Gower landowner joins in war of words with council
A WAR of words has broken out between a Gower land owner who lives in a castle and community councillors who live nearby.
Letters have been flying back and fore between Thomas Methuen-Campbell, of the Penrice Estate and members of Reynoldston Community Council.
The row centres on work councillors have carried out in the village and its surrounding land including mowing and ditch-clearing.
Temperature were running at the council's monthly meeting on Tuesday when the letters between the two parties were read out.
The community council initially wrote to Mr Methuen-Campbell saying it planned to carry out a number of projects in the area.
These included clearing ditches, restoring a well, pond and stream, and providing electricity to the lower green.
Mr Methuen-Campbell replied, saying all the land in question was part of his estate but agreed to most of the work.
But he said was "shocked and saddened" there had been mowing on Cefn Bryn, pictured. He said the area of common affected — a special site of scientific interest — had been left "sterile and compacted".
Among other matters, he asked what the electricity supply was for, pointing out a Christmas tree had been put up on the village's lower green last year without his permission.
The community council wrote back, saying it was surprised by the condition he had attached and claiming its mowing had been approved by a separate group, Cefn Bryn Commoners, and had led to wildlife flourishing.
It added that the temporary Christmas tree was the responsibility of the local church committee and featured in an open air carol concert that raised money for the Salvation Army.
The letter asked Mr Methuen-Campbell and his legal adviser to a meeting, adding: "Councillors are saddened that, as a group of volunteers intent upon maintaining the condition and appearance of the village, Reynoldston Community Council should consistently meet resistance from yourselves."
The letter appears to have riled Mr Methuen-Cambpell, who then wrote back again. He said: "It is abundantly clear that we have very different views about what constitutes 'improvements' to Reynoldston and how Gower should be looked after."
Accusing the council of undertaking the stream clearance work while carrying on mowing against his wishes, he repeated that the areas in question were private land, and had nothing to do with it.
"I would stress that no works can be carried out by the council at any time in the future on Penrice Estate land," he said.
Speaking at the meeting, council chairman Adrian Hughes said blocked ditches had led to a village house flooding last winter, and that the work had to be done.
He said Mr Methuen-Campbell did own the land, but said: "He is having all this work done for free and should be grateful for it.
"I think we should copy our letters to our solicitors and establish the legal position as to what we can and can't do."
At Tuesday's meeting Gower councillor Richard Lewis offered to mediate between the warring factions.
He said he felt Mr Methuen-Campbell should operate a "good neighbour policy."
The Post contacted Mr Methuen-Campbell but he did not respond at the time of going to press.