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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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Swansea Building Society expands Cradock Street head office

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SWANSEA BUILDING SOCIETY has expanded its head office at 11/12 Cradock Street, Swansea, with the acquisition of the adjoining property – number 13. The refurbishment of the adjoining property is set to take approximately 10 weeks, with a move-in date scheduled for the end of January 2023.

The acquisition has been made to help accommodate the Society’s growing workforce, which has grown by 10 percent over the past year. Extensive work is now required on the new property, with a full refurbishment, new windows, and a new roof needed before it can comfortably accommodate the Society’s additional staff.

The move in date is set to tie in with an important milestone in Swansea Building Society’s history – it will celebrate 100 years as a mutual in 2023.

As it approaches this key landmark, the Society is enjoying a period of sustained and significant growth – the result of many years planning and investment. Its total assets, mortgage balances, savings, capital, and profits all reached record highs in the past year, passing the landmark £500 million in total assets for the first time.

It has also invested more than £1 million in its IT and back-office infrastructure, in a project that replaces all its hardware, considerably strengthens its cyber security, improves resilience with a remote disaster recovery site, and enhances the online offering it is able to provide its customers.

Along with this, the Society has invested in new talent across a number of departments including mortgage underwriting, IT, marketing, and the mortgage sales team. It has also employed several new customer-facing staff to help it support the increased footfall it has experienced at all its local branches in Swansea, Mumbles, Carmarthen and Cowbridge.

Alun Williams, Chief Executive at Swansea Building Society, said:

“The acquisition of number 13 Cradock Street is much needed to accommodate our growing head office workforce. When completed, the refurbished extension to our property will host 14 staff and allow us room for further expansion if needed.
“Our success and investment over recent years means that we are even better prepared to help our members plan their finances and get the savings and mortgage products they need for a better and more secure future. By increasing our staff, expanding our premises, and updating our IT infrastructure, we are better able to serve them with the financial advice and products that are right for them. It also means we can provide them with a choice of options about how they manage their finances – in person at one of our many branches or online – whichever is most convenient.”

Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader, Swansea Council, said:

“The expansion of Swansea Building Society’s headquarters in Cradock Street is more great news for our city centre. The Society is a shining example of a successful, community-minded mutual, and to see it expanding its workforce, creating jobs, and bringing them right into the heart of the city is fantastic.
“Cradock Street is undergoing considerable redevelopment with the renovation and repurposing of the Albert Hall by Depot Swansea – directly opposite Swansea Building Society’s headquarters – into a multi-purpose venue. Renovation of this area is another example of how we are saving the city’s heritage for future generations in a way that is useful and meaningful to the people of Swansea. The city is undergoing an important phase in its regeneration, and organisations like Swansea Building Society play a vital role in ensuring that this regeneration is sustainable for the future.”

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BHF Cymru celebrates Heart Heroes across Wales

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BHF CYMRU is celebrating the inspirational people from Carmarthenshire who’ve been nominated in the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Awards 2022.

The annual awards ceremony returns for a fifth year on Thursday 1st December. The charity will honour incredible young heart heroes who’ve shown remarkable bravery and gone above and beyond to help others while coping with the devastating impact of heart disease, as well as CPR lifesavers, innovative fundraisers, corporate partners, research champions and healthcare heroes working in the NHS.

Winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony in London, with Vernon Kay hosting for the fourth time. He’ll be joined by celebrity judges including footballing legend David Ginola and Olympic gymnasts Becky and Ellie Downie.

Healthcare Hero Nominee

Dr Lena Izzat from Llanelli has supported BHF Cymru to raise awareness of the Heart Attack Gender Gap in Wales. As a female cardiologist she has spoken out about the unconscious and systemic bias in the health care system which leaves women who have heart attacks less likely to get diagnosed and receive the best care. Lena has been integral to a campaign which has secured a commitment from the Minister for Health to tackle health inequalities in Wales.

Innovative Fundraiser Nominees

Lisa Pudner from Llanelli is a former Paralympian who raised over £2,000 for the BHF through a sponsored handcycle and walking event in memory of her friend Nest Davies. Nest died suddenly from a heart attack. Lisa was awarded a BHF Cymru medal in recognition of her achievements and said: “We did this for the BHF because they fund research into heart and circulatory conditions, and we want to stop other families and friends losing loved ones in the future.”

Lifesavers nominated as CPR Heroes for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in a life-threatening emergency

  • Alun Sturley from Carmarthen who saved his father John.
  • Jean Thomas from Carmarthen, saved her husband Michael.

Head of BHF Cymru, Rhodri Thomas, himself from Carmarthenshire said: “The Heart Hero Awards are the highlight of our year, bringing together inspirational nominees from different walks of life and from every part of the UK. From fantastic children to remarkable pensioners, they all share such spirit and embody the very best of us.

“I’m proud and humbled that so many nominees are from Carmarthenshire, and I’m delighted to thank them for the amazing support they give the BHF and the motivation they bring to myself and the whole BHF Cymru team.

“Whilst we celebrate these brilliant Heart Hero nominees, we also thank each of our brilliant BHF supporters who power our lifesaving science and bring new hope to the 7.6 million people across the UK living with conditions such as stroke, heart disease and vascular dementia.

“I’m in no doubt that their dedication and selflessness will mean more lives will be saved from heart and circulatory disease, so thank you and congratulations to all our inspirational nominees”. 

The Heart Heroes Awards will be live-streamed at 8pm on Thursday 1st December. Register to watch the celebration online at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heartheroes

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Public Services Board seeks views to improve local well-being

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CARMARTHENSHIRE’S Public Services Board (PSB) is seeking residents’ views to find out what matters to them and their local communities.

The PSB has developed its Well-being Objectives and draft actions to deliver them, based on feedback received on its Well-being Assessment. The results of a survey at that time gathered views and helped shape the PSB’s understanding of the economic, social, environmental, and cultural factors that impact the well-being of individuals and communities within Carmarthenshire.

Once again, residents are being asked to contribute to help public service partners develop Carmarthenshire’s Local Well-being Plan for 2023-28.

To help shape the future of well-being please visit: Current Consultations (gov.wales)

The survey closes on 25 January 2023.

Cllr Darren Price, Chair of the Carmarthenshire PSB and Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “To deliver what is important to our communities, we need to their feedback and input. This survey is an opportunity for our residents to tell us if we, as public services, are on the right track to help create a better future for our children’s generation, and the generations to follow, as we strive to reach this goal.” 

Andrew Cornish, Vice-Chair of the PSB andChief Executive Officer / Principal of Coleg Sir Gar and Coleg Ceredigion said: “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our work so far. Our Well-being Assessment gives us a strong foundation on which to build our Well-being Plan and I would like to encourage everyone to take part in our involvement work for the preparation of the Plan.”

Carmarthenshire’s Public Services Board is a partnership of public and third sector organisations working together to improve well-being across the county and includes Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Natural Resources Wales and other organisations.

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