"Sorry" - a word not often heard comjing from the First Minister;s rostrum in the Welsh Assembly.

“Sorry” – a word not often heard coming from the First Minister’s rostrum in the Welsh Assembly.

The Welsh Labour Government’s First Minister – Carwyn Jones – has made a public apology in the Welsh Assembly today following the loss of  “tens of millions” of taxpayers’  money in the mis-managed sale of several tracts of publicly-owned land .

The First Minister said the deal – negotiated on behalf of the Welsh Government by a so-called “arms length” body called the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales –  “fell well below the standards we would expect … and for that we are sorry”. Carwyn Jones told AMs in a plenary session  “the concept was good but the delivery was flawed”.

Some 18 tracts of public land were included in a package of sites put up for sale – which had originally included two plots in the Penarth area  – at Cogan Hall Farm and Anchor Way  in the Penarth Marina residential area.

The Public Accounts Committee investigated the way in which many of the plots were sold to a  Guernsey-based company called  “South Wales Land Developments” –  a company formed to take forward the initial offer made by GST Investments (also incorporated in Guernsey). GST is administered and controlled by Barclays Wealth on behalf of Sir Stanley Thomas OBE, the well-known South Wales entrepreneur.

The accounts committee said  the land had been “undervalued” – a fact underlined when  South Wales Land Developments  subsequently sold-on a number of the sites they had bought at a profit. One site in Lisvane which had been bought for a knock-down price of  £1,800,000 was found to have a potential market value of £39,000,000. 

There were also investigations by the Serious Fraud Office, the Welsh Government, Deloitte and the Wales Audit Office. Assembly members say the land should have been sold off as individual sites and a fuller valuation would have produced far better results for taxpayers .

Cogan Hall Farm is on the Vale of Glamorgan Council's asset register

Cogan Hall Farm was on the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s asset register

COGAN HALL FARM:  The official report stated that part of Cogan Hall Farm, Penarth, was given a valuation of only  £50,000 by the Investment Manager hired by the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (a company called Lambert Smith Hampton Group Limited)  but was valued  by property company King Sturge at £350,000, whereas the District Valuer provided a valuation for the whole of the Cogan Hall site of £200,000. In  November 2010 however an offer of £185,000 was received by The Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales for part of the site and was accepted . The sale was completed in November 2011. The Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW)   retained the remainder of the site which was not included in the  sale.

Publicly-owned land at Anchor Way and at Cogan Hall were amongst 18 parcels of land the Welsh Labour Government tried to sell off

Publicly-owned land at Anchor Way and at Cogan Hall were amongst 18 parcels of land the Welsh Labour Government tried to sell off

ANCHOR WAY :  Anchor Way, Penarth was to have been included in the sale of a package of sites to  GST Investments but was removed from the sale (which was eventually concluded at a reduced total price) . Anchor Way had been valued by property experts King Sturge at £100,000 but the report says it was  taken out of the deal because its value as a “ransom strip” no longer applied. Anchor Way was said to be  “of no value due to changes in planning status.”. The site was retained in the ownership of the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW).

The future of the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales is now in doubt.


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  1. Christopher David says:

    Everyone associated with this should resign or be sacked. There should also be a very forensic check an the finances of all concerned including the advisors and buyers. Why were these properties and land not put on the open market? This smells. This also just about sums up the amateurs we have in power here in Wales. Worrying over red plastic tags for charity food recipients and spending £10 million on gender awareness in the workplace instead of focusing of what matters. Idiots and needs investigating. Carwyn Jones should resign immediately. He wont, we have a one party state dictatorship.

  2. Frank Evans says:

    Great an apology from labour for their miss management. Labour should not be let run a brewery let alone Wales or even the Vale.

    Labour wasting your money!

  3. Willy Wonka says:

    Wow, it is either a cases of corruption or incompetence.

    SFO have cleared them of corruption so must be the most expensive case of incompetence. The loss to the Welsh public is significant. Perhaps a small new hospital or a complete advanced ward of some sort.

    Mr Thomas should hang his head in shame, it is not as if he needs the money. He and his outfit have disenfranchised the Welsh public through some sort of Jersey smart move here and no doubt is laughing all the way to high net worth bank.

    Someone’s head or some heads should roll. But they never do. Just another example of the failed Assembly experiment.

    Never mind voting on living EU, can we vote on reversing this gross and crass waste of money on an expensive experiment that has proven time and time again not to have worked. Health service below that of English system, Education similarly (unless you happen to be in a Welsh Medium school) and business and industry in Wales in decline.

    Can we please have a ‘better off without assembly election’?

  4. Christopher David says:

    Oh tats OK then. I’m sorry. I rip you off with my huge pay, payoffs pensions and waste spending. Then I lose huge amounts of money by selling off public land for a few percent of its value. But I say sorry and this OK. Should resign or be sacked. All concerned and the dodgy dealing investigated further. Lets have the SFO report made public.

  5. The Tax payer says:

    All I can say is prison for who ever signed this off ??? Sorry just doesn’t cut it ???

  6. Tony says:

    No panic-taxpayer can recoup some cash from the companies who sold the land on ,paying capital gains tax-or rather it could if they were not registered abroad-a moribund Welsh Labour Government loves giving millions of taxpayers money away (remember Aweema), whilst moribund Labour Cardiff council wants to save a few thousand pounds by closing a specialist Day centre for dementia sufferers.

    • Willy Wonka says:

      Sounds like the ultimate beneficiary is Mr Thomas.

      Perhaps the tax authorities could ‘have a chat’ with him about recovering some of the gain.

  7. CelticMan says:

    The lunatics are in charge of the asylum

  8. Christopher David says:

    Well when are we going to actually revolt against this lot? And how? Its not just Wales. We now have 650 MP’s 820 Lord’s and what 150 regional AM’s plus the overpaid civil servants ( not all) and the £100k + council manager all messing up the country. Oh I forgot- the three top scroungers in Wales CS are all NHS and what a mess that is. We haven’t even started on Corporations earning their money here but not paying tax. Then we have dear old Stan the pie. Where’s his pastry made these days eh? So once again -Carwyn and all the rest of your cronies involved in this very smelly land sale- resign. Then lets see the SFO report.

  9. Willy Wonka says:

    Perhaps a Freedom of information request could be entered by Penarth News to obtain the SFO report?

  10. Frank Evans says:

    Lindsay where are you????
    you normally pop up with some sort of comment along the lines it could be worse, at least they are letting the first born live. Ah I forgot the sad news in West Wales this week.

  11. Christopher David says:

    Ahhh Lindsay Lightweight is off having English lessons. This is all a bit much for him. He can’t offer anything constructive, junior and wannabee club members must keep quiet and he can’t criticise PDN critics of the Gov.

  12. AK says:

    BBC Radio Wales, tonight (Friday 29th Jan, 6pm)

    The Accidental AM, comedy! ‎

Comments are closed.