Cardigan Castle: Connections Keep A-Coming

Despite all that’s been written and said about the goings-on at Castell Aberteifi there always seems to be fresh information coming to light. This truly is the gift that keeps on giving, the sort of thing a humble blogger like me dreams of stumbling upon as he lies tossing and turning in his windy garret. As this saga lurches between farce and tragedy more and more ‘coincidences’ and ‘connections’ come to light; and as if that wasn’t enough, there are also the ironies the saga exposes that raise a chuckle.

Such as the fact that while Lady Tucker and her gang were adamant there should be as little archaeological work as possible carried out at ‘their’ castle, there is now a small army digging away and investigating them! And gems are coming to light. Well, laff.

For latecomers, let me explain that those who imposed their tyrannical grip on the running of the Cardigan Castle renovation project, and silenced or excluded dissenting voices, were totally opposed to any serious investigation into what might lie beneath the surface – in case they found something! That ‘something’ being anything of historical significance that could interfere with the Gang of Four’s ambition to turn Castell Aberteifi into a commercial ‘venue’, with little more than a nod to its fascinating past.

Yet remember! this rejection of history and heritage in favour of crass and very Gareth Gregoryunimaginative commercialism is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Or to be more exact, the Fund’s man on the job, wine-lover Gareth Owain Gregory. The word in the coffee-houses and taverns of old Aberteifi is that when he comes down to Cardigan for trustee meetings he stays at Tucker Towers in Aberporth, where Lady Tucker’s butler keeps his glass filled.

Call me old-fashioned, but I would have expected the representative of the major funder to maintain a discreet and professional distance from the recipients of his organisation’s funding.

Before leaving Mr Gregory, one of his friends up in Cardiff, and a colleague through the Menter Iaith movement, is Eryl Wyn Jones, managing director of Equinox Public Relations Ltd, the Castle’s PR company. I suggest no irregularity or impropriety, I merely observe yet another in a long list of ‘connections’.

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Another little mystery that has presented itself is the Castle’s IT contract. For a few years it has been known that ‘Clive’ from Cliand Computers in Chancery Lane has been doing the IT work at the Castle, so some assumed he’d been passed over when the contract was awarded to Dyfed IT Solutions Ltd.

Not so, for Clive Morris, is one of the three directors of Dyfed IT. The other two being Gareth William Robinson and Dean Houghton. The company seems to be registered at Houghton’s “nondescript detached house” in Aberarad, Castell Newydd Emlyn. The company was Incorporated on April 20th, 2013, and doesn’t appear to have done much since, unless of course Clive Morris has been running the Castle’s IT on behalf of Dyfed IT rather than Cliand.

Note that Louise Cowan’s tweet (below) is dated July 22nd, and she seems keen to stress that Dyfed IT Solutions is a local company. It may be worth remembering that by July 22nd I had already posted three articles about Cardigan Castle, and one of the major complaints locally was that little of the work at the Castle was going to local companies. For anyone wondering who Louise Cowan is, she’s the secretary at Cliand Computers.

DyfedIT 1 tweet

There’s more information on Dyfed It Solutions here. As for it being a local company, well, read on and make up your own mind. We know it’s registered office is in CNE, we know Clive Morris already had a computer business near to the Castle, and Dean Houghton may even have gone to school locally. But what of Robinson, who I suspect is the main man and driving force behind this enterprise?

Gareth William Robinson has over thirty companies to his name, most of which are now dissolved or no longer trading. He specialises in online businesses. The address normally given for Robinson is on a trading estate in Watford, Hertfordshire, England. In most of his business ventures he has had the same two partners, Andrew John Stevens and Douglas Stuart Scott. Stevens and Scott have been involved in over fifty companies each, though invariably in partnership.

Now by one of those quirks we have come to expect in this saga, Robinson, Stevens and Scott have come together again, this time in the Cardigan area, at Morfa Green, Llangrannog. This being the registered address for Broody Media Ltd., Company No 05889172. This company was Incorporated on July 27th 2006 but is dormant. Why would these three dotcom whizzkids turn up in Ceredigion? And why, when and how did Clive Morris link up with them?

One answer would be that Robinson has property in the area; to be precise, Bryn Berwyn at Tresaith. Here it is advertised in English Country Cottages. (He is also rumoured to have a place for himself at Aberporth.) Though of course, people like Robinson rarely own property in their own name, so Bryn Berwyn is owned by a company named Oakley Consultants Ltd, Incorporated March 16th 2005, Company No 05394028. Bryn Berwyn is almost certainly Oakley Consultants Ltd‘s only asset. The two directors of Oakley are Robinson and, I assume, his wife.

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Why is the IT contract important? some may ask. Because, I would argue, here we see more evidence of a pattern I have previously commented on when it comes to how Cardigan Castle awards contracts and makes appointments. It’s a system in which who you know is everything. And if you know the Gang of Four then you’re in the money.

First, let us ask if the IT contract was it properly advertised? I don’t know, but some tell me it was never advertised. If anyone has evidence of this contract being advertised then please send me a link. Another reason concerns are being raised is that, yet again, we see a contract going to someone, Gareth Robinson, who has no obvious connection with the town or the area but, yet again, this person has holiday accommodation up the coast and is almost certainly known to the Gang of Four.

And that might not be all. If we look at Gareth Robinson’s Linkedin profile we see that he did his A Levels at Ashford College. Ashford is a town in Kent, England . . . now who else do we know from Ashford? Why! Jonathan Timms, the mysterious contact for the Cadwgan Trust lives in Ashford . . . and he too has a holiday home just up the coast, and him being known to, and approved of, by Jann Tucker almost certainly explains his appointment.

This investigation into the goings-on at Cardigan Castle started out trying to figure out what was going on, then trying to make the connections between A and B. As those linkages have been established it begins to look more and more as if we are dealing with a network of well-heeled and well-connected persons who have taken over the Cardigan Castle project for the benefit of themselves and their friends.

To achieve this outcome they have, of necessity, excluded the uncouth locals, with their unreasonable demands that Cardigan Castle should have something to do with their town, and them; with its history, and with their identity. How unreasonable can you get!

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Let us end on a more cultural plane (well this is Eisteddfod week!) I have been sent rhymes that are currently being declaimed in the aforementioned coffee-houses and taverns. The limerick below refers to the response of trustee Hedydd Jones when it was suggested the Gorsedd should be allowed in to the accepted birthplace of the Eisteddfod. “Over my dead body”, she shrieked.

Dead body limerick

(Translation: ‘Only “Over my dead body / Will the Gorsedd come to Aberteifi, / Cadwgan has the reins; / We know the signs, / And it’s clear who reigns’.)

Now if I was a trustee I’d be getting worried at this development, because any student of Welsh history and culture could tell them that, when dealing with people, poetry is rarely neutral. Poems are not written about those who fail to excite the muse. Generally speaking, poetry either lauds, eulogises or ridicules. What I’ve been sent most definitely falls into the third category.

The other work will be accessible to those without the language. It is entitled The Ballad of Castell Aberteifi, penned by A. W. Minstrel (Ms), a promising young rhymester.

Ballad Aberteifi

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Footnote: As you can see in the sidebar, this blog is hosted by www.sccambria.com, a contract that of course went out to tender (seeing as this blog receives official funding). On Saturday night Systemau Cyfrifiadurol Cambria got a curious complaint that my blog was racist towards “English citizens living in Wales”. Obviously an attempt to get this blog closed down.

When I checked out the e-mail address from which the silly message came Pipl suggested it had come from an arty individual – previously unknown to me – living in Aberporth. (Where else!) Obviously this man would be known to Lady Tucker and her underlings from living in the same village, and via other routes, such as Oriel Mwldan in Aberteifi.

UPDATE: It has now been confirmed beyond peradventure that the sender of the silly e-mail was indeed the Aberporth ‘artist’. The only question now is, did he do it of his own volition, or was he put up to it by the Gang of Four? Is the fight getting dirty?

As I said in an earlier post, it really is a small world . . . especially in Cardigan and the villages to the north of the town. And the world seems to contract dramatically once you start asking who knows who in the Cardigan Castle saga.

37 thoughts on “Cardigan Castle: Connections Keep A-Coming

    1. This is BES I suspect that BES supplies the connection to the Castle, and Dyfed IT does everything within the Castle. Maybe someone who knows more about these things can help out.

      1. Anonymous

        Dyfed IT does indeed provide the Internet connection to the castle however, like almost all broadband connections, the physical wires are provided by Openreach which is the part of the BT group.

          1. Yeah so BT provide a cable from the exchange to the building. Then BES provide the broadband service, either DyfedIT resell BES or castle went to BES directly. You will also need cabling done on the inside of the building for all PCs, EPOS, CCTV, WiFi etc… BT wouldn’t normally do this, I would assume it would be a part of the original tender that Scott won.

            1. Big Gee

              I know of a little company from Aberaeron whose founding principal has over 40 years experience of telecomms and IT – it also provides excellent blog hosting services! Unlike Google it won’t pull the plug on your blog at the first whimper of a complaint! It also has a track record of providing IT & telecomm installations in some of the larger call centres in south Wales. I won’t drop names, but do you think I should make a tentative approach to Castell Aberteifi to provide a professional Broadband & IT service for them? L.O.L.!

  1. Jane

    Well I would suggest that BES is this company.
    https://www.besutilities.co.uk/bes-telecom/our-packages/
    However, you are correct in assuming that Dyfed IT are only doing the internal work, you can’t just hook up to the Internet backbone.
    However a closer look at the BES Service Level Agreements (SLAs) reveals that they are appalling from a business perspective. I would hate to run an IT dependent business based on those. I have worked in the IT industry for over 20 years now and I usually negotiate for a 24hr fault turn around with a 95% uptime as a standard part of the package. The amount of time the connection is supposed to be working is glaringly absent.
    I can only conclude that they took out this contract before their IT supplier was on board, or their IT supplier failed to properly advise them. But for the service they are getting they may as well have gone for a domestic BT connection and saved themselves paying extra.

    1. More evidence that even though the Gang of Four have excluded culture and history to pursue a narrowly commercial vision they aren’t really that good at business. As I have previously suggested, these people are in over their heads and leading the whole project to disaster. They should have stuck to B&Bs, doctoring and newspapers.

      1. Or they might simply have inserted a ‘friend’ as middleman as a ‘favour’. I.e. a way of directing some cash his way that would look legit on the accounts.

        1. The same thought crossed my mind. If Clive from around the corner already had his foot in the door, why would he need anyone else?

          That said, a friend who knows more of these things that I has looked at the Cliand and Dyfed IT websites. The Cliand site is just a single page and only 15 lines of code. He continues: “The image appears to be of an Oxygen atom. But it is a technically incorrect diagram as you appear to have only one electron shell, not two, and atomic orbitals containing 3 electrons”.

          For the Dyfed IT website he tells me: “Dyfed IT website is incomplete – if you visit the category pages none of the sublinks work – they just redirect to the same page you’re on.

          For example if you go to this page
          http://www.dyfedit.co.uk/cloud/#

          There are six sublinks which are supposed to give more information – as evidenced by the plus sign + which appears when you hover over the link – –Applications, Platform, Infrastructure etc – but they don’t lead anywhere.

          It looks suspiciously like a template structure they’ve bought in and edited (usually evidenced by the # symbol at the end of unedited links) – but not finished the work”.

          Which all looks a bit iffy to me. Because if you’re an IT company then surely you take special care with your website because in a sense it’s an example of your work, your expertise. But the Dyfed IT website is a template. Presumably because Dyfed IT was set up specifically to milk the grant money from the Castle and is not looking for other work. So there’s no need to have an impressive website, any old thing will do.

          1. Jane

            Well I have to admit to being in a hurry earlier, so I didn’t have time to check the Dyfed IT website. I can tell you one thing now, they either have a staff of about 50+ and a server farm the size of a small warehouse – which I think unlikely in CNE or their website is mildly misleading and they only resell other people’s services.
            Your friend is 100% correct in his assessment of the website, most of the links go nowhere and the ones that do imply a much larger business than I believe they have. What they’ve done is made the links on the top work and forgot about the ones in the middle of the page – oops!
            As I said earlier, I’ve only worked in IT for 20 years and I’ve also yet to come across an IT company with a single person’s email address for the contact, they obviously don’t want new business if he’s ever ill.
            The Whois result also implies this is an individual attempting to be a large company as the domain is not owned by the company (as you would expect) but by the individual.
            http://www.nominet.org.uk/whois/lookup?query=dyfedit.co.uk

            1. But as I suggested earlier, if Dyfed IT was set up solely as a conduit for a cut of the funding to Cardigan Castle then it’s not touting for other business and consequently doesn’t need to put any effort into the website.

  2. Tony Allen

    Aare you able to find the name of the archeologist who resigned?
    I emailed Cadw but response was far from what I expected.

  3. Ladies in Waiting

    Our entry for the poetry competition:
    The Four are all sat on the fence,
    Looking down at the townsfolk ‘so dense’.
    We won’t be defending,
    Your demise is impending,
    So hand over our castle,see sense!

  4. The Earthshaker

    Since you started posting on this, I’ve been wondering why the Heritage Lottery Fund were so quiet on the comings and goings at the Castle despite the £12 million grant, now we have the answer, a friend turning a blind eye.

    And once again, like AWEMA welsh public money is being squandered on vanity projects of no value to the local community along with no accountability of those running the show, until people wake up, see these ‘projects’ for what they are and start asking questions, it’ll carry on unchecked.

    Out of interest has any local or national politician of any party raised any of these issues or are they pretending not to know about it?

    1. Yes, Gareth Gregory is in Lady Tucker’s pocket. I’ve just been told about a letter of complaint written (I believe to the HLF) about a trustee meeting where Tucker and Gregory turned up joking about drinking wine until 2am. It was not a productive meeting. But the fact that they could joke about something like that shows that they regard themselves as untouchable.

  5. Brychan

    Out of the 30 odd companies that Gareth Robinson is director of, the most longstanding is Memorydata Ltd (02791481). It has an interesting history. The Robinson’s have always owned it and are the only directors.

    Not long ago it was involved in some sort of tussle. An initial attempt to strike-off by liquidation, and two section 652s (application to strike off by application to court). The 652s were strangely interspersed with another court order to restore the company back onto the register at Companies House. I would be very interested to find out what this court case was over, and who won it.

    As far as I know the only valid application to a court for restoration after a section 652 would be outstanding personal injury liability (somewhat rare in an IT company) or a tussle known as bona vacantia.

    BV = ownerless goods. Can only be three types (a) assets that were not distributed according to law, a crime (b) assets of a dead person without a will, the Robinson’s as far as I know are all very much still alive, or (c) assets held in a trust, like a house for the kids, or fixed term loan to a charity.

    Perhaps Gareth can enlighten this blog as to what was the difficulty.

  6. Anonymous

    I will never support the town. I am born and bread of cardigan and disgusted in the goings on. Jail sentencing needs to be handed out

  7. Cerianne

    I hope to god BES aren’t involved. This company is responsible for business owners going out of business.
    They are an awful company. They once sent a guy round to my business from Blackpool and threatens my customers&staff.
    I have fought and still am fighting BES and currently going through a vicious law suit!
    If you search BES you will read the dreadful/upsetting comments and stories people are having with this company….an office in the back of a football club!
    Duw Duw! Not good

    1. A lot of people are saying the same thing about BES. Either their IT advisors recommended BES to the Castle, or else the Gang of Four did the deal themselves. Either way, somebody made a big mistake, and whoever that was should be held to account.

  8. Ian Perryman

    I noted Jane’s comment about the domain name for dyfedit being registered to a ‘non-trading individual”

    This is a bit naughty, in my opinion, if the domain name is used commercially.
    However Nominet says that its rules will change on 1st September then :-
    “Only domain name holders that are non-trading individuals can opt out of having their address details published on the WHOIS.”

    http://www.nominet.org.uk/sites/default/files/WHOIS_Address_Opt_Out_1_Sept_2015.pdf

    1. Dyfed IT is definitely trading and Dean Houghton is one of the listed directors. And he may also be involved with other companies that are trading.

  9. dafis

    In your Twitter column on right hand side you commented about Woodland Trust wanting to buy woodland within the Snowdonia National Park. Is this land currently owned by a private individual, family or corporation ? or is it held by the local authority, the Park, or some other ” landowning vehicle ” ? Some body owns it and given that it’s within the Park, it begs a question – do we really need yet another entity sticking its well meaning oar in, as I always thought that’s what the Park authority was in place to do, or has that shifted its focus to “administration” and away from any of the “real work”

    1. We’ve been here before, with the English National Trust begging for millions to ‘preserve’ Snowdonia hill farms. Why? Is there a risk of someone buying them, packaging them up, and taking then back to Japan or somewhere? They’re in Snowdonia for God’s sake. This is just a racket for English bodies to own yet more of Wales.

      The same applies to this appeal by Coed Cadw, which is just the local operational name for the Woodland Trust of Englandandwales. And why is it a ‘Celtic Rainforest’? It’s in Wales, therefore it should be a Welsh rainforest.

      I might contribute to an appeal by a wholly and independently Welsh organisation, but we have very few that are not the local branches of some Englandandwales outfit.

      1. dafis

        So why is Iolo signing up for this lot ? I thought that he was a touch more grounded in his view of the world, bit intense about his subjects, but generally a good guy, and with 20 more years on his clock could be the next Twm Elias. But now I think he’s joined the Anglo corporatist vision of environmental habitat & species conservation.

    2. Brychan

      The Woodland Trust does not, as it sometimes claims, manage acquired woodland themselves. They enlist ‘other agencies’ such as ‘Wildlife Trusts’ to do the flora and fauna activities. These sub-contracted ‘Wildlife Trusts’ tend to be good lifer grant guzzlers, and ‘management’ then starts off with an arty wooden bridge pathways, tree sculpture access knolls and ‘education jaunts’ for tourists with an associated car park.

      Also note that the Woodland Trust has recently been embroiled in controversy as it is in the process of selling off woodland that it has acquired against the expressed wishes of those that have donated a landholding as a legacy.

      http://www.woodlands.co.uk/blog/woodland-economics/woodland-trust-a-leopard-changing-its-spots/

      I find it strange that they have had a grant from the Welsh Government to acquire land that, in this case, already has protection as an SSSI while at the same time they have just spent over £5million on a new corporate headquarters in Lincolnshire. I suggest when these shysters have their begging bowl out at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol that potential victims should be aware.

      I also have to question why the Welsh Government blame ‘funding cuts’ for refusing to help local indigenous groups in the Garw and Ogwr valleys in the South combat invasive Japanese knotweed and the Lledr and Glaslyn valleys in the North combat invasive rhododendron. Both species being the main threat to the ancient woodlands in Wales that the Woodland Trust proport to ‘recsue’.

      1. dafis

        There we go ! Brychan is putting in very clear terms what I suspected. We are getting layer upon layer of these useless interventionist bodies “taking over” functions, undertaking “work” that sometimes is unecessary, and at worst damaging. His observations about funding NOT being available where it could really do some good sum up the “cawlach” that currently prevails in the thinking of assorted government agencies in their dealings with 3rd sector and other assorted grant munchers. More reason to question how or why a man like Iolo has been sucked in by this campaign.

        1. My view is this that land like this should either be in private ownership, with conditions, or else held by a government body on behalf of the nation. If the private owner fails to meet the conditions then the land be taken into public ownership.

  10. Gary

    I have our electricity supply with BES (Business Energy Solutions ) they also provide broadband packages with their electricity contracts. Guess it’s probably them that she’s referring to

  11. Anonymous

    I’m a bit unclear about the Oriel Mwldan comment – Oriel Mwldan is a small part of Theatr Mwldan,in partnership with Oriel Davies, Newtown; with I thought one person running it. The joint Theatr Mwldan outdoor events do seem to have moved from Cilgerran to Aberteifi.
    In another post you did seem to muddle Canolfan Byd Bychan and Theatr Mwldan [they might be next door to each other but they are VERY different] – maybe because of a particular trustee/director….

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