The Swansea millionaire, his chopper and an historic hedgerow
A SUPERMARKET boss has been rapped for removing hedgerows near his stunning Gower home.
Swansea Council has issued Chris Kiley — founder of CK's Supermarkets — with a hedgerow replacement notice and is keeping an eye on the fields in question.
The hedgerow issue has been a talking point in the tranquil South Gower community of Caswell, with speculation as to why the retail entrepreneur would want to tamper with them.
No application has been submitted to the council indicating a planned development on Mr Kiley's fields, which are behind his bay-facing mansion.
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One of the three hedgerow sections removed is said to be mentioned on a tithe map from 1847, possibly indicating it was hundreds of years old.
The Post has also seen photos of a large digger carrying out groundwork in the fields last September, and evidence of fresh tree stumps.
Caswell resident Sue Kent said the fields and adjacent Bishop's Wood were peaceful places, popular with walkers.
"I know that a lot of the residents are really worried about it," said Mrs Kent.
Another resident, who did not want to be named, branded the destruction of the oldest hedge section "a desecration of ancient Gower history".
The resident said she believed there was no agricultural reason to justify the hedgerow removal.
"Lots of people who walk their dogs or ride their horses there are talking about it," she said.
Gower Society chairman Malcolm Ridge said he was aware of the hedgerow issue and of the council's position.
"At least one of hedges is very, very old and the others are probably more than 30 years old," he said.
Swansea councillor Keith Marsh, ward member for Bishopston, said: "The matter is firmly in the hands of the local planning authority and I am being guided by what they have said."
Entrepreneur and pilot Mr Kiley is regularly seen flying in the skies of Gower in his burgundy helicopter, which is parked in his garden. In June 2011 he was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs by Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court for ignoring an instruction after landing his chopper in an unused car park in Treorchy, Rhondda, three months previously.
Mr Kiley, who was 57 at the time of the court hearing, said he had landed in the car park as an emergency manoeuvre after the helicopter's clutch light came on.
He founded CK's Supermarkets in 1988 and built up the successful business to its current tally of 17 stores.
He has declined to comment to the Post about the hedgerow issue.
A Swansea Council spokeswoman said: "The land in question does belong to Mr C Kiley, of Bay House, Caswell Bay.
"We are in correspondence with Mr Kiley about a potential breach in the hedgerow regulations and have served a hedgerow replacement notice on him.
"With regard to land use, the site is being monitored."