Welsh (it wasn’t intended to) but has achieved brownie points for a party and a system that, while running Wales into the ground, gets plaudits from people like Nikhil Seth who know sod all about Wales.

Click to enlarge

Furzehill is important, and should be watched, for the following reason.

Up until now OPDs have argued that they improve marginal land or even bring life back to abandoned farms. But Gower is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AOUB). The first area given AOUB status in the whole of this island.

I expect Swansea council to refuse planning permission for these ‘hobbit houses’. If that happens, then there will almost certainly be an appeal to the ‘Welsh Government’. And if those clowns allow the Furzehill project to proceed then National Parks will be the next target for the eco-colonists.

Which makes this application the thin end of the wedge. So watch it carefully. Click here for the council planning portal and enter 2020/0744/FUL into the Search box.

THE LABOUR COUNCILLOR WHO DESTROYED YMCA WALES

For those unfamiliar with the area, the Llansamlet ward is on the east side of Swansea, above Bonymaen and east of Morriston, straddling the M4. At its edge, Birchgrove runs into Skewen merging Swansea with Neath.

It was an area where the Welsh language was still strong when I was a boy, and Swansea’s first Plaid Cymru councillor was elected by Llansamlet’s voters in the youthful form of my old mate Dr John Ball.

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Since then, it’s been pretty much downhill. The ward has been represented by a  succession of Old Labour time-servers, enlivened recently by a few exotic imports.

I’m thinking now of Robert (‘call me Bob’) Clay, privately-educated former MP for Sunderland North and his Austrian-born wife Uta. Both moved on in 2017 and I’m told that these devout Marxists now live in a very agreeable detached property in rural Carmarthenshire.

Llansamlet returned another four Labour councillors at the 2017 elections, among them Maureen ‘Mo’ Sykes, of whom I have written before. To remind you . . . Mo Sykes was CEO of YMCA Wales yet under her ‘leadership’ things went to hell. To the extent that YMCA Wales ceased to exist.

The organisation leaked money, she herself left under a big cloud in July 2014, YMCA Wales went into administration in September, the jewel in the crown – Newgale Outdoor Education Centre in Pembrokeshire – was flogged off for £507,000 in June 2015, and the abandoned branches of YMCA Wales were told to affiliate to YMCA England.

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They were welcomed with open arms by YMCA England for adopting the ‘national brand’.

‘Our Welsh cousins’ Urgh. Click to enlarge

So in the age of devolution we took another step backward. The ‘Welsh Government’, which had funded Mo Sykes and should have been asking what the fuck had gone wrong, showed no interest. After buying a nice detached house on a quiet street in Clydach (for a surprisingly low price) Sykes was handed a safe seat for the 2017 city council elections.

All this is covered in YMCA England(andwales) with links to previous articles.

And now, if my sources are correct, she’s going home to the Six Counties after living off the public purse for years and doing her bit to integrate Wales into England.

If so, good riddance.

LEENA SARAH FARHAT

Soon after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis Nation.Cymru insulted us with an article by Leena Sarah Farhat telling us that Wales was full of racist cops. I made a comment, suggesting she apologise to our police, but my comment was removed. Bizarrely, left up were comments from an unhinged wokie (not from Muskogee) attacking me in very personal terms!

This moron seemed to think I’d deleted my comment, and even when told he’d taken a wrong turn he kept marching purposefully into the bog. I’ve had dealings with him before, and he’s typical of his kind. Because I’d called him ‘little boy’ or something he tried to brand me a paedophile by suggesting I thought I was dealing with a child!

No, ‘Alan’, I’m know exactly what I’m dealing with, son. A twat.

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It got so fractious on the state-subsidised mouthpiece for Plaid Cymru run by the saintly Ifan Morgan Jones that he had to pull all the comments. Something he had to do again on Friday when reporting that Martin Shipton, Chief Correspondent of the Western Mail, had lost his judging job at the Book of the Year Awards, run by Literature Wales, after being targeted by the wokies. (Tell me about it!)

(And if you want a definition of colonial establishment, look no further than Literature Wales.)

But I digress. Who is Leena Sarah Farhat?

From what I could gather, she works at Aberystwyth University. She is also Diversity Officer for the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and their candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. I’m sure she knows Castell Newydd Emlyn and Llanfihangel Rhos-y-Corn like the back of her delicate hand.

Anyway, later that evening I had one of the strange e-mails I get quite regularly. What I’m describing is the internet age’s equivalent of some bloke emerging out the shadows, collar pulled up and hat pulled down, looking furtively around before handing me the slip of paper that will unravel the mystery.

Or maybe I watch too much film noir.

The terse message contained a link, which I was loath to open in case it contained a virus. But I took a chance and the link took me here. To begin with, I wasn’t sure where I’d landed (I feared it might be one of those pornographical sites I’ve read about), but as I took it in I realised it was some kind of social media platform with people asking Leena Sarah Farhat questions.

Some of her answers were quite strange, others disturbing. Here’s a selection.

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Make of it what you will, but here’s my interpretation. Here we have another ‘progressive’ party desperate to be seen to be ‘inclusive’ recruiting someone on whom they haven’t done enough checks, and who turns out to be, if not anti-Semitic, then certainly tacking towards that port of call.

With Plaid Cymru it was Sahar Al-Faifi, with Labour . . . well, take your pick, and now, not to be left out, the Lib Dems will incur the wrath of the Board of Deputies. Good.

ONLY HERE FOR THE MONEY?

An e-mail I receive daily (but often don’t have time to read properly) comes from Business News Wales, which last Wednesday carried tidings of a £750,000 investment by the Development Bank of Wales and others in Agxio Ltd.

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Both the headline and the opening paragraph report that Agxio is based in Aberystwyth. Yet according to Companies House Axgio’s address is actually in leafy Dorking, in Surrey.

What’s more, Agxio is a one-man band, and that one man is Dr Stephen Christie. To read Dr Christie’s Linkedin bio he’s been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. It’s only a matter of time before that photo on his mantelpiece of great-uncle Hamish in his pith helmet makes way for a Nobel Prize.

From Linkedin we learn that since 2011 Christie has been CEO of Neural Insights Ltd, another company based in Dorking. His wife is the only other director. The latest accounts show a company where liabilities exceed assets, though the figures are small. The accounts are ‘filleted’.

Then there’s his chairmanship of MemberMatch Ltd, which helps golfists find playing partners. But he doesn’t seem to have ever been a director, let alone chairman. The latest unaudited financial statement reveals another company in the red.

Dr Christie’s only other extant company, formed in August 2018, is Inbotiqa Ltd. This has Net Liabilities of £107,131 for 2019; which was, admittedly, a big improvement on 2018. The accounts are unaudited.

Something that struck me about Inbotiqa was the massive share issue. Hundreds of thousands of shares.

And it looks similar with Agxio, which is getting funding from the Development Bank of Wales. Dr Currie seems to have spent a great deal of his time figuring out the share issues, just check the filing history.

Don’t get me wrong, Dr Stephen Christie might be a very clever bloke, but his greatest talent may be issuing and selling shares rather than producing anything, or creating jobs.

Furthermore, his ‘presence’ in Aberystwyth may be no more than a letter-box, and so I question whether Agxio should be receiving a penny of Welsh public funding.

INDEPENDENCE PUSH LEAVES PLAID CYMRU BEHIND

The latest poll findings from Professor Roger Awan-Scully for ITV Wales and Cardiff University are intriguing.

To begin with, Coronavirus seems to have impacted on the Conservative vote as if the party’s voters had been confined to care homes; down 11 percentage points from the April poll to 35% for Westminster elections. Labour is up 4 to 39% and Plaid Cymru also up 4 to 15%.

For Welsh Parliament elections, the figures are (constituency first, list second):

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Those figures were fairly predictable. Of more interest were the responses when people were asked questions such as: “If there was a referendum tomorrow on Wales becoming an independent country and this was the question, how would you vote? Should Wales be an independent country?”

In answer, 25% said Yes, but 54% said No. When asked whether the Assembly should be abolished, 25% said Yes, 48% said No.

To the multi-option constitutional question the responses were:

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As you’re probably aware, a great deal has been made of a figure of 33% in favour of independence. This figure is only arrived at when respondents are given the stark choice between doing away with devolution or going for independence. When the returns were:

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Certainly, these findings are generally encouraging. But there’s a long way to go. What I extrapolate from these polls is the following:

  • Devolution is increasingly discredited. After more than two decades of failure it is under pressure from both those who want independence and those who want integration with England. (Which is what abolishing the Senedd would amount to.)
  • Plaid Cymru is making little progress despite the increase in numbers prepared to consider independence. There is clearly scope for other parties, especially if those parties are more focused on Wales and Welsh issues.
  • No account is taken in these polls of how events in Scotland could impact on Wales. I believe that Scotland becoming independent would greatly increase the numbers in Wales choosing independence.

There’s a lot to play for in next year’s elections. And beyond.

FACEBOOK

As you may know, following a complaint by Jake Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen, currently building a property empire on Ynys Môn, Facebook took down the links I’d posted to the articles about him on this blog.

Well now I’m locked out of my Facebook account altogether, yet it appears to still be open to others. There seems to be no appeal process so is there any way I can just close my Facebook page?

All help gratefully received.

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