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‘Should be ashamed’: Michael Sheen slams estate demanding £100,000 from town to keep playing fields

08 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Michael Sheen. By Rhododendrites (CC 4.0)

Actor Michael Sheen has said that an estate demanding that a Welsh community find £100,000 to keep their town’s playing fields “should be ashamed”.

Ystradgynlais Community Welfare Ground Association, the charity set up to look after the fields, are fundraising the money after being told that a new lease must be paid 50 years in advance.

The grounds have been leased from the Gough estate for 100 years, but the community must now pay the first £100,000 installment of the £2,000 per annum price of the lease in advance or face losing the playing fields.

Collection boxes for donations have been installed at various locations throughout the town.

However, actor Michael Sheen, who lived in and was educated in nearby Port Talbot, said that the estate should be “ashamed” of demanding the advance fee.

“Who the hell is demanding that the community of Ystradgynlais come up with 100k all at once to keep their playing fields after everything that’s happened?” he tweeted. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”

‘Risk’

Writing on their website, the Ystradgynlais Community Welfare Ground Association said that many had not until recently considered who owned the grounds, having assumed it is all owned and run by Ystradgynlais RFC or Powys County Council.

“But this is not the case. In fact, the land was leased to the community for 100 years and that lease is about to expire,” they said.

“Behind the scenes, volunteers have negotiated a new lease at the very reasonable rate of £2,000 per annum, but there is one catch: the lease must be paid 50 years in advance. It will come as no surprise to learn that the Town or County Councils are unable to fund this cost in the present climate, which means that the community of Ystradgynlais needs to raise £100,000 as soon as possible, or risk losing all of these excellent facilities.

“Unfortunately, grant funding from sources such as the National Lottery etc. is not available to purchase leaseholds. That is why the community of Ystradgynlais need to meet this challenge.

“Undoubtedly, this is a daunting and ambitious task. However we believe that the people of Ystradgynlais can meet this challenge together. To this end, a charity has been set up by volunteer trustees. Specifically to secure and fund the Ystradgynlais Welfare Ground lease.”

“The idea of our town losing this outstanding community sports facility and green space would be a tragedy. Please donate what you can to save our playing fields. We would warmly welcome any fundraising or sponsorship events that we know our vibrant and creative community can devise to help raise these desperately needed funds.”

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DarkMrakeford
DarkMrakeford
1 month ago

More dubious land ownership in this country. Something should be done about it

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago
Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Yes; it’s a hot link to a donations site

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

Rhyfel y Sais Bach!

gaynor
gaynor
1 month ago

Who is the Gough estate? Why do they own it. Can we have a bit more digging in to these stories please. Not just press release type of thing. Or a write about the wider issue of land ownership in Wales , Eg Duke of Beaufort.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  gaynor

The line starts with the Aubreys, a Norman family into which the Gough’s married. Try the web because an article won’t cut it, a couple of books might.
They own it, just like 99% of the land ownership in the UK, because they took it.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

The whole issue of ownership of land and property in Cymru needs investigating. A huge percentage is not Welsh-owned from, large estates given to his mates by William the Conquerer to corporate-owned large businesses to antique shops in Ruthin, and, of course, many holiday homes and hotels. Wales is here for one purpose: profit for external interest-groups and individuals.

David Smith
David Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Classic colonialism. And untold numbers of thickoes here buy into the English aristocracy.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

One thing stuck in my mind from the Trotskyists in my youth (I am now right wing) was Nationalise the Land Without Compensation. Wales does need land reform and farmers and communities should own their land guaranteed by our future state after liberation.
It’s time the Lord Snooties were sent packing.

Last edited 1 month ago by j humphrys
DAWAGER
DAWAGER
1 month ago
Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 month ago

My first reaction was to berate the Gough family as typical uncaring, exploitative ‘evil’ landowners. There is an interesting history of the family on the local history site. http://www.ystradgynlais-history.co.uk/gough-family-ystradgynlais.html Certainly explains pub names like The Aubrey Arms, Ynyscedwyn Arms, Gough Arms! In the past they made several donations of land to build churches and, not least, Ystalyfera County School, so it seemed strange a family that seemed to care about ‘the locals’ would be acting this way re the playing fields. I’d have thought they would have just given it to the community. However, one can see that the Gough… Read more »

Matthew Paul
1 month ago

Strikes me as an extremely reasonable price, and one that Michael Sheen would easily be able to afford if he wanted to help out, rather than telling other people to give their property away.

David Smith
David Smith
1 month ago

Ireland gave their imposed aristocracy the sack (well the non-brainwashed part anyway) and it’s high time we did too. The class system and land being in the hands of a few who’s ancestors probably stole it anyway, is a concept belonging in the past.

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