Gavin Lee Woodhouse, the ‘Wolf of Wharf Street’ – you were warned!

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 was supposed to be a ‘quickie’ while I await a promised guest post on developments among the wind farms of deepest Powys. But as the information mounted up . . .

Most of you will be aware by now that Gavin Lee Woodhouse, who has a number of business interests in Wales, came under critical scrutiny last week from ITV News and the Guardian. He did not emerge smelling of roses.

Eventually the ‘Welsh’ media caught up with the story, here’s the BBC’s version and here’s WalesOnline’s contribution. (Note the positive spin in the headline.)

Click to enlarge

Now I don’t wish to be too critical, but Woodhouse has been a busy boy in Wales for a number of years, so it’s not unreasonable to have expected an investigation into his ‘innovative’ business practices to have been done on this side of the border.

Pity the country with a ‘media’ that is nothing but a relayer of press hand-outs, a conveyor of soporific ‘human interest’ stories, and a disseminator of its masters’ propaganda; leaving an ancient nation to scratch around for the truth.

Come scratch with Jac.

Perhaps the first time Gavin Lee Woodhouse swam into our collective consciousness was when, while negotiating to buy Plas Glynllifon, in Llandwrog, south of Caernarfon, he announced his intention to rename the old pile ‘Wynnborn’. This declaration met with the kind of response that might greet ‘Four Green Fields’ being sung at Ibrox.

Plas Glynllifon, image courtesy of North Wales Live. Click to enlarge

To familiarise you with what Woodhouse has been up to in Wales here are a few of my offerings: English Tourism in the Colony of Wales (18.04.2017); a brief mention in YMCA England(andwales) (23.04.2017); Bits & Pieces (27.04.2017); Colonial Investments (23.07.2017); Updates 12.12.2017; Weep for Wales (13.06.2018); Friends old & new (28.01.2019).

Now let’s get up to date with the boy’s adventures.

HOW IT WORKS

Woodhouse’s business model is, essentially, selling shares in property he owns, or plans to build. If it’s a hotel then you buy a room and then rent it to Woodhouse. If it’s a care home or a residential home, then it’s a similar system but with the guest obviously staying for longer.

The attraction of this system for Woodhouse is that he can buy a run-down hotel cheaply, maybe at auction, and then by selling off rooms individually he can quickly recoup what he paid, and more, from ‘investors’.

For investors, high returns are promised. There is often a guarantee that Woodhouse will buy back your room after a certain period at the price you paid for it, or more.

This is the model employed at his Neuadd Caer Rhun hotel in the Conwy Valley, for which he received a ‘Welsh Government’ grant of £500,000 less than two years ago.

Neuadd Caer Rhun. Image courtesy of North Wales Live. Click to enlarge.

It makes a certain sense, but as with buying a timeshare, a great deal depends on the honesty of the vendor. And this leads us on to the allegations made last week.

WHERE IT ALL WENT WRONG, ALLEGEDLY

In a nutshell, Woodhouse has taken money from investors for projects that do not exist. Or to put it another way, projects that are promised but never materialise. With much of the money paid into these projects disappearing after being shuffled around in the network of companies Woodhouse controls.

Explained here in this excellent graphic from the Guardian.

click to enlarge

As we see, £5.6m of the £14.8m investors have paid into the three non-existent care homes and £8.2m from connected companies made its way to MBI Consulting (UK) Ltd. This gives a total of £13.8m going into a company now in administration.

According to Companies House Woodhouse ceased to be a director of MBI 31 January 2016, but another document lodged with Companies House and dated 21 July 2016 makes clear that Woodhouse remains the majority shareholder. A further document of 08.08.2018 confirms that Woodhouse is the person exercising ‘significant control’. (All CH documents can be tracked from here.)

From MBI Consulting (UK) Ltd £1.2m went as a loan to Woodhouse himself while the rest, £12.7m, appears to have slipped through the gaps in the floorboards.

(Though the figures used are probably the latest available at Companies House. By now, all of the investors’ money might have headed south.)

AFAN VALLEY ADVENTURE RESORT

Perhaps the first time most people in the south heard of Gavin Lee Woodhouse was when, in April 2017, news broke of a tourism venture in the Afan valley behind Port Talbot.

The WalesOnline article had lots of ‘artist’s impressions’ and a video of the ‘Affan’ valley in the company of Paul Gardiner, managing director of the Bear Grylls Survival Academy. For that piss-drinking exhibitionist has been involved from the start.

A third principal was soon roped in in the form of Peter Moore, ‘the man who brought Center Parcs to Britain’. Whether that is to be regarded as an achievement I leave to others to decide.

One thing of which there can be no doubt is the ‘Welsh Government’s enthusiastic support for the Afan valley venture. The photo below comes from the website of Woodhouse’s Northern Powerhouse Developments and it shows ‘Welsh Government’ representatives meeting Woodhouse and Moore on the site of the planned ‘resort’ in April 2017.

Hustlers meet their ‘marks’. Click to enlarge.

As I hinted earlier, one of the problems in trying to make sense of Woodhouse’s business dealings is the sheer number of companies involved. A maze set up to deter the casually curious and make things difficult even for serious investigators.

Undaunted, I did a wee bit more digging, but stopped short of getting obsessively forensic.

One curiosity I uncovered was two parcels of land that seem not to connect with the 327 acres handed over for his ‘resort’ by Natural Resources Wales (i.e. ‘Welsh Government’).

These can be found under the ‘Charges’ against Afan Valley Ltd. One is an elongated triangle of land alongside the A4107 heading east out of Cymmer, valued at £25,000. Of more interest will be the other land, Caerau Park, valued at 250,000.

Companies House tells us that Afan Valley Ltd was born in April 2016 as Caerau Parc Ltd – with Woodhouse as sole director – and it changed its name in February 2017. Which means it was set up over a year before the Afan valley project became known about.

It’s reasonable to assume therefore that Caerau Park Ltd was set up for a purpose other than the Afan Valley resort.

The sliver of roadside land at Cymmer is owned by Afan Valley Ltd, and the lender is 360 Mi Ltd. The larger plot, Caerau Park, is on the slopes of Mynydd Caerau, to the east of the village of the same name in the Llynfi valley.

Image courtesy of OS via Land Registry. Unfortunately there’s no title plan available at the LR. Click to enlarge.

The owner of Caerau Park, according to the Land Registry, is Ontaris Resources Inc of the British Virgin Islands; but Companies House tells us – with regard to the charge – that the ‘Persons entitled’ is Clive Mishon. Clive Mishon is also the sole director and shareholder of 360 Mi Ltd, Incorporated 5 September 2017.

So who is Clive Mishon, who appears to hold both charges against Afan Valley Ltd? There’s not a lot of information available for him, here’s one of the few pieces I found. All we can say with certainty is that he’s an investor. (But not the kind of ‘investor’ who’d buy a room from Woodhouse.)

Given that the Caerau Park land has been owned by Ontaris since 2008, and Woodhouse set up Caerau Park Ltd in April 2016 – with the charge covering the transfer of ownership not taken out until December 2017 – was Woodhouse initially working for or with Ontaris?

And was Caerau Park the original site for the ‘resort’? For Mynydd Caerau is now part of the Llynfi Renewable Energy Park (wind turbines) run by John Laing.

Click to enlarge

Whatever the answer, by the early part of 2017 attention had obviously switched to the Afan valley. Borne out by Caerau Park Ltd becoming Afan Valley Ltd in February, with this followed by the public announcements involving the ‘Welsh Government’ just months later.

What explains this shift from the Llynfi valley to the Afan valley?

Perhaps the ‘Welsh Government’ can explain how the Afan Valley Adventure Resort first saw the light of day. For example, whose idea was it? Who made the first approach? Did the ‘Welsh Government’ entice Woodhouse from the Llynfi to the Afan?

And while they’re trawling through the files and the memory banks maybe someone can also explain why Caerau Park, ex-NCB land that passed to the ‘Welsh Government’ after devolution, was sold to a tax haven company in 2008.

Finally, maybe someone familiar with the upper reaches of the Afan and Llynfi valleys might have information I’ve missed, or information that is not in the public domain.

SCAMS AND FRAUDS?

Let’s return to Gavin Woodhouse’s business methods, which some might view as something similar to timeshare. And as we all know, timeshare was a largely unregulated sphere in foreign jurisdictions where perhaps the only way to avoid being fleeced was to rely on word of mouth recommendations from people you trusted.

Tangent alert! (As in, going off on one): A reason for timeshare being so risky was that a good slice of the business was in the hands of serious criminals, and used for money laundering. A few months ago, someone with experience in timeshare in the bad old days gave me this explanation.

“You see you could buy a week without anyone questioning anything and it was perfectly legal not to have to prove who you are – you just handed over what was then an average £25,000 for a week and signed a single sheet of paper. Now both these guys would have typically 120 units in a single development so they could handle £132 million through these units – that money was then cleaned in the system. Then every year you paid maintenance – another £600 or £3.2 million per site.

“Then the second spin would start in the auction and second hand market which was often when moms and pops took a hit. Even then none of it matters because under all these agreements if a site falls into a bad state then it goes back to the owners – who refurbish and start again. So it’s a perpetual sausage machine to clean money and they can call it what they want now i.e. points etc but its still the same thing.”

Worrying, isn’t it?

Now I’m not for one minute suggesting that Gavin Woodhouse is involved in that kind of thing, but selling individual rooms of hotels, and cabins at resorts, could be seen as a variation on a theme.

Because what’s to stop an unscrupulous operator selling the same room or cabin to any number of different people and then legging it with the money? Also, and unlike timeshare, there’s the advantage in this method that the investor doesn’t get to stay in his or her investment.

And when the property isn’t even off the drawing board – as with Woodhouse’s three care homes in north west England – then there’s no outlay whatsoever. All you do is sit there and let the money roll in!

Courtesy of the Guardian. Click to enlarge.

Even if we give Woodhouse the benefit of the doubt, and accept that he meant to deliver on his promises, the whole thing has still gone tits up for one reason or another.

But there’s a further worry with Woodhouse’s operations linked to the sudden and impressive increases in the valuations of his properties. As the Guardian put it . . .

Click to enlarge

Now that is impressive.

Unfortunately, I could find nothing for the Fishguard Bay hotel on the Land Registry website, and even when I focused in on the LR map I got a ‘too many’ message. Which could mean that there are a number of titles on the site following the sale of the rooms.

But would this account for the massive increase in the claimed valuation of the hotel? I don’t think so, after all, it’s still the same building.

Suspicious increases in property values like this can often be explained by mortgage fraud, where a property’s valuation is increased in order to pull down more in mortgages and loans, which of course are then not repaid.

(Those who followed Woodhouse at Plas Glynllifon, Paul and Rowena Williams, were heavily involved in mortgage fraud, even ‘selling’ properties to themselves! Just type ‘Weep for Wales’ into the Search box on top of the sidebar to catch up with this gripping saga.)

But it doesn’t seem to matter, it’s almost as if this is not real money.

It’s the black economy and it still buys big houses and Range Rovers, it pays for private schooling, and contributes to consumer spending. The UK government and the police know about it but nobody’s going to interfere unless the media takes an interest.

Which is why things are now looking so bleak for the Wolf of Wharf Street.

HOW DID HE GET AWAY WITH IT FOR SO LONG?

I don’t want to say, ‘I told you so’ . . . but I told you so. And I know that plenty of people in Cardiff Bay read my blog . . . if only to mutter ‘bastard’ under their breath while reaching for the voodoo doll.

But even before he appeared on my radar there were doubts about Gavin Woodhouse and his business methods. Read this 2015 article from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Did no one in Cardiff Bay carry out the simplest checks before rolling out the red carpet for Woodhouse? And the red carpet was most certainly rolled out, not only in the Afan but also up north where, as we’ve seen, the boy wonder was given a £500,000 grant by the ‘Welsh Government’ for Neuadd Caer Rhun hotel.

Reproduced courtesy of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Click to enlarge.

Where, not only was Woodhouse selling rooms in the hotel, he also wanted to build cabins or lodges in the grounds which, again, were to be sold off to investors.

Has he received any other little ‘favours’ while he’s been in Wales? Because he certainly likes Wales: he has at least six hotels, then there’s the Afan Valley Adventure Resort (for now), land at Caerau . . .

Or is it just that Wales is an easy touch, and that’s why we see the Woodhouses, and the Williams, and all the other crooks and shysters moving into our country?

But of course, it’s not us, not you and me, who are fooled by these people – it’s those running Wales, those who claim to know better than us, they are the ones who keep making these mistakes. Over and over again.

Or are they ‘mistakes’. It’s worth asking because is anybody really this stupid, or this incompetent?

A PRICE TO PAY?

If I was an investor who had lost money in the Afan Valley Adventure Resort or any other Gavin Woodhouse enterprise (in Wales or in England) I would claim compensation from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’.

I suggest this course of action because Woodhouse might have used the Caer Rhun grant, and the welcome he received in the southern hillsides, to establish his bona fides in order to gull investors.

But simply by being so accommodating towards Gavin Woodhouse, and giving him our money, the ‘Welsh Government’ was telling the world that here was a man to do business with.

Creditors seeking pecuniary redress should in the first instance contact: Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ.

Or if you’re in the vicinity, then pop in. Tell him Jac sent you.

♦ end ♦

UPDATE 04.07.2019: It’s all fall down.

At a court hearing today three of Woodhouse’s companies, including Afan Valley Ltd, were placed instantly into interim administration. Judge Sally Barber said: “This appears to be a thoroughly dishonest business model and a shameful abuse of the privileges of limited liability trading. I am entirely satisfied by the evidence before me that this court must take immediate action.”

That’s telling him, Sal!

50 thoughts on “Gavin Lee Woodhouse, the ‘Wolf of Wharf Street’ – you were warned!

  1. Dafis

    Well written stuff there Jac Should be a good reference document for all those who have to date been too lazy or thick to do their own homework.

    However you failed to complete that last sentence, it should read “Or if you’re in the vicinity, then pop in. Tell him Jac sent you, and knock his stupid toothy grin out, or if you prefer, wring his scrawny neck.”

    Even then I seriously doubt whether he’d get the message as he is that dim witted.

      1. Dafis

        “went to Cambridge” – that just tells you that he was shaped by an elitist clique and guided into positions of apparent power but in reality a place-man to be manipulated by the real powers operating largely unseen. These same powers are content to oversee situations where the likes of Woodhouse suck out funds from marginalised areas like Wales, with paperwork signed off by puppets like Skates. Nasty vicious little chain that brings no benefit to us in Wales. When Woodhouse falls off his perch, as he no doubt will, there will be little or no funds to repatriate, but the hidden backers and “advisers” will have skimmed off their cut and moved on to a new frontman.

    1. Derrick Towlson

      I am a victim of this oxygen bandit and take exception to your comment of being lazy or thick. There are many people out there much more intelligent than myself who have been
      scammed by this filth as at time of investing there was not a lot of negative information to be found.

  2. Anonymous

    If the documents on this were looked at carefully it may well be that he has actually broken the law, which is very strict when you do profit or property sharing in what ever form.

  3. Brychan

    There are only two types of hotel (a) boutique, a wholly owned establishment with a unique offer and (b) chain, which acquires economy of scale and financed by venture capital. Anything else is stupidity, and both types present a barrier to new entry. From a return on investment point of view there shouldn’t be any public sector financing in the hotel industry fixed asset in Wales as this would be inferior to private investment. There is no leverage on the the private sector. From a social intervention point of view, stuff like creating jobs, there is also no gain. It’s a process of displacement. This is because the tourism sector in Wales is ‘saturated’. Supporting one establishment just puts another establishment at a disadvantage, there being no net social gain.

    There is the possibility of public sector support for ‘innovation’. This can be seen in ‘glamping’ which is small establishment but not up-scalable, or ‘golf resort’ like the Celtic Manor which is by it’s nature big establishment and not down-scalable. Innovation may have been the thinking in supporting the Afan project, however, this doesn’t make sense, as the target market for ‘adventure breaks’ is a low spend per head, not the turnover to cover costs. It’s basically a way of monitising parcels of land gifted or grant funded to dodgy ventures with a relatively short life cycle. Other examples are Bike Park Wales, ZipWorld and Surf Snowdonia. They will come back with a begging bowl for more cash until they just fold after a few years monitising the land asset gifted to them. Previous ‘innovations’ of this type are dry ski slopes, zoos, sun centres and dinosaur parks.

    The challenge for tourism in Wales is..

    (a) Add value,
    (b) Enhance quality and margins,
    (c) Reduce footprint, social, linguistic and environment
    (d) Elongation of season.

    This is best done in the core product. To return to my original point about hotels, this means, for example tax breaks for locally owned boutique hotels and indigenous product enhancement to chains. Stuff like chef training, increasing the quality of house. They do this in Ireland (Great Southern) and Scotland (St Andrews). All we get in Wales is a shed in a forest, a muddy track, and wavy pond.

    Why are Welsh ministers dishing out our land and our money without the most basic understanding of the industry they wish to support? Ignorant, ineffective, arrogant and in some cases just plain stupid.

    For info – Fishguard Bay Hotel is the big one above the ferry port, built when the port was opened, just like all the other old ‘railway terminus hotels’ of the 19th century. The business need has disappeared with the advent of cars. No need to get a train to the coast and stay in a hotel to wait for the next sailing. On the opposite side of the sea at Rosslare there is still a market due to the much longer routes to France and them having up-marketed the offer. The classic example of Fishguard Bay Hotel type is the Burstin in Folkestone, now used to house fake asylum seekers.

    1. A good point about publicly-owned land, Brychan.

      With forestry and other land under the control of the ‘Welsh Government’ there was a rush to ‘monetise’ these assets. Bike Park Wales being one example, the Afan Valley Adventure Resort another. But the usual way of doing this has been to allow wind farms. That is, by removing thousands of of carbon-capturing trees to lay huge concrete bases, miles of access roads, and all justified in the name of saving the planet. No, it’s about money.

      A good point also about railway terminus hotels that have outlived their usefulness. A problem that can be upscaled to whole towns that relied on bucket and spade family holidays and lost their raison d’etre when cheap foreign travel been available. Just think of Rhyl and what’s happened there.

      1. Brychan

        Just as the ‘old rail terminus hotels’ have outlived their usefulness, so has the grand aristocratic mansions.

        The unanswered question about Plas Glynllifon is what is really needed to save this building? It’s not going to come from Gavey Woodlouse or Mylo Cliffedge with rather dodgy pyramids and time share scams, nor from ignorant fat naracasistic oafs like the Williams pair. £20m and and some tacky B&Q garden furniture is like putting go-faster stripes on a vintage roller. It needs at least £120m on structure and another £50m or so, up-front, working capital for market. This can ONLY come from real global investment.

        Here is a worked example of what is needed.
        https://www.ashfordcastle.com/about/restoration

        Of course, there are some in the Senedd who thinks the future of Welsh people is deep frying fish on minimum wage in summer. Better they be cooking escargot for billionaires on a phone number salary all year round. The landscape and buildings tell the story. You start by scrapping caravans, not importing them, and the next time Carlo comes to stay, we send him the invoice, not him sending it to us.

    2. Stanley

      The problem with Wales is not that you don’t have something of value for tourists but the Welsh Assembly destroy what you do have. Having worked all over Europe, Middle East and Asia the areas where I have helped develop tourism Govts have had to ensure the lands, seas and culture are protected.

      People expect an area to be authentic and sustainable. Your Government destroys this with mad OPD schemes, overdevelopment of caravan parks destroying your coast lines, failing to invest in farming, failing to invest in small scale low impact schemes to ferry people about. It’s an utter mess, yet you represent what should be one of the cleanest pollution free areas on the planet.

      Your Ministers speak a different language to what PLC’s expect and demand, so they wont invest round here im afraid.

      The Welsh Assembly have to show they have legislated to protect your lands and your cultures so its treated with the respect it deserves and having limited licences will in turn clean up the cowboys and remove them.

      Anywhere I have worked has seen this approach to its development and in Wales you need no more than 10 five star developments and 100 four star. Those people will increase your wealth 1000x more than caravans and cowboys.

      The PLC;s who would be interested don’t need money off your Govts they need commitments to respect your history and traditions. If tourists want to roam then its done by licence with farmers, so they receive very good income.

      I tell you though your officials cant even hold the conversations because they are ruled by a few narrow minded people who are out to destroy you in the Welsh Assembly.

      It’s an utter catastrophe, they are not even capable of seeing that a good tourist pays 10x more to go to an area with limited development. Stupid people.

    3. Stuart McInnes

      Dear Jac Landudno is a great resort having all the things elderly and family s need for a great time
      Only
      a short distance from Manchester etc this and the returns made it a tempting investment?
      When I heard GW had got huge Grant from the Welsh government this made me think everything
      Was Kosher the Hotel were well run nothing to worry about even the agent who sold the investment had bought a room How can GW think he can get away with this

      1. Derrick Towlson

        Stuart, are you an NPD investor / victim. We have a closed Facebook page :
        Northern Powerhouse Developments- investors. It is good for sharing information and support.

    4. Stanley

      Im afraid your are wrong on who owns what type of hotel. The industry has changed and the large hotel groups also on boutique groups as well, consolidating individual or small ‘local’ groups.

      Why…

      Well its often the only way you can get very good chefs and front of house staff working for you.
      Money will always flow like a stream and find ways through an industry to make a shareholder return.
      Its created some insulation for the more corporate rooms that are subject to discounting to increase the average returns per room.

      These awfully large buildings are to expensive outside of London to turn a profit, the reality is that many inside of London are vanity projects, subsidised by the rest of the groups portfolio. so what is the industry saying will happen next to these – well its quite simple. They will be taken out of the hotel market and become stately homes again where you are invited to stay for a weekend of sporting events, with different interesting people being invited to play host.

      Margin then is massive and the set up a lot less although still expensive. The Williams ridiculous efforts would be an £80 million investment. Considering if done well that guests pay £5000 each a day for the privacy and connections the money is soon returned…..

  4. Wrexhamian

    Off topic: I have it on good authority that a Wrecsam-based estate agent decided to restrict his advertising of a 5-bedroom house for sale in a partly-Welsh-speaking village by only advertising it in Chester. Presumably his rationale was that Welsh house-hunters can’t afford to buy a house in the Welsh countryside.

    Common sense suggests to me that this is common practice with larger Welsh rural properties, and not just in Gwynedd and Sir Benfro.

      1. Wrexhamian

        Russ Abbot, the (2nd rate) comedian from Chester, used to refer to his (huge) house in Rosset – admittedly only a mile from the border – as “my house in Cheshire”. Perhaps he believed the estate agent’s hype…

        He’s back over the Clawdd now, never fear.

  5. Dafis

    Boy oh boy this Tory leadership circus is really bringing out the true symptoms of Greater Englander traits among the 2 sacks of shite competing for the “job”. Rash promises unlikely to be delivered still reveal the underlying views of these 2 cnuts. The Union is big stuff for both especially Scotland and I’m sure you’d get the same supremacist response if Wales was ever discussed. Then we get the old bag Theresa’s parting shots including the beaut about reeling in devolved powers suggest that the entire top tier are a real bunch of snakes ( sorry if I offend anyone’s pet python!). Instead of firing off a heavy barrage of justifiably nasty comment on all this what does our local chieftain do ? He stands back and gives the LibDems a clear run at Brecon & Radnor, all in the name of a vacuous “Remain” ticket with no declared quid pro quo. Saying that what is their q,p.q worth and would you trust them after their record during the Coalition of 2010-15 ?

    1. I don’t want to sound complacent, or even masochistic, but Boris is ideal for our purposes. As far as I’m concerned, from the referendum onwards, everything is falling into place.

      With an interesting crunch on the horizon when the SNP wants a second referendum and London says ‘No!’. Do the SNP try to organise one themselves and risk Boris invading on a zip wire? Or do they wait for the next Westminster election and say, in advance, that this is a vote on independence – ‘give us a majority and we won’t go to London. It’s what Sinn Fein did in 1918.

      As for Plaid, it’s been obvious for a while that they’ve been bounced into supporting independence by the growth of YesCymru and many of the previously uninterested or hostile beginning to wonder about the possibility. But their real concern has been Brexit, showing Plaid lining up once again with its ‘progressive’ friends over the border. Those who don’t give a toss about Wales.

      1. Brychan

        Plaid Cymru have ‘an arrangement’ with the LibDems in Brecon and Radnorshire.

        There is no candidate in that election that stands up for Wales. Plaid have abandoned representing Wales in order to ‘stop Brexit’. It’s also the constituency of Kirsty Williams AM who’s the LibDem representative in the Labour Welsh Government, you know, the one that willingly returned powers to Westminster.

        Does anyone know that the LibDems promised to Plaid in return for this “arrangement”?

  6. Dafis

    Yet another article way off topic but of relevance to the mass of dodgy dealings that inevitably get inflicted on Wales by deviant 3rd sector and hostile governments in London and Cardiff.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/06/home-office-secret-plan-charities-deport-rough-sleepers?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0d1YXJkaWFuVG9kYXlVS19XZWVrZW5kLTE5MDcwNw%3D%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUK&CMP=GTUK_email

    UK Government have it in mind to get charities and other 3rd sector bodies incresingly engaged in identifying and removing homeless immigrants. Now some of these poor buggers will end up back in Europe ( where most came from) or, worse still, shipped to state of origin where they would likely face a variety of bad outcomes, possibly torture and murder.

    What’s the betting that any cases successfully contested will be relocated to “low cost” areas within U.K and provided with “low cost” accommodation by a “specialist” 3rd sector organisation. And parts of Wales will rank high in terms of cost competitiveness. Anyone in a housing queue in small town and rural Wales better be prepared for a longer wait cos the new builds will be reallocated to these folk as urgent cases.

    Nothing wrong with helping distressed immigrants. Indeed they come much higher up the pecking order than the influx of petty criminals and other social outcasts from metropolitan England that we now enjoy. But first, always first, should be those from our own communities who have need for support, then immigrants, refugees and other displaced persons. We really don’t need criminals and deviants from our neighbours as we already have enough of our own and may get to deal effectively with their issues if left to get on with it.

    1. Brychan

      The Guardian article is misinformed when it says “ignores European privacy laws by passing rough sleepers sensitive personal information directly to the Home Office without their consent”. Almost all other EU states implement compulsory registration, which includes DNA profiling of illegal immigrants found on its soil. It is held by the relevant state. The EU law requires a ‘do good’ corroborative balance and does not prohibit.

      In Sweden, for example, a DNA database of non-EU immigrants is held by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. It’s vital to prevent trafficking of children, the child being used a financial leverage by traffickers to extort offshore payment. Refusal results in a court case which can also order the record be handed over to the Ministry of Justice for a case investigation if foul play suspected. The court applies the ‘privacy test’ on the basis of balance between good v harm, and thus complies with EU privacy legislation. The court can also order the issue of a ‘residency permit’ from the migration agency, and the biometric data is included. It breaks the cycle of exploitation.

      This process does not exist in England and Wales.

      In fact, what is termed the ‘cycle of exploitation’ in Sweden would include the type of third sector outfit that operate in Wales. The attempt by the UK Home Office to “provide a single point of contact for local authorities to receive rapid immigration status checks on non-UK national rough sleepers” is an attempt to replicate this. It will separate out the needy (provided with housing and work opportunities) from the greedy (traffickers, fakes, and begging run operatives). Third sector organisations would then automatically be excluded from the cycle of exploitation.

      Note – The ‘debate’ in Sweden (which has the highest non-EU immigration per capita in Europe) is not lack of rights and stuff like compulsory DNA testing, but the automatic access to Swedish rights arising from it.

      Consent or otherwise by an individual under EU General Data Protection Regulation can be interpreted by a court. Easily provided in an ‘investigative’ judicial system which makes the balance of good v harm. It does not exist in the UK adversarial system, except that is, in Scotland where the Sheriff court has a specific remit.

      Another example is in Germany where the Residence Act incorporates most of the regulations of Council Directive 2003/86/EC. The Residence Act explicitly states that the right to family reunification in order to protect the family in accordance with the constitution. The key to its application is the DNA profile, an opportunity only shunned by the fakes and criminals. It is why the genuine homeless and stateless flocked to Germany when opportunity presented, and whole families queued to get DNA validation.

      Why does the ‘third sector’ in Wales object to such a provision? Is it because they want the homeless and stateless to remain in camped tents on the streets of Wales so the can continue to get grants and pay themselves phone number salaries?

      1. Fascinating stuff, Brychan. I don’t know where you get it all from.

        The answer to your question in the final paragraph is an emphatic YES.

        1. Brychan

          Get it from – It’s not lack of information in these days of electronic media, it’s the filter to apply to extract and isolate the pertinent facts. My filter bypasses the British state and often its media that indicates a source, by the omission, rather than coverage. Where necessary, corroborate by those that are not British. Those who combat colonialism need a good nose and ask the right questions.

          Final paragraph – My questions were rhetorical. Always best to disclose less than what you actually know. Collate, evidence, and only act on what you know in an ethical way, and at a time of maximum effect. As you may have experienced yourself, when investigating the third sector in Wales it’s very difficult to distinguish between institutional malice, personal self-enrichment, and sheer incompetence.

  7. Dafis

    Interesting points of information there Brychan.

    “The EU law requires a ‘do good’ corroborative balance and does not prohibit.” And that alone will highlight the twisted motives that frequently crop up when UK Government sets out to “deal” with a problem such as immigration. “Do good” has a highly elastic set of meanings in this country and can be used to justify all sorts of bad stuff.

    You mention 3 prime characteristics of the current 3rd sector landscape – “institutional malice, personal self-enrichment, and sheer incompetence”.While the current legislation and regulatory frameworks permit such agencies to exist without stricter enforcements these 3 characteristics will continue to prevail. Indeed enrichment and malice towards the “host” community will often figure high in the make up of many of these agencies.

    1. Brychan

      Actually, I think a very simple tweek is needed. It does not involve changing the legislative framework that ‘charitable institutions’ operate within.

      The tweek is elsewhere, in ‘political lobbying’ regulation. It prevents unfair political influence, the corrupt migration of politicians between elected or paid public service, (the awarding of taxpayers funding) and the third sector (the recipient of that funding). Such lobby laws apply in Westminster and Holyrood, but alas, not in Wales.

      Reminds me of the best joke of the day amongst the twitchers down the quay yesterday.

      Q – What long necked bird appeared once on a RSPB site in Wales a few years ago, and only nested for 33 days?
      A – The Llinos Price.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd11Qkq8PtY{removetoplay}
      Last one to be blocked on twitter is a bearded tit.

      Llinos had a very strange and very short tenure as ‘Public Policy Advisor’ at RSPB. Concerns had previously been raised by the RSPB and documented in the Welsh Government consultation into the setting up of NRW. Llinos was a spad at the time. Did she fall foul of the lords and ladies of the English fens, or just flew off to pastures new?

      1. Dafis

        Willingness to enforce is a key factor in any legislature’s activity. No point churning out laws and rules if the will to make people and bodies corporate adhere to them doesn’t exist. Also our lot in the Bay do not seem to possess an ability to identify bad law and rectify based on the evidence available.

  8. Derrick Towlson

    Great report. Sadly we are victims of this fraudster with a room in Tenby. Gavin Woodhouse no longer with NPD as from yesterday. We have submitted a complaint to Actionfraud today. Angry and very worried.

    1. Seeing as Woodhouse was given a £500,000 grant by the ‘Welsh Government’, and they were also bending over backwards to help him with the Afan Valley Adventure Resort, any reasonable person could conclude that Woodhouse was an honest businessman because he had the imprimatur of the WG.

      In your position I would try to contact others who’ve been scammed and seek legal advice about a class action against the ‘Welsh Government’.

  9. Philip

    £966720 is the sale price of the Fishguard Bay hotel. Details on LR website. Hotel is in Goodwick not Fishguard so may have confused.

      1. Philip

        I just did a quick land registry search of sold prices in Goodwick using parameters up to £1m. Hotel came up straight away. Dont know title no sorry.

          1. Philip

            Really dont know but I very much doubt it. Not a pennies been spent on the hotel since it was bought.

            1. All 45 rooms seem to have been sold, or rather, leased. I’ve bought 5 of the lease title docs, and they’re interesting. One buyer in Poland, another in Slovakia, others closer to home also look iffy.

              No doubt Woodhouse would argue that the sale of these leases justifies the increase in value of the hotel.

    1. I’ve bought ten title docs for five rooms at each of two hotels. All on 125-year leases.

      At Caer Rhun they run from £75,000 to £170,000. With the hotel owned by Caer Rhun Hall Hotel Ltd. At Caer Rhun there are 57 leased rooms. Woodhouse also wanted chalets in the grounds, but planning permission was refused.

      At the Fishguard Bay prices range between £45,000 and £70,000. The hotel is owned by Wyncliffe House Hotels Ltd. At the Fishguard Bay there are 45 leased rooms.

      Of the ten docs I’ve bought four are overseas buyers: Slovakia, Poland, Italy and Taiwan. Only a couple look like genuine, small-time investors.

      If it’s the same at all his hotels, then we’re talking big money. Will try to do some calculations.

      1. Philip

        Genuinely shocked by this information. Even though room leasing was suggested at the time the hotel was bought I dont think anyone knew it has been done on this scale in Fishguard . Not even the staff probably. Did the purchasers view what they were getting?

        1. Derrick Towlson

          Feeling a bit of thick here. We have bought a room with 125 year lease at Carmarthern Bay
          ( Fourcroft ) hotel and supposedly have the deeds registered at registrary. Sounds like NPD have been re-selling or is the Fishguard hotel a different setup ?

          1. Fishguard Bay is a different hotel, but a similar model in that 125-year leases are sold there as well. I’m working on another piece about Woodhouse, should be out on Monday.

  10. Stanley

    Found the leases and something that looks like a sales document and basically the new valuation is just another fictituous number. And I agree with others I have picked 3 at random and all came from questionable areas. His valuation is 125 leases at £45k so £5.625 million.

    I would suggest this is where he is getting his new valuation from.

    Why, is it wrong well the hotel hasnt changed at this moment, its still the same bricks and mortar. Selling the leases which is only done to raise cash over a given period is just a temporary solution so its only his his bank balance that has changed.

    The very simple method of someones return on the investment, is just that. He hasnt given any of the normal warning etc. Its also unheard of to raise that sort of money so quickly by an ‘unknown’ business. Others need a brand name, a professioanl prospectus, and plenty of marketing so its all very odd.

    Reality is that we have inflation and people could just leave their money in the bank. If these two facts are taken into account the return is nearer 50% and he should have made that clear in his little prospectus. What people are doing is giving him a 10 year loan, because either he cant raise the money through the normal channels or this investment is a vehicle for something else.

    Who knows maybe it will make far more than this and people could be cleaning money, something the Police would no doubt be interested in.

    1. It gets better, or worse. There’ll be more information in my piece on Monday. Though I was also struck with the speed at which he sold all the leases, at so many hotels.

  11. MAS

    Does anyone know if there is anyone running a class action lawsuit here against whoever, the directors, welsh assembly etc etc. It would be good for people affected to join together.

    1. I have recommended that. Because by giving Woodhouse £500,000 and then laying out the red carpet for him at Afan Valley the ‘Welsh Government’ was effectively saying, ‘This guy is OK’.

    2. Derrick Towlson

      Join Facebook closed group
      Northern Powerhouse Developments – investors.
      Think it’s early days for a class action untill we have more information.
      In one of Jacs earlier blogs it’s a very tangled web.
      Also make a report to Action Fraud and
      SFO.co.uk
      Agreed the Welsh government, Bear grills and agents such as Select Portfolios need to answer questions as they all endorsed NPD giving investors a false security.
      Agents were paid 10% which says high risk to me when most agents work on .75 % or 1%
      Strength in numbers.

      1. ‘Welsh Government’ gave Woodhouse a grant of £500,000 for Caer Rhun and a few hundred acres for his Afan Valley Adventure Resort. If I was a potential investor outside of Wales I’d look at those facts and say, ‘Well, the Welsh Government must have done due diligence on Woodhouse ergo he must be a sound investment for my money.’

        Woodhuse Skates

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