Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 16:40 UK

National park chief is suspended

Brecon Beacons
The Brecon Beacons National Park has said it is tackling problems

The chief executive of Brecon Beacons National Park has been suspended while an investigation is carried out into the way the authority is managed.

Chris Gledhill will be off work for up to two months while questions are asked about the authority's leadership.

The park said the suspension was "not an indication of wrong-doing" and was the only way of ensuring investigations remained neutral.

Its planning department has been heavily criticised in recent months.

Earlier this year, an inquiry found "serious failings" with a planning application for a caravan park at Gilestone Farm in Talybont-on-Usk, near Brecon.

It found that documents were missing from a planning file, and it discovered problems with the authority's complaints procedure.

Members of the national park authority have today agreed to the suspension of the chief executive Christopher Gledhill
National park chair Mary Taylor

Papers from the inquiry were subsequently handed to Dyfed-Powys Police "to investigate any pattern of wrong-doing".

Mr Gledhill, who has been chief executive since 2001, was suspended at an extraordinary general meeting in Brecon on Monday.

National park chair Mary Taylor said: "Following the review of a number of external and internal investigations examining the leadership of the authority and the management of planning services, members of the national park authority have today agreed to the suspension of the chief executive Christopher Gledhill.

"I would like to emphasise that today's suspension is not an indication of wrong-doing and meant only to ensure that continuing investigations remain neutral."

Critical friend

John Cook, director of countryside since October last year, has been appointed acting chief executive.

In March, a so-called "critical friend" was appointed to advise the national park about the future of its planning services.

The problems have led to calls from local AM Kirsty Williams and Crickhowell councillor John Morris for managers at the park to stand down.

Following the Gilestone inquiry, the national park apologised and promised changes.

The Welsh Assembly Government has also urged the park to improve the way it handles planning inquiries, and appointed the critical friend.


SEE ALSO
Adviser to oversee park planning
26 Mar 08 |  Mid Wales
Park inquiry papers with police
14 Mar 08 |  Mid Wales
Planning delays 'costing firms'
13 Mar 08 |  Mid Wales
Calls to axe park planning power
26 Feb 08 |  Mid Wales
Park planners face calls to quit
22 Jan 08 |  Mid Wales

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