Back to the Land!

After taking August off (and enjoying the break) I’m back to report on an event planned for later this month.

In fact, I enjoyed the break so much, and found writing this such hard going, that it might be a while before the next piece appears.

HOW IT BEGAN

A couple of weeks ago someone sent me news of a gathering to be held in the Community Centre, Knighton, on September 17, when many of us will be nursing hangovers from celebrating Glyndŵr’s Day.

Knighton Community Centre has been mentioned on this blog before, after falling into the clutches of white settler Labour activists; who now wage war on local farmers, welcome refugees to an area where they themselves are not universally welcome, and generally play latter-day left liberal colonialists.

For no longer is it Bible and bullets, now it’s saving us through a combination of uplifting sermons from the Rev Monbiot and those organic thingeys they eat at Felicity’s aerobic knife-throwing class.

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But I digress.

To expose the dishonesty behind this event I shall go through those named as being involved before concluding with . . . well, my conclusions. What else?

CAMPAIGN FOR THE PROTECTION OF RURAL WALES (CPRW)

Let’s start with some background. The CPRW has been pootling along for almost a century as a charity, but now things are changing. Most significantly, with the formation of a company in late May this year.

Though I’m assured there’s no significance to this other than the trustees ensuring they are not personally bankrupted by legal action against the CPRW.

Which also means that, at the moment, the CPRW has two charities with the same name registered with the Charity Commission. One will soon be closed.

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Previous CPRW presidents have included politician Megan Lloyd George and BBC broadcaster Wynford Vaughan Thomas. Clough Williams Ellis, of Portmeirion fame, was also deeply involved for many years as both chairman and president.

The current president of the CPRW is TV celeb Jules Hudson, who is believed to live in Herefordshire. Possibly Hertfordshire. But definitely not Wales. He’s famous for programmes like Escape to the Country and Countryfile.

In his favour, he has a Labrador called Iolo.

The chair of the Brecon & Radnor branch is Jonathan Halsey Luke Colchester, who has recently moved to Clyro. From where he runs his company, Courtenay Advisers Ltd.

I am informed by a very reliable source that the Brecon & Radnor branch of the CPRW is particularly hostile towards farmers.

That being so, why is the local CPRW branch organising a bash with the title ‘Welsh Food & Farming’? The answer to that question will become clear as you read on.

There are farmers, and there are farmers.

THE FERTILE CRESCENT

One of the CPRW’s recent recruits is associated with another new outfit, Friends of the Upper Wye (FUW), registered with the Charity Commission in March this year. (Though I’m assured she’s an admirable and well-intentioned lady.)

This will no doubt complement the Wye & Usk Foundation (WUF) which is about a lot more than just angling. The WUF is based in Talgarth, close to Coleg Soros.

Over the years the WUF has received millions in funding from or via the ‘Welsh Government’, much of it handed over by an official whose attitude to money might have been compared by my dear mamgu to that of an inebriated seafarer.

An amazing episode, with apparently no oversight whatsoever. It is even suggested that some favoured bodies didn’t even need to make an application – it was a case of, “Would you like some more money?”

OK, so it’s not exactly a crescent, but did I ever claim to be an artist? Click to open enlarged in separate tab

For the Fertile Crescent formed by the Usk and the Wye is something of a magnet for those seeking to save us benighted natives from ourselves. And for others with even less noble intent.

There’s yet another organisation, formed last year, in the Welsh Rivers Union (WRU), based on the Usk at Llanvihangel Gobion. This claims to be a collective of ‘citizen-funded’ community groups defending our rivers.

If it gets airborne it will be made up of the usual ‘community groups’ composed of people who were living somewhere else not so long ago.

Though as yet, it’s not registered as either a company or a charity. It may be just a website, and a Twitter account.

Oh, I almost forgot Afonydd Cymru Cyf, also based in Talgarth. Where income from government grants leapt like a returning salmon from £10,000 in 2018 to £894,704 in 2020.

Afonydd Cymru’s chair is Viscount Christopher Mills, of Kensington, who served as regional director of the Environment Agency in Wales (before the creation of Natural Resources Wales). Among the trustees is Joe Pimblett, CEO of the Severn Rivers Trust, based in Worcestershire.

When it comes to the Fertile Crescent even the Blesséd Monbiot has made a film, Rivercide (what a wit!), in which one of the supporting cast was Lesley Griffiths (sans Gary), and she reminded us that no matter what the facts may say, it’s always farmers wot we must blame.

St George thought the culprits were chickens, which appear at number 2, after humans, in his forthcoming opus, ‘Species To Be Exterminated If We Are To Save The Planet’. (Chickens have apparently deposed sheep in Monbiot’s demonography.)

Why this obsession with the Usk and the Wye? Is it because they’re close to Bristol? Or is their cross-border nature, demanding ‘co-operation’, the attraction?

Of course, there are rivers within Wales in far worse condition than the Wye and the Usk, so why are these ignored? Three reasons, perhaps.

First, these other rivers run through more populated areas with few stretches of open country attractive to those in search of a rural idyll, or intent on ‘habitat restoration’ (aka ‘rewilding’).

Second, while there may be areas meeting the criteria further west, there the Welsh language would be a consideration. And after the resistance to Summit to Sea the land-grabbers are wary of getting another bloody nose.

Third, they are entirely within Wales.

Never lose sight of the fact that for many, water quality is a stalking-horse, used against farmers so as to free up their land for other purposes. And the ‘Welsh Government’ wholeheartedly supports this agenda.

UPDATE: Here’s a recent example of pollution on the Wye that clearly has nothing to do with farmers.

LOCAL GROWERS AND FARMERS

A source informs me that the ‘local grower’ is the bloke from the organic food shop in Knighton, where you buy the knobbly carrots and the misshapen parsnips. Ach y fi!

(Though there may be others attending, more deserving of the billing.)

As for the ‘local farmers’, it seems these will both come from Herefordshire, which may be fairly local to Knighton (/Tref y Clawdd) but are not, unless we want to be irredentist about this, Welsh.

More pragmatically, whether we view Herefordshire as the ‘lost lands’ or not, the area will not be affected by any legislation or initiatives emanating from Corruption Bay.

Even so, to help give a fuller flavour of the event, I’ll tell you who they are.

One is ‘RegenBen’, of Townsend Farm, near Ross-on-Wye. Which, as the name suggests, is on the River Wye. Ben is a director of the Oxford Farming Conference, an organisation I’m told represents big landowners, yeoman farmers and the like.

(I was also told that a famous Welsh farmer went there to speak a few years ago, and has never felt more out of place.)

The makeup of the Oxford Farming Conference probably explains why a rival was set up in 2010 called the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

From what I can see the older body caters for those with inherited land while the upstart is more attractive for Greens looking to get their hands on someone else’s land. I wouldn’t be comfortable with either.

The other ‘local farmer’ is from ‘Wild by Nature’, of Lower House farm, just over the border from Llanthoney, close to Llanveynoe. (These corrupted spellings!)

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Looking at a map I see that both of them are close to the border, but neither is particularly ‘local’ to Knighton. The first is roughly 45 miles away, the second almost 50.

I suspect that both have been invited because they are well-connected, and have diversified into ‘artisanal’ food produce and other activities.

The Rhug Estate model, if you like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stopped many times at the Rhug restaurant and shop, and like some urchin from a Dickens novel gazed at goodies I can’t afford.

Rhug Estate shop. Click to open enlarged in separate tab

Though ‘farm shop’ really is a misnomer. It suggests Mrs Evans in a shed at the bottom of the farm drive selling goods cheaper by cutting out the middle man. In reality it’s a place where the price of everything is marked up.

Few locals can afford to shop there. That’s why the Rhug ‘farm shop’ is on the A5.

Even so, I’m sure a farm shop can be a nice little earner, and so I wasn’t surprised to learn that ‘Wild by Nature’ already has one. While RegenBen’s website tells us: ‘Our plans are to share the fruits of our labour by opening a farm shop’.

There are of course some excellent farm shops in Wales. One is Bargoed Farm / The Moody Cow, near Aberaeron, run by the former owners of Gilestone Farm, and visited very recently by Conservative Senedd leader Andrew R T Davies MS.

But how many farm shops can Wales support?

SOIL ASSOCIATION

The Soil Association, headquartered in Bristol, is another of those English organisations that recognises the existence of Scotland, but not Wales. We, presumably, are part of England.

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The Soil Association is registered as both a company and a charity. And with an annual income of over £23m it is no shoestring outfit. Of course the Scottish Soil Association is registered separately in Scotland.

In addition, there is The Soil Association Land Trust ‘established to acquire and maintain farmland sustainably’. Which might be worth bearing in mind, and could explain The Soil Association’s interest in Wales, a country I’m sure it will quickly recognise if the ‘Welsh Government’ offers to buy it a farm.

NATURE FRIENDLY FARMING NETWORK

The company of that name was launched in July 2018. Though there has been quite a turnover of directors in the four years since then. Of the eight original directors, five have left, including two who were obviously Welsh.

NFFN has an impressive website, telling us of a Welsh Steering Group, with two group members serving as directors.

Here’s a page giving some responses from the Welsh Steering Group to the ‘Welsh Government’s Sustainable Farming Scheme that emerged in July.

Hilary Kehoe, the Chair, mentions the ‘changing climate’. Rhys Evans thinks the ‘devil will be in the detail’. But Hywel Morgan was ecstatic. I was not surprised to learn that Hywel is involved with the ‘Welsh Government’s Farming Connect scheme.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network is looking to hire a £29,000 a year Communications Officer. Having recently recruited a Farmer Engagement Officer on the same salary. But who’s funding these posts?

For the financial situation is not impressive. I appreciate that it’s a company limited by guarantee, but even so, I would have expected to see more than £69 in the kitty. Which is what the latest accounts (to y/e 30.06.2021) show.

Yes, NFFN has assets of £199,317, but this sum is exceeded by money owed to creditors.

On the ‘Nature Means Business‘ page we read: ‘Right now, farm businesses are facing a multitude of challenges: climate change, unpredictable weather patterns, changes to future farm payment schemes and adjusting to new consumer demands’.

To prioritise ‘climate change’ (when it’s becoming clear that climate change has been – at the very least – exaggerated), and then virtually repeat it with ‘unpredictable weather patterns’, before mentioning farm payments, is revealing.

With no mention at all of the threat from mandatory afforestation, farms being bought for greenwashing, and restrictions applied by politicians and administrations that are blatantly anti-farming.

These priorities are evident throughout the website. The image below is from the Fund Us page. And again it’s ‘climate in crisis’, ‘wildlife declining’, ‘habitats being lost’.

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The Nature Friendly Farming Network seems to be an environmental organisation that recruits farmers. There’s nothing wrong with that, farmers care deeply about the environment that provides livelihoods for them and their families.

But it’s a question of priorities. The first of which has to be supporting farmers – who will then look after the environment

STUMP UP FOR TREES

This organisation has appeared on this blog a number of times, so I won’t dwell on it again.

Based in Abergavenny Stump up for Trees is a greenwash outfit. It’s registered as a charity, and one of the three trustees is Richard James Roderick, who farms next to Gilestone.

By ‘greenwashing’ I mean that SUFT ‘saves the planet’ by planting trees in order for companies to offset their perceived ‘carbon footprint’, which allows them to go on putting out carbon. Its major partner seems to be Utility Warehouse.

Nonsense predicated on there being a ‘climate emergency’ (there isn’t); carbon being damaging to the environment (it’s not); and replacing agricultural land with sterile, monoculture pine forests making sense (it doesn’t).

Even so, Stump up for Trees seems to be well-regarded in Corruption Bay among the connoisseurs, practitioners and dispensers of flim-flam, bullshit, propaganda and other means of deceiving poor old Dai Public.

ABATTOIR SECTOR GROUP

This is yet another organisation based in Bristol and set up as recently as 2020. Though it’s not registered as either a company or a charity because it’s an offshoot of the Sustainable Food Trust.

The ABS is dedicated to keeping smaller, rural abattoirs open, and what carnivore (bares fangs!) could argue with that?

Parent body, the Sustainable Food Trust, is an international organisation with a wider remit to support ‘sustainable farming’. By which I assume that it seeks to avoid the wrath of the swivel-eyed with a modified kind of farming that’s less damaging to Mother Earth.

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It is, as I say, based in Bristol, and I see no mention of Wales on the website. The only Welsh connection I can find is founder Patrick Holden, an organic dairy farmer from the Lampeter area.

Holder is a founder of Sustainable Food Trust and current CEO. He was a former director of the Soil Association.

OUR FOOD

You may need to pay attention with this one. For just as with the previous section we have an organisation operating under a different label. There’s even a third label.

Let’s start with the Our Food website. Scroll down and you’ll read: A project of the Conservation Farming Trust Company Number 10823532′. Which the Companies House website confirms as the number for Conservation Farming Trust.

On the Our Food website we also read: ‘This website was built with support from Monmouthshire County Council, the Brecon Beacons National Park, and the Welsh Government. It is part of a process to build a new campaign in the region to secure 1200 acres for regenerative horticulture for local markets.’

The Our Food 1200 website confirms that the figure refers to the acreage the new organisation hopes to be given. At the time of writing 24 acres had been donated. Though, in fairness, Our Food 1200 was only launched in January. It’s registered as a Community Benefit Company.

Let’s go back to the parent organisation, Conservation Farming Trust. The registered office address is in London, and the three directors live in Ireland (1) and England (2). So no Welsh connections there.

And yet, it seems the only funding Our Food gets is from Welsh sources.

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This funding is presumably justified because Our Food 1200 is looking for Welsh land to be donated. This looks very much like One Planet Developments rebranded. (I’m sure I read a reference to ‘OPD’ on the website.)

As with OPDs, those we’ll find on these over-sized allotments are unlikely to be local. So why are we funding it?

And is it a safe bet? I ask because a driving force behind it all seems to be Duncan Mark Fisher, who serves as both secretary and a member of Our Food 1200. Companies House suggests Fisher’s business record is ‘patchy’, to say the least.

The Conservation Farming Trust may have no connection with Wales, but Our Land, and certainly Our Land 1200, are trying to put down roots. Maybe they’re hoping someone will buy them a farm!

More planet-savers promoting climate hysteria, with the ‘Welsh Government’ and others happy to go along with this exploitative, colonialist nonsense.

LANDWORKERS’ ALLIANCE

What you’ve read thus far has been unadulterated, unsubstantiated and unconvincing bullshit (however sincere some of those promoting it), but this final section outdoes it all. For we are now with the horny-handed sons of toil, straight out of The Grapes of Wrath.

Or those who would imagine themselves so to be.

For I now direct your attention to the Landworkers’ Alliance. Scroll down and you’ll see that this crew aligns itself with the International Peasants Movement. (I’m afraid I let my membership lapse.)

When you join you get given a pitchfork and the addresses of local landlords. (Bastards!)

When Dominic and Eugenie re-imagine themselves as peasants you know you’ve gone so far down the rabbit-hole that you run the risk of being shot by an Australian farmer.

And doesn’t it count as cultural appropriation?

The Landworkers’ Alliance was formed in 2015, and has its registered address in Dorset. Here’s the Companies House entry.

The ‘accounts’ – as with all the outfits I’ve dealt with here – are vague, being little more than unaudited statements. Though I can tell you that the latest such statement (y/e 30.09.2020) gives assets at £151,507 (previous year £66,523). But with no indication of where the money came from.

It would also appear to be a Woke organisation. For which we should be thankful, because trans peasants are never far from my thoughts. (I hope it’s the same for you!)

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The directors are resident in England and Scotland with the exceptions of Katharine Anne McEvoy and Gerald Davies Miles, both residents of Pembrokeshire. The former seems to live in Newport, with the latter to be found at Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture (COCA), near St David’s.

I feel a tear well in old Jac’s eye, for we may finally have found a genuine Welsh farmer! Though whether he’ll be in Knighton is another matter.

Looking briefly at the ‘accounts’ for COCA, or rather, the ‘statement of financial position’, we see a paltry £3,154 for y/e 31.03.2022.

I suspect that COCA is a virtue-signalling side-line, with Caerhys farm itself run as a commercial – if organic – agricultural business, including bed & breakfast.

But the irony.

We have sought for centuries to escape being peasants, in our own country; now we face an invasion of land-hungry Green-Left-Woke carrot-growing poseurs wanting to play at being peasants . . . in our country.

CONCLUSION

The sad truth is that farmers have been badly treated under devolution. And it’s happened in identifiable stages.

It began in 1999 with Labour taking control of the new Assembly. A Labour Party in which too many saw farmers as landowners, and therefore capitalists. Though anyone who can lump together a struggling Welsh hill farmer and the Duke of Westminster really does have a problem.

This encouraged others to join in. I’m thinking now of the environmentalists, the planet savers. Though all too often it was their own interests, and the interests of their cronies, that were being served, not those of the planet.

Chief among them was Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing from 2007 to 2011. When her Labour Party was in coalition with Plaid Cymru.

Davidson, a wealthy and privately-educated Englishwoman, was determined to impose her will on us, for the benefit of others like her, no matter what the cost. To us.

Thanks to Davidson we saw TAN 6 in July 2010, the ‘Hippies’ Charter’, which allows English drop-outs to build what they like, where they like.

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In January 2014, Alun Davies, the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, announced that 15% of CAP funding would in future be transferred from Pillar One (i.e. farmers) to Pillar 2 (rural development projects).

‘Rural Development Projects’ means those self-serving ‘community’ schemes dreamed up by Jane Davidson’s friends that benefit no one else.

Wales was further blessed, just a year later, with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Here you see the Act’s objectives, with my comments.

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This legislation is another example of the Left window dressing a looted store (after inciting the looters with talk of ‘victimhood’ and ensuring the police didn’t get involved.)

Bullshit dreamed up to please enviroshysters and pressure groups. Which has achieved nothing for us Welsh. But it allows the ‘Welsh Government’ to say: ‘We were the first government in the world . . . ‘.

And that, for our politicians, is all that really matters.

More recently, we saw Lesley Griffiths (and Gary), introduce legislation to curb pollution of Welsh waterways. This problem is localised, and there are many culprits, including water companies.

But Lesley (and Gary) pretended to believe that the problem is national, and that farmers are solely to blame.

If you believe that traditional farming methods contribute to anthropogenic global warming, then the sensible approach would have been to sit down with farmers and work out a better way forward.

Instead, and from the outset, Labour politicians chose vilification, lies, confrontation, punishment.

An approach that becomes inconsistent, even sinister, when we think again about Knighton on the 17th. Where ‘Welsh Government’ representatives will be rubbing shoulders with lots of . . . well, farmers.

Clearly, the ‘Welsh Government’ has no problem with farmers as such, so perhaps the problem is only with Welsh farmers.

♦ end ♦

 

© Royston Jones 2022


Tourism or Survival; Wales Must Choose

My intention was to start winding down this blog, spend more time with my wife, grand-children, books, Malbec . . . but things keep cropping up. That said, it’s very unlikely I shall undertake major new investigations. Diolch yn fawr.

I had planned a Miscellany this week, but then realised that all but one of the items was on tourism. So I dropped that one item – about a bunch of good-lifers pretending to be local and demanding funding so they can live on Gower – and I’ve gone for a selection of pieces on tourism.

FERODO / ‘AWEL Y FENAI’

It seems like a different world when a small town like Caernarfon could have a factory employing over 1,000 people, but it wasn’t so long ago. And there were other employers in our smaller towns.

In the south west there were big creameries making use of the locally-produced milk. These creameries closed and nowadays that milk is shipped over the border, providing thousands of jobs in England.

As an example of colonialist exploitation it’s on a par with Cuban tobacco leaf being shipped ‘home’ to Spain to be made into ‘Cuban’ cigars.

But I digress.

After a change of ownership and name, labour disputes, and other problems, the old Ferodo factory eventually closed for good some twenty years ago.

The Ferodo plant in its hey-day. Click to open in separate tab.

New plans for the site were announced just over 2 years ago, and you can catch up with my article here (scroll down) before pushing on to get up to speed with the latest news.

A number of sources have kept me updated, so let’s see what they have to report.

And where better to begin than by looking at the planning application, which is for:

 'Development of a holiday and leisure park to include 173 holiday lodges; 51 new-build holiday apartments; change of use of building to 4 holiday apartments; a leisure hub building; re-configuration and renovation of industrial units; provision of a private water treatment plant; and, associated car parking, landscaping, access and internal access roads.'

We can also see that the plan covers not only the old Ferodo site but also Plas Brereton. And if that sounds familiar, then it’s probably because Paul and Rowena Williams of Plas Glynllifon fame were talking of buying the place.

Go on, you know you want to – take a trip down Memory Lane.

Just over a week ago the developer, Mr Peter Brendan Gerrard O’Dowd, was promising untold benefits to the area from his Gwel y Fenai project. But planners seemed unconvinced, on a number of issues, including the impact on the Welsh language.

Speaking for Mr O’Dowd, agent Rhys Davies, of Cadnant Planning, promised the site would have bilingual signage. Wow!

Though, in fairness, planners had many more reservations about this project than just language impact. Which explains why it was rejected by councillors on Monday.

Though you’ll see from the report that a number of councillors spoke up in support of the project, or else urged planners to continue discussions with Mr O’Dowd. I fear that some councillors in Gwynedd have reached a point where they genuinely believe that low pay, low skill, tourism jobs are the best our people can – or should – aspire to.

I hope I’m wrong.

Another source, who worked at Ferodo, reminds me that one reason the site has lain empty for so long is the asbestos. Either still in situ, or else in the sealed tip on site. Though this source sees no real problem with building on adequately sealed asbestos tips:

'With a cover of several feet depth of inert material and soil, mobile homes or lodges could safely stand on top of the tip as no noxious gases would be generated by the buried material.'

This source’s concerns focus on where the money for the investment is coming from. So let’s give this some thought.

O’Dowd is a property speculator. If we look at his Maybrook company we see assets of over £11m pounds. Which looks fine. But most of the £11m is accounted for by property he’s bought with loans. The rest could be explained by overvaluing that property.

The 11 loans taken out before December 2017 have all been repaid. Most of these loans were with banks you and I would recognise. Since then, there have been 7 further loans, but none after October 2018. And these loans are with less recognisable institutions.

The two most recent loans were taken out with Together Commercial Finance of Manchester, who got in so deep and lost so much with Paul and Rowena Williams. You may remember that Together also funded the purchase of Llangefni Shire Hall.

In fact, Together has appeared on this blog a number of times, invariably associated with rather iffy companies and individuals. It’s a lender of last resort, where you go when banks turn you down.

In fact, Together may be worthy of investigation itself.

The suggestion is that Mr O’Dowd is over-reaching himself with this £70m+ project, because it’s impossible to see where the money will come from.

To progress this project, Bryn Coch Ltd was formed. As far as I can see, all the shares are owned by O’Dowd’s other company, Maybrook Investments Ltd. Bryn Coch’s only asset appears to be the Ferodo site, for which it paid 195,000 + VAT.

(But not all the site is owned by Bryn Coch Ltd. Go to the plan on the title document I’ve just linked to and you’ll see that part of the site is covered by title number WA965076. Here is the relevant title document.)

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Yet in the latest accounts, Mr O’Dowd values that land at £5.4m. And it might be worth that, with planning permission. But it doesn’t have planning permission, and without it that land is worth no more than the £195,000 + VAT that was paid for it.

Maybe less.

I suspect Mr O’Dowd may not be alone in this venture. There may be associates yet to be identified. Until we know the full story, planning permission should be rejected. And even if the project does become more transparent, the planners’ objections remain valid.

And those objections will not be overcome by the magnanimous gesture of bilingual signs in a town where 85% of the population speaks Welsh.

Before moving on, I just want to touch on Mr O’Dowd’s new companies, and his other holdings in Gwynedd.

Maybrook Investments Ltd has two holdings on Penamser Road in Porthmadog. (The Pwllheli road.) Title numbers CYM135945, CYM255694. One is the old Gelert outdoor clothing unit, the other, nearby land.

Then, through new company, Lendline (NW) Ltd, Peter O’Dowd owns Parciau Farm – or part of it – which lies just across the A487 from the old Ferodo site. Lendline is owned by Maybrook Investments.

Finally, moving to Bangor, we find that another new company, Maybrook Investments (Parc Menai) Ltd, owns land either side of Penrhos Road, close by the A487, and not far from the A55 Expressway.

Land in two parcels: one to the south west of Graig House, Capel y Graig, title number WA533768; and the other to the west of Nant y Mount, Vaynol Park, title number CYM71442.

I can’t help wondering what has attracted Peter O’Dowd to Gwynedd. And why he’s bought the land he’s bought. Does he know something we don’t?

Or someone?

CARRY ON GLAMPING

There was a Twitter dispute last week with the owners of a new glamping venture near Pwllheli. I got roped in and found myself blocked by the proprietors of Brook Cottage Shepherd Huts.

As you might have guessed, the spat was over that toe-curlingly twee English name.

Also, that the venture got a £50,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales. I mean, Wales doesn’t already have enough glamping sites? Those involved couldn’t have raised the money they needed from Barclays or some other bank?

The two behind this exciting venture are Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow, who were previously in the fine arts business according to this piece from NorthWalesLive. Their ignorance of Wales would seem to be exposed by their belief that Welsh shepherds lived in glamping sheds.

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The company involved in this exciting venture at Y Ffor is Brook Cottage Holidays Ltd, formed just over a year ago. The two directors and shareholders are, as we would expect, Gooders and Barrow. On the Certificate of Incorporation both describe themselves defiantly as ‘English’.

I mention this because most people use ‘British’. I would obviously describe myself as ‘Welsh’, but it’s often the Ukip types who go with ‘English’.

But this is not their first company.

Let’s go back to what I wrote earlier, and the quote in NorthWalesLive, that said:

'Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow both have a background in fine art and wanted to put this and a passion for nature into redeveloping land near their new home at Y Ffor, near Pwllheli.'

But that’s not the full story. There are other recent companies that have nothing to do with ‘fine art’.

Certainly, Gooders and Barrow ran a company called Framers (London) Ltd, and Barrow may even have had a small gallery. Though Mark Barrow Fine Art (formerly Modern British Artists) seems to have folded. Certainly, the Twitter account hasn’t been used for a few years.

What really interests me is that Jonathan Gooders has been involved in a number of companies that have nothing to do with fine art, and all of which were dissolved around the time they moved to Wales. Three on the same day!

Barrow was also involved in at least one. Here they are:

Doesn’t inspire confidence does it?

This glittering business record might explain why Jonathan Gooders and Mark Barrow couldn’t get a loan from a ‘High Street’ bank. (Remember them?) It should also have been the reason why the Development Bank of Wales turned them down.

So I just hope that the £50,000 of our money is safe. But even if it is, don’t expect it to create any jobs.

But rest easy – for they have a wealth of experience in tourism and glamping.

TOURISM MAKING LIFE DIFFICULT FOR LOCALS

Now it’s time to move south, to Carmarthenshire, land of my great-grandfathers. And to be precise, to Cydweli (Kidwelly), which lies between the county’s two metropolises of Carmarthen and Llanelli.

An interesting town in many ways. Let me explain.

Something I’ve noticed over the past 50 years or so is that in rural areas the Labour Party is now almost entirely dependent for members and active supporters on people who’ve moved in. Invariably from England.

An example would be the we-know-best harridans trying to take over Knighton in Powys and dictate to everyone else.

Which might make Cydweli the most westerly community in Wales where the Labour Party is still native-run, just. But even here, in recent years the thinning ranks have been swelled by an influx of Guardian-reading know-alls who feel Cydweli can’t manage without their input.

Back to the narrative.

Earlier, when discussing plans for the old Ferodo site in Caernarfon, I suggested that some councillors may have given up on their communities seeing any jobs better than those provided by tourism. And that’s what might have happened in Cydweli.

For the Labour gang controlling Kidwelly Community Hub CIC has been handed £270,000 by the ‘Welsh Government’ for the ‘Black Cat Tourism Strategy’.

This seeks to ‘grow the visitor economy’ – at any price.

The no-expense-spared launch of Kidwelly’s Black Cat tourism strategy. Click to open in separate tab

The Black Cat project lead is Suki Baynton, who recently arrived from the Cynon Valley, where I’m told she was Contaminated Land Officer for Rhondda Cynon Taf council. She was certainly Property Manager for Ashfield Solutions for a while.

We see Suki in the above picture, on the right, in the red coat.

Suki has also launched her own company, Room Publishing Ltd. The website tells me it’s a load of New Age bollocks; but then, I’m a cynical old bastard who grew up in the real world.

Back to Cydweli, and the growing problems being experienced by locals as the county council and others seek to ‘grow the visitor economy’. (Why not just be honest and say, ‘We want lots more tourists’?)

For, clearly, tourists visiting the holiday homes and the Airbnb rents in this rather cramped old town are going to cause parking and other problems. Sure enough, this is what’s happening, and it’s pissing off the locals.

As my source puts it – ‘This is what happens when a Plaid Cymru council (Carmarthenshire) prioritises tourism and starts closing Welsh medium schools in surrounding villages.’

To help you make sense of what else he has to say I suggest you open this Google map of the town. Now read on . . .

'THE CASTLE AREA

There’s a cluster of holiday rentals inside the town walls of Bailey Street and Castle Street and Cadw have installed a barrier stopping parking to the little car park next to the castle. 
This has resulted in lots of tourist parking on New Street, the main through road. Residents, when they arrive home from work, are finding the free parking outside their homes occupied by visitors (sometimes with trailers of kayaks and jet-skis). So residents have been parking of the pavements and double yellows causing obstruction or getting parking tickets.

GLANYRAFON

There is a free car park at Glanyrafon (the overflow) which has been used by residents for many years. Now there is a plan to build a new grant funded museum next to it, on the nature reserve. This is the ‘History Shed’ relocated from Laugharne, a kind of WW2 Spitfires and gas masks hobby attraction. 
The adjacent car park, which has been free to residents, will now be paid parking, reserved for visitors. Residents of Bridge Street and New Street will lose their free parking.

PARC PENDRE

Carmarthenshire Country Council intends to close two schools. Ysgol Gymraeg Gwenllian in Station Road within the town and also Ysgol Gymraeg Mynyddygarreg in the nearby village (where children from Trimsaran also attend). It is to be replaced by a new consolidated school at Parc Pendre within the town behind the Coop. 
It’s anticipated there will be parking chaos due to the school run. Parents dropping off the kids to attend school arriving by car from further up the Gwendraeth valleys. This was anticipated in the plans and is to be mitigated with ‘enhanced parking controls.’ 
This involves new double yellows in Parc Pendre and a residential parking scheme in surrounding streets. Residents will be charged £30pa for a permit.'

Without recourse to a crystal ball, tea leaves, or seaweed (great-aunt Fastidia’s favourite), I can confidently predict Cydweli’s future . . . properties will be bought up by ‘investors’, coming from that enchanted land, ‘Away’, at prices few locals can afford.

This will result in the town losing its Welsh identity, the age profile will change for the worse, the rugby club will close, one or two pubs, and, as I can testify from my area, there’ll be no need for the new school – because there’ll be so few kids living locally.

And all this will have been achieved by ‘growing the visitor economy’!

Jobs! Did I mention jobs? No, because there won’t be any, this is ‘Welsh’ tourism.

UPDATE 26.11.2021: My source has now heard from Carmarthenshire County Council Highways Officer that –

All permanent residents in Cydweli will be charged £30 per household for a parking permit. All properties will be eligible to apply for a permit to park, even those with existing off-street parking and all properties run as holiday homes, self-catering lets, AirB&B will all be able to apply for a business permit for their guests. HMRC documents such as a tax code in England will be acceptable documentation for a permit.

BEWARE OF SMOKESCREENS AND VIRTUE SIGNALLING

Not long ago, in a wonderful example of those who are unaffected by the decisions they take affecting the lives of Welsh people, the ‘progressive’ consensus in Corruption Bay – i.e. Labour and Plaid Cymru – abolished Right to Buy.

In the village where I live most of the council houses had been bought by their Welsh tenants. Without the option of RtB most of them had little hope of buying a property in their own community. And it’s the same in other villages in the area. With Aberdyfi being the stand-out example.

The reason for that is outsiders snapping up properties; some for holiday homes, others because people want to move here permanently. With many more of the latter than the former.

Yet a bunch of virtue signallers see nothing wrong in depriving Welsh working class people of their only hope of owning a property in their home community. Perhaps they believe the lower orders must be cared for, and dictated to, as if they were children, by those who have sipped at the fount of socialist knowledge.

There were so many other options the leftists could have adopted that would not have disadvantaged our people, but they weren’t prepared to consider them.

And now those ‘progressives’ are in some kind of informal coalition down in the swamp. Which is more nonsense; for despite periodic bouts of foot-stamping from Plaid Cymru they’ve always been in alliance. Nobody was ever fooled.

One of the problems this repulsive mob of mediocrities pledges to confront is that of Welsh people being forced out of their communities by rising house prices. Now I’m a firm believer that to confront and deal with any issue one must first understand it.

Unfortunately, there are those among us, supported by influences external to Wales, who wish to misinterpret the crisis in our rural and coastal areas.

Click to open in separate tab

Canary is a left wing English publication, fighting what can no longer be called class war because the working class has been alienated by the modern left’s obsessions with gender, race and climate.

It’s no longer even ideological. It’s a kind of cult-like belief in certain absurdities, as we saw when Undod (mentioned in the panel above) and its allies sought to take over Yes Cymru earlier this year.

The left wants to view the crisis in rural and coastal Wales as some fault of the capitalist system; as part of a bigger, UK-wide, ‘housing crisis’. Without ever addressing the influx of good-lifers, retirees and the rest.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Jennie Bibbings works for Shelter Cymru. This is one of the forty-odd ‘homelessness’ outfits funded with our money by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’. Done for no better reason than to employ otherwise unemployable Labour-supporting graduates and drop-outs from our oversized universities.

Click to open in separate tab.

If Jennie Bibbings genuinely believes that our rural and coastal areas would still have a housing problem without ‘2nd homers/saes’, then she’s a fool. But she doesn’t believe that. She’s merely spouting the leftist line.

Which believes that only nationalists care about the destruction of Welsh communities. And because ‘All nationalism is evil’ the only acceptable response is to either ignore such concerns entirely or else subsume them into something bigger that can more comfortably be supported.

So I urge you to be on your guard for attempts to cloud the issue and misrepresent the crisis facing us. These attempts will come from the socialist consensus in Corruption Bay and its ideological soul-mates elsewhere in Wales, and outside of Wales.

‘TOURISM, TOURISM, WHAT BULLSHIT IS SPOUTED IN THY NAME’

Some forty years ago, not long after the start of the Meibion Glyndŵr campaign, I was watching a television programme in which the late Prys Edwards, then head of the Wales Tourist Board, was being interviewed and the subject of holiday homes came up.

Edwards seemed almost offended and asked, ‘You surely aren’t suggesting that holiday homes have anything to do with tourism?’ The interviewer let him get away with it and the discussion moved on.

Prys Edwards. Click to open in separate tab

I use that example because it’s symptomatic of attitudes in Wales, the dissociative thinking that results in us being unable to honestly identify the problems facing us, and, as a result, solving them.

Despite what Prys Edwards wanted us to believe, holiday homes are an inevitable consequence of tourism. The clue is in the name.

I have yet to meet anyone who has bought a holiday home in an area with which they did not already have some familiarity from having taken holidays there. Have you?

And yet, as I’ve already said, I suspect that holiday homes will be used as a distraction from the bigger problem to which I have alluded. Which would be a terrible mistake, and a betrayal of our people.

For the problem of locals being priced out of the communities in which they were born and raised, and the anglicising of those communities, can not be resolved until we accept that permanent in-migration is a bigger factor than holiday homes.

This article in the Guardian last week, focusing on Llandudoch, was headlined, ‘Cultural genocide by bank transfer’. The words were those of veteran language campaigner Ffred Ffrancis.

Who also said, ‘ . . . the problem was being turbo-charged by the “flight” from cities caused by Covid’. A reference to people buying properties in Wales in order to work from ‘home’.

And he’s right. But the problem won’t go away with Covid-19.

We, as a nation, and more especially, Welsh speaking communities, are facing an existential threat to our existence. And it all stems from tourism.

Whether it’s the mass tourism that destroyed the Welshness of Abergele and Borth, or the more up-market tourism that is making us strangers from Rhossilli to Rhosneigr.

We are past the stage where consultations and working groups serve any useful purpose – these are just delaying tactics employed by a Vichy administration under orders from its masters in London. We need action. And we know what that action must be.

The ‘Welsh Government’ must introduce legislation that limits who can buy domestic property in Wales.

There can be no more words. No more dithering. No more obfuscation. No more passing the buck. Either the ‘Welsh Government’ acts, and acts quickly, or there’s a growing risk that others will.

Faced with cultural genocide, many will argue that any action will be justified.

♦ END ♦

 




Miscellany 26.11.2020

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

This is the roundup I promised last week before the Knighton piece just grow’d like Topsy and took over.

Here you’ll find updates on old favourites plus some new faces. Combined they’ll provide a sobering read and a reminder of what a mess Wales is in, due partly to useless, lying politicians down Corruption Bay.

PLAS GLYNLLIFON

This fine old mansion that I’ve written about so many times in recent years in the Weep for Wales series has been sold. Also, the Seiont Manor.

At one time both were owned by Paul and Rowena Williams, but they ran into problems and soon had ‘partners’ in their hour of need. In the form of Myles Cunliffe and his oppo, the ‘King of Marbella’, Jon Disley, always looking for companies in trouble.

And now they’re all gone.

Lest we forget, Paul and Rowena Williams. Click to enlarge

I look forward to learning the identity of the new owners, but I’m fairly sure that he / she / they will fall into one of the following categories. We can but hope that it’s the third.

  • More crooks looking to use the Plas for nefarious purposes.
  • Dreamers, with wonderful ideas but neither the ability nor the money to carry them out.
  • Somebody, or some company, with both the right ideas and the money to realise them.

TRANSPORT FOR WALES GOES OFF THE RAILS

You’ll remember that the Wales and Borders rail franchise was run for some years by Arriva Trains. There were many critics. So when the franchise came up for renewal a couple of years ago it was awarded to French-Spanish partnership KeolisAmey.

That didn’t work out either, with KeolisAmey being fined £3.2m in January for its poor service, with Covid adding more misery through falling passenger numbers. Now the rail service is being nationalised by the ‘Welsh Government’.

Despite my right of centre views on economic and other matters, I believe that essential services should be run by the state as national assets. With one condition, and that is that these services should be run by people who know what they’re doing.

That will not happen in Wales. The statist majority in Corruption Bay has taken over the railways not to provide a better service but because they’re control freaks. Don’t be surprised if the signalling system is handed over to a third sector body approved by lobbyists Deryn.

Unbeknownst to most of those who drive under Machynlleth’s railway bridge, there is a depot nearby where the trains from the Cambrian Coast and the Aberystwyth-Shrewsbury lines are brought overnight for cleaning, maintenance, and repair.

It’s a major employer in the town. (But perhaps not for much longer, thanks to Transport for Wales. An issue I might return to in a later post.)

Two men have been hanging around Mach’ railway station for a few weeks. For a while, no one knew who they were, or what they were doing. I think I now have the story.

As part of the Covid-19 arrangements extra portakabins were brought in for the staff. Hired from a company called W H Welfare, part of the Kelling Group of Normanton, in West Yorkshire, a few miles south east of Leeds.

The two mystery men are security guards who came with the portakabins. The problem being that the portakabins are inside the compound, behind the security gate, and the portakabin guards do have not have clearance to enter the compound. So they’re stuck outside, and to look useful, or just to while away the time, they seem to turn up to meet the trains.

But Machynlleth ain’t Grand Central Station. So that doesn’t give them much to do.

Now these two security men must be staying locally, which means that their wages and accommodation will be included in the portakabin hire charge.

The incompetence doesn’t end there. The portakabins run on a generator – a petrol generator. There is no petrol on site except in the workers’ cars. Everything else is diesel.

Am I making this up? No. Am I drunk? How dare you!

So, we have two men at a small Welsh railway station, doing sod all, but costing a lot of money. Because of course it’s all being paid for by Transport for Wales. Which means the ‘Welsh Government’. Which means you and me.

Portakabins1
Potakabins3
Portakabins2
PlayPause
Shadow

It’s reasonable to assume that Machynlleth isn’t the only station or depot for which these portakabins were hired. Plus of course the security men. So how much money is being squandered in this way?

And come to that, is there nowhere in Wales where portakabins could have been sourced? And sourced cheaper? I’m sure there is. Which means that in addition to the incompetence we have the issue of a ‘Welsh Government’ agency sending money out of Wales.

It looks as if someone in Transport for Wales has made a massive cock-up. Or is someone getting a backhander from a firm in West Yorkshire?

MARGAM MOUNTAIN

Last month I brought you the tale of yet another foreign-owned windfarm being dumped on Wales with the enthusiastic support of the planet-savers in the ‘Welsh Government’ and Plaid Cymru.

You’ll find it here, just scroll down to the section, “Another ‘Community-owned, local benefits’ wind farm. Not”.

Image: Beryl Richards. Mynydd Margam. Click to enlarge

As I wrote in that earlier piece, “this particular project is a joint English-Irish venture. From Ireland we have state-owned ESB, while from England (possibly Scotland) we have Coriolis Energy Ltd.”

As you can see from the link, the website is very basic, perhaps explained by the fact that Companies House tells us Coriolis Energy is almost £100,000 in debt.

It’s difficult to figure out why ESB needs Coriolis. Maybe it’s to fulfil a similar role to that of Invis Energy of County Cork, which has been working on Meenbog wind farm, on the Donegal-Tyrone border.

Where there was recently a massive slippage of peat into the Mourne Beg river, part of the Foyle system. Just watch the trees go sailing by in the video!

 

The lesson here is that erecting bloody big wind turbines, each one sunk into thousands of tons of concrete, will have consequences when such idiocy is encouraged in sensitive environments.

Such as Irish peat bogs, and Welsh hillsides from which thousands upon thousands of rain-absorbing trees have been cut, and from which acres of equally absorbent peat has been removed.

Another worry for those living close to the proposed development on Mynydd Margam is that the planned turbines will be 750 tall. As any child playing with blocks will tell you, the higher you try to build it, the more difficult it gets to keep it standing.

Which is why I was not surprised to learn from a regular correspondent in northern Sweden – who took time off from herding his reindeer – that a 755 foot turbine in his neck of the woods had recently come crashing down. Here’s a report from ABC News.

I believe a re-think is needed. Not just on this development on Margam Mountain but on all onshore wind developments in Wales. Because . . .

  • No permanent jobs have resulted from the dozens of wind farms desecrating our countryside. 
  • No manufacturing has been encouraged by the ‘Welsh Government’ so that we can build the turbines here – they’ve all been imported.
  • First by smoky ships, and then by huge, diesel-powered trucks and trailers, before trees are felled and peat removed to accommodate them in concrete bases the size of football pitches. Making a nonsense of wind turbines’ claimed green credentials.
  • In fact, before a blade turns, each wind turbine will have caused more damage to the environment than it can make up for in its short and fitful life.
  • No Welsh companies have emerged to run or own wind turbines other than tiny, ‘hippy’ enterprises reliant on public largesse.
  • No skills base has been developed that Wales could benefit from and export.
  • And it’s increasingly likely that wind turbines contribute to flooding.

The ‘progressive’ parties have allowed – even encouraged – Wales to be exploited and cheated in this way just so that they could look virtuous to a certain lobby.

When it comes to serving England’s interests, things in Wales are not a lot different in the 21st century to earlier times. Just disguised by the gloss of devolution, and bullshit about ‘Wales saving the planet’.

But it’s the same old exploitation.

BRYN LLYS

Where would a roundup like this be without a trip to Bryn Llys or, more specifically, Caernarfon magistrates court.

The latest of the Duggan gang to appear has been Jon Duggan himself, on November 16. His large dogs got out – again! – and attacked neighbours’ poultry. But of course, in the parallel universe inhabited by these clowns, it was probably the chickens’ fault.

I’m afraid I can’t link to any press report because I can’t find one. But Duggan was fined £300. Then there was compensation of £30, victim surcharge of £32, and CPS costs of £640. Making a grand total of £1,002.00.

Bryn Llys, aka ‘Snowdon Summit View’. Click to enlarge

I know those are the facts because my source is reliable, and I have even been supplied with a case number.

In related news, Bryn Llys Ltd is threatened with strike-off by Companies House. Though I suppose this company might have already served its purpose.

By which I mean the Duggan gang’s MO is to start a company, open bank accounts, sign up for credit accounts with assorted suppliers and then order goods and equipment, sell it all on, then let the company be struck off, or liquidate it, without paying for anything.

Finally, the deadline for Duggan to comply with the Enforcement Order and remove the unauthorised roadway he has laid on his recently acquired land was Friday, November 20. He has of course made no effort to comply. Cyngor Gwynedd has been informed.

This episode was covered in September, in ‘Bryn Llys, the Liverpool connection‘. That Liverpool connection was solicitor Kathryn Elizabeth Parry. She’d had her own company, Parry and Co Solicitors Limited, since liquidated; and now she’s a partner in a company formed in October last year, Victor Welsh Legal Limited.

A dicky-bird tells me that when Duggan appeared before the bench to answer for the Great Chicken Massacre he was accompanied by a female solicitor from Liverpool.

Fancy that!

COMPANIES HOUSE

Over the years I’ve complained about Companies House being toothless, nothing more than a filing system, or a box-ticking exercise. Here’s a recent example that came to my attention in a roundabout sort of way.

Someone got in touch because they were angry at certain new properties in Llanarthne, a village just off the A40, roughly midway between Llandeilo and Carmarthen. These were four- and five-bed ‘executive homes’ in the Mulberry Grove development.

The development’s name, and the prices being asked, suggested that the developer was not anticipating many local buyers.

Click to enlarge

The company behind it was GS6, formed as recently as May 2018. The project had been funded, in part at least, by Emma Ruth Developments Limited. And it’s when I looked at this company that I got a bit of a shock.

The last accounts filed were for year ending 30 October 2016! And these showed a net book value of just £949.00.

Companies House made the gesture of compulsory strike-off towards the end of 2018, but it was discontinued after an objection. But in 2019 – nothing! And nothing in 2020 until I contacted them. The company is now scheduled for strike-off to begin December 1st.

The response I got a few days ago reads:

“I can advise that the company has already been reminded accordingly to deliver the outstanding accounts in accordance with the Companies Act 2006.

Our records show that accounts for the period ending 30/10/2017, 30/10/2018 and 30/10/2019 and also the confirmation statement for the period ending 14/06/2020 remain overdue and we are currently taking action to remove the company from the register. 

In order to proceed with this course of action it is necessary to issue statutory letters to the company leading to a publication in the London Gazette.

Any objections against the proposed dissolution will be considered once the notice of our intention has been published in the London Gazette. All creditors and interested parties should be aware that objection must be in writing and need to be provided with supporting evidence.

Also, if you believe that the company or any of its employees have acted fraudulently then this matter should be reported to Investigation and Enforcement Services. The Company Investigations team within the Insolvency Service has the power to investigate limited companies where information received suggests corporate abuse; this may include serious misconduct, fraud, scams or sharp practice in the way a company operates. They have investigatory powers to look into the affairs of a company where this is evidence of fraud or misfeasance and can be contacted at
Intelligence.live@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk”

I’m not sure if Emma Ruth Developments has acted fraudulently but I’d like to know how a company that shouldn’t even be in existence is allowed to lend money to another company.

I might also ask why Companies House has done sod all for so long . . . but I’d be wasting my time.

KNIGHTON HOTEL

Last week we were in Knighton, reading about a bunch of selfless people on a civilising mission. En passant I mentioned the Knighton Hotel, where once Paul Williams was cock o’ the walk . . . or something.

A source informs me that the old pile has been sold. And the new owner is Na’Ím Anís Paymán. A 26-year-old German citizen of German and Iranian Baha’i origins who grew up in Albania and studied at Cambridge. More in this brief autobiography.

The two-part Knighton Hotel. Click to enlarge

In fact, he seems to be quite the self-publicist, with a number of videos online. But he still comes across as a likeable young man.

Paymán has formed a number of companies since 2015 and I have no reason to suspect that he’s anything other than a genuine young entrepreneur looking to make himself rich. An ambition that causes me no sleepless nights.

In the hope that it riles lefties, I’ll say it again: a genuine young entrepreneur looking to make himself rich.

If he does that by providing work for local people, if he uses local companies, tradesmen and suppliers, then all well and good.

If he takes a wrong path, then I’m sure I’ll be writing about him again.

RSL FUNDING

I recently gave you the figures for amounts of Social Housing Grant (SHG) received by our Registered Social Landlords, otherwise known as housing associations. Here’s a link to the table I put together. (Scroll left?)

In the ten years 2010-2011 to 2019-2020 the headline figure for SHG was £966,608,902. Obviously, some RSLs got more than others, and none got more than Labour’s favourite RSL, where the CEO is the wife of a Cardiff Labour councillor.

For Wales & West Housing was handed the princely sum of £99,483,507.

I have since received the figures for RSL funding in addition to SHG, for the period 01.01.2010 to 31.10.2020. The funding covered is: Housing Finance Grant, Affordable Housing Grant, Rent to Own, Physical Adaptation Grant, Innovative Housing Programme (grant and loan), Land for Housing Scheme (loan) and Registered Social Landlord Loans.

Eleven local authorities received a total of £19,969,000. While our RSLs were given £370,738,000. Once again, the big winner was Wales & West, with £39,341,000.

Combining the funding from various pots gives us £1,337,346,982. That is £1.34bn.

Of which Wales & West has received £138,824,507. Just over 10% of all the funding given to some 30 or more active RSLs.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR MILFORD HAVEN?

The Milford Haven Waterway is one of the finest deep-water anchorages on Earth, and has been recognised as such for centuries. In recent times it has attracted oil and gas companies because their huge tankers can be easily accommodated.

The area also attracts its share of con men. Who can forget Admiral Wing Commander of the SAS Fabian Sean Lucien Faversham-Pullen VC, Croix de Guerre, Iron Cross (1st Class), Purple Heart and the Order of Lenin, who planned to turn Fort Hubberstone in Milford Haven into a home for ex-service personnel.

The Last Post was blown for Camp Valour CIC a year ago. Read about it here.

Hot on the heels of the Camp Valour project at Fort Hubberstone came a group of ‘investors’ looking to buy a different fort, The Old Defensible Barracks in Pembroke Dock. I wrote about that in Old Defensible Barracks, and the imaginatively titled sequel, Old Defensible Barracks 2.

Old Defensible Barracks. Click to enlarge

Those involved had not yet bought the Barracks when I first wrote about them, or certainly, the Land Registry had not been informed of a change of ownership. This has now been registered and we can see from the title document that the owners are Walker Property Developments Limited.

This company was launched 14.08.2018 as Muniment Yorkshire Ltd. It became Walker Property Developments 06.07.2019, before changing its name again 02.10.2019 to VR 1844 Limited.

I assume that VR stands for Victoria Regina and 1844 tells us that the Old Defensible Barracks was built in that year.

Despite the developers saying they planned to turn the old place into apartments (see the article below, and here in pdf format), I suspected that the real attraction was the closeness to the estuary, connecting with Brexit and the need for space to park lorries. Because there is an extensive piece of land between the Barracks and the water, clearly visible in the image above.

Click to enlarge

And of course, the Pembroke-Rosslare ferry is almost next door.

This suspicion was strengthened by the Singapore connection found with the directors of Walker Property Developments – including the eponymous Walker, who lives there – and Singaporean connections with another coastal site, in the Six Counties, and again, very close to ferry ports.

Lorry parks may still be the objective, but as I mentioned towards the end of the second article, there is also the possibilty of Milford Haven, or the whole Waterway, becoming a freeport. Which, again, could account for the interest from Singapore, which is perhaps the biggest freeport in the world.

Others have also been buying sections of the Waterway shoreline. With interest coming from equally exotic locations: Cyprus, Jordan . . . Carmarthenshire.

Let’s start in September 2015, with WalesOnline gilding a press release – no questions, no critical analysis. To believe the report, a company nobody’d heard of was going to bring 560 jobs to Milford Haven over the next five years through, “£685 million in a Centre of Renewable Energy Excellence”.

The company named in the fable was, “Cypriot-owned energy company” Egnedol Ltd. We were told it had bought the former Gulf refinery at Waterston and the neighbouring RNAD mine depot at Blackbridge.

The biomass facility planned for Blackbridge was turned down in June 2018.

Click to enlarge

There are a number of Egnedol companies, with the Blackbridge site owned by Egnedol Pembroke Eco Power Ltd, according to the Land Registry title document.

The old refinery site nearby appears to be owned by Egnedol Bio-Energy Limited. Certainly, that’s what the Land Registry document suggests.

I hedge my bets because there are caveats attaching to the ownership of both sites.

The Blackbridge site has received loans from Suleiman Al Daoud, of Amman, Jordan. Who in September became a director of Egnedol Wales Limited. So he could be said to now own the site. By the same token, he could also be said to own the oil refinery site.

UPDATE: I got to wondering about Suleiman Al Daoud. The Al Daoud Group is an established company that seems to concentrate on residential properties and retail complexes in Jordan.

I can’t find any evidence of the Group operating outside of Jordan. So what attracted Suleiman Al Daoud to Milford Haven?

Then there is yet another company, Egnedol UK Limited, which uses a Milford Haven address but with directors Dr Robert Prigmore and Steven Whitehouse living in the Ammanford area.

Prigmore and Whitehouse appear in the other Egnedol companies, together with Antonis Andrea Antoniadis, who maintains the Cyprus connection.

The RNAD site is marked with the red spot and the oil refinery site is to the right of it. Click to enlarge

And if Cyprus and Jordan weren’t enough overseas involvement, Prigmore and Whitehouse have yet another company, Azolis UK Ltd, formed as recently as September this year, where we find two French directors.

Explained by the fact that this latest company is an offshoot or subsidiary of French renewables company Azolis, which has offices in Fontainebleau and Casablanca.

So, all this overseas interest in Milford Haven Waterway, what does it mean? What does the future hold? The possibilities appear to be:

  • Brexit-related, possibly lorry parks.
  • Hoping to cash in on the Swansea Bay City Deal.
  • Anticipating a freeport and getting in ahead of the rush.
  • A home for nuclear subs when Scotland goes independent.

One thing I guarantee. Whatever happens, it’ll be strangers reaping the benefits, as always. That’s the way Wales is run, and devolution has brought no improvement.

In fairness, the ‘Welsh Government’ may have no influence over what’s happening on the Milford Haven Waterway. It could all be planned at a higher level and those clowns might be told at a later date.

Then again, why bother!

♦ end ♦

 




Colonialism in microcosm, or Knighton

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

I know . . . I promised a round-up of assorted stories, but I’m afraid it didn’t work out.

One story I was counting on fell through, though I am assured that what will eventually be provided will be worth the wait.

And then, what you see below, the report from Knighton, just grew to the point where it took over and knocked out a couple of other topics I’d planned to cover.

REMEMBER DARREN?

A couple of weeks ago we met Darren Knipe, who starred in Miscellany 03.11.2020. Scroll down to the section ‘A Wandering Shyster I (after Gilbert & Sullivan)’.

More news has come in of Darren and a host of drifters and good-lifers trying to take over the border town of Tref y Clawdd / Knighton in central Powys.

First, let’s pad out Darren’s CV, for since writing the earlier piece I have learnt that he spent time in the City of my Dreams. When I say ‘time’ I do not mean as a resident of Cox’s Farm down on Oystermouth Road.

It seems that Darren first came to Wales to study at Aberystwyth University in 1990. Which reminds us that our universities have a lot to answer for. Having expanded beyond Wales’s needs they had to take in just about anybody to fill the places.

Which gave us the problem today of the areas around Lampeter, Aberystwyth and Bangor being infested with drug-wrecked loafers who forgot to go home.

At Aberystwyth Darren claims to have gained a joint honours degree in Economics, Finance and Accountancy, which resulted in him being offered the chance to become a stockbroker in the City of London. But he turned it down!

Why the hell would anyone study those subjects if they had no intention of going into business, banking or finance? It makes no sense. So what did Darren do next? I’ll let him tell you in his own words . . .

“I became an events promoter, and designed an accredited OCN training course at Pembrokeshire College in Music and Entertainment Technology which came 2nd in Country for the Times Education Award for Widening Participation.”

I ran my own nightclub in Swansea for a few years, called The Palace. Some of you may have jumped on a bus organised by local promoter, Ben, and come to one of his drum n bass nights.

I designed and toured a solar powered cinema/stage around UK festivals, called Star Bar. I then ran a mobile organic bar, called WonderBar, running an operation for up to 80,000 people.

I moved to Chester with my then wife, and helped design and deliver cultural events for an organisation that is now called Storyhouse. It is from doing this for nearly 10 years, that we formed our own company, Dark Olive, which produces and delivers production contracts for local authorities and Arts Council funded cultural organisations.”

The Palace referred to is the old Palace Theatre, a lovely little ‘flat iron’ building just up from High Street station. It’s fallen on hard times and a succession of owners has allowed the building to deteriorate. Instead of lending money to people who have no intention of saving the building, Swansea’s Labour council has finally pulled its finger out.

In June, 2002 a drinks licence was granted to Darren Knipe and the co-directors of their company The Palace Swansea Ltd.

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At the time, Darren was living in Pembrokeshire, as were the other directors. Ian Stone could be found at Llawhaden, near Narberth, with Knipe living in the town itself; while the third director, James King, was at Llanfallteg, just outside Whitland. King doubled up as company secretary. Each of them held 500 £1 shares.

As with most if not all of Darren Knipe’s ventures, the night club did not last long, being compulsorily wound up towards the end of 2003 by The Commissioners of Customs and Excise under the Insolvency Act 1996.

Darren Knipe may claim, “I ran my own nightclub in Swansea for a few years”, but the Commissioners of Customs and Excise would disagree. His tenure of the theatre where Charlie Chaplin once trod the boards lasted about a year.

And ended in insolvency. He seems to have left that bit out.

As I told you in the earlier piece, after Pembrokeshire, Darren moved up to Aberystwyth before landing, around 2010, in Llandegla, west of Wrecsam, where a few companies sprang to life.

One was Datcloud Ltd, dissolved in the second half of 2016. Knipe’s partner in this venture was Duncan Charles Ion. Ion was also a member of the community council, which might explain how Knipe got the job as clerk.

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I can’t be sure when he took up the job because the online records go back no further than March 2015. But he was definitely in post by then.

Darren Knipe left around the time of an external auditors’ report, but I’m sure there was no connection. He must think he’s still cut out for this kind of work because I hear he’s been angling for the clerk’s job with Knighton town council since he arrived in the area.

Here’s a link to that external auditors’ report. To turn the pages scroll down and use the arrows found at the bottom left.

After his stay in Llandegla Darren Knipe was on the move again and he landed in Llanfair Waterdine, which lies in Y Tiroedd Coll. Where he’s asked to be co-opted onto the community council.

Though his main focus is Knighton, where he has aligned himself with the settler element. Of whom there are quite a few.

COLONIAL KNIGHTON

Those I’m referring to are members of the English bourgeoisie who’ve imposed themselves on the area. They have plenty of money and too much time on their hands, so they feel they should be ‘doing something’.

Even if it means making nuisances of themselves and getting up people’s noses.

Their local citadel, from whence they sally forth to dispense wisdom, do good, and generally uplift benighted natives, is the Knighton and District Community Centre.

Locals tell me that in a previous era the community centre was like any other in a village or small town, with discos, rugby club dos, wedding receptions, etc.

But about twelve years ago a couple blew in from Hong Kong by the name of Christopher and Karen Plant. Where he had been a teacher for the UK military. Under the reign of the Plants locals were made to feel unwelcome, and so they drifted away.

For where locals had once bopped the night away, drinking pints from the pumps, under the Plants it became Sounds of Soweto and wine only – the beer pumps disappeared!

Someone has described the wine-drinking Plants to me as “sociopaths and bullies”. Which seems a bit strong, until we learn that the Plants had to sling their hook following allegations of . . . bullying.

And the beer pumps returned!

One talent these colons possess is that of being able to secure public funding. Over half a million pounds was handed over a few years back by the so-called ‘Welsh Government’ for a new community centre roof, after the local library moved in. Described to me as “the world’s most expensive box profile tin roof”.

My old mucker Dafydd El was there for the opening. Probably sent up by his boss, Little Kenny Skates, he of the pearly white gnashers.

Though most locals still feel unwelcome, for the bridgehead established by the Plants was soon strengthened. To the point where everyone now involved with the community centre has arrived from over the border.

I’ve even been supplied with a list of names and places of origin:

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It’s quite frightening, isn’t it, how a small group can so completely take over the hub of a community that’s not theirs? Almost an invasion. No, it is an invasion.

Of course, the jobs are not full time, more pocket money and status jobs, but then, those we’re talking about don’t need the money, but they revel in the status. The recruitment system was explained thus: “Job descriptions are rigged to suit the person already lined up for the job, qualification is basically being middle class and from England.”

Some will read this and say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter where they come from . . . doing good work, blahdy blah’. Others will claim that it’s anti-English, but it’s not. A takeover so complete would be remarkable if it happened in any part of England.

Can you imagine a situation like this in a small town in Yorkshire, with ‘southerners’ taking over everything – and locals not raising hell! Yet we are supposed to be silent because they’re all English.

And note the ‘jobs’ that are being funded. Basically, to build up networks of people like themselves from which locals can be more effectively excluded.

But this selfless devotion to ‘their’ community don’t come cheap. To hire Knighton community centre for a Saturday evening is £210 – with bar and kitchen extra. In the community centre in Knucklas, about a mile away, run by the community council, hiring the new community centre (2013) on a Saturday night would cost you £75 all in.

But then, when you’re paying one of your friends £15 an hour . . .

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The justification for the exorbitant charges at Knighton are that, “It’s cheap by London prices”. Yes, there must be a lot of competition from London venues.

I’ve mentioned the network-building ‘jobs’ but there is already a network in Knighton that extends beyond those we’ve encountered. Though this wider network is made up of the same kind of people, those who never miss an opportunity to put their virtue on public display.

For we are dealing here with do-gooders of the most exhibitionist variety.

Such as Angie Zelter, who we see in the photograph below. She lives in a big house in Knighton with her partner Camilla Saunders, who works in the third sector. (I bet that surprises you!)

For someone like her to protest, in Wales, about apartheid and ethnic cleansing, can only be accounted for by a complete absence of self-awareness.

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Angie is also big in Extinction Rebellion, and has the arrest to prove it. She winters in New Zealand, and of course she flies to Aotearoa.

Then there’s Knighton and District Refugee Support Group. Though you have to marvel at the arrogance of people who’ve invited themselves into someone else’s country and then believe they have the right to invite others.

It may have been this crowd that attracted Michael Richer up from southern England a few months ago. Richer wanted to take over the empty Knighton Hotel for a while. If ‘Knighton Hotel’ rings a bell that’s because it was owned by our old friends Paul and Rowena Williams, who went on to Plas Glynllifon. (All covered in my ‘Weep for Wales’ series.)

Although Richer claimed to want the hotel for men and women in abusive relationships it was widely suspected that he intended bringing to Knighton migrants who’d landed on the south coast of England. That may still be the plan.

Housing migrants can be a very lucrative business. And quite easy when there is already a local network of leftists and do-gooders, as we see in Pembrokeshire. Anyone who opposes dozens or hundreds of undocumented young men being brought into a rural area becomes a ‘fascist’.

The fact that Richer’s company, Misan Traders Ltd, was set up only 7 or eight months before he showed up in Powys might suggest that he was looking at other buildings. Perhaps any old building he could hire or lease cheaply for a short period.

On Armistice Day the Knighton and District Refugee Support Group insisted on laying their white poppy wreaths against the war memorial itself, and clambered over the red poppy wreaths to do so.

The white poppy wreaths disappeared overnight.

This caused considerable consternation in the KDRSG, but must also have confirmed the ‘backwardness’ of the indigenous population.

The Councillor Angelique Williams mentioned in one of the images below meets Darren Knipe in Knighton’s Little Black Sheep cafe. Around this time last year Angie Williams left the Independent group on Powys County Council to join another . . . independent, sort of, group.

Whatever your views on poppies, and commemorations, this was yet another example of a small group of outsiders trying to over-ride the feelings of local people. Many of those local people are related to, even descended from, the men named on the war memorial

The same ‘We know best!’ arrogance crops up time after time after time. Another example would be the campaign against local farmers, the Price family, by Sustainable Food Knighton. The spokesperson for this group is Camilla Saunders, partner of jet-setting planet-saver Angie Zelter.

Just look at this report from the County Times. It seems to be the same people, in the same place, just different placards. Maybe they meet regularly and think, ‘What’s the next thing we can do to piss off the locals?’

But it’s not just the Price family they’re trying to put out of business – they want the ‘Welsh Government’ to outlaw what they call ‘intensive farming’. Most of them are of course vegetarians, if not vegans, so we know where this is heading.

Relations between the in-crowd and the town council are strained, due in large part to a curious incident not so long ago. As I’ve mentioned, the town’s library has relocated to the community centre. I’ll let a source take it up:

“Community (centre) ended up housing the library, they did a deal with the community council whereby the council would pay the librarian’s wages, only afterwards they did a deal with Powys (county council) who agreed to pay for the librarian, only they didn’t tell the community council and it was only when Powys threatened to close the library that community council found out that they were being cheated out of the money.”

‘O, what a tangled web . . .’.

But enough of the virtue flaunters and the schemers, the do-gooders and the planet savers, for we are neglecting Darren Knipe.

DARREN FINDS A FRIEND

Knipe claims that – with the help of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action – he will be bringing to Knighton the benefits of the UK government’s Kickstart scheme. Starting in January 2021.

Maybe the WCVA can confirm?

As I reported in my earlier piece, Knipe has threatened, “I can run this anywhere, and currently looking at Newtown and Welshpool as options, which will be Knighton’s loss.”

What he’s really saying is – ‘Give me the empty library building’.

The problem is that others want to use the building, chief among them, Banc Cambria, the new cooperative bank for Wales.

Knipe is telling people that Banc Cambria is not interested in the old library. But I have it on impeccable authority that Banc Cambria is most definitely interested in the building, and them taking it over would bring more long-term benefits to the town than any hare-brained scheme of Darren Knipe.

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In addition to the memsahibs Darren has a new best friend in the form of Dr John Goodband, the husband of the vicar. Goodband recently came from Warwickshire when he married the vicar, Miss Beresford Webb, who had arrived in the area earlier.

And it should go without saying that he’s joined those wondering how Knighton managed before they arrived.

In this report from this week’s County Times we read of Goodband and Zelter opposing Banc Cambria and the town council. They even presented a petition with 67 signatures. Wow, 67 signatures!

I bet locals could guess most of the names on that petition!

There seems little doubt that Knighton town council is the next target of this gang.

News soon came from Warwickshire that Goodband was a repeat offender – for he had been attacking the parish council where he’d previously lived! Here’s a link to the Minutes of the Long Lawford Parish Council from February last year.

Goodband seems to be suggesting that Long Lawford Parish Council is part of the Corleone family, with the clerk trousering thousands of pounds!

As we’ve seen, allegations are now flying in Knighton, where his new mate Darren Knipe wants the job of clerk to the town council and the library building. Coincidence?

I’m no psychiatrist, so I don’t know what afflicts John Goodband. Is it just attention seeking, like a child throwing a tantrum? Does he have nothing better to do than accuse people he doesn’t know of things they haven’t done? Does it turn him on, is it a substitute for sex?

I really don’t care. When it comes to people like John Goodband I’m all out of sympathy, too many of them are washing up in Wales. And Knighton has more than its share. More than any small town deserves.

CONCLUSION

It would be bad enough if what we see in Tref y Clawdd was a one-off, unrepresentative of Wales as a whole, but it’s not.

Everywhere we look we see the same problem of Welsh people being patronised or insulted, and pushed aside by sharp-elbowed and arrogant immigrants. It’s no longer just about holiday homes. It never was.

And this deluge is being encouraged by the leftist consensus in Corruption Bay because our ‘progressives’ identify with these bullying charlatans better than they identify with Welsh people.

From the other side, neither the Conservative and Unionist Party nor any party on the BritNat fringe will object to Wales being colonised and assimilated into England.

That’s why we need the new parties Gwlad and the WNP. And more importantly, a fresh mindset that calls colonialism by its name. And fights back on every front.

♦ end ♦