Tiggy's mother to vote in park clash

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The tranquillity of the Brecon Beacons National Park has been disturbed by a power play more suited to a City boardroom than a spot which has provided the backdrop to films as diverse as An American Werewolf in London and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, writes Roger Dobson.

The park's 24 board members, who include Sian Legge-Bourke, mother of Tiggy and Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Anne, have been called to an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss a clash between its chairman and chief executive.

The row came to a head, not over environmental policy or conservation issues, but over the publication of the expenses members have been claiming.

The pounds 50,000-a-year chief executive, or National Park Officer, Martin Fitton, has been accused of unilaterally publishing the expenses of the members without permission. But that was only the final straw, says chairman Gwyn Gwillum, who faces a planned vote of no confidence at the meeting on Wednesday in Brecon.

"There has been a complete breakdown between me and the National Park Officer. Six people asked for an emergency general meeting to discuss the breakdown, and the next thing I heard was that two people had moved a vote of no confidence in me, which is ridiculous because the issue is not about me. The only way I could counter that was to put down a vote of no confidence in the National Park Officer," said Mr Gwillum.

He said he had wanted independent legal advice on the way the park was run, but that Mr Fitton had refused. "There are so many grumblings that we are not open enough. I want an open national park and if people think we are covering up let's have an independent examination."

On the expenses row, he said: "The National Park Officer was given legal advice that he had no legal authority to put members' expenses in without the full national park authority making that decision."

Mr Fitton was not available for comment last week.

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