Miscellany 21.09.2020

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

Here’s the round-up that’s been postponed for the past few weeks. It covers quite a bit of ground and a variety of subjects.

CHOO-CHOO TRAINS

SNOWDON MOUNTAIN RAILWAY

I wrote about the Snowdon Mountain Railway (SMR) a while back. Over three years ago, in fact, with ‘Respecting Snowdon’. Even though I say so myself, it’s a good read.

(And by the way, did you know that Snowdon is the highest mountain in Belgium and Wales?)

Tourists swarming over a national icon having been brought up by the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Click to enlarge

Among the many interesting facts I unearthed was that the company, Snowdon Mountain Railway Ltd (formed 1894), files accounts for a dormant company.

At the very end of the latest Report & Accounts we read that “The company (Snowdon Mountain Railway Ltd) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Heritage Great Britain PLC.”

Heritage Great Britain PLC we are told, in its latest Annual Report, “is the holding company for Heritage Attractions Ltd and Heritage Brand Ventures Ltd”.

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Here’s the Companies House link to Heritage Attractions Ltd, and here’s the link to Heritage Brand Ventures Ltd.

At the very end of the latest Heritage Great Britain Annual Report & Accounts we read that everything is owned by a Jersey company:

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So the Snowdon Mountain Railway Ltd is owned by Heritage Great Britain PLC which in turn is owned by Cherberry Ltd of Jersey.

And as I found out when writing the earlier piece, Cherberry Ltd of Jersey is in turn owned by Dukla Ltd of Gibraltar, set up August 2015. And Dukla is probably owned by a company based in an even more sun-blest location.

So it’s Snowdonia to Liverpool, Liverpool to Jersey, Jersey to Gibraltar, Gibraltar to God knows where.

Which means that the patriotically named Heritage Great Britain PLC is ultimately owned by an entity based offshore. But why would a company running tourist attractions need such a twisted web of ownership?

It might have something to do with the Jersey connection, and former undertaker Kevin Leech, and perhaps his links to North Korea. For it’s generally believed that the ‘colourful’ Leech owns the companies we’ve read about here.

His interests are now looked after by his son, Allan James Stuart Leech, who sits as a director on the boards of these companies.

The reason I’m returning to the Snowdon Mountain Railway is because of its new hybrid locos, built by Clayton Equipment of Staffordshire. Word has it that these new locos are not performing as hoped.

Image: Clayton Equipment. Click to enlarge

As you can read in this piece from the Rail Technology Magazine website, “SMR plan to operate at Llanberis entirely on battery power, operate the generator charging on the uphill journey, turn off the generator on the downhill journey and use the regenerative braking to recharge the battery packs”.

The problem I’m hearing about seems to be two-fold. First, the batteries don’t charge as the loco descends, with the brakes on; and second, the brakes themselves don’t work too well as brakes. And with each battery weighing ten tonne, this is a serious matter.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions these problems have been hidden, but they won’t go away. And with the SMR planning a full switch to electric and hybrid technology they need to be fixed, pronto.

Due to this problematic investment in hybrid locos, and the loss of income from Covid-19, there must be a possibility that the Snowdon Mountain Railway will soon be seeking financial support from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’.

The ‘Welsh Government’ should not give a penny to a company that is ultimately owned by persons or companies based in tax havens.

BALA LAKE RAILWAY

One toy train that is definitely seeking ‘Welsh Government’ money is the Bala Lake Railway.

Google entry. “Alice the little Welsh engine”! How patronisingly twee. Click to enlarge

The BLR line currently runs from Llanuwchllyn up the eastern – Llangower – side of Llyn Tegid to Pen-y-Bont station, near to where Afon Dyfyrdwy (Dee) leaves on its journey to the border and the sea.

Though there’s nothing really new about this plan, it goes back to the 1980s. Here’s a report from 2014.

Last Friday we learnt that the Bala Lake Railway is asking the ‘Welsh Government’ for £2.5m to extend the line to a new station in the town of Bala. And the ‘Welsh Government’ seems keen on giving the money. (Kenny – ‘Flint Ring’ – Skates is already brushing his teeth for the photo op as you read this.)

One of the things that struck me on the Charity Commission website entry was that the contact address for the Bala Lake Railway Trust is in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

Then, in a couple of places, I read, as the aim: “To advance enjoyment, education and learning and to promote regional public benefit through the restoration, maintenance and exhibition by operation steam locomotives, rolling stock and other railway artefacts directly associated with the slate industry of north Wales and in particular those regions of Dinorwic and Penrhyn.”

But the Bala Lake Railway runs along a stretch of the old line from Barmouth to Ruabon. It has no connection with the slate industry, and certainly not with Dinorwic or Penrhyn. (Did I say ‘Penrhyn’! That BLM woman will be after me!)

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So who runs this show . . . from Shepton Mallet? The six trustees are: Squadron Leader Toby Kenneth Watkins, Steve Valentine, Julian Peter Charles Birley, Roger Hine, Christina Lillian Kennedy, Steve Davies.

Toby Watkins and Julian Birley B.E.M. are also with The Locomotive Conservation and Learning Trust. And while Watkins is obviously a retired RAF officer, Birley is a property investor and buy-to-rent landlord, who has recently moved to Llanuwchllyn. His only current company seems to be Property Land Ltd.

Christina Lillian Kennedy accounts for the Shepton Mallet address. She has been involved in countless trusts and the like. While also running a few consultancies.

Roger Hine is another who has graciously come to live among us. Though back in July 2011 he threw a strop when Dŵr Cymru fixed the local water system during school holidays, which meant his toy trains needed to run on diesel for a couple of hours.

Hine was quoted: “I didn’t expect to be cut off in peak season. My next door neighbour runs a guest house and said it was typical in Wales because they are not tourism-orientated.” Useless bloody Welsh! Thank God the English come here to run the tourism industry for us. Did I just say, ‘for us’!

Steve Valentine “owns and runs an award-winning confectionery company in Bala which is also the town’s largest single employer”. This is presumably Gwynedd Confectioners, though the company registered with Companies House is Sweet Valentine Limited, with a Porthmadog address.

I would have expected to see ‘trading as’ somewhere in the Sweet Valentine documents filed with Companies House, but I couldn’t find anything.

Which leaves only ‘Steve’ Davies. When he’s not chuff-chuffing on the banks of Llyn Tegid Davies busies himself with The Friends of Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, The Duke of Lancaster’s Lancashire Regiment Museum, and chairing The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.

Stephen Davies is from Lancashire, lives in North Yorkshire, and is another ex-military man. Here’s a bit of a bio. And wouldn’t ya know – he too has a consultancy.

Two military officers, someone awarded the British Empire Medal, and the rest suggest a very English establishment outfit. The only thing the Bala Lake Railway seems to want from us is our country and our money.

The question is, boys and girls: Should £2.5m of Welsh public money be used to fund a hobby train, one encouraging the ‘Playground Wales’ tourism that is turning us into strangers in our own country, or should those involved be told to steam off into the sunset?

Answers on the usual post card, please. (And if you’ve run out just send me a message on a post card and I’ll send you some more.)

BEDDGELERT

Another of the ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ is the Welsh Highland Railway, which runs the 25 miles from Caernarfon to Porthmadog via Beddgelert. At ‘Port’ it links with the Ffestiniog Railway that goes on to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

These lines are for tourists, few locals can afford to use them. I say that because it costs £80 for two to make the 15-mile trip from Caernarfon to Beddgelert in a ‘seating bay’, which I assume to be two, facing bench seats.

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Which reminded me of something written by Julian Birley B.E.M. on the BLR Trust website; talking of narrow gauge railways, he said: “Largely based in rural regions, these railways are becoming a lifeline for people in areas of high unemployment and in need of regeneration.”

How true is that?

But I digress.

The reason I’m introducing the Welsh Highland Railway is because one of its directors is David Edward Firth, who happens to live in Beddgelert, so I’m sure he uses the train regularly . . . without having to pay.

Another company of which Firth is a director is Glaslyn Leisure Ltd. I’m sure the name won’t mean anything to you and I only came across it in a story about five holiday homes being sold in Beddgelert. Being sold together as an ‘investment’.

They seem to be in a cul-de-sac off the main A498.

Image: Google. Coed Gelert, Beddgelert. Click to enlarge

I suppose £1.2m for five holiday homes in a place like Beddgelert is about right, but when I checked the company accounts an anomaly was revealed. For according to the accounts, or rather, the unaudited financial statement, the company’s tangible assets / net book value amount to only £275,524.

Almost a million pounds less than is being asked for the Beddgelert properties. How is this explained? In two words – debts and depreciation.

The creditors are almost certainly the four directors of Glaslyn Leisure and the debt is presumably what it cost them to buy the land and build the six properties.

Perhaps the real anomaly is depreciation. For in the real world, and especially with holiday homes in Wales, values increase every year; but in declarations to Companies House owners are allowed to apply depreciation of 2% a year on freehold property and 20% on fixtures and fittings.

Which means, over a period of time, property that is increasing in value can, on paper, be made to lose value. Clever, no?

To help me make sense of things I drew a table. Starting in 2010 we see that the fixed assets / book value stood at £526,612 which, a decade ago, with property markets still suffering from the financial crisis of 2008, might have represented some two thirds of what the properties would have fetched if they’d been sold.

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The big drop in 2018 is accounted for by the sale to David Firth and his wife of Plas Tegfryn. Which means that, as individuals, they bought the house off the company of which they were directors.

How was that calculated?

This sale – the ‘disposal’ mentioned in the financial statement – also explains the reduction in the amount owed to creditors from £519,280 in 2017 to £266,433 in 2018.

I was able to get details of Plas Tegfryn from the Land Registry, but the properties for sale – Sygun, Aran, Y Garn, Hebog, Craig-y-Llan – seem not be registered by name or number. (I got the names from AirBnB.)

Or, rather, on the Companies House website I was able to bring up an individual property, but what’s available for download is the title document for the land on which Coed Gelert was built. You’ll note that when the land was bought David Firth was living on an estate called Oberon Wood. I kid you not – Oberon Wood!

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And of course we aren’t told how much these properties have earned in the two decades since they were built. So it could be £1.2m clear profit from the sale. Perhaps more. And it will all go to England.

I’ve included this story because it tells us so much about what’s wrong with Wales.

On the one hand we have narrow gauge railways, run by strangers, for the enjoyment of strangers; with hardly any local involvement, but always looking for Welsh public funding by suggesting they provide some public service!

And then we have the kind of tourism-linked property speculation we see in Beddgelert. But not limited to this or any other area.

For as a correspondent from Llandysul wrote a few days ago: “Stories from all directions about ‘selling a shithole house in England and buying three here. One to live in and two to rent out’. I think we’ve had it now.”

This is a decent, caring Welsh person resigned to the death of his nation.

JAKE BERRY

Talking of property speculation reminds me of Jake Berry, the Conservative and Unionist MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire. Berry owns an unknown number of properties on Ynys Môn.

He’s been honoured with coverage on this blog in Jake Berry MP: ‘They seek him here, they seek him there . . . ‘. Jake Berry MP, part 2, Jake Berry MP, part 3, and Jake Berry MP, part 4. As if that wasn’t enough, there were subsequent mentions in Miscellany 06.06.2020, Miscellany 15.07.2020, and Wales and envirocolonialism.

One of those properties is Rhyd-y-Bont, at Rhoscolyn, an area of the island being rapidly cleansed of the Welsh and other undesirables. Berry, or his wife, Alice Molly Radclyffe Berry, bought it last year for £780,000.

Jake Berry MP. Click to enlarge

The name of this rural retreat translated into English takes us to Ford Bridge Farm Ltd, a company formed in May, that uses the address of an accountant in Bacup, in Berry’s constituency. The directors are Berry and his wife, with said accountant, Paul Fitton, serving as secretary.

There have been some developments worth reporting. I just hope I can explain them.

On the Companies House website, at the top of an entry, all company names are given in upper case, so I was amazed to see, Ford Bridge, FARM LTD. Also, this curiosity has a date of birth! Though December 1983 is also when Jake Berry’s wife was born.

Had she changed her name?

At the second attempt I found another entry for Ford Bridge Farm Limited, with Palatine Hill Limited listed as an appointment. This is in addition to the original entry given above.

Clicking on Palatine Hill tells us that the listed officers are Duckworth Estate Company Limited and Ford Bridge Farm Limited. With Duckworth Estate owned, it would appear, by Palatine Hill Ltd.

Palatine Hill could be a ‘Russian doll’ arrangement for Jake and his missus’ property dealings, set up to deter enquiries – cos there’s some nosy buggers out there! I suppose the next step would be offshore, but that might look bad, even for a Tory MP.

I suggest that because checking the ‘Filing history’ I saw this entry for 31 July, 2020 “Withdrawal of the directors’ residential address register information from the public register”. And if you want a ‘company snapshot’ then you’ll need to cough up £15.

As you all know, the Palatine Hill was one of the seven hills of Ancient Rome. It’s where the toffs were said to live. Which is entirely fitting for upwardly mobile Jake and Alice Berry.

But under no circumstances should it be confused with the Capitoline Hill or any of the other five. And it’s nowhere near Blueberry Hill, of which the late Antoine ‘Fats’ Domino so often sang.

See, you don’t just get informed on this blog, you get bloody well educated as well.

Tidy, mun!

ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS

Towards the end of August I wrote Black Mountains College, in which we looked at this project in Talgarth, Powys that seeks to become a kind of university for eco-warriors.

One of the sidetracks down which comments took us led to the OPD settlement at Rhiw Las, near Whitland in Carmarthenshire. I’d been keeping an eye on this through regular updates from Companies House on Rhiw Las Ltd, a company formed in September 2013.

But of course, filings to Companies House can’t always tell us what’s happening on the ground. And that’s why I’m indebted to those who commented to the blog or contacted me in other ways.

The 21.5 acre Rhiw Las site is made up of four couples living on separate OPDs, each of roughly 5 acres. Planning permission was granted by the Planning Inspectorate in June 2016 after being rejected by Carmarthenshire planning committee.

The stated thinking behind OPDs is to encourage people to live self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyles, in order to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint. The fact that all those choosing to live on OPDs have moved to Wales, thereby increasing Wales’ carbon footprint, is an inconvenient truth and therefore ignored.

As it is set out in the ‘Welsh Government’s Technical Advice Note 6 the strategy is about “delivering sustainable rural communities”. And what a welcome innovation this will be, for in the 10,000 years since the retreat of the ice Wales has never known sustainable rural communities.

Soon after releasing into the wild the piece about Black Mountains College news started arriving about the denizens of Rhiw Las. One couple in particular may have been telling porkies about where they live, and what they do.

I’m referring now to Chris Vernon and Erica Thompson. That’s Dr Chris Vernon, who works for the Met Office in Bristol; and Dr Erica Thompson, a Fellow of the London School of Economics.

Colonialist charlatans with young. Click to enlarge

When she’s not teaching in London, or attending conferences, or at her holiday home OPD, Erica Thompson is chairwoman of the One Planet Council. Which means that she knows the buzz-words, she has the connections, and the buttons she needs to push are invitingly illuminated.

OPDs can look commendable, deserving of support, until you learn more and appreciate the bullshit involved.

Great dollops of which can be found in the Management Plan for Rhiw Las, that accompanied the planning application. It makes a big thing of the availability of wild food. But if you’re going to use wild food to strengthen your case then you might as well say there’ll be lots of air to breathe, and birds singing, and flies flying . . .

One Planet Developments are supposed to be about people doing things for themselves, not relying entirely on Mother Nature . . . plus of course, the Met Office and the LSE.

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Then there’s Wycliffe Tippins, another resident of Rhiw Las. It seems Wycliffe lives or works in Gloucestershire. As a comment to the Black Mountains College post told us, “Wycliffe is a computer games developer. Another useful addition to the rural skillset at Rhiw Las !”

What’s more, not so long ago, Wycliffe was advertising for unpaid help to look after his OPD while he was designing computer games in England.

Note that Wales is “over here”. Click to enlarge

And before he was even using the static caravan on his visits to Wales, and before Rhiw Las was given planning permission, Wycliffe was demanding a strong Well-being of Future Generations Bill! Which would of course be of benefit to him and his friends.

Which meant he was trying to influence Welsh legislation when he wasn’t even pretending to be living here! Arrogant colonialist fucker!

Another member of the Rhiw Las gang who may be working full-time in England is Dr Paul Jennings. But what I found really interesting about him came from this interview with Lowimpact.org in April.

Contrary to what I’m sure most of us believed, according to Paul Jennings, ‘The (OPD) policy is intended to strengthen local, rural economies in Wales – it’s not about self-sufficiency.’ Though in other areas he agrees with us.

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Though I’d love to know how the dissembling incompetents in Corruption Bay think inviting into Wales small groups of arrogant colonialist fuckers© standing aloof from the indigenous population strengthens local rural economies. I really would like that to be explained.

Over at Lammas we find Cassandra Lishman, the ‘Woman of the Willows’. Are she and her husband living a self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle? Almost certainly not, for as the article tells us, hubby “Nigel has a ‘conventional’ job as a care support worker.”

To which he drives every day.

“Cassie is at pains to stress that living at Lammas – reliant upon sun, water and wind for power, and running smallholdings in tune with nature – does not preclude having a ‘normal’ life”.

All they really want is a cheap place in the countryside. And it has to be the Welsh countryside because no other country on Earth has been so stupid as to submit to these people by introducing the OPD system.

Once they’ve got their little bit of heaven, built for a few thousand pounds, it can be sold for a premium price as a dwelling in open country.

It so happens – Cassandra Lishman is selling her place!

Clearly, the OPD system is being abused on a massive scale. And yet the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ refuses to intervene, leaving local planning authorities helpless. And so the envirocolonists keep coming, in an ever-increasing tide.

Here’s what one local source told me:

“As far as I can tell there in no policing by Pembs CC and given the fear of litigation that Carm CC  suffered at the hands OPD lawyers they are reluctant/can’t afford to enforce any of the planning restrictions imposed originally

I foresee many of the properties sold as general housing with a very large garden and a lifestyle

Sure as hell nobody local will be buying these properties as it will be cash buyers only, I somehow doubt that they are mortgageable

Lammas is a shambles and beyond any controls it seems. The latest episode is —– laying down on the track to stop a farmer hedge cutting because he can’t get his hay equipment to fields further up the hill

There are more appearing in the valley and it is divisive. A farmer is buying blocks of land just to prevent more arrivals as he is already surrounded.

They are not going away so sooner or later most will be sold on the open market.

I don’t see the an end to it.

Wealthy incomers, from SE England and Bristol queuing up to buy a toy farm in countryside, working from home and not having the skills abide to OPD planning conditions. What then?

The farms are being fragmented and they will never be able to be reinstated as a viable family farm of the type that has built the indigenous community”.

I know it’s easy to laugh at these people and their pretensions, but they are ambitious, greedy, well connected, and dangerous. Never forget that the clowns in Corruption Bay have already bent over backwards to do their bidding.

The ambition I’m referring to stretches way beyond the few settlements we see today, mainly in the south west. According to Paul/Tau Wimbush, a Lammas guru, Wales could easily accommodate another 115,000 eco-holdings. That’s 414,000 people – all them land-grabbing charlatans, with few living the life they’ll claim to be living.

Paul/Tao Wimbush’ vision for Wales. Click to enlarge

Chris Vernon agrees that there should be many more faux OPDs. Go to 7:10 in this video to hear him say: “There is no reason why Wales couldn’t support several tens of thousands of smallholdings in the open countryside”.

GLYNLLIFON LTD

Glynllifon is a name you’ll be familiar with, but this section has nothing to do with Plas Glynllifon, the old mansion south of Caernarfon that has attracted so many crooks over recent years.

No, this Glynllifon is on Ynys Môn, near Marianglas, with Benllech to the south and Moelfre to the north. Though just like its mainland namesake it also attracts crooks!

As I was informed in a couple of anonymous e-mails earlier this month telling me that certain ‘businessmen’ had a project at Traeth Bychan, Marianglas, and that a company called Glynllifon Ltd was involved.

This company was formed 10 June last year, with Neil Moir as sole director. (The name is sometimes spelt ‘Muir’.) The company soon took out two loans with Goldcrest Finance Ltd to buy the Glynllifon hotel. Goldcrest Finance is yet another “specialist lender based in central Manchester”. How many of them are there?

Glynllifon Ltd uses an accommodation address in London, 160 City Road EC1V 2NX.

Here’s the Land Registry title document. I suggest you keep it open in another window. Because before moving on to the latest developments I’d like to concentrate on the title document for a bit.

Glynllifon Hotel, Marianglas. Click to enlarge

Going back to 1999 (page 2) it would appear that the Glynllifon Hotel passed from people named Beardsley to a Lesley Karen Boshell. Yet on page 3 we find that, “A Deed dated 17 September 2015 made between (1) Thelma Eileen Beardsley and (2) Ocean and Country Developments Limited contains restrictive covenants.”

Turning to Ocean & Country Developments Ltd we find Ronald Kenneth Boshell of Cheshire as a director. It’s reasonable to assume that he is related to Lesley Karen Boshell.

Ocean & Country Developments is heavily in debt and the debt may be explained by an outstanding charge held by ‘The Santhouse Pensioneer Trustee Company Limited Marc Howard and Avis Howard’ against . . . the Glynllifon Hotel. Marc Howard is the other director, with Boshell, of Ocean & Country Developments.

The Boshells were obviously living on Ynys Mon in January 2005 because this report from the Daily Post tells us that one of the Boshell children was hit by a car on the way to school.

The report also told us that, “Mr Boshell and wife Leslie (sic) said they closed the hotel last year because the road was so dangerous”. The hotel was called the Beauchelles Hotel (geddit?), though closing due to traffic is unlikely.

UPDATE 22.09.2020: My suspicion has been confirmed – the Beauchelles Hotel was Glynllifon. Sources say it went downhill, almost as if it was designed to fail.

One source sent me a photo of Ronnie Boshell, now domiciled in Spain.

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In that report from the Daily Post you will have seen the name of local ‘spokesman’ Barrie Durkin. He became a councillor and in 2013 he was complaining about the derelict buildings in Benllech:

“Cllr Durkin said: ‘For years now Benllech and its surrounding areas has seen a number of its prominent hotels and properties purchased by property developers just to be closed down with no work done. (My emphasis.)

‘They have been left dangerously, inadequately secured and are blots on the beautiful landscapes.”

He drew attention to Y Gorlan, on Benllech promenade, which has already been set on fire, has been left open to the elements and has become a magnet for unsuspecting children to get injured or killed.

Some of the eyesores also include the Bay Court Hotel, the Bryntyrion (sic) Hotel and the Beauchelles Hotel, which Cllr Durkin says are letting the village down.'”

It could be that companies were being set up, and property bought, to launder money. Such things happen.

The image below, from Google, was captured in July 2016. It would appear to show some plan to develop the Glynllifon site as apartments and holiday cottages, perhaps by Ocean & Country Developments Ltd.

Click to enlarge

The Boshells, or Beauchelles, appear to have moved back to north west England.

The empty and semi-derelict Glynllifon Hotel has now been bought by Glynllifon Ltd and Neil Moir. So who exactly is he?

In a word, another crook.

THE winner of top TV quiz Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is set to lose his fortune – because he is a crook.

Millions saw 51-year-old Neil Muir land a £64,000 prize this week. But under the programme’s rules he is BANNED from entering.

Muir has convictions for theft, deception and forgery. And Rule 6 says: “You must… have no criminal convictions (subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974).” London TV company Celador launched an investigation yesterday.

Although his roots seem to be in north west England Moir is, I believe, living on Ynys Môn. In Bodorgan, on the opposite side of the island to Marianglas.

He seems to have a number of companies registered at his home address. It’s worth flicking through them. One of the companies – the Anglo Chinese Property Corporation Ltd – also has loans with Goldcrest and owns property in Wrecsam.

In August 2015 the Financial Conduct Authority refused Moir permission to engage in credit broking. (Though you have to admire his chutzpah!)

In recent days the Glynllifon Hotel has been in the news because the planned development – if it’s not another money laundering operation! – plans to open under the ‘Traeth Bychan Heights’ label. This has upset many locals angry at so many traditional names being lost.

Though when the story was reported by the Daily Post someone supported the change. “Can’t live in the past”, the comment said. It came from ‘Shakinshane’ . . . otherwise known as Shane Baker, of the Duggan family Bryn Llys gang.

(Bryn Llys has been renamed ‘Snowdon Summit View’.)

Click to enlarge

Now what interest would Shane Baker have in the Marianglas / Benllech area? Silly me! – it’s where the police found his boss John Joseph Duggan hiding out. Though given what we now know about the area I can’t help wondering who owned the property in which Duggan was hiding.

Somebody must know.

To complete the picture my source tells me that Neil Moir has a partner. And that partner is Rhys Williams.

I’m sure I’ll return to this story in future posts. If anyone has more information, then get in touch.

Toy trains, ‘investment’ holiday homes, Tory MPs’ property empires, envirocolonists and outright crooks are just the same monster glimpsed in different lights. All elements of a colonial system that no longer simply exploits but also destroys.

Either we start taking back control, from those you’ve read about, and from those who refuse to take action against them, or it will be victory for Shane Baker and those who agree that doing away with everything that makes us Welsh is progress.

♦ end ♦




Bryn Llys, the Liverpool connection

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

You will recall that last week I planned on giving you a few reports from here and there, but one just grew to the point where it took over? Well, would you believe it – the same thing has happened again this week!

The purpose of this piece is two-fold. First, to bring you up to date with recent developments; second, to take a fuller look at the background and those involved in the recent acquisition of more land.

BACKGROUND

To cut a long story short . . . Bryn Llys was a traditional smallholding near the village of Nebo, not far from Caernarfon. Then it was bought by a gang of fraudsters from West Yorkshire. To launder the proceeds of crime they went on a building spree.

The head of the gang is perhaps John Joseph Duggan. I say ‘perhaps’, because with him being in prison quite often, or on the run, business seems to be handled by his son, Jonathan James Duggan.

Because neither Duggan is officially supposed to have any money, Bryn Llys is, for the Land Registry record, owned by their associate Andrew Battye.

Explained in this piece from March, ‘Bryn Llys, unravelling’. (And earlier pieces. Just type ‘Bryn Llys’ into the search box atop the sidebar.)

Before going away for his most recent period of incarceration Duggan senior brought a bit of excitement to sleepy Benllech when police swooped to arrest him. (Police always ‘swoop’ in situations like that.)

They also paid a visit to Bryn Llys looking for him.

Click to enlarge

Duggan Senior has a long criminal record. And when he was sent down in 2005 his son – using the name Ripley – took over the family fraud business.

On paper, Battye is central to the whole operation, but in the real world, as observers testify, he cuts a rather sorry and peripheral figure. At best, a decoy; at worst – for him! – the fall guy.

Desperation to move money combined with a total absence of taste resulted in an ‘extension’ to Bryn Llys in a style that I would describe as Dickensian workhouse. This soon dwarfed the original building and it was put on the market last year – as ‘Snowdon Summit View’ – for £850,000.

Click to enlarge

There were no takers, so it went to auction in February with a guide price of £650,000. Again, no takers. There’s a lesson here, one that those involved may be too stupid to learn. So let me spell it out for them.

The reason they can’t find a buyer is that anyone making basic enquiries about Bryn Llys soon learns that there are enforcement notices and other legal issues hanging over this monstrosity. Then there are the disputes with neighbours . . . police raids . . .

And more recently, court appearances. (More about these later.)

This is trouble gang members have brought on themselves because they turned up in Nebo with a sack full of swag believing they could intimidate neighbours, bamboozle planners, and just steamroller their plans through.

Plans exposed by the formation in June last year of Bryn Llys Ltd, a company in the business of “Holiday centres and villages”.

4 GLANRAFON TERRACE

Before bringing you up to date with the latest developments I need to delve a little deeper into the recent acquisition made by the gang. Some ten acres of land that came with the purchase of 4 Glanrafon Terrace. For this is central to the Duggans’ grand vision.

The recent changes are set out in the plans below, which will also give you the lie of the land. It might help if you keep this open in another window.

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Plan 1 shows the boundaries of Bryn Llys, together with the access road, after it had been split into two titles with both, officially, held by Andrew Battye (Image: Ordnance Survey, Land Registry.) Here’s the title document for Bryn Llys, and here for the land adjoining.

Plan 2 shows the original boundary for 4 Glanrafon Terrace and the land attached. (Image: Ordnance Survey, Land Registry.) Here’s the title document.

Plan 3 shows the land, edged in red, sold to Jonathan Duggan following the purchase of 4 Glanrafon Terrace by Aaron Hill. (Image: Ordnance Survey, Land Registry.) Here’s the title document.

Plan 4 shows the new access road Jonathan Duggan has laid to Bryn Llys despite there being an enforcement notice against this work. (Image: JPJ Architectural Design, Llandudno.)

Although Duggan argues that he needs the new road for agricultural purposes, the Duggans know nothing about farming. Though, in fairness, a few cows have now appeared at Bryn Llys, with bovine recruits and established gang members staring at each other in mutual bewilderment.

Back to Glanrafon Terrace.

From around 2006 the house was home to Nicholas Brian Williams and David Brookwell. It is suggested that Brookwell had suffered an injury and that Williams was his carer. Whatever the truth of it, I have found two men with the same names living next door to the Tregib Arms in Upper Brynamman in 2004/5.

Williams and Brookwell eventually fell behind with their mortgage repayments and around March 14, 2018 the property was repossessed by lenders AMG. But it was not straightforward. Security guards were needed on the property 24/7 to stop Jonathan Duggan taking over the adjoining land he claimed and laying the access road for which he had no planning permission.

There seems little doubt that once he realised they were in financial difficulties Jonathan Duggan homed in on Williams and Brookwell. They perhaps agreed to sell the land to him. Whatever agreement might have been made was made late in the day, with the vultures already circling.

After their home had been repossessed Nick Williams and David Brookwell were graciously allowed to live at Bryn Llys, but soon given the heave-ho when they were of no further use to Jonathan Duggan.

I hear they may have moved south, and that Nick Williams was managing a charity shop in Cardigan.

I feel sorry for them. Whatever settlement they received from the lender following the sale would have been considerably reduced by having to pay for 24-hour security thanks to Duggan’s behaviour. They may have been left with nothing.

And now it gets really strange.

LEGAL EAGLE

Some time after the property had been repossessed a document appeared claiming to show that Williams and Brookwell had entered into an agreement with Jonathan Duggan’s wife, Emma, and Andrew Battye, to sell them the land adjoining 4 Glanrafon Terrace. Read it here.

But the document threw up a number of questions.

From the Paul Fosh catalogue for an auction on May 3, 2018. Click to enlarge

Superficially, it looks the real deal. But it’s a document that can be found on sites like this, even the details can be filled in online before the form is downloaded.

In the accompanying e-mails you’ll see that the solicitor acting for Jonathan Emma Duggan and Andrew Battye was Kathryn Elizabeth Parry of Parry and Co Solicitors Limited of Liverpool.

This company has been in liquidation for over a year.

I’m not sure it ever did much business, and it seems to have been stripped before the liquidator arrived. For if you check the liquidator’s statement from July, under ‘Asset realisations’, you’ll see ‘Nil’ recorded against fixtures and fittings, motor vehicles and computer equipment.

Which might suggest that Kate Parry travelled everywhere by bus and did all her business face to face and by word of mouth. That’s not true, of course, but the liquidator’s report is worth reading.

According to her Linkedin profile Kate landed on her feet, for she is now a senior solicitor at Victor Welsh Solicitor & Notary Public. I can’t find a website other than this, possibly because the company was only formed last October.

An unusual move you might think for a man of 73 years.

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Though perhaps I’m being a little unfair, for according to Companies House Vic is a Renaissance businessman. Being a past or present director of investment vehicles, buy-to-rent companies, residential homes and a golf club.

It is suspected the document alleging an agreement between the Bryn Llys gang and the residents of 4 Glanrafon Terrace was concocted when it became obvious that repossession was in the offing. And backdated to November 2013.

Because that date is within weeks of Duggan turning up at Bryn Llys, and before Williams and Brookwell could have known him, so why would they enter into such an agreement? Especially as repossession was a long way away.

And if Duggan really had that agreement in writing since November 2013 why did he spend the next few years making life hell for other neighbours demanding they make him concessions he already had?

The document is also suspect because it clearly wasn’t proof-read by a solicitor, or anyone else. A quick flick through turned up a number of curiosities.

For example, On page 3 I see, “Miss Emma Duggan”, but she’s Jonathan Duggan’s wife. Isn’t she?

At 4.2 a, we read “land adjourning 4 glanarfon terrace”.

The addresses for the four parties involved, and the dates on which it’s suggested they signed, were written by the same hand.

The only address and dates in a different hand are those for the witness – an odd-job man who works for Jonathan Duggan.

A half-decent lawyer would have fun with that document.

But it’s when I looked more closely into Kate Parry’s associations that the old Jac eyes opened wide.

MERSEYSIDE BUSINESSMEN

Let’s go back to Kate Parry’s company, Parry & Co Solicitors Ltd. When we click on the ‘Charges’ tab we bring up three loans.

One came directly from Lee James Spencer, who was a director of Parry & Co in 2013/14. Another from LJS Corporate Projects Ltd, a company started by Spencer where Parry was a director. The third is Mass Medical Solutions Ltd, another Spencer company, this one in liquidation.

Clearly, there is some relationship between Parry and Spencer. So who is he?

In the caption to a photograph in this report from the Echo he is described as a “Liverpool businessman”.

The project discussed in the Echo report is Chinatown, located between the Anglican cathedral and the waterfront. It’s a project that has not gone smoothly. In fact, Chinatown is one of a number of major projects in central Liverpool that have either ground to a halt or collapsed altogether.

Make sure you read it in full. It’s a great piece of reporting, the kind of thing we never get from the mainstream media in Wales.

Image: Echo, Liverpool. Click to enlarge

Things got so bad that in 2017 Liverpool City Council referred the New Chinatown project to the National Crime Agency, perhaps under pressure from investors in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and elsewhere who were beginning to realise they’d been taken for a ride by certain ‘Liverpool businessmen’.

Among the companies mentioned as having taken Far Eastern investors’ money and then gone bust is North Point Global Limited, formed in 2015 by Lee James Spencer. We also find Spencer as a director at China Town Development Company Ltd.

Although he doesn’t appear as a director of these Spencer companies Peter McInnes was definitely involved, as this report from the Echo makes clear.

“Mr McInnes became one of the biggest players in Liverpool’s vibrant regeneration scene through prominent roles at development firms PHD1 and North Point Global.

He spoke out on behalf of both companies as they embarked on plans to transform Liverpool city centre, with his quotes appearing on press releases marking key stages of projects with a projected value of more than £320m.

They included the New Chinatown deal for proposals for 800 homes, 200,000 sq ft of shops and the creation of as many as 1,000 jobs in a massive scheme set to lie in the shadow of the Anglican Cathedral.”

Yet despite that write-up McInnes prefers to take a back seat. We see PHD1 mentioned in the Echo report. There are a string of PHD companies where McInnes’ interests are represented by his sister, Julie Caroline McInnes.

Then there’s North Point (Pall Mall) Ltd where I found (son?) Joshua McInnes.

Though I’m sure it’s the headline to the story that caught your eye. You can almost hear the kiddies in the audience shouting back – ‘Oh yes you do!’ Bless ’em!

Click to enlarge

So let’s recap.

The Bryn Llys gang holds a remarkable document proving that Jonathan Duggan is the true Tsar of All the Russias . . . or at least he might have some sort of arrangement to buy a few acres near his demesne.

To promote this claim the Bryn Llys gang chose a Liverpool solicitor who keeps very racy company indeed. But how did it come about?

For Kate Parry was running a shoestring outfit few people had heard of, and may have existed primarily to serve Lee James Spencer. Duggan is from West Yorkshire with, as far as I’m aware, no Merseyside connections. So how did they find each other?

You may be thinking along similar lines to me, so we’ll leave it there for the time being.

JONATHAN DUGGAN HAS HIS DAY(S) IN COURT

The Bryn Llys Gang was in court a few weeks ago and found guilty of breaching an enforcement notice. Jonathan Duggan was bound over for 12 months, Battye for 9 months, and Emma Duggan for 6 months.

It was reported, ‘The judge added Mr Battye, who owned the building and continues to pay the mortgage, had “lost interest in the property and washed his hands of his responsibilities.”‘

Think about that for a minute. Here’s a man who’s bought a large property on which he’s still paying the mortgage. People he’s generously allowed to live there are behaving as if they own the place, and his only response is to shrug his shoulders!

How about  . . . Battye doesn’t own Bryn Llys, and he never did.

Click to enlarge

The ‘architect’ shown in the picture is Scott Smith, half-brother to Jonathan Duggan. For a while Smith had his own company, Diseno Ltd, which drew up the plans used in the alleged ‘agreement’.

Smith now works for C K Architectural of Hull. This company is run by Christian Lawson, who had his own day in court a couple of years back.

The day after the family gathering in Llandudno Magistrates Court Jonathan Duggan was back for breaching an enforcement notice regarding an unauthorised bridge on the newly-acquired land. He lost, again.

The reason Battye wasn’t in court for the second hearing was because the new land is owned by Jonathan Duggan. But it’s not that simple.

For after 4 Glanrafon Terrace failed to sell at the Paul Fosh auction earlier this year it was bought by Aaron Hill, another Englishman being victimised in Wales. And then, Hill loaned Duggan £50,000 to buy the land from him!

Because as I keep telling you – Duggan doesn’t officially have any money!

Though, thinking of money . . . in the ‘agreement’ we see £5,500 mentioned, this being the figure Emma Duggan and Andrew Battye were to pay for the land. Yet Duggan claims to have paid Hill £50,000. So either he was cheated or Williams and Brookwell were going to be cheated.

I wonder . . .

It’s all so complicated, and failure to understand the complexities of Bryn Llys may have led to JPJ Architectural making a howler. Go back to plan 4 above, and in the legend on the right you’ll read: “Blue line represents Bryn Llys site boundary prior to purchasing the additional land”.

But the new land does not form part of Bryn Llys. They’re two separate titles. Bryn Llys is owned by Andrew Battye and the new land by Jonathan Duggan – bought with a loan from Aaron Hill! Officially.

Though you have to wonder why Hill bought the property at all. Did Duggan give him the money to make the purchase?

SHAKIN’ SHANE

One not mentioned in the court reports, but who deserves recognition, is Shane Baker. It was Baker who got me interested in Bryn Llys when, on Twitter a couple of years ago, he called me “a right cunt”. (I had to rummage in my drawers for great-aunt Fastidia’s smelling salts after reading that!)

Shane is a BritNat of the variety that believes people like him, the Duggans, Aaron Hill, Paul Williams, Gavin Lee Woodhouse, Myles Cunliffe, et al should be able to stomp into Wales and do what they damn well like because they are English and we are mere Welsh.

Click to enlarge

Shane Baker lives on the Bryn Llys site, in a large caravan. His role is to flog off goods, equipment, machinery, etc., that the Duggans have obtained but have no intention of paying for. This being their modus operandi.

And we are not talking small items from Amazon left in the porch. One excavator caused a hell of a lot of damage as it was being removed. This may be another reason Duggan wants a new access – so he can order, not pay for, and flog off, even bigger machinery!

Baker made a few comments to the Daily Post report on the first court appearance as ‘Shakingshane’ (for he is a performer in the Rock ‘n’ Roll genre). “The council up to there old tricks again , there all bent”, he sagely contributed.

Before washing up in Gwynedd Shane Baker lived in south west England where he amused himself – and indeed others – as vocalist for a band called Kabinrock. If you feel up to it, here’s a video of him jumping around at a wedding reception.

THOUGHTS

Getting the gang into court over planning issues is progress, I suppose. But the real crimes are still going unpunished.

Pressure must now be maintained; by neighbours, council, and police. There are weak links in this chain that might crack under pressure. And when they do, they’ll have a lot to say.

Also, let’s make sure that no local suppliers or contractors deal with the Bryn Llys gang. Neighbours were disappointed to see a Llŷn contractor working on the unauthorised access track. I’m sure he now knows what sort of people he’s been dealing with.

Jonathan Duggan’s attitude to life is to ignore rules, laws, and all decent forms of human behaviour; to push a situation as far as he can to his advantage and then stand back and say – ‘Well, what are you gonna to do about it?’ Let’s show him what we’re going to do about it.

Because what sort of country is Wales that it attracts and tolerates people like this, and allows them to prosper? Obviously, a homeland over which we Welsh have no real control. It’s time to change that, for this and so many other reasons.

Finally, there’s always room on my stack of solicitors’ letters for one more. So I’ll say it again: Jonathan James Duggan is a liar, a bully, and a crook.

♦ end ♦

 




Baghdad to Pendine?

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 week’s posting began life as a round-up of four separate stories, but one of them grew and grew until it pushed the others out of the nest.

But don’t distress yourselves, for I shall pick them up and breathe life back into them for the next posting.

RUBBISH, RUBBISH

This piece began when I read something interesting on WalesOnline – and it’s not often I get to write that!

The story was about rubbish dumped behind the Lidl Supermarket in Pontardawe in November 2018. Rubbish that had come from a building in central Swansea.

Click to enlarge

The guilty party was Gower Way Limited. Given the name I assumed it was local to Swansea; but no, for Gower Way Limited has its registered address in London.

Where it was Incorporated in July 2015, and there’s been no change of name. Suggesting the company was set up in London with the intention of operating in Swansea. Though, curiously, the address transferred from Swansea to London in September 2018 – without any record of it ever transferring to Swansea.

The only director and sole shareholder is Nasser Saleh Alanizy.

The confirmation statement is currently overdue with Companies House. In fact, the company was struck off late last year and restored just before Christmas. Though the contact name given on the restoration document is not Nasser Alanizy but Baber Wassim.

Whoever this is, he’s never been a director of Gower Way. Though if it’s this Baber Wassim, then he has a string of dissolved companies to his name.

The unaudited, micro-entity ‘accounts’ suggest capital and reserves of £874,900 in 2019, down from £1,820,720 the previous year. Made up entirely of fixed assets, possibly buildings.

That’s what’s suggested when we click on the Gower Way ‘Charges’ tab. For the charges refer to a retail unit at 62 Kingsway, and ‘The Box’, in Welcome Lane. Both in Swansea.

I must confess that for a minute this old Jack couldn’t place Welcome Lane and so I had to resort to Google. It’s a short street running down from Castle Street to the Strand. But there’s nothing there apart from an old public lavatory. Is that ‘The Box’?

Welcome Lane. Swansea. Click to enlarge

Indeed it is. As the title document and plan prove. In two instalments totalling £114,210.70 Swansea council seems to have paid Gower Way Ltd to take this old public loo off their hands on a 125-year lease commencing 14 December 2015. Though the charges are dated 31 March 2017.

Over on the Kingsway we find a similar story. Two charges totalling £174,521.97 against No 62. According to the title document the lease only cost Gower Way £80,500 plus VAT, so why did the council cough up £174,521.97?

Was it payment for disposing of the rubbish?

That gives us a total of £288,732.67. So I’m not clear as to where Gower Way’s assets of £879,000 shown in the accounts come from. There must be assets in addition to the buildings in Swansea. Presumably.

To recap; Gower Way Ltd was Incorporated 9 July 2015. The lease for 62 Kingsway was signed 10 September, 2015, and the lease for ‘The Box’ on 14 December, 2015. The four loans from the Council are dated 31 March, 2017.

Does this mean that the Council signed lease agreements with a company that over a year later needed money from the Council to honour those lease agreements?

UPDATE: It now appears that a Middle Eastern restaurant opened in April 2017 at 62 The Kingsway. This probably explains the council loans in March 2017. A Twitter account was started, but never tweeted; and a Facebook page was also opened, and abandoned.

There was even a short-lived company called Feasting House Swansea Limited. Incorporated March 2017, application to strike-off made 18 January 2018. There may have been a restaurant on the premises for a short while but I doubt if that was the primary purpose to which the building was put.

And what were the loans for the public lavatories in Welcome Lane used for?

Swansea council was taken for a ride.

UPDATE 08.09.2020: A source tells me that the loans were linked with Property Enhancement Development Fund (PEDF) and Homes Above Shops (HAS). This Google link suggest that funding was announced for Swansea in June 2014. Gower Way Ltd was formed a year later, almost certainly to take advantage of the funding.

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Unfortunately the link only opens The Wave (radio station) home page.

HOW THEY ARE RELATED

Nasser Alanizy’s Linkedin entry says that he has also been a director of ‘Old House CMC’ since September 2009. I have no idea what CMC stands for, but a Nasser Alanizy is a director of Old House Group Ltd, a company launched as recently as February last year.

Though his day job would appear to be with the Focus Building Group. Or it was until a couple of years ago. But the Focus Building Group doesn’t appear at all on Alanizy’s Linkedin profile.

Click to enlarge

A bit confusing. And now it gets more confusing.

For another of Alanizy’s companies is Canons Lodge Ltd. The accounts are overdue with Companies House but the latest available accounts, up to 31 July 2018, show ‘Capital and reserves’ of minus £237,000.

And yet, if we compare the accounts for 2017 and 2018, specifically the extracts below, we see that what was £630,000 in 2017 has reduced in the 2018 accounts to £63,000. Is this a typo, the sort of thing that happens with unaudited, ‘do-it-yourself’ submissions, or is it something more?

Click to enlarge

But perhaps what’s even stranger is that with Canons Lodge we encounter the same four charges with the City and County of Swansea. The total amount – £288,732.67 – is exactly the same as that listed against the two properties in Swansea for Gower Way Ltd.

So Swansea council is shelling out for a building in London!

Canons Lodge Ltd began life with a London address, Then on 24 March, 2017, it transferred its registered address to 62 The Kingsway. The moolah from the council was delivered the following month.

Then, just like Gower Way Ltd, in September 2018 the address was changed to a London address. Both companies eventually settling at 23 Crawford Street, London W1H 1BY.

So what or where is Canons Lodge?

CANONS PARK

It turns out that Canons Park is a municipal park in the borough of Harrow in north west London, with an Underground station of the same name. The Lodge used to serve as the park-keeper’s residence and it seems that Nasser Alanizy has recently bought the place.

I got this information from Friends of Canons Park, who told me “Mr Alanizy is the resident of the Lodge in Canons Park.  He is a property developer and is trying to adapt the Lodge to create an arts centre and meeting rooms, which the Friends are happy to support as they will directly benefit the park.”

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The Land Registry title document for the Lodge tells us, page 3 C5: “(09.04.2014) A Transfer of the land in this title dated 19 March 2014 made between (1) The Mayor And Burgesses Of the London Borough Of Harrow and (2) Intercontinental Developments Limited contains restrictive covenants.” 

So who are the previous owners, Intercontinental Developments Ltd? To begin with, it is registered with Companies House. The only current director is Surmid El Akabi. A previous director – from February 2005 until March 2019 – was Karim El Akabi.

Surmid El Akabi’s Linkedin profile tells us that he is CEO of the FIAFI Group, an Iraqi company, that gets a mention in the Panama Papers. (Click on a node to open links.) There we see Karim El Akabi, and also Namir El Akabi.

It’s reasonable to assume that the three El Akabis are related.

Digression alert!

I came across this reference from 2013 to Namir El Akabi buying the Paragon Hotel in Birmingham. BirminghamLive said: “According to sources, Iraqi owners the El-Akabi family are preparing to invest in a multi-million pound overhaul of the hotel which will see it restored to its former glory”.

The Paragon Hotel was soon being used to house more than 230 young male asylum seekers, placed there by G4S. The owners promised to clean up their act and refurbish the hotel.

The re-named building seems to have operated as part hostel for asylum seekers and part commercial hotel. Last month, the citizens of Brum learnt that it was still housing asylum seekers . . . but without the knowledge of the city council.

Surrendering to the curiosity that would surely have killed me by now if I’d been born with a taste for mice I wondered who owns the Paragon/Rowton Hotel.

The answer is Paragon Investment Estate Ltd, Incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Presumably a front for the El Akabis because the most recent sale recorded with the Land Registry was the one reported in 2013.

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The BVI is also home to Namir El-Akabi’s Almco group of companies. (Again, click on the nodes to open further links.) The man himself is described in this piece from the New York Times of May 2011 as one of ‘The Hot-Money Cowboys of Baghdad’.

Namir El Akabi was one of the wealthy exiles who helped bring down Saddam Hussein . . . and he expected his cut of post-Saddam Iraq. His reach, under Western patronage, also extended to Afghanistan, as this 2019 piece from the Bureau of Investigative Journalists explains.

Namir El Akabi has contacts in the UK government. And so it’s no surprise to find him in 2013 buying a hotel in Birmingham to house refugees, many from his own country. Perhaps he had better contacts than Birmingham City Council.

Recap: This digression came about because the Al Akabis previously owned Canons Lodge which is now owned by Nasser Alanizy who leases the buildings in Swansea with loans from the Council.

Moving on . . .

I can’t help wondering if the modestly-named Intergalactic Developments had plans for Canons Park Lodge that the council made clear would not be allowed. Thwarted, the boys from Baghdad found (perhaps already knew) Alanizy.

There was a bogus ‘sale’, and the council being aware of this subterfuge explains why the Friends of Canons Park tell me, “all his (Alanizy’s) applications to Harrow Council have been turned down”.’

Extract from the Land Registry title document for the Lodge, Canons Park. Click to enlarge

You will recall that one of Alanizy’s companies was the Old House Group Ltd at the popular accommodation address, 23 Crawford Street, London W1H 1BY. The only other director was Mazin Daood.

We find Daood and Alanizy together again at Bombay Development Ltd, which takes its name from property owned in Bombay Street, London SE16. Another director is Ednor Mata of Focus Developments. The shares are divided 400,000 to Focus Developments Solutions Ltd, 700,000 to SSL Investment Ltd, and 300,000 to Mazmo Partners Ltd.

Alanizy is a director of Focus Development Solutions along with Ednor Mata and Gentian Mata. Each holding 100 of the 300 shares. Only formed in June 2018 the first accounts were due 12 March. Companies House is still waiting.

SSL Investment Ltd belongs to a Jordanian family living in the United Arab Emirates.

Mazmo Partners Ltd has Mazin Daood as sole director. But with another person who may be his father also involved.

PENDINE IS VERY POPULAR AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR

But I have little interest in what’s going on in Baghdad, Birmingham, Abu Dhabi or London. Wales is my concern, and those we’re discussing may now have business interests west of the old home town.

Among the companies using the Crawford Street address we find another with Mazin Daood as director, formed as recently as April this year, Pendine Sands Ltd. The Nature of business SIC tells us: “Support activities for animal production (other than farm animal boarding and care) not elsewhere classified”.

Which I thought was a bit odd, why the sudden interest in animals? Are they hoping to profit from the ‘Welsh Government’s war on farmers?

Whatever the answer, we have an interlocking set of property investors with Middle East connections, one of whom has turned his attention to Pendine Sands, which was famous for land speed record attempts in the first half of the 20th century. You’ll recall that J G Parry-Thomas was killed there in 1927 trying to beat his own world land speed record.

Image: Kevin Trahar. Pendine beach. Click to enlarge

As if that wasn’t enough, there is an Irish company called Pendine Sands 4894 Limited (known as Olympus Leasing 4162 Limited until September 2015). Through a number of intermediaries it is ultimately owned by Goshawk Aviation Funding Ltd, which I assume links with this aircraft leasing company.

There are two other ‘Pendine Sands’ companies at the same Dublin 2 address, Pendine Sands 4832 Limited and Pendine Sands 39621 Limited.

So many companies using the Pendine name could be pure coincidence. Then again, maybe not.

Finally, let’s remember that the UK Ministry of Defence owns over 20 square kilometres at Pendine, which it leases out to QinetiC. We’ve come across QinetiC before. Involved with wayward drones at MoD Aberporth, and through links with Snowdonia Aerospace LLP at Llanbedr.

QinetiC has strong connections with the UK Government’s allies and business associates in the Middle East.

UPDATE 20.09.2020: Well, well, well! RAF lands huge transport plane on Cefn Sidan beach, just a few miles from Pendine.

CONCLUSION AND QUESTIONS

As you must know, there’s a lot of money sloshing about the Middle East just looking for a home. Or perhaps a raison d’être.

The City of London and its far-flung empire of tax havens attract this money because no questions are asked.

But I have some questions:

  • When and how did Nasser Alanizy make contact with the Council of the City and County of Swansea?
  • Why were the ‘The Box’ and 62 Kingsway leased rather than sold outright?
  • Why did the Council need to fund the deals for these two properties?
  • Has any work been done on either of these properties?
  • Why would Canons Lodge Ltd – buying a property in London – need to temporarily move its address to Swansea?
  • Were the changes of address connected with the loans, and therefore a deliberate attempt to deceive someone into believing these were Swansea-based companies?
  • If so, was anyone at Swansea Council complicit in this?
  • Now that Swansea Council is aware of the facts, what is it going to do?
  • Is the ‘Welsh Government’ aware of any plans for Pendine relating to the MoD property?
  • Is the ‘Welsh Government’ aware of any Middle Eastern involvement or investment at Pendine?
  • Can the ‘Welsh Government’ be bothered to make enquiries of its masters in London?

What do you make of it, boys and girls? Answers on the dog-eared postcard I’m sure you’ll find at the back of a drawer.

♦ end ♦

 




Housing for Wales or housing for the Welsh?

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

We are confronted by a paradox. The stock of housing in Wales is growing, yet less and less of it is accessible to Welsh people.

INTRODUCTION

What I’m describing is a bizarre housing system that works against the native population while promoting the interests of strangers. A system too complex and too consistent in its outcomes to be attributed to incompetence or happenstance.

Once the bigger problem is deconstructed and its component parts exposed, then remedies present themselves. All that’s needed then is the political will to implement those remedies.

In this article I shall explain a problem and then make one or more suggestions for tackling it. I’m sure many of you reading this will have your own ideas – so let’s hear them.

PRICES, TOO HIGH AND TOO LOW

When dealing with house prices we find problems at both ends of the scale. On the one hand, houses are being built in many areas that most locals can’t afford – but that’s OK because they’re not intended for us.

Take Newport, Pembrokeshire, a ‘holiday hotspot’. Locals are being squeezed out of the local housing market and this shortfall is then used to justify building new housing . . . that is also beyond the reach of locals!

Such as this modest – and rather ugly – three-bedroom home for £425,000.

While at the other end of the scale, in declining seaside resorts and post-industrial areas, property prices are so low that they attract those who buy in bulk and ship in problems.

Which takes us to Llanelli, and the Ty Isha neighbourhood, by the railway station. Third sector bodies, private landlords and others have moved in, bought up terraced houses and flats, and dumped petty criminals and drug addicts from England.

I’m not sure how to read this without more information, but it’s pretty, and some people enjoy this kind of thing. Blame WalesOnline for ‘Tyshia’. Click to enlarge

Those who profit from trading in undesirables – with the full support and financial backing  of the ‘Welsh Government’ – were initially attracted to Ty Isha by low house prices, and they have succeeded in driving property values down even more!

Some of those interviewed in the report are now trapped in houses they have lived in all their married lives but can only sell at a price below what a house such as theirs would fetch in a normal neighbourhood.

Yet in a system that prioritised Welsh needs the small terraced houses of Ty Isha would make ideal starter homes for young people.

SUGGESTIONS: In the case of Newport, Pembs and countless other such developments, the answer is that we simply do not allow the building of new properties that locals either do not wish to buy or cannot afford to buy.

I’ll explain later how we could both achieve this and forecast local need.

To argue that allowing such properties takes the pressure of the existing stock, thereby making many such properties available for local buyers, is absolute bollocks. The numbers wanting to relocate to Wales is limitless, and the demand for holiday homes insatiable.

As for Ty Isha, funding should be withdrawn from any third sector body importing problems from outside of Wales to any part of Wales. The same should apply to housing associations.

I shall also offer suggestions for achieving these objectives.

Those whose properties have been devalued, and their lives affected by the riff-raff dumped around them, should be compensated by the ‘Welsh Government’.

THE NUMBERS GAME

Let’s now focus on the problem of houses being built in numbers greatly in excess of what Wales needs. And, again, at prices most of us can’t afford. This is particularly noticeable in the eastern parts of the country as English commuters look west for cheaper housing and nicer scenery.

Black-spots are along the A55 in the north and the M4 in the south and, since the removal of tolls on the Severn Bridge, increasingly evident in southern Gwent, including the city of Newport. An example would be the 900 dwellings of the ‘urban village’ planned for Mamhilad, north of Pontypool, towards Abergavenny, but close enough to the M4 for Bristol commuters.

Building in Wales to meet a demand from England has also become noticeable around Wrexham in recent years. It begins with the ‘Welsh Government’ producing absurd population projections to justify building an excessive number of new houses.

Then, when the projections are shown to be exaggerated, the Planning Inspectorate insists on sticking with the original number of new houses. This article explains it well.

I looked into this problem back as March 2014 in a piece I wrote about Denbighshire. The council said, “Look, the latest projections suggest a smaller population increase, so we don’t need to build so many new houses”.

The Planning Inspectorate’s response was, “Yes, you’re right about the population projections . . . but we insist on sticking with the original number of new dwellings”.

Planning Inspectorate insisting that discredited population projections still be used to determine housing provision. Click to enlarge

A response like that sort of gives the game away, doesn’t it?

Back in 2011 the ‘Welsh Government’ was insisting that the population of Wrexham would increase by 20% in the near future, then the projected increase reduced to 10%, and the latest calculation is that the borough’s population will actually fall by 1.5% by 2028! Yet the number of houses ‘needed’ must remain the same as when an increase of 20% was forecast.

Major housing developments planned around Wrecsam. None to the south or the west. Quelle surprise! Click to enlarge

As the map above makes clear, the planned developments are all to the north or the east of the town, in other words, convenient for Cheshire. Or rather, convenient for those who aren’t wanted in Cheshire, in order to preserve property values in Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and the other communities of the ‘Golden Triangle’.

Add to all the new housing the proposed road improvements and the fate allotted to Wrecsam becomes clear. The A483 is of course the road to Chester.

Here’s a late addition about 200 more houses at Rhosrobin, right next to the A483.

What has clearly been happening is that the ‘Welsh Government’ (or others acting in its name) has been producing what it knew to be inflated, contrived, population projections. Done to justify building excessive numbers of new dwellings.

When the population projections were exposed as bogus, and revised downwards, the Planning Inspectorate stuck with the discredited figures in order to push on with building what were now clearly excessive numbers of new houses.

And by so doing the Planning Inspectorate exposed a dishonest system.

SUGGESTIONS: To begin with, calculations to determine how many new homes an area needs must be based on what the people of the area need, not on how many properties developers think they can sell. In fact, I can’t think of any good reason why developers need to be involved in assessing demand.

The Wrecsam area being used to take pressure off Cheshire is part of the wider integration strategy of the Mersey Dee Alliance. A giveaway is estate agents referring to the area as ‘West Cheshire’.

The Planning Inspectorate does not serve Welsh interests, it never has. It must be replaced with a new Welsh body free from political interference and divorced from commercial interests.

Why can’t we have a register of those who think they’ll be looking to buy a new home within an area; something similar to the waiting list for social housing. Once people grasp that contributing to such a database will make it more likely they’ll find the home they need then the more likely they’ll be to participate.

HOLIDAY HOMES

A perennial issue in Wales and the Covid lockdown has highlighted the problem. First, it was people sneaking to their holiday homes for lockdown rather than staying at their usual residence, while more recently it’s been the increased demand for holiday homes.

The latest figures for Gwynedd suggest that 40% of the properties being sold in the county are now bought for use as holiday homes. Take the towns out of the calculation and it’s reasonable to assume that a majority of the properties in villages and in the countryside are being sold as holiday homes.

Gwynedd council is run by Plaid Cymru but it has only imposed a 50% surcharge on holiday homes. Yet another example of Plaid Cymru wringing its hands, “Oooh, isn’t it awful, something should be done”, yet when a roar of defiance was needed Plaid Cymru could only whimper.

This is Plaid Cymru terrified of being called ‘anti-English’. That mauling Glenys Kinnock handed out to Ieuan Wyn Jones on Question Time in February 2001 has left a deep and painful scar.

Swansea waterfront. Click to enlarge

Compare Gwynedd to Swansea, where the Labour-controlled council has imposed a 100% surcharge, (which also applies to properties left empty for a long period). And in case you think this is only a gesture because the city has few holiday homes, there are many hundreds in the waterfront area, and of course, on Gower.

All the arguments used in defence of holiday homes are self-serving bullshit. “Nobody else wanted the place” . . . “But we put so much money into the local economy!” . . . “An essential part of the tourism industry”, etc, etc.

SUGGESTIONS: One simple change in the law would go a long way to easing the misery of holiday homes.

Legislation stating that only 10% of properties in any electoral ward can be registered as holiday homes, with the figure reducing to 5% in 2030 would have a number of immediate effects.

First, in wards where more than 10% of properties are currently registered as holiday homes such legislation would immediately curtail future demand. Knowledge of the change in 2030 would remove the threat of further properties being bought as holiday homes.

Resulting in more properties, at reduced prices, becoming available for locals.

Severe penalties must be imposed for using a property as a holiday home when it is not registered for that use. And the loophole allowing holiday homes to escape council tax by registering as a business must be closed.

To further reduce the demand for holiday homes and increase their contribution to the local community council tax should be charged at a rate of 200%.

Some may think that a 5% figure is too low, others that it’s unduly generous. My belief is that no area of Wales should suffer more than 5% of its housing stock being used by strangers flaunting their greater wealth.

RETIRING TO WALES

An often overlooked factor in inflating house prices is retired and elderly people moving to Wales. The negatives increase when we remember that the older a person is the more likely they are to need medical care of some kind. This is a universal truth.

Which means that this influx will obviously impact on our NHS and other services.

In fact, it’s difficult to think of any benefit Wales derives from people in the older age brackets moving in. But that doesn’t stop some from trying.

Some three years ago I wrote to the ‘Welsh Government’ with a few questions on this subject. What I received by way of an answer contained a paragraph that has caused either mirth, or head shaking, whenever people read it. (For the full letter, click here.)

Click to enlarge

On a planet where all other countries view an ageing population as a ‘ticking time-bomb’ Wales alone sees the takeover by alien wrinklies as something positive. Or rather, the ‘Welsh Government’ wants us to believe it does.

This is the sort of nonsense that officialdom spouts when it’s cornered. I say that because while the letter I received makes highfalutin’ references to “liberty of movement” the truth is that the ‘Welsh Government’ has enacted legislation that encourages retired and elderly people to move to Wales.

Click to enlarge

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine that Welsh people going into care can hold on to £50,000, I might benefit from such a provision myself one day. But it also encourages into Wales people who have spent their working lives elsewhere. And the cost of looking after these elderly goes into the debit column of our national accounts and is used to prove that Wales is a financial basket-case.

I see a boy at the back with his hand up, “How big is the problem, Sir?”

Here’s a table I compiled using data from the 2011 Census. You’ll see that in some local authority areas only a minority of the population in the 65+ age bracket was born in Wales.

Click to enlarge

With the problem not confined to the north, just look at Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. There’s a definite correlation between tourism and the numbers of retired and elderly people moving to an area.

Though Flintshire would appear to buck the trend in that it is not a tourism hotspot, but even so, half of the over 65s were born in England. While this can be partly explained by maternity services being located in Chester I can also suggest another explanation.

Let’s say you’re a likely lad living on the Wirral. Aunt Mabel is going to leave you her money, a nice round figure of £100,000. If she goes into a local care home you might only see £23,350, but take her to Mold or Connah’s Quay and you’re guaranteed at least £50,000. More if you can get the local authority to cough up.

And, anyway, is the old girl going to know where she is!

Finally, let’s not forget the political dimension to this phenomenon. It has been proven time after time that the older an English voter is the more likely that person is to be royalist, patriotically British, pro-Brexit, conservative and Conservative.

From a Welsh perspective, encouraging retired and elderly English people into Wales is both an economic and a political disaster. But it benefits England for the same reasons.

SUGGESTIONS: There’s no need to deny Welsh people the £50,000 limit, but insist on 20 years residency in Wales before anyone qualifies.

And let’s stop building retirement bungalows and flats to be advertised over the border. Many of those who move to such properties may be fit and active when they arrive, but Father Time will soon do his work.

Only a country run by idiots drives out its own young people and replaces them with another country’s elderly.

SOCIAL HOUSING

At one time it was so simple – local authorities built and rented council houses. You put your name down on the list and you waited your turn. Obviously there was favouritism shown in certain allocations, but by and large the system worked to the benefit of Welsh communities.

Then came the housing associations and the transfer of council housing stock.

There’s a general and touching misconception that Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), more commonly known as housing associations, have simply replaced councils, and that social housing is universally available for those who cannot afford to buy a home but would rather not rent from a private landlord.

Er, no.

That was the intention, and that may have been how it started under the new system, but things got much more complicated as years went by. Much more complicated.

There are a number of fundamental problems with the way RSLs now operate.

1/ To begin with, social housing in Wales is locked into an Englandandwales system. This was explained to me in December 2010 in a response I received from Nick Bennett, who was then CEO of Community Housing Cymru, the umbrella organisation for housing associations.

He wrote, “There are over 2 million people on waiting lists for social housing”. This figure cannot be for Wales alone, and yet it was provided by the head of the body supposedly responsible for social housing in Wales. And only in Wales.

Bennett emerged a couple of decades ago from under a lily pad in Cardiff Bay as a fully-formed Spad, before becoming a business partner of Labour’s Alun Davies. He then served as CEO at Community Housing Cymru from 2006 to 2014, and since leaving CHC he has guarded the posterior regions of our politicians and civil servants as the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

Corruption Bay in mortal form.

Who gets a vacant house may be decided by a third sector body, in contact with a sister body in England, which has ‘recommended’ Chardonnay and her six semi-feral children; the little darlings having been chased out of their last home by neighbours fed up with the thieving and the vandalism.

They get priority treatment, “Cos they is homeless, innit. Little kiddies, look”.

This rehousing of ‘priority cases’ can have catastrophic consequences. As we learnt when Grwp Gwalia of Swansea housed a network of Satan-worshipping paedophiles from London in Kidwelly.

It was never explained why this was done. And no politicians asked . . . because they didn’t want to know. ‘Priority cases’ are still being dumped in Wales, every day.

2/ A more recent problem with housing associations – and there are dozens of them, competing with each other – is that they are now privatised, but still in receipt of public funding.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, nearly all of them have subsidiaries, or private companies that are not subsidiaries but still members of the group. And then there are the partners.

This diversification has led to the mis-use of public funding, an almost complete lack of monitoring and accountability, and RSL group members building private housing for open market sale. Sold to retirees (officially ‘downsizers’), buy-to-rent landlords (officially ‘investors’), and even as holiday homes. While also selling shares in leasehold properties, with the agreements poorly explained and many duped into thinking they’re buying a freehold property.

This, remember, is the hated leasehold system that the ‘Welsh Government’ elsewhere opposes. Yet it is funding RSLs who then slip money under the table to subsidiaries, or partners, to con people into buying a share in a leasehold property.

To explain how confusing it can become, I suggest you read this piece I wrote recently on Cartrefi Conwy and its offshoots. (Scroll down to the section ‘Cartrefi Conwy, Associates, Chinese investors’.)

Brenig Construction, with Chinese investment, is in partnership with Creating Enterprise, which is a subsidiary of RSL Cartrefi Conwy. Wales and West is Labour’s favourite RSL and the only one that operates all over the country. It has a bad record for housing drug addicts and petty criminals from outside of Wales in towns like Lampeter and Fishguard. Click to enlarge

What a system! What a ‘government’! What a country!

SUGGESTIONS: The bottom line is that what Wales needs is social landlords renting decent housing to Welsh tenants. Nothing more.

We don’t need subsidiaries of RSLs using diverted public funding to build and sell buy-to-rents in Pembrokeshire. Nor do we want convoluted arrangements using Chinese money to build more retirement bungalows and flats on the north coast.

Housing associations are past their sell-by date. A root-and-branch reform of the social housing system is needed. Wales must leave behind the mess created by ‘diversification’ and adopt a system closer to the original council housing model.

One big question will be what happens to the housing stock currently held by RSLs. Seeing as almost all of it was either built by local authorities, or built since stock transfer with money from the ‘Welsh Government’, a strong case could be made to bring it back into public ownership.

This twilight zone of private bodies living off the public purse while also taking out commercial loans with banks and behaving like private developers must end.

In the meantime, to avoid the dumping of undesirables, no one should be allocated a social tenancy by a RSL unless that person has been resident in Wales for at least 10 years.

CONCLUSION

We have a housing sector in Wales that has for years been steadily divorcing itself from the needs of our people. The situation has worsened under devolution.

There is clearly a strategy to settle in Wales as many people as possible who are loyal to the UK or England, in order to ‘secure’ Wales. We can expect this assault on Welsh identity to intensify with Scotland looking more and more likely to choose independence in the next few years.

There is one final weapon in the armoury that can be employed to stem the tide of colonisation. That is the Land Transaction Tax (LTT). It replaced Stamp Duty and it’s already in operation.

Below is a table I’ve compiled showing the current LTT rates with higher rates I’m suggesting as a way to curb the invasion. ‘Existing main residence’ is self-explanatory. Holiday homes are covered by ‘Existing higher residential’.

My suggestions are at the bottom, in yellow. What I’m proposing is higher rates all round for those not already living in Wales. Exceptions could be made for key workers, investors and others deemed necessary for the national good.

Click to enlarge

I am also suggesting that LTT kicks in lower down the price scale, and there’s a good reason for this. In the Valleys, post-industrial towns, even parts of Swansea, properties sell at prices buyers from prosperous areas of England find irresistible. Many are being bought for the wrong reasons.

Just think back to Ty Isha, Llanelli.

What’s more, most properties bought by retirees will be below the £250,000 threshold, so why should they be free of LTT?

I suppose one response to everything I’ve written will be, “It all depends on the political will”, and clearly that political will is absent. For the following reasons.

  • Civil servants of the ‘Wales would be better without the Welsh’ mindset ‘advising’ – some shagging! – ‘Welsh Government’ ministers.
  • A zealously Unionist Labour Party containing too many politicians who can dismiss concern for Welsh identity as ‘ugly and narrow-minded nationalism’. And then of course they have their third sector and housing association cronies to think about.
  • A Conservative Party (plus a rag-bag of BritNats) who will never object to English people moving to Wales, or the votes they bring. “All British . . . free to move anywhere . . . God Save the Queen.”
  • A so-called ‘national party’, Plaid Cymru, scared witless of being called anti-English by the anti-Welsh. And anyway, national survival is nowhere near as important as trans rights, BLM, refugees, getting Trump out of the White House . . . 

You’ve read that 40% of the properties now sold in Gwynedd are to be used as holiday homes. I’ll bet that another 40% are bought by people moving from England into Gwynedd permanently. And it’s the same in other rural areas.

Thanks to the refusal of successive ‘governments’ in Corruption Bay to build a rural economy, the forced reliance on ‘shit anywhere’ tourism, the neglect of everywhere other than Cardiff . . . Wales, thanks to the ‘progressive’ parties’ refusal to confront the assimilation agenda, is approaching the point of no return.

To refuse to challenge the assimilation agenda is to accept it.

♦ end ♦

 




Black Mountains College

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

Black Mountains College got a mention in the previous post, since when the Annual Review and Financial Statement has become available on the Companies House website. This new document throws up a number of matters worthy of comment. There are also other issues that need an airing.

IN THE BEGINNING

There are two companies using the Black Mountains College name.

The first, Black Mountains College Ltd, was Incorporated 3 October, 2017, and I suspect it was something of a false start. I say that because it was set up as a private limited company, and it’s now dormant.

Perhaps realising their mistake, the BMC crew soon set up the Black Mountains College Project (without ‘Limited’) as a company limited by guarantee, and a charity of the same name, 7 February, 2018.

The difference being that with the first company the directors would have been fully liable had it gone belly-up, but with the second incarnation the directors can only be made to cough up a maximum of £10 each.

The directors of Black Mountains College Ltd are Dr William Newton-Smith and Ben Rawlence. Newton-Smith is also a director and trustee of the second company, while Rawlence is now CEO.

Potted biographies for the directors/trustees of the Black Mountains College Project can be found on the BMC website. I’ll provide further information as this article develops.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

You can get quite a lot of information from the BMC website. More can be found in this piece by Rawlence from the autumn/winter 2018 issue of The Welsh Agenda, published by the Institute of Welsh Affairs. (The images suggest someone was a little heavy-handed with the Photoshop controls.)

The BMC offers a degree course with a partner university that I can’t find named on the site, but which might be Trinity St David’s of ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson. An institution that has been moving steadily east from Lampeter and Carmarthen so much in recent years that it’s only a matter of time before it crosses the border.

But whichever university it is, it’s not named among ‘Our Partners’.

The BMC also offers, “further education vocational training in future skills. We aim to get you ready for a high-tech, low carbon future with skills such as seasonal catering, organic horticulture, coppicing, coding and regenerative farming.”

‘Seasonal catering’ can only mean tourism. God help us!

Click to enlarge

Let’s turn now to the Rawlence article. Here’s the link again.

In a highlighted block we read: “Powys is facing a ‘catastrophic’ risk of a
collapse in its working age population. The rural economy is facing several
existential threats”.

And yet, Ben Rawlence is right, though I suspect he doesn’t know the reasons.

Powys has been neglected for the whole period of devolution because the Labour Party hates rural areas – where it has little support – and encourages attacks on agriculture, the mainstay of the rural economy, from the eco-warriors and rewilders now rallying to the BMC standard. To complete the picture Powys – like other rural areas of Wales – is filling up with retirees.

Result: A collapse in the working age population of Powys . . . but it doesn’t really matter because there are few jobs! That’s the ‘Welsh Government’s strategy for rural areas – neglect the needs of the indigenous Welsh to facilitate managed economic decline which will be disguised by the indigenes being replaced by a largely non-working population. 

The way to improve the situation is to build up an economy creating jobs for local people. This will not be achieved by attracting basket-weavers and organic radish growers who will never be more than self-employed.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

As I mentioned at the top, what prompts this piece is the availability of the latest Annual Review and Financial Statement. Here’s the link again, to help you follow where I’m going. Maybe keep it open in another window.

Let’s start on page 3, under ‘Financial Review’. You’ll read mention of funding from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. This came from the Authority’s Sustainability Fund and totalled £82,500. This was matched with a further £45,000 from the Ashley Family Foundation.

You’ll also see mention of “The Arwain (Leader) grant”. This is ‘Welsh Government’ funding via Powys County Council.

At the very bottom of the page you’ll read of a “large private donation” of £103,000. Perhaps you’ll agree with me that that seems a rather odd amount. Is it a more rounded figure in some other currency, and if so, which currency might that be?

Scrolling down . . .

Top of page 4 tells of £97,000 over two years from the National Lottery Community Fund, People and Places. Plus “several private donations of 5k”. I shall return to this in a moment.

Page 11 reminds us that last year Black Mountains College received a £45,000 grant from the Community Foundation in Wales. This is a funder I’m unfamiliar with, and even after visiting the website I’m still not clear where its money comes from, or how it operates. All I can tell you is that it’s another Englandandwales outfit. (Scotland and Northern Ireland are not covered.)

Where the money goes. Click to enlarge

There’s obviously money coming in, but I was still surprised to see £122,415 spent on “Legal & professional fees”, compared to just £6,040 the previous year. Though I’m sure very little of this would have gone on legal fees.

Part of this sum (plus match funding) went to employ a Communications Director three days a week. Which means that the greater part went on professional fees.

Under ‘Expenditure’ on page 4 we see the likely beneficiary in The Philanthropy Company. Certainly, Black Mountains College gets a mention as a client of the fund-raising Philanthropy Company.

Though for a fledgling organisation with not a lot of cash that is a big outlay. Some might say extravagant.

On the plus side, staff costs soared from £23,890 in 2019 to £105,979 in 2020.

Images: Black Mountains College. Click to enlarge

Which is what it’s all about, bringing jobs to Powys . . . but not for locals.

LIFE’S A LOTTERY . . . OR MAYBE NOT!

If you’ve been paying attention then you’ll remember that I told you about £97,000 promised by the National Lottery Community Fund, People and Places.

Click to enlarge

The reason I’m returning to this is that the Black Mountains College is unusually well connected when it comes to the National Lottery. In fact, of the seven directors/trustees two have Lottery connections – and I don’t mean selling tickets in a corner shop!

David Isaac, partner at solicitors Pinsent Masons, was a director of the Big Lottery Fund from 2014 to 2018.

Currently serving as a member of the Community Fund board is Elizabeth Passey.

What I find odd about Ms Passey is that nowhere in connection with the Lottery, either in the site I linked to in the previous paragraph, nor in this announcement from the UK Government of her reappointment, is there any mention of her link with the Black Mountains College. Nor, come to that, is there a mention of BMC in this bio from The Entrepreneurs Network.

Which I find odd, considering that she was there at the start of BMC, on September 7, 2018. As was David Isaac.

In fact, seeing as David Isaac served on the Lottery from 2014 to 2018, and Elizabeth Passey was reappointed for a second term in 2018, they would have served together.

Click to enlarge

Equally puzzling is that Ms Passey’s BMC bio (scroll down to ‘Trustees’) does not mention her Lottery role.

Almost as if we’re not allowed to see Lottery and BMC together.

I won’t say too much as I’m already knee-deep in solicitors’ letters, but two out of seven directors/trustees having top jobs with the Lottery, and the Lottery then shelling out £97,000 for BMC, with possibly more to come, is food for thought.

Certainly got me thinking.

UPDATE 30.08.2020: A number of comments have drawn our attention to the fact that David Isaac has done very well for himself, very well indeed. Whereas some are homeless, most of us satisfied with one home, the greedy wanting two, but Dai has got three, maybe more. ‘Champagne socialist’, the Daily Mail called him.

The more we learn about Black Mountains College the more obvious it becomes that they’re a bunch of ‘We know best’ poseurs, charlatans and interlopers.

CONCLUSION

From my executive swivel chair the Black Mountains College looks like a milking machine. A few people, sensing the zeitgeist, have seen a chance to both enhance their reputations in certain circles while also pulling down a bit of moolah.

I certainly don’t believe it started as described by Emma, when, “On a wintry night in 2016, with wind rattling the windows, Ben and his neighbour Owen talked about the frightening future that their young daughters would inherit.”

Makes it sound like they were waiting for Heathcliff and Cathy!

On nights such as that I find the best thing to do is to relax with a glass or twa while listening to Hank Williams singing some particularly soulful numbers, then putting on a good pair of woolly socks and going to bed.

However it started, the Black Mountains College had to be in Wales. After TAN 6 and One Planet Developments, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the ‘Welsh Government’ declaring war on farmers, just about every eco-shyster on planet Earth was Googling ‘Wales’.

Click to enlarge

Go to 7:10 in this video to hear some arrogant interloper named Chris Vernon opine: “There is no reason why Wales couldn’t support several tens of thousands of smallholdings in the open countryside”.

How many, exactly, Chris, 30,000, 50,000? Whose country are we talking about, Chris?

And how many Welsh farming families will have to lose their land to accommodate these tens of thousands of smallholdings? Or, if the smallholdings would be on land that is currently unused, how the hell would that be helping the environment?

UPDATE: The saintly Dr Chris Vernon works for the Met Office in Bristol. His wife, Dr Erica Thompson, is a Fellow of the London School of Economics. I doubt that they live full-time on their OPD.

What’s more, with them both pulling down good salaries they certainly don’t need the income from their OPD. Which makes them, at best, hobby farmers; at worst, eco-charlatans.

Despite lauding the self-sufficient, off-grid lifestyle they don’t actually live it.

If Black Mountains College takes off then Chris Vernon and his ilk will have their mother church. Somewhere ‘safe’ for their kids to be educated. And BMC will attract more Chris Vernons to Wales.

In another contribution Ben Rawlence urges us to ‘decolonise’ this, that and t’other. But it never occurs to the Ben Rawlences of this world that they can be as guilty of colonialist behaviour, especially in Wales, as those on the political right they are so ready to condemn as “threats to the liberal order”.

(Trans: The Orwellian-sounding “threats to the liberal order” means those who won’t submit to the left liberal climate alarmist agenda. Or those who can think for themselves and won’t be dictated to.)

Let’s finish with another rhetorical flourish from Rawlence’s piece in the IWA publication. A paragraph towards the end begins with, “The college of the future cannot be a college on the hill, an ivory tower divorced from its environment.”

Yet that’s exactly what the cult-like Black Mountains College wants to be. And that’s why it must not be funded from the public purse.

♦ end ♦

 




Wales and envirocolonialism

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

Envirocolonialism may not be a term you’re familiar with, but I’ve coined it to describe two separate but linked phenomena.

The first of which is companies from outside of Wales building wind farms, wave power installations, and other facilities, that provide few if any jobs for Welsh people and contribute little or nothing to the Welsh economy.

The second is eco-warriors of various hues, including ‘rewilders’, also from outside of Wales, demanding land and funding to put into practice what are often insane schemes working against the interests of Welsh people and their communities. Or simply milking the funding system.

Yet both these forms of envirocolonialism are encouraged by the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, which dresses up this exploitation as an economic strategy by which Wales will become prosperous while also saving the planet.

This lie, and the ugly colonialism it disguises, must be exposed and rejected.

‘BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND’

Last week the Guardian told us that the Crown Estate had given permission to a subsidiary of the French oil giant Total for floating wind turbines off the north coast. The English Crown giving a French company the go-ahead in Welsh waters.

(In Scotland – thanks to the SNP – the Crown Estate is devolved.)

But we were asked to believe there was Welsh involvement thanks to a Pembroke Dock-based company, Blue Gem Wind Ltd.

Don’t get too excited, for Blue Gem Wind is simply a marriage of convenience between Total and Simply Blue Energy. Blue Gem changed its registered office address from Kernow to Pembrokeshire last June, probably in anticipation of this project.

Both directors of Simply Blue Energy Wind Ltd are citizens and residents of Ireland, but the company has an address in Cornwall. There’s also Simply Blue Energy (Wave Hub) Ltd, with the same County Cork-based directors and the same Cornwall address.

One of the Irishmen is also found at Simply Blue Energy (Scotland) Ltd, but the other director is Scottish, with an Edinburgh address. The secretary, though, lives in County Louth, some distance from both The Rebel County and Auld Reekie.

This announcement was soon followed by news of what I take to be a separate development of some 100 turbines. The beneficiary here is RWE Renewables, the German conglomerate. With the the usual flotilla of small companies from over the border following in the giant’s wake.

‘Renewable energy targets’ that bear no resemblance to Wales’ needs. Just a fig leaf to disguise exploitation. Click to enlarge

There will soon be wind turbines off the coast from the border to the Menai Strait. And the benefits for Wales will be counted in a few dozen jobs. Though from what I hear, those already doing the jobs seem to have arrived from a few hundred miles east of Mostyn docks.

But never mind! There may be no Welsh companies involved, and no Welsh jobs, but we can still get a warm glow from sitting in our deck chairs, looking out to sea at hundreds of wind turbines making Wales’ contribution to saving the planet.

A contribution so insignificant that it can be wiped out by just one more coal-fired power station in China or a day’s logging in Amazonia.

RIDING THE WAVE . . . BUT NOT IF YOU’RE WELSH

With wind power being unreliable, the short life span of the turbines, the landscape damage, the killing of birds and bats, and now the increased risks of flooding, public opinion is turning against onshore wind power.

This goes some way to explaining the increase in offshore wind power, such as we looked at in the previous section, and also wave-generated energy.

Which is the cue to introduce another company, one that hasn’t gone through the charade of taking out a Pembrokeshire address.

In fact, it would be odd if Wave Hub had moved to Wales . . . seeing as it’s 100% owned by Cornwall County Council. And before the council took control in November 2017 Wave Hub had been owned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

While Wave Hub is obviously not a Welsh company it nevertheless has enough of a ‘presence’ in Pembrokeshire to guarantee it £60 million from various funding sources. Including the Swansea Bay City Deal and the ‘Welsh Government’.

Did you know we had an ‘Internet Coast’? Click to enlarge

According to the linked article, the City Deal will provide £28 million with this “expected to help leverage a further £32 million of public and private funding”. No doubt a sizeable chunk of the remaining £32 million will come from the Welsh public purse.

And what will we get in return?

Research and development will almost certainly be conducted outside of Wales, and we can guarantee that Wales will not see the profits. Which leaves jobs. How many will there be and who’ll be monitoring the situation to ensure that locals get them? Answers: very few; nobody.

So let’s stop deluding ourselves and recognise a rip-off when it’s staring us in the face and twisting our gonads.

Here’s my interpretation of Wave Hub’s move to Wales.

Once it became clear there were to be City deals for Swansea and Cardiff clever minds in London sat down and thought, “OK, so we’re giving the Taffs this money . . . now how do we get back as much of it as possible?”

The Swansea Bay City Deal was signed off in March 2017 by Prime Minister Theresa May. The gestation period would have been at least a year. So let’s see how that fits with the Wave Hub timeline.

Chubby Cheeks looking miserable – tea but no biccies? Click to enlarge
  • Despite having been in existence since December 2011 the accounts for y/e 31 March 2016 show net assets of just £3,638. A company just ticking over, maybe waiting for a project.
  • March 2017, Swansea Bay City Deal signed off.
  • November 27, 2017, Cornwall County Council takes control of Wave Hub Ltd. Is this to make it more acceptable to the Welsh public?
  • July 1, 2019, Wave Hub appoints Piers Basil Guy as director. He will know ‘Welsh Government’ and Natural Resources Wales from being a director of: Llanerfyl Access Road Consortium Ltd; Parc Cynog Wind Farm; Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Ltd; Nant y Moch Wind Farm Ltd; Pendine Wind Farm Ltd; Nant Bach Wind Farm Ltd. What an inspired appointment!
  • September 18, 2019, Piers Basil Guy sets up Guy Energy Ltd. Hoping to make a bit for himself on the side?
  • June 11, 2020, announcement of £60 million funding for Wave Hub at its ‘Welsh’ operations.
  • June 11, 2020, elsewhere we read, with no mention of Pembrokeshire: “The South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator is being led by Wave Hub in collaboration with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), University of Plymouth, University of Exeter, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, A&P Group, Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council.

Why the hell are WE, through the Swansea Bay City Deal and the ‘Welsh Government’, funding a project with no Welsh presence beyond a shed in Pembrokeshire? Where are the benefits for Wales?

All the companies listed for Piers Basil Guy are owned  by Vattenfall, the Swedish company that has so much influence with the ‘Welsh Government’. A number of the wind farms listed were built on land managed by Natural Resources Wales, an agency of the ‘Welsh Government’. This includes of course the massive Pen y Cymoedd.

In addition, Basil George Guy has worked directly for a number of Vattenfall companies, sometimes through what I think is its Dutch arm, Nuon.

In this BBC article from October 2011 Guy is described as, “Nuon Renewables head of development”; while this wind energy site says in November 2012 that he’s, “Vattenfall’s head of Onshore Wind Development in the UK”.

Money is being showered on a company that might, or might not, be owned by Cornwall County Council. Either way, it has but the lightest of footprints in Wales and shouldn’t be given a penny until we are assured of tangible benefits.

Finally, is there a connection between Simply Blue (Wave Hub) Ltd and Wave Hub Ltd?

Up at the other end of the country from Pembrokeshire a genuinely Welsh outfit, Menter Môn, also has plans for wave energy, but it is being thwarted by a cat’s paw acting for Natural Resources Wales and the ‘Welsh Government’.

The ‘cat’s paw’ is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), another English organisation believing that Wales is too nice to be left to the Welsh. A view shared of course by the board of Natural Resources Wales, with which the RSPB has far too close a relationship.

The RSPB has recently come out in opposition to Menter Môn’s Morlais tidal energy plan. The project itself is explained here.

Though the RSPB has no issue with wind turbines killing birds!

Perhaps what the RSPB and NRW found offensive was, “Morlais is a Menter Môn project which aims to benefit local communities . . .”. That’s not how envirocolonialism works.

Though there has been opposition from other quarters, mainly the Trearddur Bay Sailing Club and the owners of ‘seasonal properties’ at Rhoscolyn. This explains the intervention of the constituency’s Conservative candidate a few weeks before last December’s general election.

The person being interviewed is Tom Roberts, presumably a local, and therefore unrepresentative of the opposition to the Morlais scheme. Here he is looking suitably impressed with Virginia Crosbie doing a memsahib ‘Speak up man; speak, damn you!

She gets out of him what he has perhaps been primed to say – the Morlais project could be bad for tourism. Mmm. Is that a negative any more?

Virginia Crosbie, friend, possibly tenant, of Jake Berry, the Tory MP for Rossendale and Darwen in east Lancashire. How many properties does Berry now own on Ynys Môn?

Joking aside, let me spell this out quite clearly, for the avoidance of any doubt.

The RSPB would not have objected to this scheme if it had come from a developer viewed more favourably by Natural Resources Wales and the ‘Welsh Government’, neither of which wants to encourage genuinely Welsh initiatives.

TALES OF THE RIVERBANK

For a couple of years now a few people have been urging me to take a peek at the The Wye and Usk Foundation. At first sight, there seems to be nothing to worry about, the Foundation is a body trying to improve rivers and riparian environments. It of course works closely with Natural Resources Wales.

Admittedly, it’s a cross-border organisation, with most of the territory it covers being in Wales but, as is usually the case, with a majority of its trustees from outside.

But then, the more you look at the Wye and Usk Foundation the more the doubts creep in. It can be a little thing, such as this sentence found under ‘Climate Change’, on page 5 of the latest Trustees’ report.

“The summer drought also led to an increase in fodder crops being grown in the Welsh uplands which pose a serious risk to our rivers this winter.”

This is an organisation based in Wales, so why not just say, “uplands”? Using the term “Welsh uplands” makes it sound like an alien, and hostile, area. Something that could have been written by a 12th century Norman chronicler.

And of course, there’s the inference that Welsh farmers harm rivers. Which could have been written by that scourge of Welsh hill farmers, George Monbiot.

Talk of the devil! – less than a fortnight ago the man himself was writing in the Guardian about these very rivers, the Wye and the Usk, saying:

“In the west of Britain, the main issue is livestock farming. As dairy and poultry units have consolidated, the manure they produce is greater than the land’s capacity to absorb it. As an agricultural contractor explained to the Welsh government, some farmers are deliberately spreading muck before high rainfall, so that it washes off their fields and into the rivers. A farm adviser told the same inquiry that only 1% of farm slurry stores in Wales meet the regulations.”

Follow the link and you’ll see that the person who made that allegation about farmers deliberately spreading muck before rain was allowed to remain anonymous. (If he or she ever existed.)

Typical Grauniad, picture of a Welsh river but headline refers to UK government. Click to enlarge

In the same article Monbiot also wrote: “The Wye itself is dying at astonishing, heartbreaking speed.” Yet the The Wye Usk Foundation is far more upbeat. But then, Monbiot is a polemicist and a scaremonger, with a strategy to follow.

Basically, Monbiot’s message is: ‘Welsh farmers are bastards, get them off the land and then turn the land over to people like me’.

So, does George Monbiot have links to The Wye and Usk Foundation?

TALGARTH, SEAT OF LEARNING

The Wye and Usk Foundation is based in Talgarth, and among the trustees we find Elizabeth Passey, formerly of US investment bank Morgan Stanley, and now the Big Lottery Fund. Ms Passey is also a trustee of the Black Mountains College Project in Talgarth. Though for some reason Ms Passey’s role with the Big Lottery is not mentioned in her BMC bio, below.

On the BMC website Passey is said to hail “from a corn merchant family on the Welsh borders.” But from Talgarth it’s the English borders. It’s only the ‘Welsh borders’ for people who see Wales through English eyes, or from an anglocentric perspective . . . such as those involved in the Black Mountains College Project.

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I have written about the Black Mountains College . . . or at least, the plan to set up such an institution, and to link it with a similar school in the USA funded by George Soros.

The Black Mountains College plans to offer “planet-centric education”. As we have come to expect with such ventures, there is little Welsh involvement.

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Just last month, ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson, midwife to One Planet Developments, inspiration for the Future Generations legislation, doyenne of all things envirocolonial, appeared on the putative college’s website.

I assure you there is more crap on this website than Monbiot ever saw in the Wye. And the same could be said for Davidson’s book.

UPDATE 25.08.2020: The accounts for y/e 28.02.2020 are now available.

We see the £75,000 grant last year from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. A fresh grant of £49,036 from Arwain (money taken from farmers in the transfer from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 made by Alun Davies in 2013). Also, £16,750 from the National Lottery Community Fund. For which BMC can no doubt thank Ms Passey.

There are now three full-time employees; and while no one earns more than £60,000 we can be sure that with staff costs of £105,979 there are three people each earning a good screw.

Though I’d love to know why ‘Legal and professional fees’ jumped from £6,040 in 2019 to £122,415 in 2020.

Perhaps sitting next to Passey in the BMC boardroom yurt is Chris Blake, for he is also a trustee. You may remember that Chris had a walk-on role in last week’s offering, about beavers. That was due to him being a Natural Resources Wales board member.

When he’s not fulfilling the world vision of George Soros, or helping NRW screw us, Blake works with  The Green Valleys (Wales) Community Interest Company. As far as I can see there is no other company with that name, so why does it need ‘(Wales)’?

That nagging doubt returns about people being in Wales but still looking at the country through the eyes of an outsider, or else selling it to outsiders.

Also on the Green Valleys board we find Grenville Ham, formerly of the Green Party of Englandandwales and now Plaid Cymru.

Now we move south west, to the Rhondda, accompanied by Messrs Blake and Ham.

HONEST RIP-OFF OR PATERNALISM?

As any self-respecting crow will tell you, the distance between the hill station of Talgarth and the native settlement of Treherbert is just over 20 miles. Though they can appear to be much further apart.

Last week we learnt from the BBC:

“A former mining village has been awarded nearly £250,000 to develop Wales’ first community ownership project.

The Skyline project wants to take charge of about 1.5 sq miles (4 sq km) of forestry around Treherbert, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

It wants to create jobs in forestry and provide timber for affordable homes.

It also hopes to open up space to grow vegetables and encourage use of the woods for education and leisure.

The money will be used to develop the ideas with the hope of getting up to £2.5m from the National Lottery climate action fund to put their plans into action.”

There is clearly local enthusiasm, but who’s running the show, and what are their ultimate intentions?

We see mention of the Skyline project. I visited the Skyline website, where I found this video of an event held in Cardiff on May 1, 2019.

We hear Chris Blake, because Skyline is run by his Green Valleys company from Talgarth.

We also hear from Ian Thomas who, despite the name, does not sound as if he’s from round by ‘ere. He represents the ‘social enterprise’ Welcome to our Woods. In big type the home page of the Welcome to our Woods website tells us: “We are a community partnership in the Upper Rhondda Fawr, South Wales Valleys UK.”

‘South Wales Valleys UK’! Yet again, that ‘outsider’ phrasing.

WTOW Ltd is a company that has been going since 7 November 2014. Ceri Nicholas, a local who features prominently in the video below, was in at the start, but ceased to be a director in March this year. Why leave when things are about to take off?

Apart from Ian Thomas the directors are Simone Jayne Devinett of the Rhondda Housing Association; and Phillip John Vickery, who used to work for Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services and uses a Haverfordwest address.

Further confusion is caused by the WTOW website still showing Ceri Nicholas as a director, and also a Karen Davies of Purple Shoots, who is not listed as a director with Companies House.

Sort yourselves out!

In the video, locals are given bit parts, but at 2:04 we meet Sonya Bedford, introduced as ‘Head of Energy Stephen Scown Solicitors’. The name is in fact Stephens Scown, and it’s based in Devon. What the hell is she doing there?

The trip to Scotland is revealing, if only for the kind of people they met up there.

All the talk of growing vegetables, and living in cheap, timber housing suggests One Planet Developments. Which only adds to the feeling that this Rhondda project might simply be using locals to further the ends of a select group of outsiders.

People who are largely unemployable in the real world, whose companies are unviable, but who survive through political patronage, public funding, and of course Lottery funding. Which is where Elizabeth Passey of the National Lottery will come in handy.

To complete the picture of a scam being run by outsiders, for outsiders, the BBC was kind enough to tell us that the project manager is Melanie Newton.

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If that name rings a bell it’s because Melanie was, until very recently, CEO of Summit to Sea, with which George Monbiot and others were deeply involved. This was an attempt to take over a vast area inland and north of Aberystwyth, evict the farmers, plant millions of trees, and introduce all sorts of exotic animals.

I’ve written about Summit to Sea a number of times, starting with The Welsh Clearances. There was also an excellent guest post by Jon Coles of the Pembrokeshire Herald.

Those involved in this population replacement scheme were encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’s threat to use Brexit as a weapon against farmers. Explicit in Brexit and our land. In fact, the ‘rewilders’ probably influenced the writing of the document.

One obvious channel of influence would have been ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty, advisor to and lover of Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. Gary hates farmers. So do too many of the civil servants advising that shower in Corruption Bay.

So maybe the people of the Rhondda should worry that the real plan may be to get rid of them, forest the valley floor, and bring in lynx, beaver, and God knows what else. Because Melanie has form, and so do some of the others involved.

It has been suggested to me that this project in the Rhondda is part of a wider scheme, the brainchild of Alun Davies, Labour MS for Blaenau Gwent.

The Valleys Regional Park seems to be one of the Labour Party’s periodic attempts to convince Valleys’ voters that they aren’t being taken for granted. The document is page after page of what Monbiot imagined he saw in the Wye, though not without black humour.

Extolling the natural beauty of the Valleys, on page 14 we see:

Click to enlarge

Those “magical moorlands” of Mawr have been desecrated by the Mynydd y Gwair wind farm of the Duke of Beaufort.

Fitting, because Davies’ partner is Anna McMorrin. She has been mentioned a few times on this blog, lobbying for London investors wanting to despoil Powys with wind turbines. She’s been the Labour MP for Cardiff North since the June 2017 general election.

And talking of the Labour Party, Melanie Newton is a staunch supporter, if not a card-carrying member.

Click to enlarge

Connections. Connections. Connections.

TOMORROW BELONGS TO THEM?

What I’ve described here is not sincere people saving the environment of Wales for the Welsh but a network of ruthless grant-grabbers and would-be colonists trying to take it from us. Which means that at every opportunity Welsh people, and especially farmers – because they hold so much land – must be demonised.

This explains the borderline racism about ‘upland Welsh’ from the Wye and Usk Foundation, and the anonymous ‘sources’ quoted by George Monbiot.

The environment of Wales is being saved by and for more enlightened and superior people. Reminiscent of the Nazi’s idea for removing lesser races from conquered territories in the east and reintroducing (even back breeding) lost species such as the Auroch.

“Lutz began calling for the transformation of newly conquered lands in the east in order to recreate the primordial forest described in the epic Germanic poem Nibelungenlied. Lutz and Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and president of the Reichstag, became friends and went hunting in traditional dress and armed with spears to try and recreate the heroism of ancient German mythology.”

I’m not suggesting that the rewilders plan ‘Beowulf weekends’, where blond and hearty computer programmers from Solihull roam newly-forested hills dressed as Anglo-Saxon warriors before retiring to the Hall for a saga, a skinfull of ale, and a bit of wenching.

But who knows?

Click to enlarge

This colonialist approach to rewilding goes hand in hand with Wales making such a disproportionate contribution to ‘saving the planet’ that Lesley Griffiths adopts the persona of a madam greeting punters: “Ev’nin’, ducky, which bit of Wales would you like to have your way with?”

Of course we must protect the Welsh environment, and sensibly increase the use of renewable and clean energies. But this must be done in the interests of Wales; not by using climate change to cloak exploitation, or to promote a form of conservation that is paternalistic colonialism flirting with ethnic cleansing.

♦ end ♦

 




Buy-to-rent beavers, hawking sheikhs and Mrs Hain

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

Yes, I promised there wouldn’t be anything until next Monday, but something came up and I thought, ‘Why not?’ And seeing as I’m spoiling you, next week’s offering might now be later than I’d promised.

You can have too much of a good thing!

ESCAPEES ON THE DYFI

This story starts with a report on the North Wales Live website of beavers in Afon Dyfi. A similar report appeared in the Western Mail yesterday. These beavers shouldn’t be there, of course, but they are, and no one seems to know who put them there!

Which could happen, I suppose. Anyone can walk into a pet shop and buy a mating pair of beavers . . . then mislay them somewhere near Machynlleth. It must happen all the time.

The fact that there are people wanting to release beavers into Welsh rivers is pure coincidence. Equally coincidental is that the Dyfi is targeted by these people.

The unlawful release may have taken place around the time – or even before – an application to release was made by Wildlife Trusts Wales to Natural Resources Wales. More on both these organisations later.

BEAVERS EVERYWHERE!

Another area being targeted by beaver lovers is in Carmarthenshire, where we find the Bevis Trust. The website tells us that the Trust, ” . . . manage wildlife on our 300 acre farm in Carmarthenshire and on other farms in the south west of Wales.”

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Are we dealing here with a Welsh farming family wishing to reintroduce species that have not been found in Wales for centuries?

No prizes for guessing the answer to that question, for we are now in the murky world of ‘rewilding’.

Companies House tells us that the Bevis Trust for Wildlife Management is based at Penllynin Farm, west of Carmarthen. Seemingly run by Dr Nicholas Christopher Fox and the woman I take to be his Swedish wife, Barbro Ingrid Margareta.

Financially, the most recent ‘Micro company’ accounts (y/e 31.12.2018) give fixed assets of £444,733 (the farm?), but a negative figure for ‘total net assets’. This being accounted for by ‘current liabilities’.

I wondered who owns the farm, but when I tried my luck on the Land Registry website I found that Penllynin farm is not registered. Which is odd. Has it recently changed hands, with perhaps new ownership details being processed, or is someone trying to hide something?

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Another outfit at the same address is International Wildlife Consultants (UK) Ltd. The ‘Abridged Balance Sheet’ (y/e 31.12.2019) shows healthy net assets of £8,749,561.

Though there are two charges against the company. One seems to be a bank loan for the purchase of Vowley farm, near Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire. The farm probably contributes most of the £2,320,764 in fixed assets. There is also a newly-minted Vowley Management Company Ltd.

With almost six million pounds of ‘assets’ accounted for by ‘debtors’. Who might they be? On page 7 of the latest accounts we read:

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So – and not for the first time – we are dealing with linked or interlocking companies with money passing between them. Let’s see if we can figure out what’s what.

Wingbeat Ltd has “the same ultimate controlling party”. It never seems to have traded, with the one-time assets made up almost entirely of stocks, and the latest accounts showing a negative value of over one million pounds, accounted for by ‘creditors’. Presumably other Fox companies.

The other company mentioned in the capture above is Mickelbo Ltd, which is rather interesting. Not least because from its Incorporation in December 2003 until February 2007 it was known as International Wildlife Consultants Ltd.

I referred to money passing between the various companies owned by Nicholas and Barbro Fox. Go back to the 2004 accounts for Mickelbo Ltd (then International Wildlife Consultants Ltd) and you’ll read, in the final entry:

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It was the same in the following year’s accounts. Charging their company for use of their land. All perfectly legal.

The change of company name in 2007 is due to the complete change in business, from a wildlife consultancy to a buy-to-rent landlord. This explains 40 outstanding mortgages. A number of these mortgages refer to properties in Carmarthen, Whitland, St Clears.

Most of these mortgages are with Mortgage Express, which has quite a history.

All 100 shares in Mickelbo are owned by International Wildlife Consultants (UK) Ltd. Which is why we can read this in the latest Mickelbo accounts:

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Let’s recap. A couple of strangers decide Wales looks attractive. They start buying up land and property – then they rent it back to us! They have created not a single job. They now want permission to release beavers into Welsh rivers.

Because they’re curious to see what will happen. But unconcerned about the damage these animals might cause, and the livelihoods and leisure activities they could harm.

MONEY ON THE WING

In addition to beavers the Foxes are also interested in hawks. As we see with The Festival of Falconry and The Falconry Heritage Trust. We find other directors at these two charities, with an eclectic collection at the second representing China, Italy, USA, Japan, Netherlands, Belgium and Mongolia. (There is of course no Welsh involvement.)

The Festival of Falconry is filing as a dormant company with debts of £1,587. The Falconry Heritage Trust is in much better financing shape, thanks to . . .

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This grant seems to have been sat on for a decade and explains the bulk of the one and half million pounds currently in the kitty.

The donor, “Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, colloquially known by his initials as MBZ, is the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces”.

His official biography paints him as a liberal; no mention of chopped-up journalists or adulterers being stoned to death. But then, in the Gulf, these considerations are relative.

Compared to Hitler and Stalin Mussolini looked almost cuddly.

Though going through The Falconry Heritage Trust accounts I was surprised to read, “Dr N Fox, a trustee of the charity, is a director and shareholder of International Wildlife Consultants Ltd”.

This was the previous name for Mickelbo, the new company has ‘(UK)’ in the name. Can’t they keep up with their own name changes?

BEAVERS EVERYWHERE!

So, we know there are beavers in the Dyfi, the Foxes want them in Carmarthenshire, while in Llandrindod we find yet another group with beavers straining at the leash. (Or however beavers express their deep yearning for liberty.)

I’m referring now to the Welsh Beaver Project, which is the umbrella organisation for a number of groups. Another umbrella organisation for local groups is Wildlife Trusts Wales (WTW).

From WTW we learn there is a single Trust for the whole of the north, another for ‘south and west Wales’, a third for Gwent; but instead of there being one for Powys, ‘Brecknock’, Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire have one each.

Now you might expect an organisation representing Welsh wildlife bodies to be located somewhere rural . . . but you’d be wrong. The registered office for Wildlife Trusts Wales is in Mount Stuart Square, in the black heart of Corruption Bay.

For Wildlife Trusts Wales is as much about lobbying politicians and influencing civil servants as it is about protecting wildlife. And of course, ensuring a steady flow of public moolah to create jobs . . . to employ people to lobby . . .

Just like George Monbiot and his Summit to Sea gang of ‘rewilders’, the WTW sees Brexit as a great opportunity. That’s because the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ will in future control the agricultural purse-strings. (Unless Westminster takes back that power.)

Just like the Monbiot gang the ‘Beavers Everywhere!’ crew believe they can persuade the ‘Welsh Government’ to re-label and divert farm payments to them.

It’s spelled out quite brazenly in the most recent annual report (top of page 2). We read that the ‘Welsh Government’ being in control of farm funding represents, “Significant opportunity to influence future payments”.

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And the enviro-colonists of WTW have every right to be optimistic. For the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs is Lesley Griffiths, who is shacked up with ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty. He belongs to a clique of civil servants believing that all farmers – but especially Welsh farmers – are absolute bastards, and should be cleared off the land.

Their land.

‘BEAVERS, WHAT BEAVERS?’

It seems clear that the runaway – swimaway? – beavers on the Dyfi have been there for a few years . . . without anyone doing anything about it. The agency that should have been taking an interest is Natural Resources Wales.

Now you know me, I don’t like twisting the knife, but NRW has not had a good press of late. Most memorably with the timber sales, something that was never properly explained. But that’s Wales – a colony run by a corrupt management team with neither an effective political opposition nor a media to hold it to account.

This scandal resulted in Labour AM Lee Waters claiming the NRW was “out of control”, and for once I agreed with him. Because for once, he was right.

Deposed NRW chair, Diane McCrea, entered the revolving door from which popped her replacement Sir David Henshaw, who was, ” . . . born and bred in Liverpool”, but has “lived in North Wales for a number of years”. So he knows Wales like the back of his hand.

Then there’s CEO Clare Pillman who, in a different role, played her part in inflicting HMP Berwyn on us.

In fact, if you want to see ‘colonialism’ spelled out in thirty-foot-high neon letters you couldn’t do much better than the Board of Natural Resources Wales.

Though while the majority of the members are imports, there is also Geraint Davies described – because he’s the only one – as a “fluent Welsh speaker”. (Being a mere native, Geraint of course comes at the bottom of the list.)

Former chair of Wildlife Trusts Wales, Howard Davies, is also on the Board. Isn’t that cosy for when WTW deals with NRW? Howard is also CEO of the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

At NAAONB we find office manager Amber Carter. Amber previously worked for Wildlife Trusts Wales and Environment Wales (the forerunner to Natural Resources Wales).

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Did I say cosy? It’s positively incestuous!

Another who caught my eye was Chris Blake, for he is also involved with the Simon and Garfunkel tribute act at the putative Black Mountains College. An institution that provides “planet-centric education”. So there!

I wrote about them here and here. (You will need to scroll down.)

His brief bio on the BMC website tells us that Blake is a director of Green Valleys CIC .

The Green Valleys (Wales) Community Interest Company is based in Crickhowell, which we need to be told is in Wales. The latest accounts show that on a turnover of £208,753 in 2019 it managed a gross profit of £147,119, which is nothing to scoff at.

Unfortunately, administrative expenses took £178,338, and the bottom line, with everything taken into account, was a deficit for the year of £235,023. Bank loans and overdrafts accounting for £120,000 of that.

Making me wonder if any green energy companies make money. Would any of them survive without grants and other hand-outs?

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Another member of the NRW Board worthy of mention is Dr Elizabeth Haywood, aka Mrs Peter Hain. Because for a woman with not a democratically cast vote to her name she plays a worryingly influential role in Welsh political and public life.

“Purely advisory roles, surely, Jac?”

Mmm. But when you consider how lazy and useless the Labour politicos of Corruption Bay are, and the fact that she’s the wife of a party heavyweight who outranks them all, then Haywood’s ‘advice’ will go a long way to determining policy.

Such as her Task and Finish Group into City Regions concluding that the best future for our north east is to be taken over and integrated with the north west of England.

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I could understand ‘advice’ like that coming from the English side of the border – “Let us take over Flintshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire for overspill housing in order to protect property values in Cheshire”, but from the Welsh side it sounds like surrender.

Or, more likely, it’s just stating the English position in a way that’s supposed to make it more palatable. It happens all the time.

As I said at the top of this section, I introduced Natural Resources Wales because it is the agency that should have taken action when it became known that beavers had been illegally released into the Dyfi catchment area.

A couple of days ago I put out a tweet that was answered by NRW and then taken up by @Cynfab3 who seems to know about the Dyfi beavers. The responses from NRW tell me they aren’t interested in taking any action.

Click to enlarge

To cover their own negligence NRW even tries to pass the buck to Dyfed Powys Police!

JAC AND THE BEAVERS

So what is the considered opinion of this august blog towards our furry, flapper-tailed friends?

Let me make it quite clear that I have nothing against beavers. They’ve done me no harm. So, in principle, I would have no real objection to them being reintroduced into Welsh rivers.

But that’s not the point is it?

My objection is based on the fact that this scheming – and law-breaking – is being done by alien groups with an unhealthy influence over civil servants and politicians, the latter elected to serve the Welsh interest. And being done against the wishes of those whose opinions should be paramount and decisive – the local, Welsh population.

Click to enlarge

Which makes this latest furore contemporary Wales in a nutshell, where everyone’s interests are catered for, except us Welsh. Where you only have to scream “climate change” loudly enough to get what you want.

Resulting in Wales filling up with bullshitters and shysters who spend their time attending conferences, making self-promoting videos, lobbying politicians, milking the public purse – and contributing sod all to the health or wealth of the nation.

Simply creating conditions where you can – quite literally – throw up a shack in open country, just as long as you claim it’s a One Planet Development saving us from global warming. As this recent FoI response makes clear.

Nobody in officialdom cared about this unauthorised OPD, just as nobody cares about the unlawful release of beavers into the Dyfi because the authors are people with names like Guy and Cassandra rather than Gwilym and Cerys.

Am I exaggerating?

As I write, we have tourists dumping rubbish everywhere, blocking roads; Welsh communities are being destroyed by holiday homes and colonisation, yet the ‘Welsh Government’ prefers to sit on its hands, serving the interests of an alien and genocidal tourism industry.

We need a fresh intake of politicians to Corruption Bay prepared to prioritise Welsh interests. Make it happen next year!

STOP PRESS: The latest ‘rewilding’ stunt is the suggestion that golden eagles be ‘reintroduced’ to Eryri. But will they survive saturation tourism, wind turbines and an absence of their natural prey?

Given the mess left by tourists in recent weeks maybe we should be thinking of vultures?

♦ end ♦




I’m back!

After technical difficulties I’m delighted to report that my computer is now running again. Though with nothing prepared I won’t publish just for the sake of getting something out this week. Instead, I shall work on an idea for next Monday, August 24th.

The theme I shall be exploring is the role played – or not played – by our ‘Welsh Parliament’ as Wales is increasingly exploited, anglicised and assimilated into England. For example, by refusing to take the machete to the housing jungle, as Wrecsam becomes ‘West Cheshire’, Newport an outer suburb of Bristol, and rural communities are destroyed by tourism and holiday homes.

I have long argued that this is due to a trade-off between Tory governments in London and Labour administrations in Corruption Bay that sees the latter willingly implement the policies of the former in return for being allowed to run Wales as a one-party crony state.

‘Surely not’! you cry. Take my word for it, good people.

For some years now the big worry for London has been the SNP threatening the very survival of the UK. Recent opinion polls have caused something close to panic in the imperial capital. To avoid the ‘poison’ spreading to Wales the two major Unionist parties will forget their differences to co-operate. In fact, they’ve been co-operating for a while.

Given that the ‘Welsh Parliament’ serves only England’s and Labour’s interests the name is obviously a misnomer. It is not our parliament because it does not serve Welsh interests.

And yet . . . it has a certain value. For example, as a distraction; confusing too many of us who aren’t sure who to blame when things go wrong. Worse, some who really should know better are strangely comforted by the ‘Welsh Parliament’ just being there.

So the working title for next Monday’s piece is ‘Wales’ placebo parliament’.

♦ end ♦

Corruption in the wind 2, Labour snouts in the trough

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

In November 2018 I published Corruption in the Wind? I suggest you read it to get the background to what’s written here. You might notice that for this report I’ve dropped the question mark used in the original piece.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

That earlier piece (plus updates) was about Hendy wind farm south of the hamlet of Llandegley, which is a few miles east of Llandrindod, and just off the A44.

The planning application was rejected by the council in May 2017. There was an appeal by the developers, and the council’s decision was upheld by a Planning Inspector in May 2018.

That seemed to be the end of the matter.

But, then, in October 2018, Lesley Griffiths, the ‘Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, suddenly and unexpectedly overturned that decision.

This led to developers cutting all sorts of corners in their rush to get one turbine erected before the end of January 2019, in order to beat OFGEM’s accreditation deadline for onshore wind subsidy hand-outs.

THE STORY SO FAR . . .

As Julie Andrews trilled in The Sound of Music – a movie I manage to avoid every Christmas! – “Let’s start at the very beginning”.

The planning application for Hendy wind farm was received by Powys County Council in July 2014. From Hendy Wind Farm Ltd through agent Cunnane Town Planning of Manchester. Among the directors of Hendy Wind Farm we find Steven John Radford.

To guarantee himself another slice of the Hendy pie Radford had set up Njord Energy Ltd, with his wife as the other director, two weeks earlier. They describe themselves as ‘environmental consultants’.

Here’s the plan that accompanied the planning application. The A44, heading roughly north west to Crossgates, forms the eastern boundary.

Click to enlarge

In the early days of this project we were also looking at the involvement of U and I Group PLC, which seemed to be the controlling force behind everything.

As I wrote in ‘Corruption in the wind?’ “A curious beast, U and I. It was known as Development Securities plc until 5 November 2015. And on the very same day a previous incarnation of the U and I Group Ltd changed its name to Development Securities Ltd.”

Development Securities (No 71) Ltd was the original name of Hendy Wind Farm Ltd until April 2012; so you have to wonder what it had been doing in the 27 months between the name change and submitting the planning application.

In fact, companies changing or exchanging names is quite common among those we’re dealing with. Why do they do it? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Though confusing the curious must be one possibility.

Here’s a table I’ve put together in which I try to show, in chronological order, when various individuals and companies became involved. You will probably find it easier to use the pdf version with the company names serving as hyperlinks.

My attempt to set out the companies and the individuals involved with the Hendy wind farm. Click to enlarge

In addition to the web of interlinked companies I mention here, also involved are companies under the Parabola banner, also based at 20 Primrose Street, London. But there are so many others . . . It really is a maze.

Those I mentioned in the original piece seem to have been joined recently by a new set of players. As if one team has been responsible for getting planning permission and now, that achieved, another team will take over.

That is certainly what is suggested on page 6 of the Annual Report for the U and I Group. Where we see that Hendy Wind Farm is lined up for sale. You’ll also see Rhoscrowther wind farm mentioned. Which is strange.

Originally there were three wind farms planned by U + I, each with its own company. (All covered in ‘Corruption in the wind?’) Bryn Blaen, near Llangurig, went ahead relatively straightforwardly, and has now been sold. Hendy you’re reading about here, and then there was Rhoscrowther.

Rhoscrowther wind farm was planned for the Milford Haven Waterway. The county council vetoed it, a planning inspector agreed, ‘Welsh Government’ accepted that decision, and it even went as far as a High Court hearing when the investors wouldn’t accept those decisions.

My understanding is that the Rhoscrowther project is dead. So why does it appear as an ongoing project in U + I’s annual report? Which appears to suggest that the application will be submitted again. But why expect a different outcome? Do those involved know something we don’t?

Image: U + I Group PLC. Click to enlarge

Quite obviously, U + I cannot maximise its profit from Hendy until the sale is completed, and for that to happen there are still a couple of hurdles to overcome. With niceties to be observed.

A recent letter from Steven Radford to the County Council asks for some irksome conditions to be lifted. Specifically, Condition 38 of the planning permission, which relates to bats and birds. The council of course agreed, with worrying alacrity.

A remarkable document this. Tantamount to a wind farm developer admitting that wind turbines kill birds and bats, something that’s usually denied.

ENTER ANEURIN GLYNDŴR, IN MOOD POSITIF

For those of you for whom Aneurin Glyndŵr means nothing, let me explain . . .

Back in the early part of 2009 a bright lad in the Labour Party launched a website attacking his party’s political opponents. The site’s name cleverly linking the names of Labour icon Aneurin Bevan and national hero Owain Glyndŵr. As background music it even employed Tom Jones’s Delilah.

How we laughed!

But it all came unstuck and caused the bruvvers considerable embarrassment. First Minister Rhodri Morgan was particularly irked because Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones had been portrayed as a clown. In normal circumstances this wouldn’t have mattered, but Labour was in coalition with Plaid Cymru at the time.

The website itself has long disappeared into the ether, but this old blog will give you a flavour. Though the Aneurin Glyndŵr Twitter account lives on. As does another account using the name that seems to have no connection with Wales.

Now the bright young thing behind Aneurin Glyndŵr was David James Taylor. He’d first came to public attention in 2004 with another website, this one attacking Labour rebel Clare Short. Remember her?

In the first article I linked to you’ll see mention of Peter Hain and Alun Davies. Taylor had worked as an advisor to Hain when that Son of Africa was Secretary of State for Wales. While I’m not aware of any connection between Davies and Taylor, Anna McMorrin, Davies’s partner, had been a lobbyist working for those behind Hendy and other wind farms.

She’s mentioned in my spreadsheet thingy in April 2017.

In 2016 Taylor stood for the post of North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, losing out in the second round to the Plaid Cymru candidate Arfon Jones. These PCC elections were held at the same time as the elections for the Welsh Assembly and here’s a picture of Taylor out canvassing for . . . well, bless me! – he’s canvassing for Lesley Griffiths, who shocked us all by giving Hendy Wind Farm Ltd planning permission in October 2018.

From the 2016 Assembly election campaign. Click to enlarge

So maybe it’s no surprise to learn that Taylor now has his snout in the wind farm trough. Where he acts as path-smoother for developers.

Those involved in the campaign to protect this beautiful area tell me that Taylor is now handling ‘community liaison’ for the developers . . . but there’s little or no liaising. Yet somehow reports are still submitted!

Taylor is also said to be busy trying to revive the Rhoscrowther project. Who would he need to influence to achieve that?

Whatever he’s doing, the network of interlinked and shape-shifting companies he’s involved with seem to value his contribution enough to have let him join the gang at Grayling Capital LLP.

Taylor has also been slipped a few shares at Windward Enterprises Ltd, some in his own name and some in the name of his company, Moblake Associates Ltd.

I’m sure his new friends have high hopes for David James Taylor, because they plan more wind farms and other developments in Wales.

Another Labour insider now involved is Daran Hill of lobbyists Positif.

This company is acting on behalf of Grayling Capital – where David Taylor is a (non-designated) member – and Bute Energy Ltd, a company set up earlier this year and owned by Windward Enterprises Ltd, the company in which Taylor has shares.

To give you a flavour of the interconnectedness I’ve referred to, Windward Enterprises is owned by Windward Global Ltd, and all shares in Windward Global are held – at the time of writing! – by Oliver James Millican.

Millican is one of the new boys on the block. He is invariably accompanied by Lawson Douglas Steele and Stuart Allan George. They either use the Primrose Street address in London, or the New Town address of the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre Ltd.

Office of ESPC, 90A George Street, Edinburgh. Click to enlarge

I suggest that this Scottish involvement may have brought with it a better understanding of devolution, and an appreciation of the need for contacts with influence at the highest local level.

Which would of course explain the involvement of McMorrin, Taylor and Hill.

I contacted Daran Hill by Twitter DM yesterday, hoping he’d contribute, but he seemed a bit, well, guarded. And when I asked if he had contact details for David Taylor, his reply surprised me.

Click to enlarge

Why would Taylor need a lobbying firm?

Though Taylor and Hill have known each other for a while. Taylor had a company called Leckwith Ltd, which he’d formed in November 2011. On 1 January 2018 Taylor left and Hill arrived. The company was dissolved 5 February 2019.

A company not much more than a shell, so I can’t understand why Taylor didn’t just go for voluntary liquidation. Does it look better on his record that somebody took it over?

Another, rather bizarre connection, between Taylor, Hill and Lesley Griffiths is the late Carl Sargeant, who committed suicide in November 2017, shortly after being sacked as Secretary for Communities and Children.

Hill claimed to have been Sargeant’s best friend at the time of his death. Taylor was also a close friend. Both are mentioned in this report from the inquest. Lesley Griffiths was on the train to Cardiff with Sargeant to attend the meeting with First Minister Carwyn Jones at which he was sacked.

All seemed to take the anti-Carwyn Jones line following Sargeant’s death. Though Griffiths was kept on, and even took over Sargeant’s post, which might be interpreted as accepting a proffered olive branch.

Then, as we saw in a picture above, Taylor was canvassing for Griffiths in 2016. And as far back as 2012 Hill was sticking up for a beleaguered Lesley Griffiths.

They do seem to help each other out.

PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER

Lesley Griffiths over-ruled the planning inspector in October 2018 even though nothing had changed in the five months since the planning inspector delivered his judgement – which Griffiths had accepted.

So why did Lesley Griffiths do it?

Maybe the investors hoping to make millions from Hendy wind farm lobbied friends in London. This resulted in Griffiths being ‘leaned on’.

Then again, maybe the lobbying, and the ‘leaning’, was done in Wales.

Wherever it was done, the developers knew what was going to happen, and this explains why they were on site three days before Lesley Griffiths wrote to the developers’ solicitor to tell him she’d decided to over-rule the planning inspector.

Anyone arguing that I’m wrong about the lobbying should come up with a plausible explanation for Lesley Griffiths’ intervention, and for the prescient surveyors.

She certainly didn’t wake suddenly one night and shout, “Gary, love, I’ve had a vision, and a voice said to me . . . “.

No, she was wide awake, and the voices she heard were more familiar to her.

Surveyors on site at Hendy wind farm 3 days before Lesley Griffiths wrote to developers’ solicitor telling him that she was overturning the planning inspector’s decision. Click to enlarge

Hendy wind farm isn’t the end of the story. It’s not the end of anything. It could even mark the start of Wales sinking to new lows of corruption, that will see companies from outside the country use local influencers to get their way and screw the rest of us.

Through lobbyists and others that are unregulated and unregistered. The fault of a cronyist Labour Party; as this brilliant essay by Matt Smith puts it:

“The Welsh Labour establishment recruits networked left-wing careerists. Of their 29 AMs, 24% worked on the party payroll (as Labour advisers or staffers), 21% worked for third sector organisations, 21% worked in the media and 14% worked for trade unions or a union-affiliated law firm before being selected. Only two fifths of Welsh Labour AMs did not work in professional politics or associated sectors.”

Which is music to the ears of those Taylor and Hill now work for, because the new boys from Yr Hen Ogledd, have further plans for Wales. They formed three new companies as recently as 29/30 April.

In addition, talks are underway with landowners across the A44 from the Hendy site. Which means that the Three Amigos and their Welsh recruits could do very well for themselves in the years ahead.

But what about the rest of us?

In ‘Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition‘ we are told about the ‘community benefits’ of renewable energy, and the ‘community-owned’ projects – but where are they?

Take a look at the companies and individuals involved at Hendy, Pen y Cymoedd and other wind farms. The only Welsh beneficiaries seem to be Labour Party insiders like Anna McMorrin, David Taylor, and Daran Hill. Possibly Lesley Griffiths.

And of course, the landowners. For wind turbines are to energy generation what caravan parks are to tourism – they provide no jobs, they put little money into the local economy, and the only real beneficiaries are the landowners who have the turbines or caravans on their land.

Which exposes Labour’s position, yet again, as vacuous, virtue-signalling bollocks.

THE BIT AT THE END WHERE JAC GOES OFF ON ONE

Certain persons in London long ago decided that Wales would take an unfair and disproportionate number of wind turbines in order to protect the vistas of the New Jerusalem.

Taffy doffed his cap, shuffled his feet, and mumbled, “Oh! tidy, mun.” For this diktat could be repackaged as saving the planet. With more sugar added to the pill by promising jobs and community benefits, with free rides for children and pensioners – as outlined in ‘Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition’.

I suggest that because covering Wales with wind turbines was a gift for a party with no economic strategy beyond throwing money at shysters while integrating eastern parts of the country with adjoining areas of England and encouraging tourism to ethnically cleanse areas further west.

All that was needed then to implement the cunning plan was persuadable landowners and complaisant councillors. Wales has never lacked for either.

The first turbine at Hendy wind farm, with Llandegley Rocks forming the horizon. Click to enlarge

The hypocrisy and deceit is further exposed by wind turbines creating no jobs beyond the construction stage, and the ‘community benefits’ being restricted to hand-outs from the foreign companies making the profits. (With Labour Party loyalists often deciding who gets these crumbs.)

Which leads me to conclude that the ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay has done more for the City of London than for the city of Swansea . . . and most other parts of Wales. It takes the likes of Johnson, Cummings and Hancock to make them look remotely competent.

Time is up for the Labour Party and its little helpers. Make sure you give them the message in next year’s election. Wales deserves better.

But even before then, Lesley Griffiths’ position is now untenable.

♦ end ♦

Finally, thanks to the wonderful people in Powys who are fighting these bird slicing, bat dicing, flood causing monsters that despoil our environment so as to protect someone else’s and allow charlatan politicos and their cronies to enjoy their parasitic existence.

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to use everything you sent me. Special thanks, and apologies, to ‘A’ for the photos sent late last night. I’m afraid I’d already finished the article.

 




Tourism in Wales: problems, thoughts, suggestions

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’m taking a break from the con men, fraudsters and assorted crooks who figure regularly here. But I’m not moving far, because this week I’m focusing on tourism operators, politicians and others who themselves have but a nodding acquaintance with the truth.

THE STORM BREAKS

One of the benefits of coronavirus and lockdown was the absence of tourists, and the joyous consequences of that absence. Such as much less traffic on our rural roads, fewer call-outs for our emergency services, and in all manner of ways making rural and coastal areas of Wales more pleasant for those who live there all year round.

Making recent months seem even more of a lost golden age has been the irruption of noisy, stupid and irresponsible tourists since lockdown was eased by our self-styled ‘Welsh Government’, bowing to pressure from the Conservative and Unionist Party and tourism operators.

There has inevitably been a reaction from local people to the return of the tourists in what have been, literally, overwhelming numbers. What you see below was the scene two weeks ago near Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).

Click to enlarge

Much of the anger this has generated is directed at motorists, with many photos in print and online of inconsiderately parked cars. Which allowed some to argue that all would be well if we had bigger car parks to accommodate all the vehicles. Or even park and ride schemes.

Both of which ignore the real problem – many areas get more cars than the local road system can handle, and more people than the environment can cope with. I shall return to the environmental angle later.

Let’s also remember that the problems caused by tourism go way beyond traffic issues.

RESPONSES

Here’s a two-page spread from last Wednesday’s Llais y Sais, in which we read Councillor Gareth Thomas, Cyngor Gwynedd’s Head of Economical Development, opine that, despite the recent problems, tourism, “provides high quality jobs for local people as well as supporting the county’s environment, language, culture and destinations”.

“Destinations”?

Click to enlarge

I don’t know Gareth Thomas, he might be a great bloke, but anyone saying that tourism provides high quality jobs, and that it also supports the area’s environment, language and culture is talking absolute nonsense.

Yesterday’s Daily Post carried what might have been an attempt to retrieve the situation. (With first minister Drakeford not ruling out a tourism tax . . . sort of.) But did council leader Dyfrig Siencyn really say, as he is quoted: ” . . . our rural economy is totally dependent on the tourism industry”?

A fuller version of this article may have appeared in Llais y Sais, Read it here.

Perhaps hoping to establish its own credentials vis-à-vis tourism opposition group Llais Gwynedd also weighed in. For those unfamiliar with Llais Gwynedd (which has 6 councillors), it sees itself as perhaps more radical than Plaid Cymru, more rooted in the local communities of Gwynedd.

Its spokesman, Glyn Daniels, wants to charge hikers on Yr Wyddfa £1 per head. I don’t know Glyn Daniels either, but he’s also talking rubbish. At £1 per head the money raised wouldn’t be enough to cover the costs of collecting and processing it.

What’s more, it would not serve as a deterrent. And we need some kind of deterrent to reduce the numbers coming to areas like our national parks and other ‘honey pots’. To cover the costs mentioned, and put a decent amount into the communities affected, the charge would need to be a minimum of £10 a head.

In a Daily Post poll, more than 70% of respondents agreed there should be a charge.

Opposing Councillor Daniels’ suggestion to charge hikers was Brân Devey, of Ramblers Cymru, with a remark I found rather puzzling: “Local people will not go up Snowdon really in the summer, it is too busy”.

Is he saying we shouldn’t charge the people overcrowding Yr Wyddfa in summer because they’re not locals?

‘Ramblers Cymru’ is worth a little detour.

‘RAMBLERS CYMRU’?

You will remember that ‘Dr’ Jane Davidson, Minister for Hippies in the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition 2007 – 2011, and midwife of One Planet Developments, was also Welsh vice-president of The Ramblers before stepping down in 2007, and then, as grough tells us, she rejoined as president when she departed Corruption Bay in 2011.

But of course she shunned The Ramblers, and the ramblers, while she was a minister.

Click to enlarge

For some reason this second stint with The Ramblers is not mentioned in Davidson’s Wikipedia entry. (By the time you read it the page might have been re-written, again.)

Though it’s difficult to make out if there really is a group called Ramblers Cymru or, as the grough article I just linked to puts it, Davidson became “president of the Ramblers in Wales”.

The website, https://www.ramblers.org.uk/wales, suggests another Englandandwales organisation, for when you click ‘Home’ on the Wales page you go back to the UK site.

Which is appropriate, for most of those working for Ramblers Cymru have moved here to do jobs that are clearly beyond the abilities of Welsh people. Mainly women of the type who have flooded into Wales since devolution to run the hundreds of third sector bodies that the ‘progressive’ parties feel we can’t do without.

One, Maria Hamlett, says: “My background includes working in numerous third sector organisations in key governance roles”. While Amanda Hill has: “15 years experience working for Worcestershire County Council”. Rebecca Brough: “I have a background in policy influencing work in the governmental, charity and statutory sectors”.

Important points there. For the staff at Ramblers Cymru don’t restrict themselves to scolding a wicked farmer for leaving Berwyn the bull on the footpath, they also seek to influence policy-makers. Just as Jane Davidson did, before, during, and after her stint as a minister.

The people I’m describing do not represent – nor do they seek to represent – our interests. If Welsh interests are served then it’s entirely accidental or tangential. ‘Ramblers Cymru’ and similar organisations seek to curate (love that word!) our homeland for the benefit of others like themselves.

We have far too many colonialist organisations like ‘Ramblers Cymru’.

Because it is what it is no one should be surprised to learn that – just like ‘rewilders’ – The Ramblers demand that the ‘Welsh Government’ forces farmers to do their bidding or have their funding withheld.

Dontcha just love the term, ‘our land’. Another example of, ‘What’s yours is ours’.

Click to enlarge

The Ramblers merit this digression because they see Wales as an area for recreation. For them Wales is not a different country; where people witness their language and identity, the country itself, being destroyed by saturation tourism.

What should also make you angry is that these memsahibs, based on Cathedral Road (ideal for rambling), and others just like them, have more influence in Corruption Bay than we poor natives will ever have.

WHAT THE POLITICIANS SAY

That ‘our’ politicians go along with ‘Playground Wales’ is easily explained.

The Labour Party, which has managed Wales since 1999, is an urban party with little concern for rural areas. Labour has no coherent economic plan for the countryside so pretending there is a ‘strategy for tourism’ is a useful way of disguising this inadequacy.

The truth is that tourism is unregulated; it just ‘happens’, and things would carry on in much the same way if the ‘Welsh Government’ fell into a wormhole and reappeared in some distant galaxy. (Stop dreaming!) Making bodies like Visit Wales little more than bystanders, pretending they do something more than organise beanos where they hand out awards and grants.

Click to read article and play video

One of the few things to be said in its favour is that tourism reveals the inconsistency, if not the hypocrisy, of the Labour Party.

Wales must be covered in wind turbines to save the planet, says Labour. For the same reason, OPDs must be allowed to impose their carbon footprint on previously unused land. Yet when our environment is trashed by tourist hordes on a regular basis Labour politicians are blind to the environmental damage!

Another example of Labour’s hypocrisy might be promoting renewable energy, saving the planet, and worrying about the underprivileged . . . while giving millions of pounds to Aston Martin to build £200,000 cars doing 12 miles to the gallon.

The ‘Welsh Government’s declaration of a climate emergency is just bullshit to explain away Wales being lumbered with the wind turbines English communities refuse to accept, and having to accommodate Jane Davidson’s friends.

The Conservative and Unionist Party (plus the fringe BritNats) will support tourism because they will never object to anything that both anglicises Wales and keeps money flowing back to England from staycations in Wales.

Blind, unthinking loyalty to tourism probably explains the comment, quoted in the North Wales Pioneer, from Darren Millar, the MS for Clwyd West, addressing Glyn Daniels’ pound a head suggestion. In Millar’s view, “This is a bad idea. Every pound charged will be a pound less for people to spend in the local economy”.

If Darren Millar had thought before speaking he’d have realised that every pound charged would be guaranteed to stay in the locality, unlike money taken in other ways.

What’s more, those who drive to Yr Wyddfa – to park here, there and everywhere – are often day-trippers, from Greater Manchester, Merseyside and towns nearby. Some will arrive having filled the fuel tank before leaving England, bring a packed lunch, and go home without spending a penny!

For the environmental damage alone, these buggers should be charged £20 a head.

While Plaid Cymru . . . well, what can I say? Plaid Cymru nowadays doesn’t give much thought to Wales. They’re too busy facing up to the fascist hordes they see advancing, outing terfs on social media, and planning more dirty tricks against Neil McEvoy.

Though maybe it’s best they stay schtum, because when they do address the subject – as we’ve seen with Gareth Thomas – they only confirm that they’ve lost the plot.

Whenever a political party, or a politician, says, ‘Wales needs tourism’ they are either lying or exposing their ignorance. The truth is only arrived at by reversing the phrase to read, ‘Tourism needs Wales’.

To conclude this section on a more optimistic note, Wales has two new political parties – Gwlad and the WNP – who I’m sure will take a more analytical, and patriotic, approach to tourism.

I expect both to demand a form of tourism that works for Wales, and the Welsh. Rather than what we suffer at present – an alien enterprise with Welsh people nothing but helpless bystanders as their country is trashed.

MAKING TOURISM WORK FOR US

Let me set out my stall . . .

  • I want to see an industry offering visitors from all over the world quality tourism.
  • An industry that provides business opportunities and well-paid, permanent  jobs for Welsh people.
  • An industry that benefits Wales and her people without the cultural, social and environmental damage currently being inflicted by tourism.

Here are just a few suggestions for achieving these objectives:

1/ Tourism tax: A minimum charge of £2 per head per overnight stay, including those in self-catering accommodation. This to be collected by the owner of the property or site and paid to the local authority.

This money will used in the areas from which it is collected or on capital projects of more widespread benefit. Why not consult local people on how they’d like to see it spent?

Tourism tax is raised everywhere and it benefits local communities. I recall Silvio Berlusconi having to pay a local tourism tax in Sardinia when he docked his luxury yacht, the Bunga Bunga.

2/ Caravan sites: These is no place for these blots on the landscape in a country promoting quality tourism in a respected environment. They offer holidays on the cheap and the money they put into the local economy is overstated. Very few jobs are created and the major beneficiary is the site owner, often a foreign company.

Caravan sites should be phased out over a period of ten years with no replacement ‘vans, cabins or lodges permitted. Thousands of acres could be returned to agriculture or Nature by getting rid of them.

Farmers and others should be allowed small sites of perhaps no more than 50 units.

To maximise tourism income, business opportunities and jobs we should strive to have as many people as possible staying in serviced accommodation.

3/ Raising standards: In New Zealand – a country with which we often like to compare Wales – they have a School of Tourism, operating on eight campuses throughout the country, internationally respected and offering a wide range of courses.

In Wales, all we do is teach Siôn and Sioned elementary catering skills at the local sixth form college so they can work for Kevin from Stockport who owns the local hotel . . . since he bought it off Keith and Sharon from Coventry. Kevin, of course, will have had no training.

Or it might be Paul and Rowena Williams at Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor. Or their business partner, Myles Cunliffe. (‘Weep for Wales’ passim.) Or perhaps Siôn and Sioned can get a job at one of the hotels owned by Gavin Lee Woodhouse.

Or perhaps not, seeing as all the businesses owned by these crooks are closed and/or in the hands of receivers.

Which is why other countries insist on a proven level of proficiency, and background checks, before anyone is allowed to run a hotel. But here, money is all that matters. As long as you’ve got the dosh you can buy a five star hotel, and run it badly, thereby damaging the reputation of the locality, and Wales.

You can even buy a zoo without knowing anything about the care of animals!

4/ Permits: New Zealand provides another example worth following. (And NZ isn’t alone in this.) I’m referring now to limiting numbers visiting environmentally sensitive areas and issuing those visiting with permits.

If you live outside Wales and you want to go hiking in one of our national parks then you should pay £20 a year. For the three national parks you pay £50 a year. If the National Trust can charge us to visit sites in our own country, why can’t we do something similar and use the money for our benefit?

Again, the money raised would be used within the local area.

Click to read article

5/ Airports: You don’t need to go as far as New Zealand to realise the value of a good airport. Scotland is a much nearer example. Overseas tourists, high-spending overseas tourists, fly directly to Glasgow and Edinburgh. They do so all year round.

All we have is Cardiff airport, kept afloat by public money and still losing out to Bristol. We obviously need a new, more accessible airport in the south. We also need one in the north. Why not revamp Llanbedr airfield? It would be better to have overseas tourists flying in than to have the place used – as at present – for testing inaccurate drones that will wipe out wedding parties in Afghanistan.

Well-heeled foreign tourists flying in also offer opportunities for taxi and car hire firms.

6/ Public Transport: Overseas and other tourists not wanting to drive will need public transport. An integrated public transport system is therefore essential. This would have to include a north-south rail link.

The ‘Welsh Government’ has prevaricated for years over re-opening the Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line. That’s because doing so would offer no obvious benefits to Cardiff or to England.

Yet you’d think that an administration dedicated to saving the planet would prioritise public transport. But no, and this lack of commitment to public transport – apart from the Cardiff Metro (to benefit the Cardiff economy not the environment) – is yet another example of Labour’s hypocrisy.

7/ Funding: A major obstacle to Welsh people getting involved in tourism – other than as cooks and cleaners – is a lack of finance.

The ‘Welsh Government’ could divert a portion of the funding it squanders on third sector memsahibs into a pot accessible to young Welsh people who’ve been through school, got a few years practical experience under their belts, and now need funding to branch out on their own.

I appreciate that this is not how tourism is supposed to operate in a colonial context, but what the hell – let’s give it a try!

8/ Touring caravans and Camper-vans: I’m throwing this one in more as a traffic safety measure and a means of lowering blood pressure, but it’s definitely related to tourism.

No towed caravans or camper-vans should be allowed on any public highway between the hours of 6am and 10pm.

CONCLUSION

Tourism in Wales can be summed up as hundreds of thousands of people driving east to west along overcrowded roads, congregating in unsustainable numbers at certain points, staying in the cheapest possible accommodation (if they stay at all), and spending as little money as possible before driving home. Each wave succeeded by the next, and each wave contributing to erosion.

So, what do you think – should we continue to accept ‘Tourism at any cost’?

I say no. I say we reject the idea that Wales exists to provide cheap holidays for our neighbours. Wales should not provide anything to anyone on the cheap.

But the political will must be there to make the necessary changes.

If the political will is absent then we as a nation have every right to defend ourselves from this exploitation of our homeland, this assault on our very identity.

♦ end ♦

 




Miscellany 28.07.2020: One Planet Developments, Gower Caravans, Holyhead flats, Ffordd Penrhyn

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

As promised, here’s another bumper issue, four pieces from hither and yon; so even the most discerning of readers should find something to entertain or inform. If you’re lucky, you’ll be entertained and informed!

ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS

As I suggested in the previous post, information is coming in about OPDs from many different places, so maybe a bullet point update is the best way to go about it.

For those new to the subject, OPDs were introduced by the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition management team (2007-2011) as a gesture to show that Wales was playing its part in the fight against global warming.

The truth was that the nonsense was engineered by Minister for Hippies, Jane Davidson, whose friends didn’t want to pay market prices for smallholdings. This explains the ‘Welsh Government’ bringing out Technical Advice Note 6, which made it clear to planners that any dreadlocked planet-saver who showed up on their patch should be allowed to build whatever he wanted, wherever he wanted.

Click to enlarge
  • Jane Davidson is an odd old trout. I’m not sure if she has any genuine academic qualifications, but she likes to call herself ‘Doctor’ on the strength of an honorary doctorate from Ponty Poly. Confusion is also caused by her relationship with Harvard University, in the USA, to which she once made a flying visit. Last week her Wikipedia entry was claiming that she was a faculty member, until someone queried it, after which it was changed to, “In 2017, Jane was guest faculty in the Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership programme at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” Which explains everything . . . I suppose.
  • For those still unsure about exactly what One Planet Developments are, here’s some ‘Lessons in Best Practice’ from the experts at the Lammas eco-village.
  • “But how do they support themselves?”, you ask. For a start, they grow their own broccoli, which can be eaten for any meal. And they bring in the readies by conning the gullible to join them in an orgy of shamanic drumming. Who can say no at £250 a pop?

    Click to enlarge
  • Another way money is being made – and we’ll see a lot more of this in the future – is selling off OPDs. A one-bedroom ‘Hobbit House’ is currently on the market with an asking price of £475,000. Though this WalesOnline article stresses that there are still questions as to whether the property has valid planning permission.
  • Here’s Tess Delaney’s take on it in the Pembrokeshire Herald. Tess herself lives on a OPD.
  • The pre-application request for advice regarding the OPD at Ilston, on Gower, is no longer available on the Swansea council website, as the applicants have been told to go away and do their homework again. To get the story, go to this post and scroll down to the section ‘Brighton Greens discover Gower’.
  • A source tells me that the Ecological Land Co-operative of Brighton already has a presence in Wales, at Llangolman in Pembrokeshire. Living apparently in a log cabin brought in from Bristol. Cabin in situ after ripping up ancient hedges. Nice access road, though, which must have cost a bomb.
  • Another OPD settlement I’ve written about recently is the one at Llyn Adain Gwydd, near to Llangarthginning farm at Meidrim. Though this is a bit complicated. On the one hand, Neil Moyse, once of Lammas, seems to be going through the planning system with his application W/39846. But there are things happening that deserve a separate mention.
  • In ‘One Planet Developments, getting devious‘, I mentioned the behaviour of woodlands.co.uk, which gets planning permission for ‘access roads’ for timber-related purposes that open up woodlands for leisure and other use. A source says of such a road at Meidrim: “This track now has small bays . . . each with names that are being sold off for holiday motor homes to park up in. We have notified the council who gave notice for the vehicles to be removed. As yet not all have gone. The owners attend now and then . . . “

One Planet Developments were a pointless bit of virtue signalling to begin with. But whatever one thinks of them there is no question that they were intended for families or small groups to live a self-sufficient, off-grid life.

Before OPDs the only way to get planning permission for a new dwelling in open country was to claim that it was for a forestry or agricultural worker. This system was widely abused. One route was ‘retirement bungalows’ . . . to which farmers never retired.

Click to enlarge

With planners clamping down on the ‘rural employment’ route OPDs are now just about the only way of getting planning permission for a new dwelling outside of settlement boundaries. Consequently, the OPD option was bound to attract the unscrupulous.

Labour and its partner Plaid Cymru will do nothing to curb either the spread of OPDs or the abuse of the system. Partly because OPDs are their ‘baby’, and partly because highlighting the abuse would only draw attention to an absurd piece of legislation.

Conversely, any other political party promising to clamp down on OPDs, and the underhand tactics OPDs encourage, would pick up a few votes in next year’s elections.

MORE CARAVANS FOR GOWER!

I’ve written quite a bit about Gower recently, and it’s made me nostalgic for school holidays spent in Port Eynon, and teenage years angling, everywhere from Mumbles islands right around the coast to Blue Pool and Broughton.

Happy days!

We return to Port Eynon because someone wants Gower to host another caravan site . . . yet another caravan site. For that’s what is mooted in a pre-application enquiry to Swansea council. You can read about it here.

Here’s a direct link to the enquiry, but if it doesn’t work, then you’ll need reference number 2019/2541/PRE for the search box.

You’ll see that the council’s initial response, delivered earlier this month, was negative; but there’s a good chance that the project will return, in some ‘repackaged’ form, so let’s try to see who and what are behind it.

Let’s start by locating the project, which the pre-application enquiry tells us is ‘Land lying south of Highwinds, Port Eynon’. And there’s a plan, showing a succession of fields to the east of the A4118 running down to the village.

Image: Google Earth. The planned caravan site – coloured a tasteful shade of pink – is, at 8.4 Ha, almost as big as the village. You can also see that Port Eynon and neighbouring Horton already have more than enough caravan pitches. Click to enlarge

These fields are owned by a local family named Jones. (No relation.)

I’ve described the project as a caravan park, but that doesn’t do it justice, for the council website tells us that what’s planned is “a holiday park consisting of holiday lodges, static caravans, touring pitches and tent pitches with ancillary facilities blocks. Along with this the proposal includes an events field and car park”.

If this is approved, then the road into Port Eynon will start to look like the descent into Hell that is the A486 as it drops down into New Quay.

OK, so the Jones family owns the land, but are they behind the planning application, or is it someone else, perhaps someone willing to buy the land if planning permission can be obtained?

Because while I’ve argued in favour of farmers being allowed to supplement their incomes with small caravan sites, this goes way beyond what I could support.

Perhaps the potential purchaser is the applicant, Sutton Hospitality Consultants of Boldon, Tyne and Wear. The website looks quite professional, and the company boasts an impressive-looking team of 16.

Yet, strangely, the Sutton Linkedin page says it has ‘1 – 10 employees’.

Another curiosity is that the company number given on the website, 11250475, turns up Hospitality Consultants Global Ltd. A company that was only launched in March 2018 – as Ephihany (sic) Hotels Ltd!

The only director until 20 February, 2020 was Andy Sutton, but then he was joined by the gloriously monikered Paul John Hotson Brinton Thatcher. (I kid you not!) Thatcher has a string of companies to his name, but Sutton’s background is less clear.

There is another company we need to look at, Sutton Hospitality Park Management Ltd. There have been some strange happenings there. The company was launched as recently as 12 November, 2019, with Sutton as the only director. He was joined 20 February by Thatcher . . . who resigned the same day.

Yet the registered office moved from Sunderland to West Sussex 17 December, 2019, which suggests that Thatcher was involved before his day as director. The fact that the registered address is still in West Sussex would argue that Thatcher is now in charge.

As we’ve seen, Thatcher has a string of companies, but what is Sutton’s history?

Well, let’s start with four rather iffy-looking companies. In the order they were Incorporated.

First, Passion Safe and Secure Ltd. Incorporated 25 February 2010, compulsorily struck off 8 March, 2016. This company has one of the most bizarre series of entries I’ve ever seen on the Companies House website.

For not filing a confirmation statement saying the company is still in existence Companies House will automatically strike off, but objections are accepted. And this is what happened no less than six times with Passion Safe and Secure.

Companies House filing history for Passion Safe and Secure Ltd. Click to enlarge

In fairness Sutton resigned 21 May, 2012, but his mate, Michael Downey, kept objecting to the company being struck off even though it was filing nothing and – ostensibly – not trading. Why would someone want to keep a company like that alive?

Seeing as he left that sinking ship early we’ll excuse Sutton. But it’s a similar story with the Beehive Bakery Ltd. Started 30 November 2010, Sutton joined 7 February, 2011 and left 1 May, 2012. Then it’s a struggle with Companies House to keep alive a company that in 6 years of existence filed no accounts and, again, did not trade. Apparently.

The only director after 1 May, 2012 was Stacey Tanya Stewart, who became a director the same day as Sutton.

Moving on . . .

The next company we’ll look at is The Salon (Northeast) Ltd. Incorporated 21 March 2014, dissolved by compulsory strike-off 10 May, 2016. Sutton was the only director and, again, nothing filed, but one objection to strike-off was made to keep alive yet another company apparently doing nothing.

Finally, there’s Spoilt Rotten Hairdressing Ltd 10 July, 2017 – 11 December, 2018. Sutton the sole director and a straightforward strike-off with no objections.

There may be other companies with which Sutton has been linked, but he often calls himself ‘Andy’ Sutton, and that’s more difficult to follow due in part to a retired ice hockey player of the same name.

And then, all of a sudden, Andy Sutton is in the leisure and holiday parks business with the launch in March 2018 of Hospitality Consultants Global Ltd.

Yet according to this piece from The World of Park and Leisure Homes Show (which Sutton probably wrote and paid for), “Andy Sutton, founder of Sutton Hospitality Consultants lives and breathes hospitality and leisure – it has been his passion for 25 years.” But the article is vague, and gives no examples of this claimed experience.

Given the team he has at his disposal, the link with big shot Thatcher, and a London office, I was surprised to see Sutton use an agent from a little town in south west Wales – Gerald Blain Associates Ltd of Whitland.

Perhaps you remember this outfit from a recent post on this blog? Because Gerald Blain Associates also submitted the pre-application enquiry for the ‘eco-village’ at Dunvant. Remember? If not, read about it here, scroll down to the section ‘Farmlets’.

Here’s the plan.

Click to enlarge

What a coincidence!

I described Gerald Blain Associates then as a “shoestring outfit”, which was fair enough seeing as its net worth is said to be £49.

So many companies with sod all money working on big contracts. What’s going on – have we entered a parallel dimension of cashless business?

I say there’s more to this than meets the eye. If it is the Jones family’s project, how did they find the same agent as the one being used by the luxury OPD estate at Dunvant? And how did they find Sutton, with his chequered business record and little apparent experience in this field?

One thing I’m pretty sure of, Sutton is a front man. Who for? Well, a stab in the dark might get a scream out of Paul John Hotson Brinton Thatcher.

Something I’m absolutely sure of is that Port Eynon does not need any more bloody caravans, or ‘lodges’. The same applies to the rest of Gower, and the whole of Wales. 

HOLYHEAD FLATS

Holyhead is a town that doesn’t get a good press. Although it’s a busy ferry port that doesn’t seem to benefit the town. It just means people driving through to get the boat, and others getting off the boat and driving straight out of town.

This results in a declining community with a very run-down look and dilapidated buildings. But this decline attracts those who pretend they’re some kind of social workers when in reality all they want is to buy a cheap property, pack in as many problem cases as possible, and then charge as much as possible for housing them.

Thus completing the cycle of decline.

This is how it began in Rhyl, when ‘bucket and spade’ holidays ceased and the men who wore knotted handkerchiefs on their heads died off. Small hotels and B & Bs came available cheap, attracting unscrupulous bastards who saw an opening to make serious money. Which gives us the Rhyl we see today.

A new planning application for a building in the centre of Holyhead reminds us of this phenomenon. It’s for the old main post office on Boston Street. Which, as you can see in the capture from Google, is quite a substantial building. The Newry Nursery mentioned as objecting is right next door.

Image: Google. Click to enlarge

Also mentioned, as being the applicant, is Benjamin Popat, so who’s he? Let’s take a look at the planning application, see what we can learn. Here’s a direct link, but if it doesn’t work then it’s number FPL/2020/39 on the Ynys Môn planning portal.

However you got there, you’ll see that the applicant’s name is confirmed as Benjamin Popat, and the agent is a John Wyer. If you click on the application number in the ‘Documents’ row you’ll access the other documents submitted in support of the application.

The plans were drawn up by John Wyer of T.Sgwar, who was also agent for a very similar project to what is now planned for Holyhead, this one on the Maesgeirchen estate in Bangor. There he was agent for Bangor firm Shilling & Shoker Enterprises. Ltd, now dormant, which might have been set up specifically for the Maesgeirchen job.

Though who Shilling was, I have no idea. The two directors were Mangal Singh Shoker and Michael Williams. Who are also the directors of Shilling and Shoker Enterprises 11 Ltd, where Shoker is now known as ‘Manny’!

Shoker also has a few other companies.

But what of the applicant, Benjamin Popat? I found a Linkedin page for a Ben Popat, who drives for Arvonia Coaches of Caernarfon. I assume this is him; right name, right area. But it’s quite a departure for someone who takes Cofi oldies on coach trips to be planning a major building conversion in Holyhead.

Let’s come at this from another angle by seeing who owns the building.

The Land Registry tells us that 13A Boston Street, Holyhead, was bought for £70,000 in September last year by Village Views Ltd of Sittingbourne in Kent. Quite a way from Holyhead, in more ways than just miles.

So now you need to know about Village Views Ltd.

To start with, this company was only set up 7 February, 2019. And the sole director is Sunil Popat. But it’s been busy, already having taken out a loan, with CPF Two Ltd, which itself set up as recently as 30 August, 2018.

This loan to Village Views was to buy land and buildings in Sittingbourne.

Lender CPF Two Ltd has also taken out loans for itself. One with Yes Growth Ltd, which is in the business of short-term, unsecured loans; the directors are British, Italian and South African. CPF Two’s other loan came from ‘specialist lenders’ OneSavings Bank Ltd, which is owned by Kent Reliance, which is in turn owned by . . .

At the risk of confusing you further . . . CPF Two, which lent the money to Sunil Popat’s Village Views to buy the land and property in Sittingbourne, has now been taken over by We Are Catalyst Ltd, which was set up ages ago, as far back as August 2017 in fact.

The only director of We Are Catalyst is Christopher Gareth Fairfax . . . who is also the only director of CPF One Ltd, which should not be confused with CPF Two, which lent money to Village Views. And the only director of CPF Two is – go on, have a guess!

Which means that CPF Two Ltd has been taken over by We Are Catalyst Ltd, which is owned by CPF One – with the same, single director running all three!

So many lenders, and all household names, shuffling money around, perhaps hoping nobody can follow the trail. This is the underbelly of the ‘financial sector’ that makes the UK so attractive to those with a ‘buccaneering’ approach to business.

I am not for one minute suggesting that any of those mentioned in this article are involved in money laundering. This illustration is used for, well . . . illustrative purposes. Click to enlarge

Back to Holyhead.

If planning permission is granted then the old post office will not be tenanted by clean-limbed local lads leaving Mam and Dad for the first time to enjoy the freedom of a bachelor existence.

No, the old post office will become a bail hostel or similar establishment catering for those with ‘issues’. Few if any of those living there will be local to Caergybi or even to Ynys Môn. Holyhead has been chosen because the town is run-down and property is cheap. This hostel will then feed into the spiral of decline I explained earlier.

This is why the council must refuse this planning application. It would be better for the council itself to buy the old post office and rent it out cheaply to a local group.

But if Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn does consider allowing the application then the first step should be to establish who’s behind it. Is the ‘Benjamin Popat’, named on the planning application as the applicant, the same person as the ‘Sunil Popat’ of Village Views Ltd? If so, why two different names? If they’re different people, then what’s the connection?

Though my advice to the council would be to reject the application without any further ado because you know what the old post office will be used for. Your responsibility is to the town of Holyhead, not to some property speculator in Kent.

FFORDD PENRHYN

There was a bizarre debate last week when Stand up to Racism Cardiff and the Vale (a front for the Socialist Workers and Rapists Party), speaking for Black Lives Matter, opposed a road in Barry being named Ffordd Penrhyn because its spokesperson believed it celebrates Baron Penrhyn, who had estates in the West Indies worked by slaves of mainly African descent.

This woman, a lawyer named Hilary Brown, was wrong, of course, and it was pointed out to her that Penrhyn is Welsh for promontory or headland, and referred to Barry ‘Island’. Despite realising she’d landed herself in a hole Brown kept digging and responded with, “That’s unacceptable and I want it changed”.

So ancient Welsh (and Cornish) place names are unacceptable to Hilary Brown.

Image: WalesOnline. Click to enlarge

An absurd position, though as the Penrhyn family name was Pennant does Brown also want us to scour the map looking for cottages, farms, hamlets, etc bearing that hateful name – and then change them all to something more acceptable to her?

This insulting nonsense is little different to English colonists and holiday home owners changing the name of their property from Welsh to English.

I suppose the problem for Hilary Brown, Stand up to Racism, the Socialist Workers and Rapists Party, and Black Lives Matter, is that they desperately want to exploit George Floyd’s death but in Wales the opportunities are limited by the absence of the prime commodity – racism. So they end up looking rather silly glaring at a piece of metal.

Thankfully, Hilary Brown is just a rabble-rouser without a rabble.

But she is an enthusiastic digger, as was proven when she threw up a few more spadefuls with, “Wales’ shameful legacy in slavery”.

WTF! National guilt! The only names I’ve heard mentioned are Penrhyn and Thomas Picton. (And I guarantee that Brown and her allies hadn’t heard of either man until a few months ago.) And because of Penrhyn and Picton all Welsh people somehow had a hand in slavery.

Do you accept that?

Though it soon becomes clear that BLM is only interested in white on black slavery committed between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries in the Americas, more especially, the USA.

The fact that during the same period Barbary corsairs were carrying out slave raids on the coasts of Europe, and the Turkish empire enslaved Slavs and Central Europeans, doesn’t count. Black Africans being sold today in the slave markets of Libya is ignored. The fact that slavery has been practised throughout history is irrelevant.

And don’t mention Leicester!

So it’s not really about slavery at all. It’s about hostile feelings towards white people.

And slavery and racism are certainly unimportant for those cheering on Black Lives Matter. Not the infantile exhibitionists of Antifa but those who sense an opportunity to re-shape Western society; an ambition they believe can be be served by encouraging riots and looting in 2020 and blaming it on the Confederacy, or Columbus, or some poor bugger left a few shares in a sugar plantation by an uncle he never met.

Writing about retrospective accusations makes me think of the treatment meted out to Oliver Cromwell in 1661, after the Restoration of Charles II. His rotting corpse was disinterred and left hanging for three days before being beheaded. The head was then placed on a spike above Westminster Hall.

Though, in fairness, no one was unreasonable enough to suggest that Cromwell’s guilt should be passed down to his great-great-great-great-grandchildren.

What’s more, not even the most ardent royalist has tried to topple regicide Cromwell’s statue outside the House of Commons.

Which means I suppose that Cromwell’s ‘trial’ and subsequent treatment by his political opponents is not really a valid analogy for what we witness today, so let me introduce a more recent example.

I believe the death of George Floyd is being used by liberals, leftists and their foot-soldiers in a very similar way to the Nazis’ exploitation of the Reichstag fire in 1933, with police officer Derek Chauvin reprising the role of Marinus van der Lubbe.

Van der Lubbe was a Dutch Communist, acting alone, but it served the Nazis’ agenda to present him as the instrument of a vast Communist-Zionist conspiracy bent on enslaving the German race, and then use that ludicrous fabrication to take control of the media, suspend democracy and, ultimately, carry out the Holocaust.

Click to enlarge

Similarly, for those we’re discussing, Derek Chauvin can’t be viewed as an individual who did something wrong; he must be portrayed as the embodiment of a racist system built on the suffering of African-Americans.

Today’s enemies of democracy wear trainers not jackboots, but they’re using the same tactic of misrepresenting the action of an individual to blackmail or frighten us all into surrendering our freedoms.

Objecting to being vilified and intimidated, speaking up when your national identity is trivialised and dismissed, does not make anyone a ‘racist’. Hilary Brown and her allies should learn that the respect they demand of others, they must also give. They have harmed their cause with their arrogance and their intransigence. 

FOOTNOTE

A central and worrying feature of this débâcle is the refusal of Brown and her supporters to accept the truth. Here are a couple of comments posted on Sunday to the Bro Radio website in response to a local Plaid Cymru councillor coming to Brown’s rescue.

Click to enlarge

Neither Jemima Williams nor Elizabeth Millman seem able to accept that the naming of the road has nothing to do with any Baron Penrhyn or slavery. Millman even expects the council to apologise! For what?

If they still believe that the Vale of Glamorgan Council deliberately named a road after a slave-owner then it’s impossible to hold a rational debate with people like this.

Scroll down in the comments and you’ll come to Trevor Macey telling us that street names shouldn’t be in Welsh. I avoid using the term ‘gammon’ but it could have been coined for Trevor Macey.

Click to enlarge

He’s drawn to this debate because it provides him an opportunity to join in what he clearly sees as an attack on the Welsh language. Predictably, Trevor Macey doesn’t support BLM either.

Whoever allowed his comment obviously hadn’t dipped into Trevor Macey’s Facebook page, where they would have found an image of George Floyd. Make sure you click on this.

If nothing else, this Ffordd Penrhyn episode reminds us that the enemies of Wales come in all shapes and sizes, all creeds and colours, and from all points on the political spectrum. The same applies to those who want the best for Wales.

Some among us need to remove their blinkers in order to tell the difference.

♦ end ♦

 




Odds & Sods 22.07.2020

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

Well, you must agree that the title makes a change from Miscellany. And unless I have a major item to focus on this might be the format from now on. Another big one, so take your time.

◊ 

MOCHRAS/SHELL ISLAND

When I was much younger I spent a summer working in the Victoria Hotel in Llanbedr, between Bermo and Harlech. Living out back in what was imaginatively called a ‘chalet’.

Happy days!

The Vic was busy in summer, and one reason for that was its close proximity to a very large campsite, to which many of our English neighbours would repair to besport themselves. This was known to them as Shell Island, but to many of the locals it was Mochras.

In common with other such establishments, Shell Island has been closed for the past few months, but unlike similar establishments it does not plan to open at all this year. In fact, the statement put out by the Workman family, which owns the site, says that it “will not be opening until at least 2021″.

Which could be interpreted as meaning that Shell Island will never open again.

Making me wonder if there’s any connection between this possibility and the planned expansion of nearby Llanbedr airfield. For an announcement in May stated that military training was coming to the airfield, heralding more MoD involvement.

Click to enlarge

If this increased militarisation means drones, as seems likely, then it would make sense to control the land between the airfield and the sea. Then, if a drone goes haywire, it’ll kill a few rabbits, or fish, rather than wipe out three generations of the Smith family from West Bromwich.

Locals would be wise to be concerned, because further down the coast, at Aberporth, a number of military drone flights have gone awry. One last year landed not far from a school.

Maybe this is expecting too much of Plaid Cymru, but I would like to think that Cyngor Gwynedd is keeping up with developments, asking questions of the MoD and the airfield’s owners.

And if the council is doing that, then I expect it to keep the public informed, rather than bending to the ‘security’ restrictions that will be imposed to stop us knowing what’s happening in our country.

WEEP FOR WALES 18A

Regular readers will know that this series started over two years ago after I’d been told about Paul and Rowena Williams closing their hotels in Powys, laying off staff, and leaving tradesmen and suppliers unpaid.

Though according to them they’d sold the empire they built up through mortgage fraud to a convicted fraudster named Keith Harvey Partdridge. (Yes, that is how it’s spelled.)

Even before it all collapsed at Knighton and Presteigne the Williams pair had moved up to Gwynedd, and Plas Glynllifon. They had ambitious plans for the old pile that would cost over £20m. Not only that, but they also bought the Seiont Manor Hotel, and a little place outside Dolgellau called Fronoleu.

Plas Glynllifon. Click to enlarge

They were even eyeing up Plas Brereton and Plas Tŷ Coch. Or maybe they were just stringing people along, because they are a couple of bullshitters.

Towards the end of 2018 it became obvious the Williams’ finances didn’t match up to their stated ambitions. Along came Myles Andrew Cunliffe, said by Paul Williams to be a “finance guy”, which I suppose is one way of describing what Cunliffe does.

As you can read in the link I’ve just given, in December 2018 Cunliffe was promising that Plas Glynllifon would open as a hotel within months. It never did open. And eventually, Seiont Manor also closed, with more staff losing their jobs, and their unpaid wages. More tradesmen and suppliers chasing what they were owed.

Since I started writing about this crew a number of people have got in touch to tell me how they’ve been ripped off. People able to give me details only genuine victims (or the perpetrators) would know, but for a variety of reasons some have been reluctant to let me use this material. Which I can understand.

Recently, another victim has been in touch and, again, there are far too many details for this to have been fabricated. This new source suggests that Disley may now be operating in Portugal.

Jon Disley made the London dailies last week, snapped out shopping in Chelsea with his girlfriend, Claire Sweeney, who appears in Brookside. Here’s the report from the Sun, and here’s the Daily Mail‘s account.

Image: BackGrid. Click to enlarge

The Sun describes Jon Disley as a “career conman”, and the Daily Mail says he’s a “convicted fraudster”. Yet here he is with his girlfriend shopping in Chelsea, with not a care in the world.

It’s possible there’s a connection between some of those I’m writing about and the £8m Arron Banks can’t account for, the money that may have swung the Brexit referendum in 2016.

I suggest that because Denis Rogers, an associate of Disley and Cunliffe, sat as a nominee director on Banks’ company Rock Holdings, which was identified by the Electoral Commission as the channel for that £8m. John Sweeney of the BBC’s Newsnight investigated the lead but ran into a dead-end on the Isle of Man.

It’s reasonable to assume that whoever nominated Rogers – briefly the Brexit Party candidate for Warrington South – is the source or the conduit for that £8m.

So, we see that Rock Holdings is/was based on the Isle of Man. Rogers was listed as the director of a number of companies giving an address on Douglas’ South Quay, behind which we find the old gas board office – Murdoch Chambers – used as an address by Rock Holdings.

The former Trafalgar pub was used as an address by a number of Dennis Rogers’ companies. The building behind it, the old gas board offices, renamed ‘Murdoch Chambers’, was the address used by Arron Banks’ company Rock Holdings, central to the missing Brexit funding. Rogers was a nominee director of Rock Holdings. Click to enlarge.

This Isle of Man/Brexit connection is explored in Weep for Wales 13.

And, finally, someone sent me a truly gruesome image, and yet so fitting. It’s Myles Cunliffe with Dawn Ward, who I’m told stars in a programme called The Real Housewives of Cheshire. (As opposed to ‘The Phoney Housewives of Cheshire’?) He’s introduced as “an old friend”, but no doubt Cunliffe paid for this celebrity endorsement.

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Put the two images together and they could be labelled, ‘Cheshire Set meets Costa del Crime’. But don’t laugh too much. These are the people buying up northern Wales, from Abba Sock to Ross Niger, and those who can’t stretch to that will be found in new commuter villages along the A55 and around Wrecsam (aka ‘West Cheshire’). Here’s the latest of these developments.

Incidentally Cunliffe’s new venture being plugged here is Buy to Lease. All you need to know is in this review. Though the very fact that Myles Cunliffe is involved should tell you enough.

But if you feel compelled to throw money away then contact editor@jacothenorth.net giving your contact details, and I will personally arrange for one of my highly-trained magic bean salesmen to call on you.

But if the compulsion must be satisfied immediately, then scroll down to the bottom of this piece and send money through PayPal. You know you’ll feel better for it!

UPDATE 06.08.2020: A couple of days ago I received a letter from a solicitor acting on behalf Neil Cunliffe. Here’s the letter and my reply.

UPDATE 07.08.2020: Writing that previous update reminded me that I also had a letter from Jon Disley’s solicitor. Here it is with my response.

LLANGEFNI SHIRE HALL

I’m sure you’ll remember another high-flying business tycoon who turned up in Wales to impress media and local politicos alike. I’m referring now to Tristan Scott Haynes. Last year he bought the old Shire Hall in Llangefni, on Ynys Môn.

I wrote about it here with Not another one! followed up with the Llangefni Shire Hall section of Wales, colonialism and corruption.

According to the Daily Post‘s online offspring, NorthWalesLive, the old building was going to be, “a business centre and conference venue  . . . a pod hotel, an art gallery . . . and attract companies of all sizes to the 45-room landmark.”

Wow! What could possibly go wrong?

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Well, for a start, the reality of Haynes’ business empire didn’t quite live up to the billing: ” . . . the managing director of Chief Properties – who also runs a successful haulage firm”, we were told. Mmm.

Chief Properties Limited was set up in August 2018 to buy a building. Any building, anywhere. It could have been the clubhouse of Inverurie Curling Club, but when he went online Haynes just happened to see the Shire Hall.

The latest accounts (or rather a 2-page statement from Haynes) – up to 31 August 2019 – value the Shire Hall at £201,942 and . . . that’s it, that is Chief Properties’ total portfolio. When everything is taken into account the Chief Properties accounts show a net worth of £12,460.

The money to make the purchase came from Together Commercial Finance, of Cheshire, a lender to which the former proprietors of Plas Glynllifon turned when real banks put up flashing neon signs saying ‘Sod off Paul and Rowena Williams’. My calculator blew a fuse when I tried to work out how much the Gruesome Twosome owe Together.

The “successful haulage firm” is Falcon Transportation Ltd, which is actually in the black. But Eddie Stobart needn’t lose any sleep.

But, anyway, why am I going over old ground? Because, my friends, Chief Properties has put the Shire Hall up for sale. Which is a pity, because I was looking forward to staying in the pod hotel, visiting the art gallery, and looking around the conference venue and the business centre.

Click to enlarge

I’m sure someone else will buy it. And even if it’s Old Nick himself, he’ll still get a great write-up in the local media. I can see it now: ‘Infernal Regions entrepreneur to open soul-bartering emporium in downtown Llangefni’.

I wonder if Beelzebub would get a ‘Welsh Government’ grant? Should be a doddle – he must have plenty of satisfied customers down Corruption Bay.

ABERGWAUN

A nice little town, Abergwaun (otherwise known as Fishguard); and of course home to the legendary newshound, Hugh Pugh.

Despite Hugh’s best efforts, not a lot happens in Abergwaun, or that was the case until recently. For the town has seen two arson attacks on boats, and a mugging.

There was also a suspicious fire near the Fishguard Bay Hotel. And if that rings a bell then it’s because it formed part of Gavin Lee Woodhouse’s property empire. He’s the guy I wrote about recently when we took another look at the Afan Valley Adventure Resort. (Scroll down.)

Abergwaun, arson attack. Click to enlarge

Just about everybody in the town links the incidents with the arrival of a number of homeless males following the permanent closure of the Riverside hostel in Pembroke.

These are now housed at Cartref, a hotel in the centre of Abergwaun which this photograph, taken on Monday, suggests is showing signs of wear.

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Others from the Pembroke hostel were housed a few miles away in the Silverdale Lodge motel at Johnston, where anti-social behaviour was reported by locals.

All this is annoying enough for locals, but now there’s another concern. Wales & West Housing is a major social landlord in the area, and on its website, locals read:

“Wales & West Housing will restart our lettings from 6th July where the property is vacant . . . We will start with . . . vacancies which are needed urgently by our Local Authority partners to assist with their need to focus on alleviating homelessness and facilitate move on for people living in temporary accommodation.”

Clearly, those now housed at Cartref and Silverdale are the responsibility of the council, and they are now in temporary accommodation. So they will be given priority for Wales & West tenancies in Abergwaun – ahead of locals who might have been waiting for years.

People with all manner of behavioural issues, none of whom are from Pembrokeshire, few of whom are from Wales, will get priority over locals. And Wales & West will be paid more to house these drug addicts and petty criminals than they could claim in rent from law-abiding, hard-working Welsh people.

The recent crime wave could become a permanent feature of life in Abergwaun.

The social housing system is no longer fit for purpose.

UPDATE 01.08.2020: This might explain the broken window.

MARK JAMES IN CORRUPTION BAY

Anyone who follows Welsh news and current affairs will know the name Mark James. But for those less au fait with these subjects . . . Mark James was the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire county council from 2002 until last summer.

James had been hired by, and was – theoretically, at least – answerable to the elected representatives of the people. But by cajoling, and when that failed, by threats and intimidation, he somehow came to control each successive administration, of all political colours, Labour, Independent and Plaid Cymru.

To cement his authority, he personally recruited subordinates who were answerable to him, and to him alone.

All of which meant that for a decade and a half Carmarthenshire was run as Mark James’s private fiefdom. He behaved like a despot, wielding untrammelled power, and just like a despot he was prone to outbursts of petty vindictiveness. One example was the persecution of a blogger who had annoyed him, threatening her and her family with homelessness.

This cause célèbre was funded with council money even though it was a private action. And hardly anyone – certainly not the councillors! – dared to question him.  Though it did not go unnoticed elsewhere; Private Eye awarded James its Shit of the Year award for 2016.

Richly deserved.

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Because all in all, Mark James is a very nasty piece of work. Not just in his behaviour towards others but also in his attitude to things Welsh, where he is – and this is being generous – unenthusiastic. Some would go further.

Unless of course it’s a superficial form of ‘Welshness’, like rugby. Which explains his generosity – again, with council money – to the local Scarlets rugby set up; and also towards David Pickering, failed businessman, but former captain of the national rugby team and also former chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union.

James standing down last summer may have been linked with shit hitting the fan from his ill-starred partnership with Swansea University, and assorted businessmen, and the plan to build a Wellness and Life Science Village in a Llanelli bog.

The £200m+ Wellness and Life Science Village was to be James’s lasting monument, a pet project he had driven through against the better judgement of many. Yet another indication of his despotic behaviour, this time tinged with Ozymandias Syndrome.

These unfortunate liaisons and ill-judged business ventures eventually resulted in a house call from the police.

But running Carmarthenshire council and building pyramids was never enough to keep Mark James occupied (and anyway, that could be left to underlings) so it was no surprise when I learnt that he was involved in the Corruption Bay property market. I wrote about this in mid-2017 with Baywatch, and Baywatch 2.

In a nutshell, James and a few associates had taken over the management of blocks of flats and were seeking to maximise profits by running as many as possible as holiday apartments, attracting Airbnb stag parties, groups of rugby fans, and others guaranteed to make life hell for the blocks’ permanent residents.

The properties run by James and his cronies are in a gated enclave called Century Wharf, between Dumballs Road and the river. Run via: Century Wharf (One) RTM Company Limited, Century Wharf (Two) RTM Company Limited and Century Wharf (Three) RTM Company Limited. (RTM means ‘Right to Manage’.)

Century Wharf. Click to enlarge

It’s time now for an update.

Someone sent me a wee clip from a Century Wharf Facebook page showing an invoice from a company called European Telecom Solutions (ETS). This company is run by Robert Nigel Lovering, who is a partner with David Pickering in the former MoD site at Llangennech, Llanelli.

An odd business, that place in Llangennech. The MoD was going to put the site up for auction then, at the last minute, it was sold to the council, who immediately sold it to an unregistered company called R & A Properties, which was run by Pickering and Lovering, two men enjoying a close association with the council’s CEO.

It’s a complicated business but Cneifiwr explains it in Warthogs and a Man with a Van. I’ve also tried to keep up. Type ‘Llangennech’ or ‘Dawnus’ in the search box at the top of the sidebar.

But back to Century Wharf. Here’s the invoice from ETS.

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Nothing really untoward, maybe the toner is a bit expensive. But what I found really odd is that the company ETS doesn’t seem to be trading. Certainly not according to the latest accounts, for the year ending November 2019. (The invoice is from June last year.) And the company’s website doesn’t seem to have been updated for two years.

Yet Mark James can call this ghost company out from Llanelli for a minor job in Cardiff? More than that, the FB page suggests that ETS also provides telephone services to Century Wharf. How can a non-trading company be doing this?

Is work being done, and business transacted, that is not appearing in the accounts submitted to Companies House? Yet with a VAT number quoted on the invoice one must assume that VAT is being paid.

Though when I checked the VAT number given on the invoice I saw that it differs from the number given for ETS on the VAT Search website. And yet the company number on the invoice, 11064246, is the same as that given by Companies House.

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I’m sure there’s a simple explanation.

Another source in Century Wharf writes: “Once elected as a RTM director he (James) held 2 AGMs then decided that there would be no more . . . and is a de facto dictator with . . . . . . . . acting as his paid for spy.”

“De facto dictator”. In a rapidly changing world it’s almost reassuring to know that some things remain constant. For Mark James was never interested in the views of others. Even those he was supposedly serving.

No, make that – especially the views of those he was supposedly serving.

ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS

Yes, I know, I promised more on OPDs, but so much information is coming in that it’s difficult to make sense of it all. I’ll try to put it all together and get out a OPD special in the near future.

To whet your appetite, I’m told that the Ecological Land Co-operative of Brighton, which wants to set up on Gower, already has a presence in Pembrokeshire. Mention is made of an ancient hedge being ripped up, and a log cabin brought in from Bristol.

More next week . . .

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