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
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
But if you feel compelled to throw money away then contact email@example.com 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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’.)
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.
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.
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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