Fast-food row at National Trust estate

A National Trust estate has become embroiled in a fast-food row after writing to all takeaways in a nearby town urging them to stop making deliveries to a beauty spot.

Volunteers at The Kymin, an 18th-century house set at the top of a hill boasting views of Monmouthshire, had grown increasingly despairing at piles of litter left by visitors.

Takeaway boxes were often found to be among the usual rubbish dumped at the site, which was a popular picnic spot as far back as the 1700s. 

It has led Alan Evans, the manager, to write a letter to all the takeaways in the Monmouth area asking them not to deliver pizza, chips or kebabs to the top of the hill if requested. 

“If people want to have a picnic they are more than welcome to as long as they take their litter home with them,” said Mr Evans. 

“But this is the first time I have heard of a takeaway delivering straight to a National Trust site.”

Mr Evans, who is a National Trust area manager, said he did not want to be seen singling out any individual business so decided to write to them all. 

“Of course, I can’t stop them and I am really conscious that I don’t want to affect their business but I just wanted to politely ask them to consider not delivering directly to The Kymin,” he said.

“I had one phone call from somebody asking to clarify the position and it’s not happened since so I will take that as a good sign.”

His intervention was said to have provoked annoyance among some residents in the market town, following on from the National Trust’s controversial decision to make the custodians of The Kymin redundant last summer. 

A couple who lived in the small roundhouse at the top of the hill for 17 years were forced to leave as part of a cost-cutting drive, meaning a team of volunteers now clean up the litter.

At the time, Richard Roden, a local councillor, said the town was “shocked” by the move, but the National Trust said it had to make savings “in almost every area of activity” as it faced £200m in losses due to the pandemic. 

Mr Evans said the charity had since grappled with the issue of whether to install bins at The Kymin, but chose not to because they could not be emptied often enough. 

“It was very unfortunate but Covid-19 hit the National Trust very hard and there were redundancies right across the country,” he said. “Now I have to consider how best to maintain the site.

“I am very lucky to have a team of volunteers and will be talking to some experts about the best thing to do with the empty property.”

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