Jun 132018
 

OUR STORY BEGINS IN PRESTEIGNE . . .

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

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

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

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

RESCUE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO WHO’S WHO AND HOW ARE THEY CONNECTED?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

click to enlarge

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

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

WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT TOURISM?

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

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

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

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

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

A FEW WORRYING FACTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And what do the insurers think of this behaviour?

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

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

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

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

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

How could anyone ever trust these people?

COUNT THE SPOONS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦ end ♦

 

  115 Responses to “Weep for Wales”

  1.  

    I can’t comment ,I’m weeping so much.

  2.  

    I felt the same writing it.

  3.  

    Sad to say but nothing startlingly new here. Jac has diligently dug deeper and surprise surprise we find that these crooks are probably even more crooked than we originally imagined them to be !.

    My primary concern is that scarce public funds are being squandered on the scams peddled by spivs like this. Well paid public servants and their political masters must be aware by now that people like this are regularly dipping into the kitty with no intention of fulfilling all the glittering promises made in the preliminary submissions. Yet they continue to fall for it.

    Why ? Are they taking backhanders or some other reward in kind ? I don’t think so, at least in the majority of cases. So why keep repeating the same mistakes and inevitable failures ? Well, I suspect that many of the decision makers initially felt a bit of guilt at their cock-ups, that later advanced into a state of denial, and by now we have reached a situation where Y Cynulliad and its servants are institutionally corrupted into an Orwellian mindset where any fuck-up has to be described as “success”. Given that perverse mindset in government, parasites soon tune in and recognise a feast when they see one. The carcass of Wales is there for picking clean unless we render it extremely toxic for the flyboys and their deviant schemes. Where are those principled politicians when you need them ?

    •  

      I think you’ve put your finger on it, Dafis, it’s a mindset, such as we encounter in 1984, Darkness at Noon, or real-life totalitarian regimes, where values are totally corrupted to the point where a parallel logic and sense of morality prevails. It’s Kafka brought to the real world . . . or at least, to Wales. Unfortunately.

  4.  

    If what they have done is illegal, it certainly should be, shouldn’t you present your evidence to Dyfed Powys Police etc?

    •  

      The evidence has already been submitted to Dyfed Powys Police, by someone else, as I say in the beginning of the article.

    •  

      Looks like a money laundering operation. This scam used to run on real estate in Spain until they cleaned up their act. Strange that Welsh Government cash ends up in the fold, in the same way as dodgy Pedro the town mayor used to.

    •  

      Money laundering was a thought that occurred to me. Because these people buy properties, then close them, where’s the sense in that?

      It was the absurd price – nearly three and a half million pounds – paid for a run-down hotel that was also listed (so little could be done with it) that made me think of money laundering. And then of course there’s the fact that they’re buying and selling, or transferring, property within a tight circle.

    •  

      To which can be added the fact they bought the Radnorshire Arms at a greatly inflated price from themselves. Paying over the odds like that is a classic indicator of money laundering.

    •  

      When Partridge was originally arrested in 1999 it was for theft, handling stolen goods, AND fraud.

      The case, in which he was eventually convicted of the theft charge (jailed for over six years) revolved around a £250,000 Bentley Azure. This does not indicate the full nature of the criminal operation, just the exhibit that led to his conviction. It’s not the sort of car you can drive around Shrewsbury without being noticed, It’s more likely to have involved the inherent value therein and may have just got caught with his paws on the motor.

  5.  

    Some excellent journalistic investigation there, Jac. Years ago we used to have investigative journalist programmes on ITV, S4C and ITV. This kind of scandal would be just the kind of thing they would investigate. Sadly, now we are just fed a diet of strictly dancing in a jungle or a ‘celebrity’ eating insects in a jungle (being goaded by that Grylls moron you mention). I doubt if you’d find a proper journalist in that big cube of glass outside Cardiff Central, and the only one I could name (from Llangennech) is roped in to do dull sycophant commentary on the hats types worn at Windsor.

  6.  

    somewhere in your message you mentioned centreparc … which reminds me … who tried to buy out Phoenix equity trading .. who are currently trying to gain planning consent to erect 68 forest cabins at Juniper Hill, part of Mortimer Forest … much much contested….. their initial application for 68 was turned down by Hfds council as too large .. ie they will resubmit the application with 34, and get iot .. then .. apply for the other half … Mortimer Forest should be left alone. this is a horrible idea .. forest cabins for those who can afford it .. with hot tubs etc, and that particular back road to Ludlow, so winding, small, what the hell are they thinking…. SAVE MORTIMER FOREST!!

    •  

      Thanks for the heads up BW.

      The development in Mortimer Forest (Shropshire/Herefordshire ) is by Forest Holidays which is part owned by the Forestry Commission in England (and a nominee in Scotland). However, it advertises an existing ‘Forest Holiday’ experience at Beddgelert, in Wales. I thought that all forestry Commission interests in Wales was devolved and absorbed into Natural Recourses Wales? Why is Forestry Commission England selling and making profits on log cabin holiday lets in Welsh forests?

  7.  

    I’m wondering whether sending a link to your post to Wales Audit Office may be worthwhile. When I raise various issues regarding misuse of public funds with Welsh Government’s internal auditors they normally do not even bother to acknowledge receipt or respond following several reminders. I’m beginning to wonder why internal auditors are employed by Welsh Government and who they are accountable to. Surely your post should be of interest to them.

  8.  

    I see Leanne Wood has finally woken up.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-44466301

    The only way she’ll make FM is to win Rhondda alongside Sean Rees AM for Llanelli, McEvoy AM for Cardiff West, Copner AM for Blaenau Gwent, Seimon Glyn AM for Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Bethan Phillips AM for Neath.

    This is the girl I used to know…

    https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/E237/production/_96211975_leanne_young_parc.jpg

    She needs to reach out to grass roots Welsh communities not surround herself with third sector lobbyists, focus groups in posh hotels, and waste time on side issues. Is it too late?

    •  

      What about Leanne becoming FM in a more distant future by shifting over to Welsh Labour and rising to the top of that barrel of slime ?

  9.  

    Wow! I can’t believe they can do this so openly!

  10.  

    Dear Jac O’ the North,

    I sincerely suggest that you get your facts correct before publishing such slanderous comments. Your journalism is nothing more than tabloid misinformation which we will be seeking redress upon.

    These comments are nothing more than hopelessly incorrect and are a blight on what was a very successful business until we sold it some time ago.

    I suggest you seek legal advice before printing any more misinformation. The information that you have reported is wholly inaccurate.

    If you would like to personally contact me or if any reader of this vile would like further information please email me at director@rrad.limited.

    Yours faithfully

    Paul Williams

    •  

      This is an open forum, say what you have to say.

      For a start tell us why you paid yourself so much to buy the Radnorshire Arms Hotel. I mean, you already owned it. This is a ploy used in money laundering. Though a friend suggests it might be a ponzi mortgage scheme. (I’ll have to ask him to explain.)

      Then tell us why all the places you buy seem to close down and get gutted.

    •  

      Reporting suspected criminal activity, in the public interest, and building up evidence that may need to be presented to the authorities and the police, do not constitute slander.

    •  

      I’ve just received a fascinating DM on Twitter, which reads: “A friend just sent me the article about Rowena and Paul Williams. He was the general manager at Seiont manor before they bought the place! They came in, got rid of loads of staff, even a learning disabled pot washer, who had worked there for 15 years +. They completely gutted glynllifon also. the article has hit the nail on the head!”

      It seems to be the same MO everywhere.

    •  

      I heard the laid off all the night porters the disabled kitchen porter and the maintenance manager

    •  

      That fits. He lays everybody off – except him and his gang.

      If you didn’t see it, this is what I received earlier in a Twitter DM. “A friend just sent me the article about Rowena and Paul Williams. He was the general manager at Seiont manor before they bought the place! They came in, got rid of loads of staff, even a learning disabled pot washer, who had worked there for 15 years +. They completely gutted glynllifon also. the article has hit the nail on the head!”

    •  

      Myself and 2 other night porters were laid off by Paul and rowena on purchasing Seiont Manor hotel. When I spoke with one director he Rikki Reynolds said our jobs are safe days later we got our marching orders.
      May I also add there does seem to be a massive amount of directors in the company. Every manager was pushed to be directors. I belive you don’t pay as much tax to directors. I can confirm the kitchen porter who has disabilities was unfairly dismissed. Meetings were had with him by Rrl telling him what he should do. Manipulating him!
      The maintenance manager was fired because he took a authorised holiday.
      They also started knocking down walls in a grade 2 listed building which was occupied by some very rare bats prior to planning consent in the grounds of Seiont Manor
      That’s just for starters….

    •  

      A source told me that staff were listed as directors without their knowledge. Do you know some of these names, and did they know they’d been directors?

    •  

      I do not think “slander” is the correct word to use in this situation. I prefer to think of it as Jac assisting the police with their enquiries.

      On a political note, now that Carwyn has decided to spend more time with the family, can we persuade you, Jac, to come out of retirement and run for public office. I sometimes wonder whether any politician in Wales has a clear understanding of the issues, so clearly identified on this excellent blog.

    •  

      Paul – You appear to have forgotten that you are trying to use an email address of RRAD Limited. This company was struck off the companies register in April 2012. It was located at The Royal Chicken (takeaway) in Wolverhampton.

      Don’t leave your country but you are invited to vacate ours.

    •  

      I see a Sikh name as director. And there is now a Sikh – Sukhbinder Singh Heer – serving as director of Leisure and Development Ltd. I would be disappointed to learn that members of a community I respect and admire were mixed up with Williams and his gang.

      I do hope you’re wrong, Brychan.

    •  

      Pan Ddaw’r Dydd……canwyr hardd, cân hardd ac iaith hardd.

    •  

      Canwyr o Saron, Sir Gaerfyrddin, ar daith i Saron, Gwynedd.
      Gwaith cenhadol !

  11.  

    Excellent research Jac we may disagree totally politically but you are usually spot on on the facts.

    Small border towns – vulnerable to this kind of behaviour. Both are landmark buildings and the towns will suffer if they do not reopen especially Knighton. Of course the owners were as sharp as tacks. We have also just heard our final bank is to close in Knighton, devastating for local businesses. There is also the problem of lost jobs and bookings left hanging in the air – weddings and even people turning up having booked on line and not realising the hotels have closed.

    The Radnorshire Arms is a beautiful building and is mentioned in George Borrow’s Wild Wales – where the author is told that it is ‘in neither England or Wales but in Radnorshire’.

    If public subsidy is to be used to help these businesses why not cut out the middle man and open as a state run parador as in Spain, certainly the Radnorshire Arms would qualify?

    •  

      I’m not sure about a “state run parador” but there must be a better system than throwing money at shysters all the time, especially when they all come from outside of Wales. It’s simply funding the takeover of our country.

    •  

      Paradores established in Spain to promote tourism and to save historical buildings are run by the government and offer high quality accommodation and meals – I have stayed in quite a few and they are excellent. There are also pousadas in Portugal. I agree Jac there must be better way than doshing up any shyster who appears pretending to invest. We are desperate to save jobs and infrastructure and these people take advantage of us. I could give you a long list of the lost jobs in this area as manufacturing has declined see this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFBoNcf6be4

    •  

      I’ve stated many times that, being a nationalist and a believer in the free market system, I will instinctively favour business but, in Wales, rather than see our assets in foreign hands I would support public ownership until we have an indigenous entrepreneurial class.

      And even with a healthy class of Welsh entrepreneurs I would still want to see important assets such as water, and vital industries such as railways, remain under public control.

  12.  

    Interesting article. Are you able to clarify please- is the Castle Inn mentioned the one in Wigmore, which is currently closed?

  13.  

    How are they being able to ruin all all these beautiful buildings that big one in North Wales will be the next on the list.

  14.  

    Jac,

    You are sadly mistaken and i will no lower myself to your level by responding further. Your reporting is wholly inaccurate, we operated the business for years and only leased it once. The properties were almost derelict when purchased if not in a very poor state of repair.

    The only illegal goings on here, is in your inaccurate reporting.

    Paul Williams

    PS RRAD is alive and well and nothing to do with any chicken takeaway in Wolverhampton

    •  

      You’d better get your answers ready because I won’t be the only one asking.

      I’ll try again: Why ‘buy’ for £3.5m a building you already owned?

    •  

      RRAD Ltd
      https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07433443
      Dissolved on 3rd April 2012.
      Registered address – The Royal Chicken, 3 Raynor Road, Wolverhampton, WV10 9NB

    •  

      I can’t believe he was involved with that. Chickens are not his thing; he’s more a goose man, the goose that lays the golden eggs – i.e. the ‘Welsh’ Government.

    •  

      RRAD rural Retreats and development
      RRAL rural Retreats and leisure

      Mr and Mrs Williams’ companies for the radnoshire, Knighton, Castle inn, Seiont Manor, glynllifon, waves bar Cornwall now glynllifon Ltd owns Plas brereton, Plas ty coch, Seiont Manor and glynllifon.
      Might I add glynllifon is also a forestry college they plan to buy the whole Park and relocate the collage.

    •  

      Here’s RRaD

      Here’s RRaL, which they want to strike off.

    •  

      Does the knowledge of grant funding and Wales being ripe for plucking come from a time at an Age Concern Company. One of the directors was a director at an Age Concern outfit or two? Third sector knowledge as well no doubt.

    •  

      Can you explain?

    •  

      scroll down Mrs Williams people history on the links you provided from Co’s House she once had two directorships with Age Concern – Birmingham connections.

  15.  

    I think it would be much better if Jac and most the people who made comments on here had the courage to use their real name.
    johnjprdan

    •  

      So why is your comment published “Anonymous” Wynne is my real name.

  16.  

    It would be very nice if Jac and lots of the people who left a comment would use a real name.

    •  

      It would also be very nice if you and your kind stopped your adulation of those treating the public purse as fair game. You obviously have some difficulty figuring out the difference between right and wrong, or are you attracted to deviant behaviours ?

    •  

      I was merely a customer and there at the hotel and thee was no adulation.

    •  

      I think you’re backing the wrong horse.

  17.  

    SOUNDS LIKE THE REST OF BRITAIN TOO, SNEAKY SLIMY INFILTRATORS HAVE STARTED DESTROYING THE INTEGRITY OF THIS LAND BECAUSE OF GREEDY PEOPLE AND THUGGERY.EVERYTHING HAS BEEN STOLEN.

  18.  

    The Knighton hotel has been closed now for some time, was purchased by Coast2Coast apparently, so now they have closed it never to reopen i guess, i would imagine it has been gutted also.

    •  

      There must be a question as to whether it has actually been bought by Coast 2 Coast or whether it’s just a ploy to relieve Paul and Rowena Williams of responsibility.

      I heard this morning that Partridge (of Coast 2 Coast) told someone in Presteigne that it would be a year before the Radnorshire Arms opened again. So I wouldn’t build your hopes up over the Knighton Hotel.

    •  

      I think its incredibly sad that a small group of hotels some of which are listed buildings can be sold / transferred from one company to another in this case MR Keith Harvey Partridge, if we are to believe he is the new owner, without any scrutiny on how he was going to continue to operate , the well-being of the businesses and buildings have been destroyed along with peoples jobs . Nobody seems to be facing up and taking responsibility . No answer to when the establishments will be reopened. If we are to believe this was a clean sale from the paul and rowena and they cared so much for the redevelopment they put into their hotels over the years why did they sell to MR Partridge. A man who has no history in running hotels nor succesfull businesses .

    •  

      I agree with everything you say. But to make it even worse Paul and Rowena Williams are said to have received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the ‘Welsh’ Government for hotels that they or Partridge have closed.

  19.  

    […] Jac o’ the North weeps for Wales with another forensic take on yet another sorry tale in Wales’ spivocracy. […]

  20.  

    As a native of Presteigne I thought I would buy my cousin an overnight stay with dinner at The Radnor for her 40th Birthday !Now of course because of the out and out greed and crooked dealings of these people I am unable to redeem my money and I feel I haven’t given my cousin a gift . I feel so sorry for the staff at The Radnor one of whom did so much to deal with my request on the phone from Yorkshire . My family have lived in Presteigne since 1926 , The Radnor was such a significant part of our lives and the lives of so many in this unique border town I just feel like saying “How dare they these crooks from off ‘ I am just glad that my Dad and so many of his contempories are not alive today to witness this illegal fiasco !

  21.  

    They also owned and ran the Mortimer Cross Inn in Herefordshire but they did spend massive amounts doing it up about 20 years ago now. Powys in has one listed building conservation officer now, that’s one covering all of Powys.

  22.  

    Your blog is about troubles of english in wales but I reading your posts in english, in wales? You have language but not use? This has sameness to other nations who is part of state – being separate when suits. Maybe you are needing english more than you think?

    •  

      Thank you, ‘Aleksander’. Are you able to read and understand Welsh?

    •  

      I suspect he’s one of those critters that turn up on adverts all the time, but in reality just pests! Used to inhabit arid parts of Africa, now living in urban England. Maybe that’s why so many Anglos come to Wales.

  23.  

    Abercanaid is doing a Glynllifon.

    I see on one of your previous blog posts about Bike Park Wales, where the company use Marshals to fine local cyclists and dog walkers for trespassing on NRW (Forestry Commission) land at Abercanaid.

    BikePark Wales

    ‘Charges’ have recently been made upon the assets of Bike Park Wales who are now operating through its holding company in order to secure its loan capital. These charges are with (a) AIB Group Plc, and (b) Welsh Ministers. This doesn’t bode well.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10998024/charges
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04103513/charges

    This set-up bears an alarming resemblance to that which existed with a previous incarnation of the enterprise at Glynllifon Limited. Only there the charges there applied to (a) AIB Group Plc and (b) Gwynedd County Council.

    When it all went tits up AIB got most of their money back, leaving other creditors out-of-pocket. This is defined in the ‘order of priority’ within the mortgage debenture under the Insolvency Act 1986.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04103513/filing-history

    GCC lost £135,000 on the Glynllifon mansion, £130k as loan capital and £5k in outstanding expenses, and the property fell (as we see above) into the hands of asset strippers. People of Merthyr – BEWARE – Labour privatisations can seriously damage your wealth, as well as you freedom to roam.

  24.  

    Hi Jac, thanks – a fascinating read. Tell me, do you know whether the local press have shown any interest in the latest developments with the Radnorshire Arms? Surely it’s in the public interest that they try to get to the bottom of what’s going on here, or is it too hot to handle?

  25.  

    More in today’s Daily Post.
    It’s a beautiful park – but an expert now says parts of Glynllifon are so unsafe it shouldn’t open
    http://www.dailypost.co.uk/business/business-news/parc-glynllifon-critical-point-claims-14790709#ICID=ios_DailyPostNewsApp_AppShare_Click_MessageShare

    •  

      The Williamses are in negotiations with Gwynedd County Council to buy the parkland, so they hire an ‘expert’, and would you believe it – he finds ‘issues’, which they’ll use to bring down the purchase price. Thereby screwing the council tax payers of Gwynedd, of whom I’m one.

      I’ll never understand how or why the council got involved with these shysters; but the involvement has to be brought to an end before we all get ripped off or end up with big, big debts.

    •  

      In all fairness Jac, there are no negotiations proceeding between Cyngor Gwynedd and the Williamses re the sale of the Park. The Members of CG are aware of your blog and those I have contacted would be totally opposed.

    •  

      I’m glad to hear that there are no negotiations.

      Though I wonder why I can’t find Plas Glynllifon registered with the Land Registry. I can find the smaller properties on the estate but not the big house. Paul and Rowena Williams bought Plas Glynllifon in late 2016 or early 2017 so they’ve had plenty of time to register it. It makes me wonder whether it’s in their name.

      But whoever owns it, it should be registered with the Land Registry.

  26.  

    Anglo-Saxon refugees, wherever they settle and colonise – nothing but trouble!

    Perhaps Phil Parry of the “eye patch” emagazine could do some investigative journalism on the issue?

    I wonder if any AM from any party in our National Assembly could pose this question to the British Fabian Carwyn Jones: “Has a Security Media Advisory Notice been placed on our national media by the Home Secretary not to publish or broadcast any article about: Anglo-Saxon flight, promoting nationalism, or independence for Wales ?”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSMA-Notice

    Carwyn…..the people of Wales demand an answer.

    PS…Still no news in the press about the “crunch talks” in the USA about tariffs!

    PPS…..If no party asks the question – do we need a new party in our country?

    •  

      I have a FoI in with the ‘Welsh’ Government. I just hope I get an honest response.

  27.  

    In the numerous and various scandals which have arisen by way of the Welsh “Government” tipping (hundreds of?) millions into projects which subsquently go t**s up, it would be interesting to enquire as to how many of these “investments” from the public purse were recommended for refusal by the civil servants but were still authorised by “Ministers”. For example, £millions of grant have been poured into a convention centre at the Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport, as I understand it, against the recommendation of civil servants, who (rightly) questioned the reasoning behind making such grants to a billionaire. According to relevant regulations, Government Grants should only be made as a LAST RESORT and to prevent the risk of a project not proceeding.

    •  

      In reply to you, Freya, and others, we seem to be dealing here with what a friend of mine – who knows of these things – described as a kind of ponzi scheme. One in which you take out a mortgage to buy a building but overestimate the value of the building, which of course gives you spare cash. You then take out a second mortgage or loan on that building, and you can keep on doing this with building after building.

      This, I’m told, is made easy by lenders preferring to give borrowers 35% of £5 million than 90% of £250,000.

      In this case, they gave the game away with the Radnorshire Arms in Presteigne. It was owned by Rowena Williams, and was probably worth less than a million, but it was ‘sold’ to a company of which she and her husband were directors for close on £3.5 million. Apart from the absurdly inflated price, how can anyone ‘buy’ something they already own?

      Like all ponzi schemes it will it eventually collapse, but in this case I suspect that those running the scam are hoping the ‘Welsh’ Government and/or Cyngor Gwynedd bail them out.

      I’m currently working on a follow-up. It should be out on Tuesday.

    •  

      P.S. In the kind of operation I’m describing, the businesses housed in these buildings, and the staff they employ, are largely irrelevant; which explains why businesses close and staff are laid off. All that matters is the buildings themselves and the money that can be raised against them.

    •  

      I’m smelling lots of rats here and as a resident of Presteigne I fear for the impact it will have on the town. Annual events that rely on the Rad being open will surely be at risk of cancellation and it’s a hard enough place to make a living at the best of times. What I don’t quite get is the fact that lenders stopied security/asset led lending years ago. No financial institution would rely on a £3m valuation for the Rad. They would get a valuation of their own surely even if there was a “no money changing hands” deal of £3m amongst directors that valued it that high. Then I would expect the servicing of that loan to need to be demonstrated by some verified underlying business performance. Whilst I completely agree that a lot of questions need answering here am I the only one struggling with the benefit of a paper based sale at an over inflated value? The answer must be in there somewhere!

    •  

      You raise three important questions:

      1/ Who valued the Radnorshire Arms at £3.5m?
      2/ Did the lenders know the valuation was inflated but still go ahead?
      3/ Do the lenders now realise that the properties they gave loans on are deteriorating and losing value?

      If the answer to Q2 is Yes, then we’re dealing with a major scam. If the lenders were misled, then they need to be informed.

      One thing I am sure of is that everything Paul and Rowena Williams did was done to raise money for Plas Glynllifon and their other projects around Caernarfon. Once they got the money, the properties they raised that money against had served their purpose.

    •  

      Sounds like there might have been some pretty inefficient lending if percentages of £3.5m are being handed out. Guess we can only hope for a quick foreclosure and the building ending up in the hands of someone who values it and wants to run it long term. There’s definitely a good business opportunity in it for someone. Another thought? If RW personally owned it, bought it for around £400k then sold it for £3.5m wouldn’t she have a Capital Gains Tax bill on £3.1m?

    •  

      I hadn’t considered CGT, but of course you’re right.

    •  

      They have avoided CGT. If you look at the 2018 accounts of Leisure and Development Ltd, we see a turnover of £530k with operating costs of £130k, which is the ratio/gross margin you would expect from a hospitality business. But strikingly, we see admin expenses of a whopping £950k, giving an operating loss of circa £500k. This suggests that the company is being used for something other than running hotels, bars and restaurants. Obviously, no tax is payable on losses.

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XHY1FpNZEARIbCG-HbqOo8kj9XGem05M/view

      We also see that the Williams pair paid themselves £2,754,770 each, as advances to directors, during the past year. The asset value held in the balance sheet has also been eaten up as creditors payable to payday commercial loan outfit Together Commercial Finance who have a charge over the various ‘manor’ properties. Notice that NatWest, the only normal bank that’s lent them money, haven’t touched any of the ‘manors’ and their loan is secured on the Beaufort Sports and Social Club. This in itself, tells the story.

      It doesn’t take a genius to advise that the Welsh Government, Gwynedd County Council, Coleg Menai/Llandrillo, or any other enterprise in the Glynllifon area to steer a very wide berth from this arrangement. If I was a chippy or bricky foolish enough to take on a contract, I’d lock my tools in the van overnight, and ask for cash up-front for any materials or labour for work commissioned.

    •  

      CGT would be a personal liability of the seller i.e. RW based on the sale price and original purchase price. It wouldn’t be the company. It’s Corporation Tax that wouldn’t be payable by the company if it is making losses which clearly it is. There may be some allowances to offset CGT but not enough to cover £3.1m I wouldn’t think. Not making a case for the defence just trying to get my head around the transaction and who has benefited from making it.

    •  

      Not sure why Brychan states that Nat West hasn’t made a loan against The Radnorshire Arms. I am lookiing at a recent copy of the deeds from land reg where Nat West is the principle lender, followed by two separate loans from Together Commercial. The loans in order were filed 03.08.2015, 30,10,2017 and 10.05.2018. This last was made after the so called deal with Coast2Coast. Question; What has Partridge actually bought, no leases unless from the first lender would be tenable. If Williams goes under and re-posession takes place, Partridge loses everything at a stroke so this deal has to be a sham-he might be left with some sets of cruet and wine glasses!
      In reply to elsewhere a petition by locals, asking for an investigation is being sent to over 15 relevant parties,police, serious fraud, concerned councils such as Looe, Wigmore, M.P.’s etc, various in N Wales. Presteigne Town Council are looking at the petition tomorrow following serious concern here at the damage caused.
      Knowing that the Hotel was being shut makes the letters to staff seem really cynical and wicked.

    •  

      This report tells that Williams was dealing with Together Commercial Finance in February 2017, and almost certainly earlier.

      There’s another posting coming out very shortly.

  28.  

    If this is a fairy tale, then top marks for an incredible imagination and for miraculously getting Companies House to comply with your conspiracy to tell all and the many sources you give as references! If on the other hand there is a grain of truth in this seemingly well researched piece of investigative journalism, then the Police must be involved and the public needs to see the outcome, the Welsh Government should be giving full information on any public money that was given to these businesses/ individuals and chasing for full recompense, the local authority should be investigating damage to these key historic buildings, and the press and media should be giving full coverage to put a stop to the shennanigans.
    If you’ve made it all up, it makes compelling reading and would make an excellent ten part drama series for TV . If true, then keep up the good work Jac, and keep prodding.

  29.  

    Have our MP and also our Welsh Assembly member been approached about this scandal yet, and if so, with what result?

    •  

      I haven’t done so, but I’m fairly sure that people in Presteigne and other areas have.

    •  

      Hi Alex I’m pretty certain that it as brought to Kirsty Williams attention last week.

    •  

      I have written to the MP for Caernarfon. Also to Private Eye!

  30.  

    Presteigne Town Council and the population there are very switched on so I doubt they will let the issues drop, especially as the building is a key one as one enters the town. Pounding the keyboard to get tiny grants for such worthy causes as developing the library it makes me very sad that public money is handed out like this and with very little positive impact.

  31.  

    Calling all accountants, number-crunchers and adders-up [or in this case , takers-away!], tax officials , Welsh Government awarders of grants, fraud investigators and evidence gatherers. Please keep feeding back your thoughts and discoveries. We want to hear what you have to say. Cui bono?

    By the way, no-one can safely assume that any MP, Assembly Member or Welsh Government grant bodies have been contacted on this matter.

  32.  

    […] about what we’re dealing with here. If you haven’t read the original piece I suggest you do so now, it’ll help you make sense of this […]

  33.  

    How about possible tax fraud… A member of my family worked for these people at the Rad . They deducted tax from his earnings. However the person has had a tax bill so i can ony assume that the deductions werent forwarded to the relevant body

    •  

      Now that would be interesting. I wonder if any other employees have experienced the same problem? Some I know are reading this.

    •  

      Yes, this is 100% true they keep employees tax will forward my proof this evening

  34.  

    […] up to speed I – and my agent – recommend that you read Weep for Wales and Weep for Wales 2 before […]

  35.  

    […] this is all new to you then I suggest you get up to speed with Weep for Wales, Weep for Wales 2 and Weep for Wales 3. It’s worth it, and I say that because […]

  36.  

    Have they actually been reported to the police for potential fraud ??

    •  

      I’d rather not comment as I’m not the only one taking an interest in these people.

  37.  

    The previous owners of Plas Glynllifon got a grant of £805,000 from the Welsh Government and a loan of £179,750 from Gwynedd Council.All was lost when the company went into liquidation.This mansion is a money tree and a sad example of incapable public servants out of their depths.

  38.  

    […] new to this saga then to help you better understand what follows, I suggest you read Weep for Wales, Weep for Wales 2, Weep for Wales 3 and Weep for Wales […]

  39.  

    Why is the Planning Department of Gwynedd Council so weak.They always seem to be on the side of property developers at the expense of the local werin.It is time for new leadership of this department that reflects local democracy and Community Councils.There are far too many recent examples of this Departments total disregard of local opinion.

    •  

      In fairness, I’m not sure how much input the council has here. Paul and Rowena Williams probably bought Plas Glynllifon off the liquidators and I’m not sure that any planning permission has been granted. I’d be very surprised now if a planning application was even submitted.

      It’s Game Over.

  40.  

    […] you’re new to this saga then to help you better understand what follows, I suggest you read Weep for Wales, Weep for Wales 2, Weep for Wales 3 and Weep for Wales […]

  41.  

    […] League (well, laff!!), why not stay tuned, but first catch up with previous instalments, Weep for Wales, Weep for Wales 2, Weep for Wales 3, Weep for Wales 4, Weep for Wales […]

  42.  

    […] anyone joining us for the first time I strongly suggest that you get up to speed with: Weep for Wales, Weep for Wales 2, Weep for Wales 3, Weep for Wales 4, Weep for Wales 5, Weep for Wales […]

  43.  

    I think that this is completely criminal, The Radnor is a special place and is an important social hub in Presteigne – it must therefore be saved at all costs. Has anybody thought to get it registered as a Community Asset to stop them developing it? If not can I suggest that it needs doing as a matter of urgency. There is a scam at the moment whereby developers buy up pubs and hotels and deliberately run them into the ground because they can then get planning permission to convert them into residential. Suspect that might be what they’re up to. PS We also stayed ay Seiont Manor recently (as we have many times before) and they have managed to wreck that too, so very sad :o(

  44.  

    I read the stuff on your site with great interest. At least somebody in Wales cares enough to try to influence things by writing a webpage.

  45.  

    The simple fact is that rural Wales is in economic meltdown. About 20 years ago its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita was about 85% of UK average. It has steadily declined to now being about 65% of UK average. It is now locked into a downward economic cycle. This occurs when an economy is so poor that it does not generate an investable surplus. the lack of investment in productive capacity further erodes the economic activity and so the cycle of failure accelerates.

    Welsh Labour politicians see rural areas as nice places for urbanites to visit. Westminster politicians have just chucked the problem to the chocolate teapot county councils who have no idea what to do.

  46.  

    […] For anyone joining the saga I strongly suggest that you get up to speed with: Weep for Wales, Weep for Wales 2, Weep for Wales 3, Weep for Wales 4, Weep for Wales […]

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