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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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Paul Davies MS quits as Leader of the Conservatives in the Senedd

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PAUL DAIVES MS quit as Leader of the Conservatives in the Senedd this morning.

The Conservatives’ Chief Whip also quit his frontbench role.

The dramatic move comes only 24 hours after Mr Davies got the Conservative Senedd Group’s unanimous backing.

However, later yesterday (Friday, Jan 21) – as criticism poured in – the Welsh Conservatives’ Executive met. In that meeting, Constituency Chairs reported widespread disbelief and anger among the Party’s members. Conservative Party Chair, Lord Davies of Gower, received particular criticism for a lack of leadership. Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales, also attended the meeting and was left in no doubt of the strength of feeling within the Party.

In a statement issued via the Conservative Senedd media office, Mr Davies said: “I am truly sorry for my actions on the 8th and 9th December. They have damaged the trust and respect that I have built up over 14 years in the Welsh Parliament with my colleagues and the wider Conservative Party but more importantly with the people of Wales.
“Whilst using the Senedd facilities at all times my colleagues and I maintained social distancing. There was no drunk or disorderly behaviour. We did not have to be escorted out of the building as some reports have suggested. What we did was to have some alcohol with a meal we heated up in a microwave, which was a couple of glasses of wine on Tuesday and a beer on Wednesday.
I broke no actual Covid-19 regulations.

“For the last 10 months of the pandemic, I have followed the Covid-19 regulations to the letter. As with everyone across Wales, I have not seen family members or friends, I’ve not eaten at my favourite restaurants and, like you, we enjoyed a subdued Christmas compared to other years. I will continue to follow the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 Regulations and I would urge everyone to play their part in defeating this virus so that we can all return to normality.

“My priority as Leader of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Welsh Parliament has always been to bring the Conservatives into government in Wales. Our main focus as the Welsh Conservatives must always be on challenging and removing a failing Labour government.

“I am grateful for the support of colleagues in the Welsh Conservative Party for their support in this difficult time, and especially to my wife Julie and my Senedd colleagues who have offered empathy, trust and advice. They have treated me with the same courtesy and decency I hope I have always extended to others.

“Over the last couple of days, I have been speaking with colleagues in the Senedd and the wider Conservative Party. Whilst they have confirmed they do not wish to see me step down, I believe that my actions are becoming a distraction from holding this failing Welsh Labour-led Government to account, not just on their rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines but from more than 20 years of their dither, delay and failure. Yesterday I indicated to the Conservative group in the Welsh Parliament that I wished to resign, but they urged me to reflect further, and we agreed to meet again on Monday. However, for the sake of my party, my health and my own conscience, I simply cannot continue in post.

“Therefore, I am stepping down as Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament with immediate effect.”

“It is for the group to decide how best to choose a new leader, but I hope that process will be seamless and speedy, and I pledge my support to whoever becomes leader.”

Darren Millar blamed ‘wildly inaccurate and unfair reports’ and said:

“There was a member of catering staff present in the tea room for a short time after my arrival on the 8th December but she did not serve me a drink, nor did I request one. In fact, I encouraged the member of staff to go home and close up the counter as it had been a long day for her. No members of catering staff were present on the 9th December and the counter was closed for the whole evening.

“While I am advised that I did not breach coronavirus regulations I am very sorry for my actions, especially given the impact of the tough restrictions that people and businesses are enduring.

“For this reason, and given that Paul Davies has resigned as Welsh Conservative Group Leader in the Senedd, I have decided to step down from my front bench role in the Welsh Parliament.

“I am cooperating fully with ongoing investigations and will continue to do so.”
Whoever replaces Paul Davies, the role is likely to an interim appointment ahead of a vote of the Party membership after the Senedd election.

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Conservatives in disarray over alleged Christmas party lockdown breach

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THE CONSERVATIVE Party is investigating the attendance of senior Senedd members and staff at a Christmas party held during December’s lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions prohibit mixing with people outside your own household.

The Welsh restrictions barring such gatherings follow the basic outline of those imposed by the Conservative UK Government in December.

Those attending the drinks party included Paul Smith, the Conservative Chief of Staff at the Senedd, Darren Millar, the Party’s Chief Whip and campaign coordinator, and Preseli Pembrokeshire MS and Conservative Senedd Group Leader Paul Davies.

The Herald understands that a Labour Senedd Member who attended the Party has been suspended by the Labour Senedd Group pending its own investigation.

The Conservatives’ embarrassment at talking the talk but not walking the walk is intensified by Darren Millar’s presence at the shindig.

In May, Mr Millar led calls for Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be sacked for eating a bag of chips in a park with one of his own children.

If the Conservative Party follows the logic of their previously stated positions, Mr Millar’s and Mr Davies’ futures look bleak indeed.

With a Senedd election only months away, the revelations have thrown the Conservatives into disarray.

If they do nothing, the Conservatives will – at the very least – face claims they are hypocrites.

If the Conservative Party acts decisively, it faces massive internal problems.

The Conservatives responded to our request for a response to our story.

Those involved stressed they did not host a Christmas Party.

The incident happened on December 8, when the above met in the members’ tea room to discuss legislation for possible inclusion in the Welsh Conservative manifesto with a Labour backbencher.

During the evening they did drink a glass or two of wine.

They stress that at no point were there more than four people in the room at any one time and that they maintained social distancing.

A joint statement from Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.

“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

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Family tribute to Carole Patricia Fowler

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Carole was a teacher for 30 years at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Llanelli. She loved children and they loved her. 

As one of her past colleagues said: “I know she made such a difference to every child she taught.” She was very popular with staff and well respected and loved by parents. She was dedicated and conscientious, always 100% for the children. She led the music there and was always popular with her guitar accompaniments for services and concerts. 

Likewise, she was a valued member of the choir at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Gendros, Swansea, where she would often accompany hymns with her guitar and gave guitar lessons to the children in the church’s Saturday Music Club. She was also a keen member of Côr Persain, Ammanford. 

She was talented, loved and in demand. A convicted and devout Catholic all her life, through good and bad.

Carole was an avid and very gifted crocheter and was always crocheting or knitting something for someone. She had been spending her time recently, during the Covid crisis, crocheting NHS teddies in scrubs and rainbows, with many given to practising nurses. Carole had recently started learning to make bobbin lace. She was also capable of some very decent sewing, too. 

She was also learning Welsh, doing ‘pilates’ and was considering taking up yoga lessons as well.

She was a busy lady! As one of her work colleagues said of her: “She was wise, strong, beautiful, generous, devout and feisty. And I loved her for all those qualities.”

Above all, she was an immeasurably loved Mam, daughter, sister and a doting Mamgu and so much loved by her fiancé. Having been together for 14 years, they would have been married last July 20th had covid allowed! 

Her premature passing at 61 is tragic and she is already sorely, painfully missed. She leaves behind a huge chasm in so many hearts that cannot be filled.

“Eternal rest grant unto her, o Lord, may perpetual light shine about her, may she rest in peace.”

If anyone witnessed the collision or may have been travelling on the M4 at the relevant time, please contact the Serious Collision Unit quoting police reference DPP-20210113-317

Police can be contacted either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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