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 was hoping to take a break from shysters and con men, shell companies and money-laundering, lying politicians and stupid officials because my head is aching from banging it against a brick wall.
But there’s no escape. And those who manage Wales – applying a veneer of native control – are not only too stupid to recognise a crook in plain sight but they give or sell them public assets, or they throw money at them, and this is then dressed up as ‘investment’, which allows them to crow about jobs created . . . and this deception encourages them to anticipate being re-elected as a reward for these ‘successes’.
The disparate components of this post begin with a bit of a rant, an acceptance that corruption in the UK is institutionalised (and therefore unlikely to ever be done away with). Then I move on to consider the curious case of Llangefni’s Shire Hall, before ending with a quick roundup of other items.
SHIP OF KNAVES
After years of studying its underbelly I now believe the United Kingdom is corrupt to the point where no serious effort is made to tackle ‘financial crime’. The unstated view of officialdom is that money is money, and no matter where it comes from it still buys things in the same way as clean money. And once it’s in circulation, boosting the economy, who can tell the difference? Who cares?
Money being created out of nothing ties in with the general contempt at the highest levels of the UK Establishment for making things, and exporting them. Grubby, ‘pleb’ activities. Which in turn accounts for the North-South divide within England. And explains why the UK is one of the most unequal countries in the advanced world.
And yet, while manufacturing in general is held in contempt there’s still a nostalgic fondness for high-end, prestige goods. Defended with ‘Best of British’ jingoism. For example, volume car production can go to the wall but let’s keep making Bentley, Range Rover and Aston Martin.
A mindset mirrored even in the military, where the UK’s armed forces are probably on a par with Spain’s, but what the hell – ‘We’ve got nuclear weapons and the SAS’. Rule Britannia!
The obsession with money and some twisted view of ‘only the best’ is exemplified in the City of London, through which passes most of the world’s dirty money. The City of London with its web of offshore tax havens that begin in the Irish Sea and the Channel.
Or step outside the Square Mile to see where the oligarchs, the kleptocrats, and the mass murderers live . . . or maybe they just buy the big houses as investments. We recently read that Isabel dos Santos, described as ‘Africa’s richest woman’, said to have ‘ripped off’ her native Angola, owns a number of expensive properties in London.
Under this system, this mindset, everything is monetised, even education. It’s now easier to gain a degree in the UK than perhaps any other western country. This is due the fact that universities are perceived as being businesses. If you can write your name and remember your address then you’re guaranteed a place at ‘uni’, with further money made from foreign students, who can be charged two or three times the rate for domestic students.
The United Kingdom is a ship crewed by knaves floating on a sea of dirty money. No one with an alternative staring them in the face should want to stay on board.
LLANGEFNI SHIRE HALL
Having got that off my chest I’ll turn to a story I first covered back on 6 November. Here it is. In essence, the council on Ynys Môn last year sold the Shire Hall in Llangefni to an English ‘businessman’ named Tristan Scott Haynes.
My piece was prompted by an article I’d seen on NorthWalesLive. I’m returning to it now because the article reappeared in BusinessNewsWales again last Thursday. Repeated word for bloody word.
After reading the BNW article I telephoned Ynys Môn council and spoke with a charming young woman who confirmed that the Shire Hall had indeed been sold 22 August last year. Which made me wonder why there was no media coverage of the sale until November.
Having bought the title document for the Shire Hall when I wrote last November’s piece I was surprised to see that ownership for title CYM716217 was attributed to the council. So I went back to the Land Registry website last week and bought the title document again, assuming that it would now have been updated to show the change of ownership; but as you can see, the council is still listed as owner.
Perplexed by this, I decided to come at the problem from a different angle. You may remember that Tristan Haynes had a couple of companies, one of them was Chief Properties Ltd. There are two charges against Chief Properties and both list title number CYM635210, which is different to the title number I’d bought. (Which I now suspect refers to the new county council offices not far away.)
So it was back to the Land Registry website and the new number I’d unearthed. Here it is, title document and plan. Below you’ll see the Land Registry plan with a capture from Google Maps to give a fuller picture.
The first thing that struck me was the size of this site, sold for £150,000 or less. (You’ll see from the links provided that the indent shaded green is the war memorial.) The title takes in the old town hall, the police station and magistrates court, together with a sizeable car park.
And yet, despite the sale having gone through last August, the title is still in the name of ‘Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn’. So why hasn’t it been transferred to Tristan Scott Haynes or Chief Properties Ltd?
You may have noticed that Haynes borrowed the money to buy the Shire Hall from Together Commercial Finance Ltd of Cheshire. And if that name sounds familiar it’s because our old friends at Plas Glynllifon and Seiont Manor, Paul and Rowena Williams, have outstanding debts with the same company. Together is one of those ‘specialist’ lenders to whom people turn when regular banks respond to loan requests with, ‘You must be joking!’
In the NorthWalesLive article in November (and of course the BusinessNewsWales piece last week) we were told that Haynes is the “managing director of Chief Properties” and “also runs a successful haulage firm”. All designed to impress, yet these are are both one-man bands.
Chief Properties was formed in August 2018 and the first director was Nadine Baldwin, who was joined in September by Haynes. Baldwin left the company in December 2018. I’m assuming there was some connection or relationship between Baldwin and Haynes.
The ‘successful haulage firm’ is Falcon Transportation Ltd. Incorporated 3 July 2015 and seems to have bumped along, doing very little since then. Haynes was the original director but stood down 1 February 2018 to be replaced by Julian Mayne. Haynes made a triumphal return in February 2019 the day after Mayne left.
When he wasn’t directing the haulage fleet in the temporary absence of Tristan Haynes Jools was the mastermind behind Low Cost Bills Ltd. Though when you look into the figures for this company you wonder what Mayne’s day job might have been.
Both of the Haynes companies are based at these imposing offices on Tavistock Street in Bedford. The building is owned by husband and wife David and Michelle Munday, whose company, Orchid National Nursing Supplies Ltd, would appear to use the building as a warehouse.
There was another Haynes company I found, Bullet Strategies Ltd, which lasted about 18 months before being struck off in September 2014. The address given for this company was 8 Howbury Street in Bedford. A terraced house that seems to have been divided into two flats.
Although the company correspondence address for both is the Orchid warehouse on Tavistock Street the address given for Haynes himself is 33A St Peter’s Road, which suggests he might now be living above Bedford Dental Surgery.
On the Companies House website the ‘Nature of business’ (SIC) given for Wasp HQ is, ‘47781 – Retail sale in commercial art galleries; 47782 – Retail sale by opticians;
47789 – Other retail sale of new goods in specialised stores (not commercial art galleries and opticians)’.
While for Pine Eels it’s, ‘47789 – Other retail sale of new goods in specialised stores (not commercial art galleries and opticians)’.
Which might suggest that Llangefni Shire Hall will be used for art galleries and opticians . . . except when they’re not art galleries and opticians. (Glad we cleared that up.) And yet the article I’ve referred to mentioned a pod hotel and a conference centre. Are they covered by not being art galleries and opticians?
Come to that, why the hell are we talking about opticians?
To recap. The title was bought last August, Tristan Haynes already had his plans for the site, so presumably planning permission has been granted, or at the very least a planning application or a request for a change of use has been submitted to the council.
The land was sold last August, there was a bit of publicity in November (regurgitated last week) and then, all of a sudden . . . nothing happened! Not even a change of ownership notified to the Land Registry.
After I wrote the original piece last November I was sent information on Tristan Scott Haynes. It obviously came from someone who knows him well. If only a fraction of that information is correct then Haynes is a dangerous and unprincipled manipulator.
I have chosen to withhold that information, for the time being. But I still have questions for Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn:
- How was contact first made between the council and Tristan Scott Haynes?
- Were background checks done by the council; checks that, for example, would have unearthed Haynes’ conviction and imprisonment on Malta?
- Who recommended selling this land to Haynes?
- Who authorised selling this land to Haynes?
- Has the council been paid the agreed sale price?
- Why hasn’t the Land Registry been informed of the sale and the change of ownership that took place over five months ago?
- Has the sale definitely gone through?
- What contact does the council now have with Haynes?
- In the news articles Haynes talks of a ‘pod hotel‘. Does anyone really think that Llangefni needs such a venture?
- Or is it to be an art galley – competing with the council’s own Oriel Môn just a short distance away.
- And could the town sustain a ‘conference centre’? (Though I suppose the delegates could all stay in the pod hotel.)
- Given his ambitious plans isn’t Cyngor Môn concerned by Tristan Haynes’ complete lack of experience in any of the options mentioned?
I know the county council is desperate to off-load this site but elementary checks on potential buyers are easy, cost next to nothing, and can save the vendor both money and embarrassment.
UPDATE 31.12.2020: I received an e-mail yesterday from the young woman I spoke with at Cyngor Môn. She wrote: “The sale was completed on the 22/8/2019. Registration of the Transfer at the Land Registry is a matter for the buyer following completion. We aren’t aware of any planning applications.”
What is going on?
WEEP FOR WALES 16B
Fans of the Plas Glynllifon/Seiont Manor saga (and I know there are many of you out there) will be wondering what happened when Paul and Rowena Williams took their erstwhile buddy and business partner, Myles Cunliffe, before the beak in Manchester a week last Friday.
Here’s some supplementary information I’ve been sent.
“What wasn’t reported first off Paul Williams was actually wearing a suit! with a very bad floral tie
Basically it was a total failure of a application on the Williams side and the judge was not impressed at all, it should never have got to court…….
Because of this Williams had to pay Cunliffe his costs of £6,500 and if it has to go to court again Williams has to pay £10,000 up front to the court because of the cock up
Williams also has racked up a bill of £60,000 with his solicitors which the judge questioned how much and if the figure was even valid!
The Judge agreed to the Companies House stuff to be submitted via Cunliffe because they have said they would do this all along (My guess is the Williams want the codes to do something dodgy)
I even heard that Cunliffe’s solicitor give a quote to Owen Hughes and nothing is mentioned in Article (Though the person who was there didn’t hear the actual quote)
I think Williams still has Owen in his pocket!
Anyway hope that helps”.
It looks as if the Gruesome Twosome miscalculated badly, and so I think we can look forward to many more episodes of Weep for Wales.
THE WOODHOUSE MODEL
Another star who has graced this blog in recent years is Gavin Lee Woodhouse. He built up a portfolio of hotels and then went for glory, accompanied by Bore Grylls, with the highly ambitious Afan Valley Adventure Resort.
The ‘Welsh Government’ obviously thought Woodhouse was a great asset to the Welsh economy. Not only was he gifted hundreds of acres of public land for his Afan Valley fantasy but he was also awarded a £500,000 grant for one of his hotels, the Caer Rhun in the Conwy valley.
The same business method is now being employed in Cardiff by the owner of the Coal Exchange. For obvious reasons investors are getting edgy, as this report from last November tells us. And concerns persist, as this report from last Friday confirms.
And yet, despite selling rooms individually being a discredited business model favoured by crooks, Cardiff council has agreed to give £2m to the Coal Exchange ‘developer’.
I can understand Cardiff council wanting to safeguard a landmark building, but is this the way to do it? If this goes the same way as Woodhouse’s empire can Cardiff council be sure of getting its £2m back?
I’m not for one minute suggesting that those running Aston Martin and TVR are crooks, I’m simply using these companies as examples of the poor judgement and profligacy of the ‘Welsh Government’.
The Aston Martin car company has been enticed to St Athan near Cardiff with the promise of lots of public funding; while TVR is supposedly coming to Ebbw Vale as a consolation prize for the doomed Circuit of Wales.
I have a regular contact who is something of a petrolhead and he passes on items that he picks up in the specialist press. One recent tit-bit drew my attention to ‘Taffy66’. Checking his ‘garage’ i.e. the cars he owns, we find 4 Porsche and a Ferrari. Suggesting that Taffy66 is doing quite well for himself. (Perhaps he earns even more than a third sector CEO!)
You’ll see that he describes himself as “a proud Welshman who due to the nature of my business has no choice but to do regular dealings with the WAG”. So why don’t Drakewell and the gang hire him as an adviser. He must know more about business than them and their civil servants. (But come to that, so does my cat!)
The hard news on both Aston Martin and TVR suggests they are struggling financially and are very unlikely to provide the jobs anticipated.
Salvation for Aston Martin might come in the form of Chinese investment, but whether Geely would still go ahead at St Athan is a moot point. As for TVR, the specialist press is very sceptical about the company’s future, with the latest news being that the roof on the Ebbw Vale factory is leaking!
The ‘Welsh Government’ is spending on infrastructure for these companies, and pumping money into them, when it has no real control. A change of ownership and it could be a case of, ‘Wales! Where’s that?‘
No healthy economy was ever built by desperately bribing foreign firms to move to a country. This is nothing more than a colony funding colonialism. Which of course is how colonialism operates.
Water has long been an emotive subject in Wales, Cofiwch Dryweryn! and all that. But too many are lulled into silent acceptance, or even support, when the sirens sing of ‘renewable’ and ‘green energy’, seemingly blind to the fact that exploitation and colonialism come in many forms.
Last October in, Wales, with us but strangers, I wrote about the troubling case of the hydro scheme at Ystradffin, near Rhandirmwyn, below the Llyn Brianne reservoir. It’s a fascinating story, I strongly advise you to read it.
The latest news is that the locals are getting angry. For despite originally promising great financial benefits for the community the developer (whoever that might ultimately be) is now offering just £1,000 a year according to this BBC Wales report.
Though the version in Welsh paints an even darker picture. It talks of environmental damage, no local jobs, and of a BBC film crew being ‘challenged’ and then pursued, even though the crew was on public land!
At Ystradffin we have the involvement of a number of English companies, with a Czech company doing the work. Then there is the possibility of Russian funding, and UK government involvement. Quite a story, with the Welsh involvement being limited to the water.
This is real colonialism, almost medieval. Strangers march into our country and set up a ‘Taffy-keep-out’ zone. The ‘Welsh Government’ probably wasn’t even consulted. (And knows better than to ask.)
♦ end ♦