A BLOGGER has revealed the links between those involved in the various charitable trusts and enterprises at Cardigan Castle and drawn attention to the unusual recruitment process leading to the appointment of Facilities Officer, Sue Lewis.
Royston Jones, whose blog jacothenorth.net has given extensive coverage to the state of affairs at y Castell, sets out the tangled web connecting key parties.
Drawing attention to the coincidence that the Chair of the Trustees, Jann Tucker, the Trustee- Treasurer, Sandra Davies, and Ms Lewis all live in Aberporth, Jac o’ the North points out that they are all involved with overlapping organisations.
Jann Tucker, who is involved in a holiday homes rental business, is a trustee of Aberporth and District Youth Club, and also Aberporth village hall and recreation ground. Jann Tucker joined Joined Ymddiriedolaeth Cadwraeth Adeiladau Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust (‘Cadwgan’) on March 21 2000, and Ymddiriedolaeth Cadwraeth Adeiladau Castell Aberteifi Cardigan Castle Building Preservation Trust (‘Castell’) March 28 2000. She still serves as trustee on both charities and also served as a trustee / director on Cardigan Castle Enterprises Ltd from June 15 2010 to January 28 2015.
Sue Lewis, a former newspaper editor, is chair of the board of governors at Ysgol Gynradd Aberporth and also a trustee of Small World Theatre, who have coincidentally been heavily involved in Castell Aberteifi’s re-opening and launch.
Sandra Davies, the trustee treasurer, whose description of those expressing concerns about ‘mission drift’ at Castell Aberteifi as a ‘group of bigots’ is a millstone round the venue’s neck, is vice chair of the governors at Ysgol Gynradd Aberporth.
As Jac o’ the North points out: ‘We all say, ‘It’s a small world’, but humbling phenomena like this bring home to us how true that is’.
Another figure of mystery is Jonathan ‘Joff’ Timms. We know he was born in 1945, so he’s of a ripe age, and he joined ‘Cadwgan’ November 15 2006. On the Charity Commission website he is even listed as the contact for the trust.
As if that wasn’t enough, he and Sue Lewis seem to be the only directors left standing at Cardigan Castle Enterprises Ltd. So he appears to be the one person who is a trustee for both trusts and is also a trustee / director of the trading arm.
Given the distance between Mr Timms’ permanent residence in a village nestled in the North Downs, it can scarcely come as any surprise that Mr Timms has a holiday home in Ceredigion: As it happens, in – or near – Aberporth.
The public was originally told that among the project’s objectives was that it should attract ‘visitors who are seeking leisure learning activities related to the Welsh language, culture, crafts, environment and horticulture and ‘using the Welsh language, and the cultural traditions of the Eisteddfodau, as a tool for tourism development and regeneration’.
Jac o’ the North points out: ‘This has not happened except in the most cursory and superficial manner.’
A letter to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has bankrolled much of the development, and a copy of which has been seen by The Herald alleges: ‘In May of this year, the Gorsedd of Bards HAD AGREED to hold a Ceremony of Blessing at the Castle.. The Gorsedd Officials were KEEN to hold this ceremony and Mr Penri Roberts, of the Gorsedd Board of Officials will confirm that he was already’.
The next sentence alleges that a senior member of the Trust, not already named in this article, responded that the Eisteddfod would only visit ’over my dead body’.
The strength of local feeling is shown by correspondence shared with The Herald and with Jac o’ the North. One letter, dated June 15, reads: ‘Many people in Cardigan are very angry that the castle is being turned into an exclusive high end site with little opportunities for local people to get involved. It is scandalous that public meetings have not been held. We have at least sixty people in Cardigan who have asked to join as members but who have just been ignored’.
Cardigan Town Council is now taking an active interest in the activities at Castell Aberteifi. A council sub-committee has asked the Cadwgan Board for a copy of their constitution, as well as job descriptions of the trustees’ individual responsibilities. However the council will not now meet until September 1 because of the summer recess.
The council’s interest is likely to have been piqued by the decision to exclude the Town Council’s representative from a meeting regarding the future of suspended director Cris Tomos on the basis that it was ‘a staffing matter’.
And staffing matters have been a recurrent theme in recent months.
The post of Facilities Officer occupied by Sue Lewis since her redundancy as a newspaper editor did not exist before her appointment and was not advertised widely – not even in Ms Lewis’ former newspaper: So quite how Ms Lewis became aware of a serendipitous vacancy at a time when existing Castle staff were being asked to reapply for their jobs is something of a mystery.
Technically, the staff were on fixed term contracts which all came to an end in Dec 2014, and the staff were told that they would be welcome to apply for new posts. Sue Lewis was a member of the panel which did the interviews
The process ended around the beginning of December, and several of those who had been with the project for a long time were escorted from the premises. They included Rhian Medi, the daughter of the late Archdruid Dic Jones. Rhian was to have been education officer, but that post was axed showing a departure from the original vision for the project and a new focus on (possibly) ‘facilities’.
As a letter sent to the Heritage Lottery Fund points out: ‘Countless other interested parties along the years have been elbowed out of the project by a small group who view Castell Aberteifi as their personal property’.
The Herald emailed local Plaid AM Elin Jones for a comment. We received no reply.
An email to Mark Williams MP got only an automatic response.
Mid and West Wales regional AM Simon Thomas told us: ‘I have not been directly involved in the disagreements at Cardigan castle. As I have not been party to the emails you refer to nor talked to the parties involved, none of which have contacted me, I am not in a position to make a comment’.
Despite telling us that a statement was being prepared, the Welsh Government did not provide one before our deadline.
Views sought on Aberaeron coastal defence scheme
ABERAERON has a dynamic coastline with a legacy of flooding and damage from storms. These events continue today and with the onset of climate change and the predicted rises in sea levels these events are likely to increase in frequency and severity. Aberaeron is exposed to a wide range of wave conditions from the North-West and South-Westerly directions; with storm waves entering through the harbour entrance causing overtopping of the harbour walls and in extreme conditions overtopping the inner secondary wall. Storms in December 2013, January 2014 and October 2017 led to the closure of Quay Parade and overtopping of the current defences within the harbour and south beach.
Councillor Dafydd Edwards, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Environmental Services said, “Ceredigion County Council along with the Welsh Government are committed to protecting the town. The Welsh Government have provided funding to design a scheme that will prevent the surrounding area suffering from future storms. It is predicted that 168 properties will be at risk of flooding by 2111 if nothing is done. The Council has engaged Atkins Consultants to design such a scheme. After investigating the effectiveness of various coastal defence options, they are seeking views on the scheme that is being put forward as the modelling confirms that it meets the current and future flood protection requirements.
The main aims are to protect the coastline from rising sea levels and storms; to protect people and property from flooding and to reassure residents and businesses that measures are in place to prevent flooding and coastal erosion. Opportunities for improved facilities, connectivity, investment and the re-design of open space within the harbour will be provided within the scheme and it will also enable other investment opportunities to be investigated.”
The Council is undertaking a public consultation which will allow residents and visitors to provide their views on the scheme. This which will include changes to South Pier, an extension to North Pier and the introduction of flood defence walls around the harbour areas. Feedback received will be taken into account during any detailed design for the scheme.
The consultation is available on the Council’s website at www.ceredigion.gov.uk/consultations with an opportunity to provide feedback. The consultation is open from 22 September 2020 until 20 October 2020. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the public consultation will be held on-line only. Should you have any queries, contact email@example.com or 01545 570881.
Lampeter to have its say on £10,000 funding for community groups
Community groups in Lampeter will soon have the chance to apply for funds from a pot of £10,000
committed by Dyfed-Powys Police Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.
The commissioner has called on groups to take advantage of funding for projects that aim to
improve safety in the area.
Mr Llywelyn has committed £140,000 for Neighbourhood Policing Teams to spend within the
communities they serve. Each team will receive £10,000, with communities themselves voting on
how the money is allocated.
Lampeter is next on the list of events – and the NPT is calling on partner organisations and people
who live or work in the town to join forces and form a community planning group to make key
Mr Llywelyn said: “I have committed to fund this new and innovative approach to community
funding as I think it’s vital that local residents have a say in how money is spent in their local area.
“They are best placed to work with the police, and indeed other partner agencies, to identify where
the money is needed and what would most benefit the local communities.
“Communities should be influencing the decisions.
“I urge the various community groups in Lampeter to consider the funding that I have made
available, and to contact the Lampeter NPT to discuss ideas, so the whole community can work
together to improve community safety.”
The planning group will attend several meetings – either socially distanced or online – over the next
few months to agree on key decisions and planning. Details will then be released on how groups can
apply for the funding, and an event will take place, giving people a chance to vote on which projects
Superintendent Ifan Charles, force lead on participatory budgeting, said: “Participatory budgeting is
a way of giving communities a greater say in how their community evolves.
“Problem solving to find long term solutions to solve the issues that cause communities the greatest
harm, is at the core of our new neighbourhood policing model.
“Through informed community engagement and problem solving, the new neighbourhood structure
should reduce the long-term harm for our communities and with that, demand on our response
officers, but this will only work if our communities and partners are equally engaged.
“Participatory budgeting has worked really well elsewhere and I’m really excited to lead the
introduction of this innovative approach here.”
If you live, work or play in Lampeter and would like to be involved, or if you have any questions,
please register an interest at LampeterPB@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk
Follow the NPT on Twitter at @LampeterPolice for further updates. #LampeterPB
Newtown: Online threat to ‘use of firearms at a school’ lead to swift police action
DYFED-POWYS POLICE was made aware this morning, the force said, of “utterly irresponsible and scaremongering posts” on Facebook, suggesting that the authors of the posts were going to use firearms at a school in the Newtown area.
The posts were by individuals local to Newtown, and police acted swiftly to address this, which resulted in the arrest of three local men, aged 20, 21 and 27 on suspicion of malicious communications and public order. As part of the initial response schools were also given advice to be vigilant.
A spokesman said: “Understandably the posts caused serious concern in the area, and unfortunately the subsequent rumours led to misunderstandings. This is turn led to calls to the police alleging there was a man with a firearm seen outside Newtown High School.
“Police had to respond appropriately to these calls based on the threat allegedly posed, and a firearms unit was sent to the school. We can confirm that there was no man at the school, and when we have delved further into the detail of the calls, it has transpired that they were as a result of the rumours circulating, and not based on first-hand accounts.
“Police have also carried out thorough searches as a result of the arrests, and no weapons have been recovered. The local Neighbourhood Policing Team will also be present at the school at home time to reassure and inform parents, pupils and staff.
“We hope this clarification will reassure the community of Newtown that there is no threat to schools in the area, and the matter was dealt with seriously and swiftly. We would also appeal to everyone to stop sharing the posts and any associated rumours, in order to prevent any further unsubstantiated fear and alarm in the area.”
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