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
In Wales, what passes for ‘good news’ is invariably political propaganda, what the media calls ‘human interest’ stories, or else straightforward bollocks.
If you want to read that the ‘Welsh Government’ is thinking of asking Ferrari to open a factory in Tredegar, or that a Denbighshire farmer’s wife has found the bracelet she lost some years ago (while being pleasured by an itinerant Kiwi sheep-shearer), then you’re in the wrong place.
I don’t make up the stories that appear here. They happen and I report them. If you don’t like them then do something about it – get rid of those responsible.
In a nutshell, a gang of crooks from England (Yorkshire, if you must know) bought an old farmhouse outside Nebo, near Caernarfon; they’ve done work without planning permission (or exceeded what permission they had), to the point where a monstrous new building has appeared and the old farmhouse has been demolished.
Cyngor Gwynedd has issued planning enforcement orders and a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Caernarfon in early September. I’m told the gang turned up in court claiming they had no legal representation. So the case was rescheduled for Llandudno in late November. It’s now been put off until March, when Andrew Battye, Jonathan James Duggan, Shane Baker and Aaron Hill will probably demand another adjournment.
And by which time they will have done all the work they plan on doing.
For the gang has plans that exceed even throwing up the ugliest house in Gwynedd, because there’s talk of glamping, zip wires, and God knows what else. For which of course there is no planning permission. Another difficulty is access, which has resulted in the Bryn Llys gang intimidating neighbours who object to them cutting down trees and demolishing hedges that belong to other people.
In recent weeks, a concrete bridge has been put in place, lorry loads of slate waste have been brought to the site and a road laid to provide a new access to Bryn Llys from the village of Nebo.
I hear from one source that while delivering this material a tipper truck belonging to Gwynedd Skip Hire of Caernarfon touched an overhead power cable. There was one hell of a bang, one or more of the truck’s tyres blew and Nebo, Talysarn and parts of Penygroes suffered a power cut.
Another source reports that the driver’s mate touched the body of the tipper and got “zapped” quite badly, he was said to be “black all over”. This of course was reported and has been taken up by HSE. I’m not sure if the police are involved.
Latest report says all is quiet, and suggests that local contractors may be getting reluctant to be involved with the Bryn Llys gang.
What an absolute shambles! Which doesn’t look like getting better any time soon.
Why is it that honest people are pounced on by planners for making a genuine mistake but crooks like these can brazenly flout the system for years?
What’s more, it’s nothing more than money-laundering in plain sight. What a system! What a country!
ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS
First stop, Parc Teifi on the outskirts of Aberteifi (Cardigan town), when we find a group of planet-savers who were given five acres of land for just £1 by our wonderful ‘Welsh Government’ under its Community Assets Transfer scheme.
The project was to be known as the Naturewise Community Forest Garden, and a company was set up.
When first announced earlier this year there was mention of ” . . . a horticultural large allotment type use, managed by a single body, run by volunteers for the wider benefits of the community”. Project leader Alpay Torgut also enthused about local involvement and “public events to involve as many people as possible”.
The ‘involvement’ desired soon became clear – unpaid volunteers and paying customers to fund what was increasingly obviously a One Planet Development.
Why do I suggest that it’s a One Planet Development? Well look for yourself at the structures being erected on the site.
The one I show below is being used to house some kind of display, which could obviously be much more at home in a smaller structure. Though the structure we see would be an ideal roundhouse of the type favoured by OPD dwellers.
Note that the photograph – for which I thank Wynne Jones – was taken in July. Things have moved on since then.
And now there’s a truly curious twist.
The land was given to the group led by Alpay Torgut under the Community Assets Transfer programme. The project is called the Naturewise Community Forest Garden. And yet the community cannot access the site because of a padlocked gate. (Again, I am indebted to Wynne Jones.)
The ‘Welsh Government’ has the key – but refuses to open the gate!
Having consulted my crystal ball I predict that Torgut and his gang will soon be applying – and getting – retrospective planning permission for a OPD.
Next up is the OPD planned for Penybanc, Llandeilo, reference E/39554. On the surface this looks like a straightforward single OPD application, but things might not be that simple.
The OPD is planned for land to the south east of Caergroes farm in the Monordeilo and Salem ward of Carmarthenshire. The first point of interest is that the applicants, Matthew and Claire Denney-Price, don’t actually own the land. The land is owned by a Gwyn Jones of Trimsaran, who bought it last year.
To help you get the lie of the land I’ve compiled the illustration you see below.
There have been many submissions made to the council for and against the application. Of those in favour most live ‘away’ or just don’t give their locations, while local submissions are almost all opposed to the project. Some of the later go into considerable detail, often arguing that there is no way that the family unit of two adults and four children could sustain themselves on such a small area by sticking to the plan submitted.
Others worry that this application is the first for a settlement on adjoining land.
Someone who contacted me pointed out that the address given by Matthew and Claire Denney-Price on the planning application is 7 Yr Hen Marchnad, Llangadog. (Though I’m told that Claire Denney-Price is the only person on the electoral roll for this address.)
What struck my source was that at 9 Yr Hen Machnad was found Freedom Green Energy Ltd, certainly until the company moved its address to Brecon in March 2018. This company trades as FGE Biomass. My source suspects there may be a connection between this biomass company and the OPD application. Anybody out there know?
Finally, in this little excursion into the world of OPDs, news reaches me that all may not be well at one of the older communes. For I hear that smallholdings at Lammas are on the market. Certainly Berllan Dawel is for sale at £300,000+.
As I’ve reported before, all is not well in paradise. For two main reasons.
One is that the whole premise of OPDs is flawed, and economically unviable. The second reason is that when you put together, in close proximity, so many people absolutely sure that they – and they alone – know the correct way of doing things, then friction is inevitable.
UPDATE 11.12.2019: I’ve been informed of yet another OPD application. This one at Llyn Adain Gwydd, at Llangarthginning, near Meidrim, in north Carmarthenshire. The reference number is W/39846. (Type the number in here.)
The second line in that great song, You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive runs, ‘That’s the place where I trace my bloodline’, and that applies here; for my great-grandfather David Jones left Meidrim for Swansea in the late 1870s.
What’s strange about this application is that it comes from a Neil Moyse, who already lives in a OPD at Tir y Gafel, Glandwr, in Pembrokeshire. So are they now building OPDs to rent?
Let me now lead you into the never-never land of Wales’ foreign aid programme. Or maybe it’s a maze. Though let me start by explaining that this section was prompted by someone sending me a tweet, one that started bells ringing. Here’s the tweet.
The SSAP is both a charity (1159990) and a registered company. The Charity Commission tells us that it operates ‘Throughout England and Wales’ and then lists a number of African countries from Algeria to South Africa. (I haven’t checked the atlas, but it looks most African countries get a mention.)
And there was you thinking our tribunes down Cardiff docks had no international strategy. Shame on you! The ‘Welsh Government’ even has a Minister for Ugandan Affairs, and she’s doing a wonderful job.
Apart from organising self-congratulatory bun fights, such as the one in the tweet above, it’s difficult to know what the SSAP does. But before you get too worried let me put your minds at rest by telling you that funding in year ending 31 March 2019 was a mere £68,638, down from £97,899 the previous year.
Which could prove a bit tricky, because staff costs went up from £52,668 to £73,952 in the same period, when staff numbers increased from 2 to 3. Leaving nothing over to do anything really . . . except organise awards ceremonies and the like. So, basically, this is just another third sector scam providing sinecures for Labour Party hangers-on.
The accounts also tell us that while the main funder is Comic Relief the other major funder is the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA). So who are they? The introductory blurb tells us, ‘We want a worldwide Wales where everyone here contributes to creating a fairer and more peaceful world. We inspire people to learn and act on global issues through three programmes:’ which are then listed as, Global Learning, Global Action, Global partnerships.
All very worthy, no doubt, and vague to the point of vacuousness.
The CEO of the WCIA is Susie Ventris-Field, who’s worked her way up through the third sector – e.g. Chwarae Teg – and also spent time in Africa.
Susie is assisted by Emily who organises festivals such as the Green Man and Glasto. ‘Emily has a beautiful dog’, we’re told! Then there’s Philip, who ‘moved to Wales to join his wife in semi-retirement in 2014’. And Shaela, ‘who previously worked for the University of Leicester’. Amber is another who has come to live among us, and loves cats.
There may be one or two Welsh people hidden away in the cupboards but by and large the ‘Welsh’ Centre for International Affairs is yet another third sector body using Welsh public money to provide jobs for strangers doing ‘work’ of no benefit whatsoever to Wales. But then, isn’t that true philanthropy!
Talking of money, who funds the WCIA?
To answer that let’s start by looking at this clip (below) from the WCIA’s Charity Commission entry, which tells us that since it was registered in April 2014 income has gone up to £1,175,306.
Which is not bad, when you think about it. In a time of economic recession, and with Wales having managed just fine up until then without it, someone decided that what we really needed was the Welsh Council for International Affairs.
So where does that money come from and how is it spent? Here’s the WCIA 2017-2018 Annual Report, which includes the accounts.
Taking the second set of figures first we see that just under two-thirds of the income goes on salaries for no less than 23 staff. That will be Susie . . . Emily who has the nice dog . . . Philip who moved to Wales because we needed him so badly . . .
And after paying all their salaries there was still £197,145 ‘cash at bank and in hand’. That’s a lot of readies, suggesting they’re over-funded and looking for ways to spend money they don’t need.
Looking at the income in 2018, £238,156 came from Wales for Peace, but the biggest chunk, £639,893 came from Hub Cymru Africa. So who are they, and where does their money come from? (As if you didn’t know!)
Wales for Peace it seems only existed during the World War One centenary period (which probably explains the WCIA itself being set up in April 2014), and ceased to exist in December 2018. It wasn’t registered with either Companies House or the Charity Commission. From what I can gather on the WCIA website funding for Wales for Peace came from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Now let’s turn to the WCIA’s major funder, Hub Cymru Africa, which contributed £639,893 according to the latest accounts. Page 40 of the accounts tells us that this largesse came from the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’. In other words, us.
Just as we met Susie and her gang at the WCIA, at Hub Cymru Africa we find another galaxy of non-Welsh stars spending Welsh money on non-Welsh issues.
Yet because Hub Cymru Africa produces no accounts and has no official existence we have no way of knowing how much Claire O’Shea and the rest of the team earn, or how many employees there are. Which is wrong, because they use public money and so this information should be readily available.
To recap: We started out with the Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel. Funding levels there are not high, and all funding seems to be used paying staff wages.
One of the SSAP’s main funders is the Welsh Centre for International Affairs whose funding comes from Wales for Peace and Hub Cymru Africa. Roughly two-thirds of this funding goes on salaries. The larger funder, HCA, gets its money from the ‘Welsh Government’.
This system is of little use to the needs of Wales and Welsh people. It’s no more than virtue signalling on steroids. Steroids paid for with Welsh public funding. Instead of exposing and condemning this system Plaid Cymru desperately wants to be part of it, as we see with Helen Mary Jones at the SSAP bun fight.
The sting in the tail is that these people attracted to Wales by third sector money are often smarter than our politicians. (Which is not saying much, obviously.) And they exert undue influence in a country they regard as nothing more than a geographical expression.
This results in OPDs and other insanity to ‘save the planet’, or wanting to flood Wales with ‘refugees’ under the ‘Wales – Nation of Sanctuary’ project.
A country with homeless on the streets, where kids go to school hungry, where people die waiting for ambulances, apparently has millions of pounds to spare so that dilettante English activists and useless Welsh politicians can feel better about themselves.
Time to get rid of them all, and the colonial system they represent.
UPDATE 09.01.2020: The subject of foreign aid was raised in the Senedd yesterday’ Here’s a clip of the question, by Neil Hamilton, and the response from Rebecca Evans. Note the loud cheering at the mention of ‘Jac ‘o the North’!
THE CASE OF KEVIN O’NEILL’S PEANUT BUTTER
Someone has reported to me that the Labour Party in Merthyr is full of bullies, and engaging in dirty tricks. Of course, I refused to believe it, but my source was insistent.
I think the best way to tell you this is to copy and paste what I received, with a redaction here and a clarification there. So prepare yourselves, for I’m sure you will be as shocked as I was to read what follows.
“Since the May 2017 Local Elections where Independents took control of the (formerly) Labour-ruled Council, the Independent Councillors of Merthyr Tydfil have faced a barrage of Ombudsman complaints, uncooperative opposition members, false Facebook and Twitter accounts that have used intimidation, abuse and vulgar comments about the Independent Councillors but especially its Leader Kevin O’Neil and female Deputy Leader Lisa Mytton.
Unconfirmed reports from the Labour camp have talked of a split in the party with those who want nothing more than to ‘Disrupt and Destroy’ anything the Independent-led council tries to do for the good of Merthyr Tydfil.
In recent months the false accounts continued but the depths to which they and some of their party members will go unfolded in June 2019 when a whistle blowing member of Council staff couldn’t cope any more and they reported the verbal abuse and disregard for the two senior Cllrs that then culminated in the staff member entering the Cabinet office and kitchen opening the Independent Leaders food (a jar of Peanut Butter) and forcefully spitting in it while others looked on and returned it to the fridge.
A criminal investigation ensued and DNA was found in the jar, the DNA belongs to the wife of (a very prominent Labour councillor). His wife is an employed member of staff at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.
Is this what Labour have become? Is this how they treat those they feel politically threatened by? Is this what our residents and country want?
The Labour Leader must resign surely? The way Kevin O’Neill and other
hae been treated is simply despicable.”
To anti-Semitism, support for terrorists, bullying, ballot-rigging, lying and all the other crimes we can lay at Labour’s door we must now add gobbing in the council leader’s peanut butter!
O tempora! o mores!
ANNA THE FIBBER
To the city of my dreams now, and Anna Melita Redfern, who offered her company, Cinema & Co as an address for the local homeless to use so that they could register to vote in this week’s general election.
(There are of course other options for the homeless to register to vote, but these don’t get publicity for Anna Redfern.)
According to Anna she’s been running Cinema & Co in Castle Street for two years, yet Companies House tells us that Cinema & Co Swansea Ltd was only Incorporated 29 April 2019.
How do we explain this apparent contradiction?
By telling you that Anna had a different company at the same address. This was AR666 Ltd (previously Anna Redfern Ltd), and it traded as Cinema & Co. The company was wound up in July 2019. I’m told AR666 Ltd went under owing £32,496 to HMRC, plus phone bill, water rates, and various amounts to Swansea City Council.
Here’s an entry from The Gazette which suggests Anna may be a naughty girl for using the same name for her new company.
But I suspect Anna has a weak grip on reality, combined with an irresistible urge for self-promotion. A dangerous combination.
Other companies of which Ms Redfern is the sole director are The (Secret) Garden Swansea Ltd and Noah’s Sister Ltd. The name of the second of those hints at her being the sister of Noah Redfern, proprietor of Noah’s Yard a hip watering hole in the student quarter of the Uplands.
I suppose it should go without saying that Anna Melita Redfern was a finalist in the Welsh Women’s Awards 2019. Cinema & Co – which had just been liquidated – was shortlisted in the Small Business of the Year category.
Only in colonial Wales!
UPDATE 14.12.2019: Noah Redfern makes the news himself when a planning inspector orders him to take down the ‘overbearing’ extension he’d built to an Uplands house.
I shall of course be publishing an analysis of the general election, and this will probably appear on Monday the 16th. Then, unless something really important happens, that should be it until 2020.
♦ end ♦
P.S. There was an earlier and slightly different version to this post that went out because I’d scheduled it and then lost my internet connection, which meant I could neither amend nor stop it. Take my advice and avoid Sky Broadband.