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Who’s who at Parc Howard

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350px-Parc_Howard_museum_-_geograph.org.uk_-_143410THE FORMER leader of Lewisham Council has had an interesting – not to say, chequered – business career.

At one time, Mr Sullivan hoped to become the first directly-elected mayor ‘of a London borough and was pretty much at the forefront of the then burgeoning market in public private partnerships.

In the mid-1990s, he founded Serviceteam which specialised in outsourcing council services and is now part of the multinational Veolia Group.

After ending his association with Serviceteam, Mr Sullivan was reportedly involved in setting up a series of recruitment companies, several of which were liquidated having failed to submit accounts to Companies House.

In more recent times, Mr Sullivan has been a director of Place Leisure Developments, Weston Bay Ltd, Place at Weston Bay Ltd, Place Energy Ltd, and Place Advisory Ltd. All of those companies have been struck off the register of Companies House, while a sixth – Hexham Place Ltd – was voluntarily wound up.

A petition to wind up Loca Ventures Ltd was dismissed in December 2014.

Listed as a former director of Loca Ventures Ltd, he remains very much involved with another former board member of Loca Ventures, Nick Spysznyk, with whom he has also been a director in a number of companies, including some of those listed as wound up above.

Nick Spysznyk

M r Spysznyk appears to be very much the person negotiating with the council and setting out the details of Loca Ventures offer to take Parc Howard off its hands. Despite not being a director, Mr Spysznyk appears to speak on the company’s behalf on a number of t opics.

We have seen an email sent to members of the tenants’ association at a South Devon holiday park purporting to be from Mr Spysznyk in which he threatens to call in the police to investigate allegations, which are denied absolutely, that Loca Ventures and its shareholder SIB Global are somehow concerned in the sale of unregulated investments by a third party. While the email address for that correspondence is the same as that used to communicate with this newspaper, the postal return address is Valiant House, 2nd floor, 4 -10 Heneage Lane, London EC3A 5DQ. Among the host of businesses registered at that address, not one is shown as associated with Mr Spynsznyk. Included in those businesses’ number is the Insolvency Practitioners Association.

In an email to Llanelli Town Council’s clerk dated May 20, Mr Spysznyk writes: ‘We have held discussions with Jonathan Fearn and Wendy Walters in relation to an offer made to Carmarthenshire County Council. Initially we presented a larger regeneration proposal that we have now scaled down… Our proposal has stalled based on the offer to the Town Council to take over management and maintenance’.

Evidence that negotiations have been ongoing for some time is given by the way a document relating to Parc Howard and showing Loca Select Villages and Carmarthenshire County Council as parties to a proposed agreement has been framed by reference to a second development at Ffos Las.

‘Based on the above Parc Howard proposal being accepted by the Council a modern contemporary four star hotel at Ffoslas (sic.) would be constructed commencing in May 2015’.

No hotel construction has begun at Ffos Las.

The same document details a further company, KMS, as being an ‘integral part of the Loca Group’.

An extensive search of companies records and linked companies to Loca Ventures within the same group reveals no company called KMS listed as part ‘a group’ of companies under the Loca brand.

In fact Loca Ventures itself is shown as majority owned by a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, SIB Global Inc, while other Loca companies at the same registered address were incorporated last year and show only one director, a Miss Rifat Mukhtar.

Loca Ventures Ltd shows a net worth of – £39,730 and cash at the bank under £1,000. Its registered office is wholly owned by a company based in the Cayman Islands.

Tony Rees

Described as ‘an introducer’ by Mr Spysznyk to this newspaper’s editor, former journalist Tony Rees was formerly involved in a consortium that sought to take over Birmingham City FC.

Mr Rees attended the public meeting of the Parc Howard Association and described himself as an associate of those interested in taking Parc Howard off the County Council’s hands.

However, our reporter has seen an email dated March 26, which contains some hair-raising comments by Mr Rees.

Firstly, the email states that the Executive Board meeting in April was scheduled to discuss the proposal by Loca Ventures in relation to its proposed takeover of Parc Howard. No record of such discussion exists and the item does not appear on the Executive Board agenda for any meeting after March 26.

Secondly, the email goes on to read: ‘Should you or specific Park Association members require a remunerated role in the project going forward, I am certain this could be organised’.

The Herald makes no suggestion that any Park Association committee members have been swayed by that apparent offer.

Mr Rees appears as a 50% shareholder, with former Swansea City Director Peter Day, in Keep Right On Ltd and also as David Anthony Rees as concerned with Mr Day in a company called Blu Chip Ltd. Both companies list their field of activities as ‘93199: Other Sports Activities (not Inc Activities Of Racehorse Owners)’

Ken Rees

‘Working with all to maintain and improve Parc Howard’s facilities in accordance with the spirit of the or iginal gift’.

That is what the Parc Howard Association website says is the Association’s aim.

UKIP’s General Election candidate, Mr Rees is Chair of the Parc Howard Association. In his electoral address, the would-be MP wrote: ‘Local Government needs to listen to the people in giving local people the final say on major planning decisions in their ar eas’.

Mr Rees might want to reflect on how far his interaction with Tony Rees has thus far furthered that noblest of aims .

Council Officers

Head of Economic Development, Carmarthenshire County Council. Ms Walters appears to have been closely involved alongside Head of Corporate Property Jonathan Fearn

This being a major development, it would be unusual if their dealings with Loca Ventures and its representatives had not been approved at the highest level. It is not clear whether either Ms Walters or Mr Fearn are the officers who met with representatives of Loca Ventures at The Diplomat Hotel, Felinfoel.

Meryl Gravell

Former leader of Carmarthenshire Council and current Executive Board Member for Regeneration and Leisure. Cllr Gravell’s portfolio covers Parc Howard.

In a press statement on June 9, Cllr Gravell said: ‘From time to time we are approached by third party organisations who are interested in working with the authority, however, any considerations or such requests have to go through the appropriate democratic process’.

While our attempt to secure an interview or meeting with Cllr Gravell to discuss Parc Howard with her was unsuccessful, the Herald received a statement from her before we went to press. Cllr Gravell told us: “We have always tried to ensure that Parc Howard is available to the people of Llanelli, and that continues to be the case.”

She concluded: “It is too premature to be going into detailed discussions about any potential future developments.”

THE LLANELLI HERALD investigates the Parc Howard story [Alan Evans Reporting] from PEMBS.TV on Vimeo.

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Llanelli becomes a Covid-19 ‘health protection zone’

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RESIDENTS in a large part of Llanelli are being put under new local restrictions in a ‘health protection zone’ following a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the area.

The town is seeing a concentrated spread of cases compared with other parts of Carmarthenshire – in the last seven days, 85 positive cases have been identified in Llanelli (151.6 per 100,000 of the population) compared to 24 cases in the rest of Carmarthenshire (18.1 per 100,000 of the population).*

Public Health Wales officials are expecting numbers to continue rising over the coming week.

Carmarthenshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board have worked with the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales to agree the temporary restrictions at sub-county level to try and halt the spread of the virus.

As of 6pm on Saturday September 26, 2020, residents living in defined parts of Llanelli will not be able to visit anyone else’s home, or accept visitors into their home, unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ such as providing care for a vulnerable person.

They should not arrange to meet indoors with anyone who they don’t live with, and travel in and out of the ‘health protection zone’ will also be limited – people should not leave the area or travel into the area unless it is essential. Travelling in and out of the zone for a holiday is not considered a reasonable excuse.

People are being asked to wear face coverings anywhere where they cannot maintain a two-metre distance from other people, including collecting children from school, in addition to the rules which already require them to wear a face covering in indoor spaces like shops and on public transport.

All indoor and outdoor visits to residential care homes have also been suspended.

Students may still travel into and out of the ‘health protection zone’ to go to school or college.

People living in the defined area of Llanelli must work from home, and employers must take all reasonable steps to support staff to do so.

Indoor public spaces such as leisure centres should only be used by people living in the defined area.

Shops will remain open, but people living outside the defined area of Llanelli should avoid travelling to visit them and shop in their own locality wherever possible.

The specific wards covered in the defined area of Llanelli are:

  • Bigyn
  • Bynea
  • Dafen
  • Elli
  • Felinfoel
  • Glanymor
  • Hendy
  • Hengoed
  • Llangennech
  • Lliedi
  • Llwynhendy
  • Tyisha
  • Swiss Valley

Although the pattern of increased positive cases is overwhelmingly concentrated in the Llanelli area where the restrictions have been strengthened, the whole of Carmarthenshire has now been put on alert, with a warning that the tighter restrictions may be extended if cases continue to spread.

Everyone – including those in the defined areas of Llanelli – is being urged to follow the national guidance around social distancing, good hygiene, self-isolation, testing and face coverings.

Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “It is worrying to see how sharply the number of positive cases has risen in the Llanelli area, and action has had to be taken to help stop the spread and break the chain of infections concentrated in this area to prevent a whole county lockdown.

“We must all do the right thing, follow the advice and protect each other. In parts of Llanelli, we’re asking people and businesses to make even greater sacrifices – we fully appreciate the impact this will have, but there is no other way. We must stop the spread.”

A mobile testing unit has been set up in Llanelli to manage the increased demand by local residents who have any of the Covid-19 symptoms – either a high temperature, a change or loss to taste or smell or a new continuous cough.

Reporting of positive cases in the town is fully expected to rise during the next two weeks with the increase in more targeted testing. But this is a positive indicator that cases are being identified and control measures put in place.

Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board Maria Battle said: “Our local community has given us such tremendous support during the past few months. To protect the health of our people, including the most vulnerable, and to ensure our NHS resources are available to provide people with the care they need; we need the help of our Llanelli population and wider community now more than ever before. Whilst hospital admissions have not yet increased again for COVID cases, we have seen a sharp rise in positive cases in the community, and in time this is likely to have an impact on hospital admissions. The very best way we can support each other and those we love, is to follow local restrictions, minimise our contacts, practice good hygiene and self-isolate and book a test if we have any COVID-19 symptoms.”

Increased testing capacity for residents in Llanelli is available by appointment at the following locations:

  • Parc y Scarlets Car Park B, accessed via Trostre Retail Park, in Llanelli
  • The Ty’r Nant site (next to KFC), Trostre, Llanelli
  • The Carmarthen showground (signposted in both directions off the A40)

There should be no reason for Llanelli residents to travel excessive distances for a test, as there will be tests available in Llanelli and Carmarthen. Tests should be booked via the UK Portal. Any Llanelli residents experiencing difficulty booking a test locally via the UK portal can instead email covidenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 333 2222.

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Tir Coed build outdoor classroom for Cross Hands Primary

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The local charity Tir Coed teamed up with Cross Hands Primary School to design and install a locally grown woodland shelter to enable primary school pupils to benefit from outdoor lessons-even when
the rain pours!

Last year Cross Hands Primary School received funding from Carmarthenshire is Kind for their intergenerational project. The project brought the schoolchildren together with older people in the community. Through intergenerational activities, everyone involved increases social connectedness, reduces social isolation, learns from one another and has a great time!

Before the lockdown, Tir Coed was contracted to lead a group mainly made up of parents from the school on a shelter-building course. The attendees would gain knowledge and skills and the children and the older people would be able to use the shelter, a third generation now included in this
fantastic project. The plans, however, had to change due to restrictions and in an effort to have it ready for the children when they returned to school, three intrepid Activity Leaders braved the wet August weather to build the beautiful shelter .

Studies have shown that being in the outdoors significantly reduces the risk of spreading the Corona Virus. With this addition to their already impressive outdoor area, it is hoped that more learning can
take place outside the classroom. Deputy Head, Emma Walters said, “It looks amazing! I am very impressed with the shelter and I cannot thank Tir Coed enough for organising this. Additional covered space in the outdoors will mean that we can take more learning into our lovely nature
area.”

If you would like to find out more about the work of Tir Coed or have a project you would like our help with you can contact Nancy, the Carmarthenshire Coordinator: carms@tircoed.org.uk

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Local sailor taking on virtual London marathon

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A local sailor based in the Falkland Islands will be taking on the Virtual London Marathon this October to raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

Curtis Bowen, 24, from Llanelli, South Wales, was due to take on the London Marathon for SSAFA this April, but following the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, the race was cancelled. 

Fortunately, the London Marathon team created the Virtual London Marathon in its place, allowing runners to take on the challenge virtually alongside thousands of other runners on the 4th October.

Curtis said: “It was a shame that the London Marathon couldn’t go ahead as planned in April, but I think it is amazing that I am still able to partake whilst being in the Falkland Islands. I’m the first person to ever run the London Marathon in the Falkland Islands.”  

Curtis is currently serving in the Royal Navy, as a Leading Supply Chain Logistician, and has served for four years. His Father also served in the Royal Navy for twenty-three years.

The live virtual event on Sunday 4th October will invite runners to run the London Marathon in their own way, joining up to 45,000 runners up and down the country – and across the world – in the virtual 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, The 40th Race.

Curtis decided to raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity after being an avid supporter of the charity and being inspired by his Father, Andrew, who raised over £6,000 for SSAFA. 

I chose to run the London Marathon for SSAFA to challenge myself and raise awareness for a great cause. My younger brother sadly took his own life a couple of years ago and I know that SSAFA are there to support those struggling with their Mental Health. I want to raise as much money as I can to support those struggling within the Armed Forces community.”

“My Father was also supposed to be running the London Marathon this year, but will now be completing the challenge virtually, alongside my brother, Luke, 12,000km away in South Wales.”

If you would like to support Curtis, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andrew-Bowen-London-marathon2020

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