Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Struck by Lightning...

Over the last couple of years I wonder how many electric car makers have come specifically to Anglesey wanting to set up a manufacturing plant in Holyhead, potentially employing up to 400 people?

There must have been a great many because apparently our AM, Ieuan Wyn Jones, can't remember having met with one in September 2009 -- just as Anglesey Aluminium finally closed its gates with a loss of 450 jobs and three months before Holyhead's Eaton Electric also closed losing another 240 jobs. I would have thought that at a time of huge job losses in one of the poorest parts of Ynys Môn a clean tech, cutting edge company wanting to set up in Holyhead would have been welcomed with open arms by the Island's AM. Instead he is quoted in today's Holyhead and Anglesey Mail as saying, "I don't really remember the meeting"...

Following some leads I discovered through an FoI request that in September 2009 Ieuan Wyn Jones AM met with the management of Lightning Car Company together with senior councillors and officers from the economic development unit and Brynle Williams, "on the topic of startup electric car business on the island". According to Cllr Bryan Owen, who attended the meeting and was then the Economic Development portfolio holder, "They [Lightning] were very impressed with the port and road infrastructure. They were keen to move forward and it was left to the Assembly Government to come up with some funding and that's where it died a death as far as I'm aware".

Manufacturing opportunities need to be grasped with both hands when they come along. They provide the kind of mass work we need on this island, and they also require a mix of skilled, semi-skilled and low-skilled workers thus providing job opportunities across the board. Furthermore Electric cars may still be niche currently but they are undoubtedly the future of motoring and the sector will grow and grow from now on -- particularly considering the effect on oil prices due to the current turmoil in the Middle East. Imagine the symbolism of manufacturing electric cars on the 'Energy Island' -- it would have been a tremendous boost to the standing of Ynys Môn.

The final point to mention is that this company wanted to set up at Parc Cybi industrial estate (also known as Tŷ Mawr) just off junction 2 of the A55 in Holyhead. WAG poured millions of pounds into setting up the site, buying the land, connecting it with a fibre-optic internet connection, funding an (ongoing) archeological survey of the land, and putting in the road infrastructure to serve it. Yet several years after completion it is still completely empty; not a single company has set up there and the land is now only used for grazing. Parc Cybi is in effect the most expensive sheep grazing land in the whole of North Wales, and those sheep enjoy a better internet connection than 99% of the human inhabitants of this island!

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

and it was left to the Assembly Government to come up with some funding and that's where it died a death as far as I'm aware

That's almost certainly where it died a death. You've only got to look at the gross unfairness of the grants for ports and the way Westminster has basically dodged. I wouldn't be surprised if some sort of joint funding proposal is sat on desks in bith Cardiff and Westminster, neither willing to make the first move both waiting for the other.

And someone correct me, but I am sure that due to funding cuts grants from WAG will shortly cease to be replced by low interest loans.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me rather like DeLorean ... I think we should thank our lucky starts that taxpayers money was not wasted on yet another red herring.

Business will be only be successful when it has to fend for itself. By all means offer incentives by reducing levels of taxation, but not subsidies in the form of start-up grants, etc., etc.. We've been doing all that for the last forty years and look where it has got us!

Anonymous said...

Are there or have there been any restrictions in place while the archealogical work is on-going?

I know there was a power supply problem for the Parc that was only sorted out last year.

I have also heard that Conygar (of Stena/Conygar Marina development fame) own all or part of the site? And that Stena want to move their warehousing from Mona to there but only if the WAG funds it (what is the point of that exactly?)

Anonymous said...

Shades of De Lorean.

It all seems rather vague. Is this possibly just a bit of pre-election stirring by the H&A Mail?

I fail to see how - from a meeting on 2009 - they expected to progress to getting all the funding, building the plant and being in production within thre years. Seems in the realms of fantasy to me especially when you consider that the final essential infrastructure (well not quite final, there's still a bit more to be built) wasn't completed until last year and they wouldn't have been able to start building their factory until then.

Seems to me that in this particular case we're well out of it. If this had gone ahead I can quite easily imagine a situation 5 years down the line where we're all screaming for the heads of who ever approved funding for a failed white elephant.

Anonymous said...

The more you think about this the more ridiculous it appears.

This was 2009. AFTER the banking collapse and the start of the recession. All parties in this KNEW back then there would be serious funding difficulties, that the banks would not be lending and that there would be an election the following year (2010) which the tories were nap to win on a manfesto of austerity measures for the next Parliament including big government cuts to funding.

Just doesn't make sense and definately smacks - as others have pointed out - of De Lorean's Belfast con.

Anonymous said...

What a lot of nonsens the above comments are. Dyson spent years trying to get off the ground before finally succeeding.... Business is about risk.

Whats shocking is that IWJ doesnt even remember the meeting.... no due dilligence.... Looks like he didnt even try....

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...

Dear hedonists,

This is a real project and bearing in mind Obama has pumped "Billions" of taxpayers dollars into American car companies, we in UK cannot be left bedind...but we are.

Look at all the misery oil control is giving the western world and look at the zero carbon emissions options.

I cannot say anything else as I am bound by a NDA.

Regards

Glyn

Anonymous said...

Business is about risk.

Then let business take the risk and not the tax-payer - using grants isn't 'risk', it's using free money that you never pay back not even if you make a complete balls-up and fail. No risk there except to taxpayer's money. Look at the banksters.

No grants - low -cost secured loans only, secured against the directors assets if needs be. If business isn't happy with that then they are free to get bank loans.

Can't be any fairer than that can we, but I also (like one of the anons above) recall seeing somewhere that business grants will be stopped later this year and replaced with low interest loans so it looks like that will happen anyway.

Electric cars will never be as cheap in real terms as petrol/diesel purely because recharging batteries is not and never will be efficient energy use. Creating electricity to create more electricity is a loss process and always will be, not to mention the cost of replacing the batteries.

Dumbstruck said...

GP-J, supporting the distinctly socialist Keynsian economic policies of Obama's administration (not to mention he's doing it because he promised the american auto-unions in return for election funding for the last and up-coming elections)

Funnily enough, Brown and Balls were big fans of Keynsian economics whereas Cameron and Osborne are extremly anti and pro-monetarist.

My God, Comrade Glyn. Who'd have guessed it.

Anonymous said...

Dumb Struck.
Don't be so ridiculous.

Dumbstruck said...

What pray is ridiculous?

That Keynesian economics is socilaist?

That the American Auto unions bank rolled Obama?

That Brown and Balls espoused Keynsism?

That Osborne and Cameron are monetarists

Anonymous said...

With such negative comments, it's little wonder business's are sticking two fingers up to Anglesey and going else where?

Who in their right mind would want to invest their time and money in such a backward thinking environment with an AM who can't even remember meeting people with millions to invest.

The only thing IWJ is good for, is jumping on to other peoples band wagons, being totally incapable of forming one for his self.

Anonymous said...

It's not the locals who control government funding. It's the WAG and Westminster.

Because of econmic realities there is going to be an awful lot less grant and start-up money than there used to be.

Fact of life.

If you want to stick two fingers up to anyone, stick them up to austerity and it's supporters.

Anonymous said...

Precisely 19:11.

IWJ.

The Red Flag said...

With such negative comments, it's little wonder business's are sticking two fingers up to Anglesey and going else where?

I don't think that would be that much of a decider for a business wanting to come here. I think it would be more likely to be infrastructure, access to markets, availability of a workforce, local wage levels, skill levels in local area.

We have the infrastructure. Access to markets is a bit ropey - we're at the end of a very long road. Plenty of available workforce on the rock 'n' roll, local wage levels are laughably low, skill levels of a potential workforce ore extremly low.

So anyone who comes here is looking at realistically having to train an awful lot of it's workforce from scratch OR pay way above the local going rate in order to poach from other employers.

As for grants, I think we can safely assume that's a non-starter for years to come, but if it's such a good isdea I'm sure there's plenty of venture capitalistrs around who would buy-in, or even a bond issue.

Anonymous said...

So whats become of this fantastic venture. Where has this company agreed to take their valued business ? What other region has taken up this wonderful offer to waste tax payers money to fund a pipe dream and the egos or pockets of Keynsian capitalists or should it be Dickensian capitalists.

Anonymous said...

Hi Druid,

Long timed since I commented but this one really is a shocker isn't it?

Perhaps some companies are not too good at making clear the 'what in it for **' factor and then certain people back away hoping for a later approach.

Thinking about all the accusations of corruption, and one might truly say the visit by the Lightening Car Company was corrupted, drastically, would it not be a good idea to wipe the slate clean for all those who admit cporruption and then get them to agree to collectively accept the goodies which, once received could be fairly distributed amongst them all....it might sound daft but it could be the real way to end the jealousy and backbiting. There would be a terrific feeling of brotherhood amongst them all and despite it all being a little crooked, we might all see our island move forward. Their gain being our gain so to speak!!

Islander

Anonymous said...

Lightning Car Company Type Private
Industry Automotive
Founded 2007
Headquarters Fulham London, United Kingdom
Products Cars
Website lightningcarcompany.co.uk

Anonymous said...

You simply do not understand.

IWJ feels it does not matter if there is a Trade Gap (UK/Wales being on the downside) and so he had all incentives and support stopped for exporters.

Funny idea as they are only too willing to massively fund foreign firms to come here....further widening the 'Gap'

Anonymous said...

Many of you are grossly unfair about the disinterest of Mr IWJ. Why not post a list of all the good things he has done for Anglesey and name the areas and people who have felt that benefit.

That would end all the nastiness.

Wishing to know. said...

Anon at 21:37.

Having asked what appears to be a rhetorical question, you post a list of all the good things IWJ has done for Anglesey and name the areas and people who have felt the benefit, then we will all know.

A Real Cymro o Fon said...

""Why not post a list of all the good things he has done for Anglesey and name the areas and people who have felt that benefit.""
Well-here is the list as requested-











Well-that was it.....!!!!

Anonymous said...

Islander.

Your theory is interesting. Only one trouble. The goodies will never accept the baddies. End of.

Anonymous said...

21:57 That just goes to show what you know. IWJ has done a lot that has not been published. He took the time and made the effort to come to meetings held by a local community who are trying to obtain their local school (closed in July last year) to have it as a community centre- this is before the council now for consideration - but without his help and advice we would not have got this far without his assistance - and we will publish these facts once we have our formal decision and thank him in the local press - this might not make front page news or be of any interest to others on this blog - but it does deserve credit!!!!

Anonymous said...

So you cite one item, big deal. Thats what he gets paid big bucks for.
Now tell us more.

Anonymous said...

OK so it is only one item I personally can quote - but surely not matter how small it does matter in the bigger scheme of things. It is for the greater good of a community on Anglesey and I thought that we were concerned with Anglesey - perhaps I am mistaken in my thinking, so we are not big business, employing people but to get back to the original in 2009 the lightening car company were taking orders for cars to be ready in 2011 and I believe the number of cars to be made was in the region of 50 - how many people would have been gainfully employed in the couple of years up to this point and how much money would this company have generated for Anglesey?? I don't usually reply to blogs - but you got me on the hook with this one.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with lightning is that it is over in a flash and those who are hit tend to be burnt.

It they were serious they would be looking towards India and China.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 22:43

You raise some interesting questions about the Lightning Car Company.
Unfortunately because of IWJ lackluster mentality we will never know the answers, will we?

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...

Guys

Be careful with your comments, some are actionable.

This introduction was done for all the best reasons and I will not put up with ineffective tinpot politicians playing God when Anglesey Plc need jobs, homes and prosperity.

End of

Anonymous said...

So what do you expect from IWJ and the Welsh mountain sheep party who's main interest is in a separate Wales. Who think that our economy can survive by selling water ???
IWJ has no business acumen or any experience in running business. What we need now in Wales is a new leadership with experience in industry to lead us forward and make Wales a place we can all live in.

Un o Fon

Anonymous said...

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...
This introduction was done for all the best reasons and I will not put up with ineffective tinpot politicians playing God when Anglesey Plc need jobs, homes and prosperity.


Just out of interest and in the interests of balanced opinion and being as this was two years ago, where else have you made enquiries about setting up and how far have you got/did you get. Just so that we can form some idea as to how other areas in the UK view the proposals and how their politicians are treating it.

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...

Reply

I have no business or financial interest in Lighting Cars, I merely put parties together because I wanted to see Anglesey in a better place than in the mire.

A Non Disclosure Agreement with Lightning prevents discussion about anything commercial.

I trust you understand.

Regards

GPJ

Anonymous said...

One has to deduce from that that it has met with only limited interest elsewhere as well. Certainly there is very little of any substance knocking about on the web. What reports there are would lead to the assumption that Anglesey was not the only site on the radar back in 2009 and so therefore - being as back then they were determined to be in production by 2010 - one reaches the conclusion they've been knocked back elsewhere as well whicjh is strange being as they are also connected to Peterboro - merely a stonesthrow from the Cambridge hi-tech parks.


Once England sets up it's much-heralded 'Enterprise Zones' it will be interesting to see if they appear there.

Anonymous said...

11,55 your missing the point. ieuan didnt say that he looked at the proposals and thought they werent viable. he said he couldnt remember meeting them. he didnt follow throguh in other words.

Anonymous said...

He's not a stupid man so they couldn't have made much of an impression then.

Anonymous said...

11:55.
Totally Irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Will the last person on Anglesey please switch the light off and say bye bye to Glyn Pritchard- Jones and his chum Ieuan Wyn Jones.

Anonymous said...

Todays news from the Kremlin.

Bowles wipes the floor with McGregor.

After reigniting his allegations of Malfeasance against Members of the Council's Corporate Management Team, at Tuesdays full Council Meeting, Clive McGregor has been told not to wait till May to go, but do it now.

This followed a statement and a dressing down of both David Bowles and Clive McGregor by Cllr Barrie Durkin.

It appears from Cllr Durkin's statement that both David Bowles and Clive McGregor failed to adhere to advice give by Brian Gibbons in his statement to the Assembly in 2009 when he said"

There is a tendency for some to ascribe to the council's problems to the actions and behavior of a few named Councillors. However unacceptable such behavior may be, blaming individuals for what is undoubtedly, a deep routed corporate failure is not only misguided it is also no recipe for a sustainable recovery. It allows those not named or indeed those doing the naming to avoid responsibility for what has become a shared solution".

Cllr Durkin said contrary to those words of wisdom, both David Bowles and Clive McGregor couldn't get to publicly naming people quick enough, putting Councillor against Councillor, Councillor against staff and visa versa and it was them, and them alone, that had created the situation the Council now found itself in today.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said... 11:55. Totally Irrelevant."

It's not irrelevant though is it. There must be a reason why IWJ was totally disinterested to the point of amnesia and why this project doesn't appear to have surfaced anywhere else in the UK despite the fact that it's no closer now to it's 2010 production run than it was in 2009.

Something must be not right or people would be queuing round the block to get it built in their areas which apparently they are not.

Anonymous said...

Pure conjecturer dear boy.

Anonymous said...

If there is a Non Disclosure Agreement involved, who's blabbing? I guess Ieuan Wyn Jones has outfoxed us all again!

Plenty of talk and passing the blame, but still no jobs for the people!

Staff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kp said...

Sorry, not Photon, Anglesey Telegraph blog.

Apologies.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Plaid boys....your man's heading for the scrapyard.....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What everyone wants to know is whether IWJ has actually woken up yet or is he still in a dizzy dither?

Anonymous said...

Here's a challenge for you Paul – Ask WAG how much they have spent altready on archaeological studies on the Parc Cybi site then ask the next question , how much are they going to spend before its finished ......

The answer will no doubt make Parc Cybi the most expensive real estate in Wales.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9 March 2011 14:24
I have also heard that Conygar (of Stena/Conygar Marina development fame) own all or part of the site? And that Stena want to move their warehousing from Mona to there but only if the WAG funds it (what is the point of that exactly?)

Bollicks !!!!!

The Red Flag said...

Anon 10 March 21:27 - Bollicks

I also recall reading something about involvemnet of Conygar in Parc Cybi. I searched on Google and there is plenty opf Conygar's own documents listing their inviolvemnet in Parc Cybi - for example :-
http://www.conygar.com/resources/FINAL-Approval-for-Anglesey-port-6-May-2010.pdf

In addition, I also seem to recall reading articles mentioning Stena and the Parc Cybi site. A brief trawl of the internet reveals stories of Stena welcoming Conygar's warehousing proposals but make no mention of Stena relocationg there.

So the anon above (o9 Mar 14:24) to whom the 'bollicks' comment was aimed is actually at least 50% correct (or no more than 50% incorrect depending on your POV)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how much public money Gwynedd Archaeological Trust Ltd, have spent at the Parc Cybi site?

Anonymous said...

It's not yet clear to me that Anglesey *has* actually lost out - Lightning haven't set up anywhere else either, afaict.

One thing not mentioned elsewhere is that Lightning's motor supplier, PML Flightlink, (a rather critical part of the Lightning supply chain) went into administration a couple of years ago. Protean Electric arose from the remains of PML, but stuff like this is not helpful to the smooth and timely implementation of anybody's business plan, on Anglesey or elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I read on an American website that the whole project relies on people paying $15,000 up front on ordering, before their car is built and that the batteries would need replacing every 60,000 miles at a cost of $20-25,000. And that it can only go 125 miles before it needs recharging.

It is an American website so you need to take that into consideration, but it seemed fairly well informed.

Anonymous said...

The Red Flag said...
Anon 10 March 21:27 - Bollicks

So the anon above (o9 Mar 14:24) to whom the 'bollicks' comment was aimed is actually at least 50% correct (or no more than 50% incorrect depending on your POV)

Ah Red Flag this is how the facts are bent to suit . Either Conygar own a part of the site or not - the answer is 100% the site is owned by WAG - end of !

The Red Flag said...

You should be aiming that at the anon (09 Mar 14:24).

I said Conygar have some involvement not that they owned any of it (that was the anon) and that their own documentation freely available on the internet showed they do.

As a point of interest though, if Conygar did actually build the warehousing hub that they want to then who would own that?

Anonymous said...

The WAG don't own anything. The people own it and WAG administer it in on the people's behalf. It's one of the reasons we have a Civil Service and elected representatives.

It's precisely because people think that 'the council owns it' or 'the WAG owns it' or 'the government owns it' that the b**^^^ds keep getting away with blue murder.

Anonymous said...

IoACC Economic Development Unit should approach Stena for guidance on how to access £Millions in Public funding.

Holyhead Town Councillors and IoACC Planning Committee members are in for a rough ride for approving ConygarStena plans to backfill Newry Beach and erect unaffordable homes.

They will not be re-elected and judging by the thousands of signatures on the petition, they will be lynched if it goes ahead.

I intend making enquiries to see if any of the Town Councillor's or their immediate family acquired shares in ConygarStena.

Lug

Anonymous said...

An out of date Magnox reactor and wind turbines does not constitute an energy island.

Tidal Stream Power is the way forward for Anglesey, and this would transform our fortunes.

Marine Current Turbines Limited have shown an interest in Anglesey, so why have they not been welcomed with open arms?

IWJ and Albert Owen should concentrate on moving this Island forward and spend less time trying to get one over on each other.

Andrew Hughes (Holyhead)

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I think part of the problem is that these companies are looking for grants etc from WAG, UK, EU. Unfortunately there is a lot less grant money around any more.

The WAG is moving from grants to loans and has to justify value for money.

The EU is applying more stringent terms and now looks at how much grant money has already been poured into an area in comparison to it's population size andthe returns. Look at how much EU money has been poured into just Holyhead over the last decade in comparison to it's population.

Anonymous said...

Lug, The councillors will be returned unless candidates stand against them on a non-party strictly anti-development ticket.

Is that likely to happen?

Anonymous said...

Who else attended this off the record meeting with Lightning Cars?

Of course IWJ recalls the meeting, but as far as the Public are concerned, this meeting never took place.

I understand Lightning wanting to keep their cards close to their chest but this meeting does appear to be irregular.

Let's be realistic, Lightning only wanted advice on setting up business on the Island, so why all the secrecy?

I suspect secret meetings also take place with Stena on a regular basis before they are given the green light to do what they want.

Concerning Parc Cybi, only a defunct Council would grant planning permission to tarmac over a Neolithic settlement. This site could have been a top tourist attraction.

The only way to progress IoACC is by having them thoroughly investigated for financial irregularities and not by the Ombudsman who will shortly be receiving some very bad press coverage for been negligent.

Lug

Anonymous said...

"Lightning only wanted advice on setting up business on the Island, so why all the secrecy? "

Secrecy is routine in this kind of thing. An ex-colleague works in an established high tech outfit, not a household name but their customers are, whose current site is now deemed inappropriate. But the negotations for a new site are totally shrouded in secrecy (not to mention farce). The excuse is that if owners of potential new sites find out, they'll adjust their prices upwards. It sounds vaguely plausible.

Whether something similar applies to Lightning remains to be seen.


"An out of date Magnox reactor and wind turbines does not constitute an energy island."

Indeed not. A marine-centric offshoot of Machynlleth's long-established and afaik successful Centre for Alternative Technology, perhaps with some connection with Bangor Uni's School of Oceanographic Sciences, would go a long way towards it though. Whose responsibility would it be to test that idea? Bring year-round jobs, tourism, and technology to Anglesey. What could possibly go wrong?

Anonymous said...

Tidal streams race around our Island 24/7 and if harnessed would provide clean renewable energy.

Holyhead Deeps six mile west of South Stack would be ideal for these turbines.

AH