Bryn Llys, unravelling

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 piece was to be one of three in a post entitled ‘Rogues Gallery’, but things started accumulating and I realised I should focus on the Bryn Llys gang. Because I believe the end may be in sight.

For those new to the story, the gang referred to – with a couple of additions – hails from the Halifax area of West Yorkshire. They’ve bought property outside Nebo, a village south of Caernarfon, built a new house – ‘Snowdon Summit View’ – by exceeding planning permission, demolished the old house, removed hedgerows and cut down trees, and tried to steal land by bullying neighbours.

Bryn Llys, old and new. Click to enlarge

More recently the disruption to others’ lives has meant a new road and a bridge. All done to facilitate proceeding with the longer-term plans for the site, which will involve some kind of ‘Playground Wales’ horror show.

INTRODUCING JOHN JOSEPH DUGGAN

A good place to start this saga is June 30, 2005, at Bradford Crown Court, where 46-year-old John Joseph Duggan was jailed for more than six years. The court heard that Duggan had “masqueraded as 12 different characters to run a series of ‘ghost’ building firms which targeted unsuspecting trade merchants and private customers.”

The amount conned in this way was said to be £547,000, and the judge described him as a “professional fraudster”. There’s an account here in the Hebden Bridge Times, which is worth reading because it will prepare you for what follows.

At the time he committed these offences Duggan was already disqualified from being a company director, making it reasonable to assume that there had been earlier offences. The disqualification almost certainly explains why he used up to a dozen aliases. Duggan was then banned from being a director for a further fifteen years, up until 6 July 2021.

An extract from Hebden Bridge Times report of John Duggan’s 2005 trial. Click to enlarge.

The following year, Duggan’s son, Jonathan James Duggan appeared in the same court, and before the same judge, the Recorder of Bradford, Stephen Gullick. Who described the younger Duggan as a “willing apprentice”.

In court the prosecutor outlined the modus operandi of what was headlined the ‘family business’: ” . . . building companies had been set up since 2002 and ordered materials and equipment from suppliers who were never paid. Each company was wound up after only a few months and a fresh company set up.”

With the materials and equipment obtained by deception sold for cash.

Like father like son, the younger Duggan was using the alias Ripley.

THE SON ALSO RISES

Then there seems to be a gap – certainly, I can’t find anything – between 2006 and August 2013 when Bryn Llys is bought and Jonathan Duggan turns up in Gwynedd. Were they living off their ill-gotten gains?

For it seems unlikely they could have done much business in the West Yorkshire area after such bad publicity.

But a company was formed in March 2012 with Jonathan Duggan and Andrew Battye as the directors . . . and the secretaries, for they kept changing roles. Bridge Glazing Systems Ltd lasted until July 2015 when it was wound up by creditors.

I’m having difficulty identifying Andrew Battye, because it seems to be a fairly common name in Yorkshire. I’ve located a few of that name, but they appear to be legitimate. This is important because the Land Registry lists Andrew Battye as the owner of Bryn Llys. He’s also listed as the owner of the land adjoining Bryn Llys. (To be explained later.)

Among others I’ve mentioned is Shane Baker, BritNat fan of Tommy Robinson, who appeared once or twice as a ‘rhubarb, rhubarb’ film or TV extra, and lives in a large mobile home on the site.

His Facebook page confirms that he’s inordinately fond of a certain flag. And if you’re looking for a hot tub, then Shane’s your man. I’m told he’s sold lots of stuff online over the years. We can but hope that the suppliers of these goods were paid.

When he’s not online retailing it seems Shane looks after Duggan’s dogs. “Lovely pups”, says Julie Appleton of Benllech. A family friend, I suppose.

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Another Duggan associate is ‘property developer’ Aaron Hill, also a near neighbour. More on Hill in a moment.

But one I’ve rather overlooked recently is Jonathan Duggan’s half-brother, Scott Smith, who may still live in West Yorkshire.

It’s worth re-acquainting you with Smith because when we line up his business record with that of Duggan Junior we see a very similar ‘business model’ to the one that got their father banged up.

(Here’s a pdf version with working links.)

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You have to wonder why people with the business records and family backgrounds of Jonathan Duggan and Scott Smith are ever allowed to start a company.

JOHN JOSEPH DUGGAN SCENE II

Following his time in prison after the 2005 conviction John Duggan relocated to Harrogate, in North Yorkshire. But he had no intention of going straight, and in April 2018 he was sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment at Leeds Crown Court.

But he wasn’t in court to hear the sentence handed down, cos he’d done a runner.

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Unable to emulate Lord Lucan he was arrested within weeks at Benllech on Ynys Môn, where he was living under a false name. Fancy that, a false name. He may have struggled to come up with one he hadn’t used before!

While searching for Duggan père police called in on Duggan fils and the gang at Bryn Llys. The image below from WalesOnline shows how the ‘extension’ dwarfs the (now demolished) original house.

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John Joseph Duggan was sent down in April 2018 for five and a half years, so he might have been released by now. If not, then assuming he’s behaved himself, it can’t be long before he’s let out to rebuild his business empire.

HEARTS AND MINDS

We last read of the gang in Miscellany 02.03.2020 (section headed ‘Bryn Llys Bach’). There I mentioned the remarkable case of an old Land Rover spontaneously combusting, and an upcoming appearance at Llandudno magistrates court, so let’s catch up.

The court case was adjourned until Thursday and Friday of this week. Yet another adjournment. (Is this the third?)

The mystery of things just ‘catching afire’, as witnessed at Bryn Llys. Click to enlarge

When he’s not brushing up on his legal Latin and practising his rhetoric in the bathroom mirror, Jonathan Duggan has been complaining to anyone prepared to listen that he’s being victimised!

Even those who don’t want to listen have had to endure his self-pitying rants. In one incident, three weeks ago, outside the local school in Nebo, he was shouting and swearing, claiming nobody liked him, and that he just wanted to live quietly and farm. (He’s bought a few pigs and geese!)

Perhaps he doesn’t have the sense to realise that shouting and swearing at the school gates is guaranteed to get you disliked. Maybe he’ll get the message now that North Wales Police has served him with a Community Protection Notice (CPN).

This hasn’t been Duggan’s only recent brush with the law. For the Rural Crimes Officer is taking action over one of the dogs we met earlier attacking poultry in a neighbouring property. It’s not the first time his dogs have strayed and attacked poultry. I’m told Duggan’s gracing Caernarfon magistrates court early next month.

The postponed case I referred to is an appeal by the gang against an enforcement notice issued by Cyngor Gwynedd relating to the unlawful splitting or subdividing of the Bryn Llys title. This was something I wasn’t entirely clear about myself, but I think these are the details.

A previous owner of Bryn Llys, when it was a modest property with a small curtilage, bought some twenty acres of land. This explains title document WA936224 covering just the house and a small area, with title CYM579760 relating to the land surrounding the house. (Scroll down on both for title plan.)

Bryn Llys title shaded green. ‘Land adjoining’ edged in red. Click to enlarge

The suspicion is that Duggan wanted to further split the Bryn Llys house title into two, one title for the original house, a new one for ‘Snowdon Summit View’.

The old title might then have been used for another ‘extension’ developing into a second monstrous blot on the landscape.

LIE OF THE LAND

Problems are not coming singly for Jonathan Duggan at the moment. On the one hand, he’s been presented with a CPN for his monologue outside Nebo school, he’s up before the Cofi beaks thanks to his chicken-munching dogs, and he’s due at the seaside this week to defend himself against the enforcement notice.

But it doesn’t end there – I’m told there are further enforcement notices in the offing. Here’s one I can tell you about.

This concerns the ‘land lying to the south east of Glanrafon Terrace’, which the title document tells us was bought from Aaron Hill . . . with a loan from Aaron Hill.

Duggan has had work done on this land improving access so that large vehicles and machinery can be brought in to press on with the next stage of ‘Project Snowdon Summit View’.

For as I mentioned earlier, Jonathan Duggan and his pals have made no secret of their plans for the site, and the formation last year of Bryn Llys Ltd, which is in the business of ‘holiday centres and villages’, should leave no one in any doubt.

The secretary and sole director of Bryn Llys Ltd is Andrew Battye, who is, according to the Land Registry, also the owner of Bryn Llys and the land around it.

Bryn Llys land and access edged in blue, land bought from Aaron Hill in red. Bryn Llys house title not shown. Though outline suggests both old house still standing and extension built to original planning permission. Compare with NorthWalesLive photograph above. Click to enlarge

The details for both the enforcement notice and the appeal can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website. Here’s a direct link to the enforcement notice. Further links here to the enforcement notice appeal form and the enforcement notice appeal supporting statement.

There are a couple of things worth a comment. Turning first to the supporting statement, read the panel below, which sets out Duggan’s justification for trying to become Nebo’s answer to Thomas Telford.

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Can you imagine a crook like Duggan, who has terrorised his neighbours, and who has henchmen to back him up, plus large dogs, allowing anyone to hinder his access with “old gates and general rubbish”?

The material he refers to is well inside the boundary of the neighbouring property, leaving the Bryn Llys access clear. This is a pathetic attempt to justify his unauthorised work. As is the ‘fencing’ mentioned on the plan.

Proven by the fact that Duggan was able to use this access lane to bring in all the machinery and material needed to build ‘Snowdon Summit View’. Plus Shane Baker’s large mobile home.

Attempting to discredit the established access to Bryn Llys also explains the Land Rover fire at the end of last month. This was done to summon the fire service in the hope that any difficulty experienced by a large fire tender could support his claim, and undermine the enforcement notice.

But as I told you in the previous post, the local fire chief had visited the site earlier and said that Bryn Llys could be adequately covered by a ‘narrow access vehicle’.

Now let’s turn to the enforcement notice appeal form. Where you’ll see that the appellant is ‘Mr John Duggan’.

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When I queried this with a source I was told that it refers to Jonathan Duggan. But the abbreviated form of Jonathan is Jon, not John. So maybe it’s a typo? I wouldn’t be asking if Jonathan’s Duggan’s father’s name was Wolfgang or Mustafa, but it’s John.

FOLLOWING THE MONEY

It is universally understood that Jonathan James Duggan and/or his father John Joseph Duggan own Bryn Llys and the land around. But they can’t admit that because they have so many unpaid creditors, from Jewsons to HMRC.

Which explains why Andrew Battye owns everything. (Don’t laugh, it’s rude!)

Being unable to admit to having assets may also explain the bizarre deal over the new land. Running out of legitimate lenders, and with Duggan unable to say that he’s bought this land with family money, he and Hill pretend that the vendor has ‘loaned’ the buyer the money to make the purchase!

And Duggan is definitely running out of lender options.

Going back to the title documents, you’ll recall that in October 2013 a loan or mortgage was taken out with the Bank of Scotland. Then, in June 2016, there is a further loan/mortgage with the Shawbrook Bank. (These loans covering both titles.)

But then, and only against Bryn Llys, title WA936224, we find a further restriction dated 18 September 2018, this one in favour of Andrew Peter Smith.

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So who is Andrew Peter Smith? Well, here’s his Linkedin profile. You’ll see that Mr Smith is an insolvency practitioner, and he works for PayPlan, a company that helps people with debts.

What does it all mean?

One possibility is that the involvement of an insolvency practitioner means the bag marked ‘Swag’ is getting empty. Duggan would have hoped to replenish it by selling ‘Snowdon Summit View’.

But the Duggans seem to be stuck with a hideous new house they’re finding impossible to sell, despite having dropped the asking price from £850,000 last summer to £650,000 last month, when it failed to sell.

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If they are running low on loot, then the ‘purchase’ of the new land from Aaron Hill might be the last throw of the dice. For without the roadway and bridge the Duggans can’t hope to sell the new house, nor move on to ‘Snowdon Summit View Holiday Park’.

Duggan himself has contributed to the difficulty of selling by arguing that there is no viable access to Bryn Llys/’Snowdon Summit View’!

Desperation is taking hold. I’m sure Jonathan Duggan now hears the sirens of Shit Creek sing their beguiling song.

And this new land throws up another tantalising question. For as I’ve said, the Duggans can’t admit to owning anything for fear of creditors, yet with this new land Jonathan James Duggan is boldly listed as the owner. (But thinks he’s covered himself by claiming Hill loaned him the money.)

Duggan’s justification for laying the roadway and building the bridge across the land bought from Hill is to provide access to Bryn Llys. But why splash out £50,000 for the land, and many thousands more on the bridge and the roadway – to give access to a property he doesn’t own?

Looking back to the map provided by the agent in the appeal against the enforcement notice we read, “Blue line represents Bryn Llys site boundary prior to purchasing the additional land”. But Bryn Llys hasn’t bought ‘the additional land’. For Bryn Llys is owned by Andrew Battye and the new land by Jonathan Duggan.

If the new land forms part of Bryn Llys then either the new land belongs to Andrew Battye or Bryn Llys is owned by Jonathan Duggan.

The crooks are starting to contradict themselves.

For the benefit of any police forces considering using the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, or creditors looking for what they’re owed, John Joseph Duggan and/or Jonathan James Duggan own a large house they believe is worth £650,000, plus 30 acres or so of land. And they may still have cash stashed away.

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If Cyngor Gwynedd and others stick to their guns and enforce the law then Jonathan Duggan and his mates will have to remove the unauthorised roadway and bridge and reinstate the area.

And then, when that last throw of the dice has failed, the end will be in sight.

Whereas surrendering to Duggan’s bluster will start another sequence of unauthorised works, leading to one enforcement notice after another, more court appearances, and yet more misery for the neighbours.

The time has come for firm and decisive action to finally deal with these crooks.

♦ end ♦

 

Why I won’t be in Caernarfon

For some weeks I had been planning on going to Caernarfon tomorrow, for the Independence rally organised by All Under One Banner Cymru (AUOB Cymru). I have now decided to give it a miss.

I’ll give you my reasons in a minute.

AUOB Cymru takes the name of its Scottish inspiration but does not emulate that body by welcoming all those who support the cause of independence. Instead, AUOB Cymru has been captured by Plaid Cymru and is now used to serve the interests of that party.

It does this by attracting people who believe in independence but are not supporters of Plaid Cymru, which gives an inflated impression of Plaid Cymru’s level of support. While by refusing to work with other pro-independence parties Plaid Cymru can present itself as the sole voice of Welsh independence.

As I say, despite knowing this, I was still intending to go to Caernarfon, but a few things have changed my mind.

UPDATE: I was under the impression that All Under One Banner in Scotland was run by dedicated people committed to the national cause. But it is alleged that AUOB was run by gangsters. Read Jason Michael McCann.

In the past few weeks The National has carried a number of reports of upheaval as the alleged  ‘gangsters’ have either left or been removed. All Under One Banner crunch talks as Manny Singh is suspended and All Under One Banner founder Neil Mackay resigns.

Is All Under One Banner an example worth following in Wales? Come to that, does YesCymru need All Under One Banner Cymru to organise these marches?

First, was this amazing article by Plaid leader Adam Price on the Nation.Cymru website, entitled The key to our success is unity. Despite calling for unity Price is in fact asking Plaid Cymru members to submit to the yoke of the woke. And although he’s not mentioned by name, the piece is directed at Neil McEvoy.

There are some incredible passages in this article. Here’s one that struck me, Price makes it sound like a full-blown conspiracy.

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Tell us, Adam, who compiled this ‘report’? Because I suggest the authorship is critical to its credibility. And who are these shadowy figures trying to take over Plaid Cymru?

(And Plaidistas accuse me of being a ‘conspiracy theorist’!)

Elsewhere he complains, “The regrettable reality is that we live in a time where vitriol and bile are the backdrop to politics globally.” Indeed we do, Adam; so why not have a word with former Plaid Cymru chairman and election candidate Marc Phillips, who earlier this year called me “a neanderthal prick”?

Yes, the tweet is addressed to me and not Leanne Wood. Click to enlarge

This tweet dates to the exchange I had with your predecessor, Ms Wood, in which she called me “an arsehole”. More recently, I’ve had to put up with slanders I dealt with in this post earlier in the week.

Insults like these will be cheered and retweeted by others in your party, yet you have the gall to write a piece bemoaning vitriol and bile in politics! Clearly, vitriol and bile are just fine – as long as it’s Plaid Cymru dishing it out!

Sheer fucking hypocrisy!

But then, if anyone criticises a female Plaid Cymru politician the party tries to close down debate by shouting ‘misogynist!’ Any criticism of a gay politician is homophobic, etc., etc.

Listen, Adam: Your party is now dominated by back-stabbing, intolerant hypocrites whipped up into a frenzy of self-righteousness; but they are so morally corrupt and intellectually dishonest that it could be only a matter of time before Plaid Cymru self-destructs.

Any doubts that Adam Price was referring to Neil McEvoy were dispelled when, within hours of Price’s piece appearing, Nation.Cymru’s editor, Ifan Morgan Jones, put out ‘Why Plaid Cymru’s leadership fear a Neil McEvoy takeover bid‘.

It looks increasingly like IMJ is now a mouthpiece for Plaid Cymru. In fact, the two articles look linked, as if they were planned to appear one after the other, with IMJ saying what Adam Price would rather not say.

If Ifan Morgan Jones has become Plaid’s mouthpiece then it probably explains his accusing me of anti-Semitism when I wrote about George Soros in a recent post. The fact that I never mentioned Soros’s Jewishness (because it’s irrelevant), and the fact that I am a lifelong supporter of the state of Israel, troubled him not at all.

(If you’ve a mind to, you can catch up with it here.)

Although disingenuously prefacing the list with, “It is not my place to judge what foundation there is to the accusations against him, and Neil McEvoy has publicly disputed their validity”, Ifan Morgan Jones nevertheless listed the ‘charges’.

To follow the links you’ll need to go to the article itself. Click to enlarge.

It looks damning . . . until you remember that every single one is either politically motivated or else driven by personal animus. There is nothing there that would stand up in a court of law.

But the message seems clear – Neil McEvoy will never be re-admitted to Plaid Cymru. The timing, just two days before the Caernarfon rally was no coincidence. It might even have been a warning to the eleven Plaid Cymru councillors in Gwynedd  who signed a letter in support of McEvoy, and might be planning a welcome for him on Saturday.

Perhaps it’s also confirmation that former leader Leanne Wood’s supporters are still calling the shots inside the party despite her humiliation in last year’s leadership contest.

And of course, Plaid Cymru will always do the bidding of the Labour Party. So when the First Minister’s seat is threatened by Neil McEvoy Plaid Cymru is quite happy to inflict further damage on Wales by protecting Mark Drakeford.

Another reason that the Caernarfon rally comes at a useful time for Plaid Cymru is that the party is not standing a candidate in next week’s Brecon and Radnor by-election, having stood aside as part of an anti-Brexit alliance to give one Unionist party a clear run at another Unionist party, but the plan may backfire because a third Unionist party is standing.

(God! this is worthy of Metternich.)

This noble sacrifice has not been universally welcomed in Plaid ranks. And the obsession with Brexit is testing the patience of many who voted Remain. There is a perception that independence is now low on Plaid Cymru’s ‘to do’ list.

But things could get worse. For former party leader, Lord Wigley, hints at further pacts in the event of an autumn general election.

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So marching around Caernarfon tomorrow with the YesCymru banners fluttering will be a great PR coup for a party pissing off supporters for a variety of reasons.

Because in addition to doing deals with the party that was in coalition with David Cameron and now keeps Labour in power down Corruption Bay, Plaid has become a socialist party. But this is not the socialism Welsh people are familiar with, for it owes more to Islington and US campuses than to the Fed or Gwyn Alf.

By which I mean, Plaid Cymru is obsessed with the ‘ishoos’ of the woke; it has little or nothing to offer the working class, or struggling Welsh communities.

Others ask why Plaid Cymru is silent on the colonisation of Wales, and the destruction of Welsh communities. For it seems to many that Plaid Cymru is fighting everybody’s battles but our own. While many wonder why Plaid has become a ‘Cardiff’ party, prepared to see the rest of the country lose out in so many ways.

And why is Plaid Cymru so close to Deryn Consulting, the scheming whisperers that helped Plaid’s Labour mentors hound Carl Sargeant? Is it because that’s what best suits Labour?

And then there’s Neil McEvoy . . .

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for apologies from Plaid Cymru, I’m a big boy, after all. I’m just asking for an end to the ‘vitriol and the bile’ Adam Price condemns. If you don’t agree with what I write then argue your point, or ignore me, but anything more of what we see below and I will take action.

I suggest this qualifies as ‘vitriol and bile’, also slander. Click to enlarge

I would still like to attend future independence rallies because I believe in independence today as much as I did back in the 1960s. But for that to happen All Under One Banner must become more broadly based, and it can only do that by ceasing to be Plaid Cymru by another name.

Because as things stand, I’d hate to be mistaken for a Plaid Cymru supporter.

♦ end ♦

 

Weep for Wales

OUR STORY BEGINS IN PRESTEIGNE . . .

I am indebted to an anonymous source for the basis of the tale you’re about to read. I’ve contributed some supplementary digging and a number of interpretations. The original information I received was also sent to a couple of police forces, a number of media outlets, and other agencies, but I doubt if any will act on the information, so it’s up to Jac to extend his scrawny old neck, again.

Let the story begin in the pleasant little border town of Presteigne. To be even more specific, in the Radnorshire Arms Hotel, a half-timbered building dating back to the late 16th century.

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As told to me . . . this establishment was bought in 2006, or thereabouts, by a Paul Steven Williams for a price close to £400,000. It was then leased to a succession of tenants at an unreasonably high rent, with the predictable result that none of the tenants was able to make a go of it.

The last of these unfortunates seems to have been Gianni Roberto d’Aniello of Cora Berry Hotels Ltd. A company registered in January 2014 at the Radnorshire Arms, and put into the hands of Cardiff liquidators in November of that same year.

RESCUE!

But then! when all seemed lost, this by now neglected building was sold in August 2015 for the princely (and surprising) sum of £3,487,049 to Leisure and Development Ltd, a company with an address in nearby Knighton. A company Incorporated only a few months earlier on 19 January 2015.

And it wasn’t just the Radnorshire Arms that was bought by the new company, for in June and July 2015 Leisure and Development Ltd went on a spending spree and acquired seven properties, with another two added in February 2016, one of them the Beaufort Sports and Social Club in Ebbw Vale. (To see them all click on the ‘Charges’ tab of the Companies House entry I’ve just linked to.)

The founding directors of Leisure and Development Ltd were Paul Steven Williams and his wife Rowena Claire Williams. The charge referring to a loan from NatWest Bank suggests that the Radnorshire Arms had been transferred to Mrs Williams prior to the sale to Leisure and Development Ltd (see panel below).

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UPDATE 21:52: It may be worth spelling out that the Radnorshire Arms Hotel was sold by Rowena Claire Williams to Leisure and Development Ltd (Directors: Paul Steven Williams and Rowena Claire Williams) for at least twice what the property was worth. This is very odd; I mean, how can you ‘sell’ something to yourself?

Something else that struck me about Leisure and Development Ltd was the number of changes of address it saw in such a short time. Incorporated January 2015 with an address at the Knighton Hotel, Broad Street, Knighton; then in February 2016 to just over the border in Craven Arms; in February 2017 the company re-crossed the border from Craven Arms to Plas Glynllifon, Caernarfon; and finally, in April 2018, it moved back to Craven Arms.

There’ll be more on Plas Glynllifon and other properties in north Gwynedd later. They can’t be ignored because Plas Glynllifon Ltd now owns all the shares in Leisure and Development Ltd, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you who the directors are of Plas Glynllifon Ltd. Though they have ceased to be directors of Leisure and Development Ltd.

But the Williamses still own Leisure and Development Ltd through their ownership of Plas Glynllifon Ltd. It’s one way of operating – set up a company, then set up another company, resign from the first company but retain ownership through the second, then set up a third company, resign from the second, and so ad infinitum.

The person now nominally in charge of the Leisure and Development Ltd portfolio, named on the Companies House website as “person with significant control” from 30 April 2018, is Keith Harvey Partdridge. An interesting character, Partdridge, of whom more in a short while.

Though I suspect that spelling may be a recent affectation, if not a mis-spelling, because he has previously been known by the more usual spelling of Partridge. As in Museums (Norfolk) Ltd and Health Choice Hotels Ltd, both of which appear to be dormant.

Another example of Partridge’s business acumen, or perhaps his probity, may be found with Turnholly Ltd, owing some two hundred thousand pounds to various creditors.

SO WHO’S WHO AND HOW ARE THEY CONNECTED?

Well, we’ve met Paul Steven Williams and his wife Rowena Claire Williams, and I’ve also introduced their business partner Keith Harvey Partridge. And as I suggested, Partridge has a colourful past.

From 1992 to 1997 he owned the Midlands Motor Museum in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. But towards the end of 1999 he was jailed for stealing a Bentley Azure worth over a quarter of a million pounds. In March 2008 his home was up for sale with an asking price of £2,000,000.

But the Williamses are no paragons of good business practice either. Despite being repeatedly warned they carried on advertising the Radnorshire Arms as having AA and Visit Wales ratings, until they were eventually fined £1,250 with £4,250 costs.

(Incidentally, let me make it clear that despite the name the Williamses are not Welsh. They describe themselves as ‘English’ (not British) on documents submitted to Companies House, and I’m told that Paul Williams is a particularly unsavoury Kipper.)

Paul Steven Williams and Rowena Claire Williams. Credit: Wales News Service

In terms of companies, so far we’ve encountered Leisure and Development Ltd and Plas Glynllifon Ltd, plus some of Partridge’s solo ventures. Now it’s time to list a few others, without I hope causing too much confusion.

Paul and Rowena Williams were directors of Rural Retreats and Leisure UK Ltd, also listed among the directors was their company Leisure and Development Ltd (which bought the Radnorshire Arms Hotel). Rural Retreats and Leisure UK Ltd is now run by their associate Michael Adrian Jones, with his address given as Polvellan House in Cornwall.

On April 1 Jones – who owns all the shares since they were transferred to him from Leisure and Development Ltd – made an application for Rural Retreats and Leisure UK Ltd to be voluntarily struck off, but someone objected and the strike-off has been suspended.

I understand that Rowena Williams was outraged on finding that some scallywag had pinned the notification to the front door of the Radnorshire Arms.

A similarly named company is Rural Retreats and Development Ltd, of which Paul and Rowena Williams are both still directors. Former directors were Debra Yvonne Oswald, Paul Williams’ sister, and Polvellan Manor Ltd. There are a number of Charges against this company for loans and mortgages, including one against the Fronoleu Country Hotel at Tabor, just outside Dolgellau.

The mortgages, or more likely second mortgages, are with Together Commercial Finance Ltd, which seems to offer the commercial equivalent of pay day loans to those who find it difficult to raise money anywhere else.

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Turning to Partridge, since his release from prison he has formed a number of companies called Coast 2 Coast. There’s Coast 2 Coast Land Ltd, Coast 2 Coast Shores Ltd, Coast 2 Coast Developments Ltd, Coast 2 Coast Resorts Ltd, and Coast 2 Coast Care Ltd. The last of them is now dissolved but was formerly known as Coast 2 Coast Leisure, with Gwynedd directors following the change of name.

I find this last entry intriguing because it suggests an attempt by Partridge to break into the granny farming racket in Gwynedd.

WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT TOURISM?

I’ve already mentioned Plas Glynllifon, but the Williamses and/or Partridge also own Seiont Manor, Plas Brereton and Plas Tŷ Coch.

Plas Glynllifon has a chequered recent history. You may recall a few years ago someone trying to market it as ‘Wynnborn’. That previous owner was Gavin Lee Woodhouse, a spiv from Yorkshire. I wrote about Woodhouse in English Tourism in the Colony of Wales and Colonial Investments. (Paul and Rowena Williams also got a mention.)

After pissing people off in Caernarfon and beyond with his insulting ‘Wynnborn’ nonsense Woodhouse seems to have sold out to the Williamses and turned his gaze south. After linking up with Bore Grylls and then – to give the project some credibility – Peter Moore, former MD of Center Parcs, he unveiled the Afan Valley Adventure Resort.

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Quite an ambitious undertaking for a man who was then six million quid in debt, but the ‘Welsh’ Government gave the trio everything they wanted – land, planning permission, infrastructure, money, you name it.

It’s impossible to know what the future holds for the four properties around Caernarfon, we can only be guided by the record of those who now own these fine old buildings. And that record is not encouraging.

A FEW WORRYING FACTS

Since April 16 the Radnorshire Arms in Presteigne has been closed. On Monday 16 April staff were told by Paul Williams that Leisure and Development Ltd – comprising seven pubs, hotels, restaurants – had been sold to Coast 2 Coast and was being ‘re-branded’.

In other words, convicted thief Keith Harvey Partridge had somehow managed to raise“more than £10 million pounds” Williams claimed the deal was worth. Partridge whose companies are either in debt or mere shells.

On Sunday April 22 Partridge appeared in person at the Radnorshire Arms to tell staff that all the company’s establishments would be closed for 6 – 8 weeks for refurbishment. Staff were being laid off but could reapply for their jobs later. Over 70 staff were affected at the various locations.

Nothing has since been done to the Radnorshire Arms, and no planning application has been submitted. The building has instead been gutted and left to decay. There are broken windows and slates have fallen into the street. This, remember, is a 16th century, Grade II listed building.

In saying that the Radnorshire Arms has been “gutted”, what I mean is that it has been stripped of everything that can be sold off. The panel below is taken from the latest accounts for Leisure & Development Ltd submitted to Companies House at the end of April. Or rather, the unaudited financial statement.

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You’ll see that between 1 February 2017 and 31 January 2018 almost seven million pounds worth of plant and machinery plus fixtures and fittings somehow slipped off the balance sheet. Leaving the companies assets confined to freehold property, in other words, mere structures, decaying structures, all of them mortgaged and re-mortgaged, and perhaps overvalued.

Earlier I mentioned Polvellan Manor in West Looe, Cornwall, now owned by Polvellan Manor Ltd. On April 1 Paul and Rowena Williams transferred the 5000 shares they each owned to Keith Partdridge. They ceased to be directors on the same day, leaving Partdridge in sole control.

Polvellan Manor is another fine building that has been gutted and left to rot by Paul Williams, Rowena Williams, Keith Partridge and the rest of the gang. Cornwall Live featured Polvellan Manor in March this year, when it was listed among, “23 derelict buildings in Cornwall at risk of disappearing forever”.  

Paul Holden, chair of the Cornish Buildings Group, told the CL reporter, “We have applied unsuccessfully to get the building listed, the rejection notice said that much of the historic interior had been lost.” I wonder where the interior could have gone? Did it just walk out the door?

The Fronoleu Country Hotel, just outside Dolgellau, is now closed, just like Polvellan Manor and the Radnorshire Arms. So is the Beaufort Sports and Social Club in Ebbw Vale. I guarantee that most if not all of the properties owned by this gang are closed. What sort of business can this be?

And here’s a thought . . . has anyone from Cyngor Gwynedd or the ‘Welsh’ Government been inside Plas Glynllifon lately?

Another thought; by stripping and neglecting these buildings the gang is almost certainly breaking the conditions of the loans and mortgages, the conditions that insist these buildings be properly maintained and looked after. Intact.

And what do the insurers think of this behaviour?

UPDATE 14.06.2018: Here are the letters received by the staff at the Radnorshire Arms Hotel and the other establishments owned by Rural Retreats and Leisure Ltd. The first from Rowena Williams of RRL and the second from Keith Partridge of Coast 2 Coast. (Here in pdf format.)

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According to these letters the deal was done 1 February, so why did it take eight weeks to inform the staff?

Note how optimistic Rowena Williams sounds, “At the moment we do not have any more information that (sic) what we have shared with you except that they (Coast 2 Coast) want to move quickly in order to be open for the summer period”.

But the Williamses have been dealing with Partridge for years, and they knew exactly what the plan was.

And as for the “summer period”, well, it’s mid June, Whitsun has come and gone, and in the northern hemisphere it is now definitely summer . . . but the Radnorshire Arms Hotel and the other establishments remain firmly closed, with no sign of them opening any time soon.

How could anyone ever trust these people?

COUNT THE SPOONS!

You’ll have noticed that Paul and Rowena Williams and their sidekick Partridge buy property almost indiscriminately, and then they just strip them to the bare bones and let the buildings deteriorate.

This is because they have no interest in actually running hotels. The racket is to buy a property, with a loan or a mortgage; announce a big investment, lots of jobs; then strip the building of anything valuable; sell it on within the gang at an inflated price (or simply transfer it); dissolve indebted companies; pull down whatever grants are available, use these grants and new loans to service old loans; while paying yourself handsomely behind this fog of deceit.

With all the debts accrued, this is a house of cards. Collapse must surely be imminent.

Consequently, to have any dealings with these people would be foolish. To give them money would be insane. And yet, this is what I’m told has happened, and probably explains why they’ve moved their operations to Wales. For it’s claimed the gang has already received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the ‘Welsh’ Government, with more in the pipeline.

I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to Visit Wales, but I have already been told that the Radnorshire Arms received a grant of £370,000, plus a smaller grant; while the Knighton Hotel (formerly Norton Hotel) received an even larger grant.

God knows how much they’re getting, or anticipate getting, from their foray into Gwynedd.

In case anyone is in doubt, let me make it absolutely clear: These people are liars, chisellers, scammers, asset-strippers, con men, crooks; so cut off all public funding immediately and demand repayment of what they have already received; insist on a thorough inspection of the buildings they ‘own’; and then refer them to the police. 

Weep for Wales that we keep attracting people like these, scavengers drawn to a fallen beast. A once noble beast brought down by a colonial system that will always favour strangers, and exploitation; a system that will never encourage native initiative lest it gives us ideas about our place in the great scheme of things.

This system, and those who promote and operate it, must be swept away. Do that and I won’t have to write about Paul and Rowena Williams, Keith Partridge, Bore Grylls, Gavin Woodhouse and the occupying army of which they are just a small detachment.

♦ end ♦