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Don’t mention Parc Howard

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THE MAN who caused a furore in a public meeting at Parc Howard in 20 15 by saying ‘places like this end up getting bulldozed’ and who was latterly exposed as an introducer for Loca Ventures, the company vying to take over the park, has popped up in another bid for property in Llanelli.

Tony Rees from Cornelly, near Porthcawl, attended a public meeting called by County Councillor John Jenkins on Saturday (Jun 25) to discuss plans to sell off the old YWCA on Queen Victoria Road.

Councillor Jenkins told The Herald: “Before the meeting started , Mr Rees told me , ‘ i f anyone brings up Parc Howard not to allow then to speak’. ”

Councillor Jenkins said that he was not really sure why he was asked to curtail any mention of Parc Howard until he got home and Googled Tony Rees.

He told us: “I saw the reports regarding Parc Howard and I was very concerned about what I read. Given the proposals for the YWCA, what I read cast doubts about the credibility of Tony Rees.”

Councillor Jenkins said that there was a mystery man in the meeting who, when asked, said that he was an associate of Mr Rees and to whom Tony Rees referred as ‘the money man’.

parchowardhomeSpeaking about the proposed plans for the building, which was initially to provide 15 bedsit-type rooms, Councillor Jenkins said: “What they were proposing was something I would not keep a dog in. It was worse than the worst university accommodation. There were 15 bedsits and one bathroom. I objected to the plans , as did Llanelli Town Council.”

NOT NIMBYISM

“We would have sent a representative to speak and object if it had gone to a planning meeting, ” Cllr Jenkins continued .

“What the area needs is sensitive development like the flats that have been created at the former Wanderers club a few doors up. This is not NIMBYism. I am open to residential development and the building needs to be put back into use.

“I believe that there are significant amounts of money available as grants from the Welsh Assembly Government for putting dilapidated buildings like this back into use. Given those vast amounts of money, I have serious concerns ; the council have to be careful about whom they choose as their bedfellows.”

A concerned resident, who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity, said: “As you probably know, the situation has changed somewhat because Mr Rees has ‘responded to community concerns’ and has withdrawn the application for bedsits at the former YWCA building. His plans encountered such hostility at the residents’ meeting and so many objections had been lodged that they are exploring alternative plans.”

The resident told us: “Robert Davies, the planning officer for the Queen Victoria Road scheme , informed John Jenkins, our County Councillor, that he was minded not to put the application before the Planning Committee.

“A new application is likely to be made for six or seven self-contained flats but this is still squeezing them in.”

A further resident said: “There was a mysterious ‘investor’ introduced at the residents meeting, presumably the man who will provide the capital for the project. Interest and loans will be repaid from rents and the risk is reduced by the high demand for low-cost accommodation for single people. Income is assured if rents are set at Housing Benefit levels. Through Housing Benefit, the tax payer is always likely to have an important role in underpinning this kind of business model which begins with identifying a decaying property which the owners are desperate to be relieved of responsibility for and can therefore be bought very cheaply.”

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

The feeling of residents after meeting with Mr Rees and his unnamed ‘money man’ was that many questions remained unanswered . There was concern about the nature of the development and the tenants to whom it would be marketed. Despite attempts to re-assure them, residents felt the accommodation was likely to be let to vulnerable people with a high risk of disturbances related to drug and alcohol abuse and that tenancies were also likely to be transient.

In that respect , they noted the content of a report from the County Council’s Environmental Health Officer, Gareth Jones, who wrote: “P roperties of this size and nature become unmanageable because of: Anti-social behaviour, Noise, Tenant disputes, Refuse management, Fire risk, Parking facilities, Cleanliness and management of communal areas . ”

A spokesperson for local residents told The Herald : “This venture would not be a valuable addition to the housing stock. It is not high quality accommodation – not the sort of accommodation any of us at the meeting would wish ourselves or any member of our families to end up having to live in. It is not designed to address the shortage of housing for single people – it is designed to take advantage of that situation by profiting from temporary, low -investment accommodation that meets only the most basic legal requirements.

“The scale of it and the low standard meant it is likely to attract only transient residents. Concern was expressed about pressure on planning committees to approve ventures like this because of Welsh Government policy.”

HERALD ASKS QUESTIONS

The Herald asked Mr Rees the following questions via email:

  • Following your own and your associate’s meeting with local residents concerned about your plans for the redevelopment of the above property , I would be grateful if you would provide a statement regarding your intentions for the same.
  • Please confirm whether funding from either local government or Welsh Government grant will fund any part of any refurbishment of the premises.
  • Please confirm whether it is your intention to acquire the freehold of the premises, whether by use of a corporate entity or in your own right.
  • Having spoken to some people who were at the public meeting , we have been told that you asked a local councillor not to allow one member of public to raise the issue of Parc Howard. Could you either confirm or deny this?

We have so far received no reply to our enquiries.

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Welsh Conservatives pay tribute to murdered MP, Sir David Amess

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THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES have released a statement following the murder of serving Member of Parliament, Sir David Amess on Friday (Oct 15).

Paul Davies MS said: “We are horrified by the death of Sir David Amess.

“Sir David was a much-respected and well-liked MP who cared deeply about serving his constituents, something he had done with distinction for nearly four decades.

“One of the longest-serving Members of Parliament, his contribution to public life was vast and he will be sorely missed by those in Southend and in the Conservative Party.

Paul Davies MS said: “We are horrified by the death of Sir David Amess (Pictured)

“Sadly, this shocking and abhorrent incident once again highlights the dangers that public servants can face, all of whom should be able to conduct such duties helping those they represent in safety.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends. May he rest in peace.”

The MP for Southend West was stabbed at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex. He was there for one of his regular Friday meetings with his constituents.

Just 15 minutes before the attack, the 69-year-old was standing on the church steps, chatting and laughing with locals.

At around 12:05 PM, Sir David walked into the church alongside two female members of his staff to meet some more constituents.

Local councillor John Lamb said that it was then that the attacker emerged from a small group of waiting constituents and attacked Sir David, stabbing him several times.

“I’m told that when he went in for his surgery there were people waiting to see him, and one of them literally got a knife out and just began stabbing him,” Mr Lamb said.

Police arrived at the scene in Eastwood Road North within minutes where they found the MP with multiple injuries and arrested a man.

“We knew it must be very serious because the paramedics had been working on Sir David for over two and a half hours and they hadn’t got him on the way to hospital,” Mr Lamb told the PA news agency.

At 14:13 an air ambulance arrived at a nearby sports ground to move him to hospital. However, members of his team began to fear the worst as paramedics remained at the scene.

Shortly before 15:00, Essex Police said Sir David had died.

At a press conference later Chief Constable BJ Harrington said officers and paramedics had worked extremely hard to save the MP.

Questions are now being raised about security arrangements for politicians working in their constituencies.

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Family of property developers sentenced for fifteen counts of fraud

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Four property developers were sentenced on Friday (October 15) at Swansea Crown Court to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months each for multiple counts of mortgage and investment fraud worth over £1m.

Audrey Osborne, 65, and her sons Gary Moore, 43, Clayton Moore, 46 and Ian Moore, 44 pleaded guilty to fifteen counts of fraud, including conspiracy to commit fraud, obtaining money transfers by deception and fraud, following an investigation by South Wales Police Economic Unit.

Osborne ran a mortgage brokerage business, Credence Finance Limited operating all over Wales. This company was used as a vehicle to submit multiple false declarations of income in support of mortgage applications.

In addition to the mortgage frauds, the family secured a number of investors in Dreamscape Homes, including family friends, employees and Credence customers. The investors provided amounts of around £25k, some re-mortgaging their own homes to do so. They received Share Certificates in return. None of the investors received a return as the land was never developed.

John Sheehan of the CPS said: “Between them, Audrey Osborne and her sons committed 15 offences of dishonesty, misleading mortgage providers and betraying the trust placed in them by friends, employees and customers. They did so for their own personal benefit and only admitted their wrongdoing late in the proceedings.

“The CPS will now pursue confiscation proceedings against them to ensure they have not benefitted from their criminal conduct and, if possible, to compensate the victims.”

The CPS is committed to working alongside the government and law enforcement to provide a multi-agency response to combat all types of fraud.

Specialist Fraud Prosecutors work to seek justice in a variety of cases including those that cause the greatest harm to the public, particularly involving vulnerable victims.

The prosecution of the case was led by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, a dedicated CPS team playing a leading role in the fight against serious and complex economic crime and the financial exploitation of the public, using specialist legal expertise to deliver justice.

The full sentences imposed at Swansea Crown Court are as follows:

Audrey Osborne was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Gary Moore was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Clayton Moore sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Ian Moore was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

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Parents’ tribute to ‘perfect baby girl’ following fatal collision in Llanelli

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THE PARENTS of a six-month-old baby killed in a collision in Llanelli on Friday (8 October) have paid tribute to their “perfect baby girl” who they say was “a gift from God”.

Eva Maria Nichifor died following a collision involving a blue 3 series BMW and a blue Vauxhall Vectra at the Heol Goffa crossroads in Llanelli at around 9pm.

Eva Maria’s parents Florin and Carmen, who originate from Romania, but now live in Llanelli, have issued the below tribute in English and Romanian.

“We are distraught by our loss. Eva Maria, only six months old, will be missed by us all.

“She was our miracle, our perfect baby girl, a gift from God. She will always be in our hearts.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support at this horrific time. It has meant so much to the whole family.

“We would now like time to grieve and would ask to be given privacy in which to do so.”

Romanian translation:

Suntem foarte supărați pentru pierderea noastră. Eva Maria, avea doar 6 luni si cu toții ii vom simți lipsa.

Ea a fost minunea noastră, un copil perfect și un dar dat de Dumnezeu. Va fi in inimile noastre pentru totdeauna.

Va mulțumim tuturor pentru susținerea voastră in aceste vremuri dificile, înseamnă foarte mult pentru noi.

Am vrea acum puțin timp sa ne adunam in liniște alături de familia noastră.

A woman has been charged with causing Eva Maria’s death by dangerous driving.

Lucy Dyer, aged 23, of Heulwen Terrace, Llanelli, was remanded in custody following the court hearing at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Monday (11 October). 

She is due to appear before Swansea Crown Court on Friday, 12 November.  She was also charged with drink-driving.

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