Historic mud wall row prompts council to threaten legal action against Fenland pub owners

A PUB company has been threatened with prosecution unless it steps in to preserve historic mud boundary walls at the Black Bull, Whittlesey.

A PUB company has been threatened with prosecution unless it steps in to preserve historic mud boundary walls at the Black Bull, Whittlesey.

Unique Pub Properties Ltd of Solihull own the Market Street pub but claim their tenant has a full repairing lease and should cough up for repairs.

But Martyn Kendall, conservation officer for Fenland Council, has written to the company explaining that he expects them to pay the likely �15,000 cost.

“Whilst I appreciate you may consider the tenant to have responsibility, it is likely that as owner we would be inclined to prosecute you rather than the tenant” Mr Kendall told them.


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Mr Kendall says the council has been prompted to act following complaints from the public and local councillors about the “very poor state of repair” of the mud wall at the rear of the pub in the Cambridgeshire town.

The conservation officer said he was disappointed the company had declined to attend two mud wall rebuilding workshops in 2009- paid for by the council- and they had also ignored advice about grant schemes to help with restoration.

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Mr Kendall said repairs to the 15 metres of wall are estimated to cost �15,000 but a grant may be available to pay half.

However he says the company has refused to respond to his letters and he’s now asking the council’s planning committee to authorise enforcement action.

Mr Kendall said bushes had been removed which had been protecting the wall from rainfall and a timber fence had been erected to infill a section which further reduced the wall.

• Whittlesey lies on a seam of Oxford clay and many of the town’s houses are of local brick. The earliest red and yellow, those of the 19th and 20th century generally of gault brick.

• The clay was exploited earlier however and mixed with straw and animal hair to form unfired ‘mud’ walls, often with thatched copings. They are a particularly unusual characteristic of the town.

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