Sunday, 28 February 2021

Colwyn Bay.....Flashback 2013 Conwy Council Chief Executive Iwan Davies Forces for Good fraud Scandal!


Let us look back to 2013 and see how much money this mess cost and who was responsible! And this man kept his job then and keeps his job now! No suspension, nothing, and it all gets dumped back on the poor taxpayer. This man needs to be sacked now!

Chris O'Neill
image captionChris O'Neill admitted two counts of fraud and was jailed for three years

The chief executive of Conwy council has apologized for mistakes made before the local authority was "conned" out of £125,000 by a fraudster claiming to help army veterans.

However, Iwan Davies said he could not guarantee mistakes made in the case of Chris O'Neill would not happen again.

O'Neill was jailed for three years for gambling most of the money intended for the Forces For Good company.

The council asked the Welsh government to review its grant procedures.

Former soldier O'Neill, from Colwyn Bay, set up a company called Forces For Good and was given a £125,000 Welsh government grant for a hotel for ex-service personnel in Llandudno.

Conwy council was supposed to administer the £125,000 grant on behalf of the Welsh government, but O'Neill went on a spending spree, gambling heavily, running up hotel bills and buying a speedboat before being caught by North Wales Police.

Conwy council has said the grant has been repaid.

On Thursday, at a meeting of the council's audit committee, chief executive Mr Davies said: "I am really sorry this happened.

"This extremely worthy cause gathered a momentum behind it, a national momentum, lots of public support.

"When it came to our role I think there was so much pressure behind it the people involved in administering it went what they thought was the extra mile to help this along and went beyond what was acceptable.

"We were conned. They did this for the best of intentions."

Mr Davies said the council did not "seek to sweep it under the carpet. We brought it to the public domain at the right time".

He added: "I can't say it will never happen again.

"The systems are operated by people and people sometimes make mistakes, sometimes for the best of intentions.

"I am hugely disappointed about what has happened. I am pleased with the way we have handled it."

Strategic director Ken Finch said other grants had been reviewed, but added: "If someone is determined to perpetrate a fraud they will give it a damn good go."

Cllr Janet Haworth said she did not want a "blame culture," but added: "Clearly the application form should have rung alarm bells, but it didn't."

Cllr Brian Cossey said: "I am concerned that a person like this can go through a considerable procedure.

"There are perhaps four bodies that have approved this grant including the Welsh government, yet no-one considered making any checks on the individual.

"He was an extremely good conman."

The committee accepted an action plan and called on the Welsh government to review their grant application process.

Last month Falklands veteran Simon Weston called for tighter control on how grants to veterans' organisations were monitored.

From.....

Colwyn Bay....Conwy Council Incompetence Costs Tax Payers Millions!


So why could this not have been the new children's unit? Or Family Centre? So they won't pay to do general maintenance on the Library but are happy to waste millions on this above and blow nearly a million fixing the roof on the Skip at Porth Eirias which everyone hates. On top of that, they are loaning money to build a care home at Bron Y Nant rather than convert the buildings and are building a new children's unit in Eirias park, all costing millions, but we have to suffer monthly bin collections and increased council tax.

And Conwy Council chief executive Iwan Davies of social services should be sacked, remember this! https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-21794730 he should have been sacked then.

Originally secret, a redacted version was released under the Freedom of Information Act last year.

The report found a lack of leadership, policies ignored or misunderstood and no one being held to account for organizational failings which permeated the authority's project management.

Conwy Council's chief executive Iwan Davies conceded the entire episode was "highly regrettable" at a governance and audit scrutiny meeting this week - and outlined the measures he hopes will prevent anything like this from happening again.

Cllr Anne McCaffrey, who sat in on the committee, called it "a really quite shaming catalog of errors".

The Local Democracy Reporting Service takes an in-depth look at what the report said went wrong.

Cllr Ann McCaffrey called the episode surrounding the council's Mochdre Commerce Park business units a 'shaming catalogue of errors'
Cllr Ann McCaffrey called the episode surrounding the council's Mochdre Commerce Park business units a 'shaming catalog of errors' 


Unfit
The depot is on units 6, 7, 8 and part of unit 5 at Mochdre Commerce Park, Conwy Road, and it opened in May 2016.

The plan was to move all of the authority's HGV vehicles and equipment under one roof from nine other sites across the county, in a bid to save cash.

However, incredibly, the report found no-one bothered to check if the building was structurally fit for purpose until after the £240,000 per annum plus vat leasehold agreement was signed with Congyar.

When a council survey was finally carried out to look at installing inspection pits for the vehicles, it showed the floor couldn't take the weight of them - and revealed 21 other issues with the units rendering them unfit for purpose.

The contract the council signed meant they couldn't get redress and had to continue paying the lease.

With solicitors and report fees added in more than £1m has already been wasted on the facility, which Cllr Donald Milne described as "the biggest financial liability in the history of Conwy".

Cllr Donald Milne called the failed project 'the biggest financial liability in the history of Conwy'


If lease payments aren't negotiated down at this year's review, it could cost the council at least £3.6m plus service charges, up to 2031 - when there is a 15-year break clause in the lease agreement.

That's without calculating how much officers and staff time has been lost investigating the project, along with solicitors' fees, costs for reports, and money spent finding alternative provisions for HGVs.

Defects
An independent report found the concrete slab floor was not "fit for purpose" there were problems with drainage, defective lightning protection, and "defective installation of ground gas management systems to external areas" on the former tip site.

The study also revealed a catalog of errors in management which led to the council handing out taxpayers' cash for little in return.

Project
The original plan (Project K) started in 2013 and was led by the authority's estates department. The remit was to find new offices for the environment, roads, and facilities (ERF) section.

In August 2014 the officer in charge of the project left and wasn't replaced.

The independent report said: "From mid-2014 onwards the paperwork indicates there is much reduced internal project governance.

"A sound project management methodology does not appear to have been followed. The failure to appoint a project manager resulted in a failure to allocate tasks and responsibilities to project team members."

On top of this, the original plans were changed: "The specification altered significantly in 2015 with depot facilities being added into the scope of the property and a planning application being required to authorize the user."
Diligence
There was no "physical due diligence" carried out on the building, the report found. Even though there were known issues with the property the council left Conygar to sort them out and then assure officers they'd been rectified.

The council simply took the company's word everything was fit for purpose.

The report said: "There is evidence CCBC were aware repair works had been required at the property and of some limited questioning of Conygar about the works.

"There is no evidence a building survey was commissioned or the suitability of the property was investigated in any detail."

It added checks "fell below the standards expected from a diligent and prudent authority" and described missed opportunities to "identify some of the key issues involving the defects".

In May 2015, aware the building was on a former tip, the council's cabinet told officers it should only proceed with the deal if it was "supported by legally enforceable assurances confirming the property was free of inherent defects and specifically any issues resulting from ground conditions".

What council officers finally agreed was a limited 10-year warranty which excluded the building condition and left out all pre-contract issues.

According to the study even if the authority could have claimed any recompense from Conygar it wouldn't have covered the rent on the property.

Conwy Council chief executive Iwan Davies admitted to being 'bitterly despondent about what happened' with the Mochdre commercial units project management


Blame

Two departments were involved after the project leader left and neither thought it was its responsibility to lead it - or raise the lack of scrutiny as an issue.

Nor did anyone in the council's hierarchy recognize the void left by the departure of the project manager.

The report said: "This resulted principally in two departments, being estates and ERF, operating without carefully defined roles and without any formal and accountable division of responsibility.

"Individuals from each department claimed they believed the other was leading on the issue of due diligence and this resulted in only limited due diligence being undertaken prior to the exchange of contracts."

Independent investigators found "no evidence of any conflict of interest or inappropriate behavior by CCBC staff members" with regard to the deal but slammed the lack of oversight.

Future


Mr. Davies' report to the council's governance and audit scrutiny meeting on Monday outlined the progress being made to ensure such poor management never happens again.

The safeguards being put in place have been backed by Audit Wales.

All senior managers are undergoing project training and the council is making sure they all understand the definition of a project - as one of the issues was officers not recognizing it as one at the time.

Information sharing will make sure all departments are aware of who is in charge of future projects, what their responsibilities are, and where they are up to.

The estates and asset management function has now been removed from the strategic director of finance and resources and handed to the strategic director of economy and place.

Accountability

The council has refused to say if anyone faced action over the failures, saying it "does not comment on staff disciplinary issues".

Cllr Anne McCaffrey asked Mr. Davies if accountability had been written into job descriptions.


He replied: "I would have to look specifically at job descriptions to see if accountability was in there but even if it isn't written in those words it's implicit in the employee-employer relationship."

Cllr McCaffrey said: "That's good to hear as I'm not sure that's how many people feel, so it's good to get you on the record confirming that."

Mr. Davies said he remained "bitterly despondent about what happened" but the risk of a recurrence was "very, very low, if non-existent".

Audit Wales said the "absence of project management for the property at Mochdre Commerce Park was the root cause of the problems which occurred" but said the council now has "clearly defined and improving project management arrangements".

Conygar Strand Ltd, changed its name in 2017 to RR Sea Strand Limited, according to Companies House. The previous directors left at the same time and two new directors were appointed.

RR Sea Strand Ltd's latest annual accounts say it is owned by Jersey-based Regional Commercial Midco Ltd, which is, in turn, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Guernsey-based Regional REIT Limited.

The LDRS was unable to contact RR Sea Strand Ltd directly and has asked Regional REIT Limited for comment.

From....https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/hgv-depot-cant-house-trucks-19917725

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Colwyn Bay Community Fight Back With Petition Against Library Move and Closure !


A lovely Library this, a crime to move it and stick it in that sterile Carbuncle at Coed Pella. And I agree if they can pay for the roof at the Skip, Porth Eirias, for £682,000 why can't they pay £175,000 for the library?

See the petition here  https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/conwy-council-please-do-not-close-or-move-colwyn

And the article is here about the closure

 ...https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19101096.consultation-plans-turn-libraries-community-hubs-one-century-old-building-earmarked-closure/

Friday, 26 February 2021

Conwy ...CAMPAIGNERS have called for a council to step in and rescue a Grade I listed!


 Criminal, The law should change on people out of the country buying Historic Buildings.

CAMPAIGNERS have called for a council to step in and rescue a Grade I listed building dubbed the ‘Welsh Versailles’ that has been “left to rot”.

It is said Kinmel Hall, a French-style Edwardian manor, only has another five years in its current condition before further damage including roof collapses will mean it is beyond repair.

Conwy County Borough Council (CCBC) said it is in ongoing discussions with owners Acer Properties to carry out the work at the site which it acquired in 2011 with a plan to build a hotel.

Campaign groups Friends of Kinmel Hall (FKH) and SAVE have called for action to be taken before it is too late.

If the owner does carry out the repairs required under listed building regulations, options for the council include an urgent works notice and a compulsory purchase order that could see it transferred into council ownership.

It is understood that potential buyers of the site have been in contact with the council with informal redevelopment proposals including a private house, business school, and tourist attraction.

Rosie Burton, a local authority conservation officer for 20 years, chairman of the Institute for Historical Buildings in Wales, and FKH member said: “Action should be taken to save the building as once you have lost the historic fabric you’ve lost it. You can recreate it but that is not the same.

“This is such a fascinating building and rare survival of that type of building in Wales. The gardens used to be spectacular too.

"It is always better to deal with these things as soon as possible."

The building, around 500ft long, is said to have been inspired by the 17th century Chateau de Balleroy, Normandy, and Hampton Court Palace in Twickenham.

It was built with a steel frame which Mrs. Burton said is "developmentally significant" as it is likely to have inspired later designs of skyscrapers.

In 2015, the Victorian Society voted Kinmel Hall as one of its top 10 ‘most endangered buildings’ and urged Acer Properties to "come forward" with a refurbishment plan.

Former director of the Victorian Society Christopher Costelloe said at the time: “It is very sad that what is perhaps the greatest surviving Welsh country house is left lying unused and neglected.”

Heritage campaign group SAVE issued an appeal last week for the council to take action after claims the building has been abandoned by its owners.

A Twitter post read: “@SAVEBrit has called on @ConwyCBC to ensure emergency repairs begin urgently at Kinmel Hall. Kinmel’s British Virgin Islands-registered owner Acer Properties have left the grade I landmark to rot since 2011.”

From.....https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19117977.kinmel-hall-years-beyond-repair-say-campaigners/

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Colwyn Bay ....Man fined for drunk and disorderly behaviour at Railway Station


The staff at the station are all really nice but the amount of abuse and behavior ranging from Drinking to Violence they have to endure is awful. They should ban these scum from traveling.

A MAN has been told to pay nearly £500 for being drunk and disorderly and evading a train fare in Colwyn Bay.

British Transport Police said the man pleaded guilty to both charges after being arrested following the incident in January.

The man was fined £367 and additional compensation and costs of £129.

Police tweeted: "Male who was arrested in Colwyn Bay by us in January has been to court and pleaded guilty to being Drunk & Disorderly and Fare Evasion.

"Fined £367 and Compensation & Costs for a total of £496.

"Buying a ticket would have been a lot quicker and cheaper for him."

From...https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19113586.man-fined-drunk-disorderly-behaviour-colwyn-bay-train-station/

Llandudno....Youths Destroy Newly Planted Trees In Rhos On Sea Park!

Thank you to the person who sent in these pictures. It is sad to see that Youth are out of control, and one wonders where are the parents?

Why bother to even try to make something nice if this is what is going to happen?



 

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Llandudno....Dishonest Takeaway worker stole boss' car before crashing it into two parked vehicles!


 He should have got a jail sentence for this, he could have killed someone!

A takeaway worker pinched his employer’s car then crashed into parked vehicles due to “crazy” driving.

Georgi Memishev, 23, who is Bulgarian, had no driving license or insurance.

A District Judge at Llandudno Magistrates Court gave him a 12-month community order and said he must do 170 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Diane Williams told the court the incident happened in Denbigh on October 22, 2020.

She said the defendant had been working at the takeaway, but took the keys for the Vauxhall Corsa, belonging to his employer, at about midnight.

He drove away but collided with the two stationary vehicles- a Renault Koleos and a Ford Transit van- in Park Street, Denbigh.

The prosecutor, on a video link, showed images of the damaged vehicles.

The front of the silver Corsa was badly damaged and there was damage to the back of the Renault and to the side of the Ford Transit and one of its wheel arches.

The prosecutor said Memishev then rang the Vauxhall Corsa owner’s son, who also speaks Bulgarian, and told him: “Come down here, there’s a big problem.”

The owner found out and rang the police.

Memishev admitted taking the Corsa without consent.

There was “significant” damage to the Corsa and damage worth £2,500 was caused to the Renault.

Chris Dawson, defending, said it had been a “crazy” incident involving the takeaway’s Corsa.

He said: “Notwithstanding the crazy moment when he took the delivery vehicle and crashed it, he has been allowed to continue his employment (at the takeaway)."

He added: “I appreciate that the (car) was written off but the value was relatively low £1,250.”

Memishev, who spoke in court through a Bulgarian interpreter, pleaded guilty to taking the Corsa without consent and having no license or third-party insurance.

District Judge Gwyn Jones disqualified Memishev from driving for 18 months.

And he was ordered to pay £300 compensation to each of the three cars' owners.

From....https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/takeaway-worker-stole-boss-car-19890266

Colwyn Bay ...Man Charged With Voyeurism Following Incident At Shopping Centre Toilet!


The courts are an odd thing, child sex offenders have been given far more lenient sentences than this! I guess it depends on who you get as a judge on the day!

A man who visited a public toilet at a Colwyn Bay shopping center saw a head appear under a cubicle divider, a court heard.

Lawrence West, unemployed, of Cynfran Road, Llysfaen, admitted observing a private act for sexual gratification.

Magistrates at Llandudno imposed an 18 months community order with rehabilitation and a period of trial monitoring using an electronic tag. He was also fined £80 and ordered to pay £100 compensation for distress and £180 costs.

West must register as a sex offender for five years.

Defense solicitor Alex Fitzgerald said West was aged 59 and seemed lonely.

Prosecutor Sarah Marsh said he had a caution for a similar offense.

From.....https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19109117.mans-head-appeared-cubicle-divider-colwyn-bay-shopping-centre-toilet/

Outrage As Councils Give Sick Hunts More Than £160,000 cash in Coronavirus Emergency Grants!


This is shocking, these sick evil people should not be getting any money. Most of them are landowners and wealthy. This sick sport needs banning.

Councils in England and Wales have handed hunts more than £160,000 of taxpayers’ money in grants intended to help businesses struggling during the pandemic.

Shropshire has given out £50,000 – the highest total donated by the seven local authorities that have paid out.

Critics said it was outrageous that hard-working taxpayers should be subsidizing hunts.

Under government rules, any business that occupies the property and receives small business rate relief or rural rate relief is eligible for a small business grant for Covid-19.  

The cash comes from the central government and is administered by local authorities.

Earlier this month, The Independent revealed that the Devon and Somerset Staghounds received a £10,000 grant and a £50,000 loan from taxpayer-backed coronavirus business schemes.

As a result, the Keep the Ban group, which campaigns against hunting, asked local authorities across England and Wales under Freedom of Information laws how much they had handed to hunts.  

Shropshire county council gave five business grants to registered hunts at a total of £50,000. It said it awarded the money in line with government eligibility criteria.

Powys county council provided a hunt with £30,000 via the small business grants fund.  

Rutland council awarded the Cottesmore Hunt a retail, hospitality, and leisure grant of £25,000 – the maximum available – and a business rates discount of £6,716.30.

The expanded retail discount scheme was introduced when lockdown began to give full business rates relief to charity shops, museums, galleries, theatres, historic houses, sports clubs, and village halls.

Babergh district council in Suffolk granted £10,000 each to two hunts under the small business grant fund.

The Isle of Wight council and South Northamptonshire council each gave

£10,000 to a hunt.  

Together with the £10,000 awarded to the stag hunt by Somerset West and Taunton district council, the total makes £155,000. Adding Rutland’s business rates discount brings it to £161,716.30.

About 180 local authorities said they had not given any funding to hunts. Some refused to give the information.

During the lockdown, hunts have been unable to carry out activities that pay for expenses such as hound kennels and staff wages. 

Hunts insist that they obey the law banning fox-hunting by laying scent trails for hounds to follow.

Rob Pownall, the founder of the Keep the Ban campaign group, said: “Families across the country are suffering incredible hardship and having to make tough sacrifices due to Covid-19. Why are hard-working people now being made to subsidize hunts to the tune of £160,000?  

“Taxpayers’ money should be going to help local people. It is shocking that money supposed to help struggling businesses survive is being handed to hunts to support their activities.  

“Now the ‘cubbing’ season has started where the hunts train the hounds to kill by ripping small fox cubs to pieces. 

“This government is out of touch with the public and instead panders to a small minority.”  

The government has exempted hunting and shooting from the limit of six people meeting at once under coronavirus restrictions.

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition against the exemption.  

Shropshire county council said that “if businesses met the criteria set by government – and after the council had carried out appropriate due diligence to eliminate the possibility of fraud – there was a legal obligation to award them funding”.

Aled Davies, Powys county council’s deputy leader, said businesses were entitled to the grant when the criteria were met, adding: “Hunts are an important part of the rural culture and economy, and give support to livestock farmers. 

“I am pleased that we were able to deliver the Welsh government support during this difficult time.”

A spokeswoman for the Babergh council said, “there was no discretion around the distribution of the small business grant or retail, hospitality, and leisure grant”.

A Rutland council statement said: “The Cottesmore Hunt is one of a number of organizations in Rutland that was awarded Covid-19 grant funding by the government, with the intention of supporting property costs.

“The eligibility criteria for awarding retail, hospitality, and leisure grants were set by the government, and Rutland county council was obliged to provide grants to any company or organization that met that criteria.

“Local authorities, like Rutland county council, have carried out a purely administrative role within this grant process. Decisions about what types of organisations were eligible for a grant and how much money they should receive were taken at the national level.”

The Independent has also asked the Cottesmore Hunt and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to comment.

A spokesperson for Somerset West and Taunton Council, which gave the stag hunt its £10,000 grant, said: “All companies that received grant payments did so based on the criteria of the scheme that they applied for,

From....https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hunt-council-grant-coronavirus-business-money-funding-shropshire-cottesmore-fox-ban-b700543.html

Colwyn Bay ...Bag Of Rotting Food Dumped in Park!

The things you see in Parks! The small park in the West End of Colwyn Bay has an awful stench of rotting meat as you pass through, the culprit is a dumped bag of rotting food! Where are the council when you need them?


 

Monday, 22 February 2021

Llandudno.... Dumped Clothes On A Bench, Any Thoughts!


You often see interesting things when walking around Llandudno and the surrounding areas! It almost looks like there is a body under there!

Llandudno ..Family Raise Concerns Regarding Nearly Being Hit By A Reckless Driver!

Just a few days ago a driver was arrested for reckless driving in the town, I have no idea if this was drug-related, but the person smashed into two cars! 

But it must have been a very scary thing to happen.

A MUM has spoken about the terrifying moment she and her family members were nearly hit by a car.

On February 17, in the afternoon, a vehicle collided with a parked car which shunted into another parked car in Llandudno.

One male was arrested for driving offenses.

The mum, who has not to be named, was in town with her sister and youngest daughter.

As they were about to step on the road, to get in the car on the driver's side, a vehicle came shooting up the road and hit her car.

The woman said: "It just hit my car. It literally swerved and hit my parked car.

"My daughter was crying hysterically. I don't understand how it happened and how the car was hit with such force that it shunted my car into the car in front. It damaged that car and my own."

The woman believes that if the incident had happened 20 seconds later, she and her family member would have been either seriously injured or dead.

"My daughter would have had to witness it," she said.

"There was a lot of damage done to my car and the wheel was ducked and bent inwards and the impact knocked the bumper off and bent the wheel arch under on itself.

"There is damage to drivers side doors and the front bumper and grill from the impact of being shunted into the car in front.

"I have been told to expect a write-off with my car," she added.

"My sister and I still feel in shock and my daughter was hysterical for hours afterward but we are very very grateful and thankful that no one was hurt in the incident."

From......https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19104327.mum-speaks-nearly-hit-car-llandudno-shooting-road/


 

Colwyn Bay.... Sick Individuals Sought By Rural police after badger killed in Snare .


These lowlife scum should have the same done back to them, This would be an awful way to die. If you have any information please get in touch with the police on 101. Thank You.

A BADGER has been killed in a 'home-made' snare in Llanddulas.

North Wales Police's Rural Crime Team is investigating the incident which took place in a field near the Tan y Marian estate on Wednesday.

Snares usually involve a large loop that catches an animal around the body.

Police said the illegal trap would have endangered any animal that would have come across it.

Picture: NWP Rural Crime Team/Twitter

Picture: NWP Rural Crime Team/Twitter

"Sadly we are investigating the death of this badger in a homemade illegal snare in a field behind the Tan Y Marian estate in Llanddulas since yesterday," police tweeted.

"If you have information please call 101.

"This snare would have killed any animal that sadly walked into it."

From.....https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19102944.rural-police-investigate-badger-killed-home-made-snare-near-llanddulas/