Monday 3 August 2015

Mark and Meryl's Masterplan

As this week's Herald reports (not yet online), an email has emerged addressed to Exec Board Member Cllr Meryl Gravell thanking her for her 'spiritual and practical support' from a Mr Tony Rees. Mr Rees most recently featured in the Herald's video about the Parc Howard meeting and attended, when it was eventually disclosed, as a representative of Loca Ventures who had designs on the mansion.

As the Herald reported last week, a member of the Parc Howard Association disclosed that it was Meryl Gravell who had recommended Loca Ventures to Ken Rees, the Chair of the PHA.

This email however, which is also copied to senior council officers Wendy Walters, now Assistant Chief executive and Jonathan Fearn, Head of Corporate Property, is not thanking Meryl for her efforts to offload Parc Howard, but pre-dates the Parc Howard 'interest' by twelve months.

Significantly the subject line of the email refers to 'Pembrey Country Park' and the airport which, along with other areas of land within the Mark James and Meryl 'Masterplan', were part of the original ambitions of Loca and it's assorted associates and tangled guises. Only more recently did their focus concentrate on Parc Howard.

With the email dated May 2014, this was, as I said, a year before the Parc Howard fiasco unfolded and the rest of the council, and public, became aware of the interested parties and clandestine discussions. The email suggests that Meryl contacts the writer by email or mobile which suggests that the two had become quite well acquainted and that commercial ambitions went much further than Parc Howard.

As Unison warned back in July 2013 when 'expressions of interest' were invited regarding Pembrey Country Park;  "There is a very real risk of developers being given the land for a pittance, applying for and receiving planning rights, which would boost the value of the land and simply cashing in."

Back then, in 2013, a hysterical, yet 'anonymous' Council spokesperson (this statement has Mark James written all over it)) screamed from the Press Office that;

"Unison's claims are complete and utter tosh and scaremongering. This is same old same old rumour and fabricated diatribe that is resurrected every few years that has absolutely no foundation at all. It is a downright and cheap-shot lie that the park is for sale, designed to provoke anxiety."

It would seem that Unison were quite right to be concerned as, if nothing else, discussions with assorted interested parties (which, as reported by the Herald seem to consist of a few recurring names) over the future of these tracts of land have been ongoing, without any reference to full council, for some time. In other words, the press release was not only offensive, but a lie.

Back even earlier, in April 2012, an item titled Pembrey Peninsular Masterplan appeared on the minutes of an Executive Board meeting. The Item was, surprise surprise, exempt from the public and press (it wasn't on the published agenda either).

The minutes record that the chief executive referred to a 'potential purchaser' of the airport and surrounding land within the Plan and sought agreement to continue discussions. With Meryl as leader, and the unpublished report 'discussed' in secret, agreement to carve up Carmarthenshire was, like tax avoidance scams and libel indemnities, never going to be hard to find.

To be honest, I wouldn't trust Mark or Meryl with a small garden, never mind a county and a 'Masterplan'. However, the issue of course is the usual lack of due diligence, openness and of keeping the public fully informed. With private companies hiding behind claims of commercial confidentiality, and the council hiding behind anything it can, it is incredible that yet again it takes investigative journalism to uncover information and plans that should already be, even in summary form, in the public domain.

Herald Facebook page here

Cllr "Mad" Meryl Gravell


Anonymous said...

She is not called meryl the Peril for nothing is she?

Mrs Angry said...

That is a very fetching hat, I must say. Or is it two hats, worn on top of each other? Is this a traditional form of dress, in Carmarthenshire?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what caused such amusement?
I am sure Y Cneifiwr would have given a witty response.

Anonymous said...

"Cllr "Mad" Meryl Gravell"

Probably been drinking water from Buryport then.

Blodwen said...

Please stop putting horror photos on your blog - it's enough to frighten the vulnerable and it certainly gives me the creeps.

Anonymous said...

Thought you should be aware that Twitter doesn't like me to link to your blog - says it's automated or spam. I used tiny url and it accepted that.

caebrwyn said...

Thank you Anon 12:57. I have had a problem linking this blog with Twitter for the past week or so and I'm currently trying to resolve it with Twitter. Facebook and Google links are fine.