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Crooked House owners 'ripped up old trees and ploughed grassland for planned holiday homes' despite locals' complaints
11 August 2023, 09:28 | Updated: 13 August 2023, 18:21
The Crooked House owners have been accused of destroying woodland so they could build holiday homes.
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Adam and Carly Taylor recently bought the "Britain's wonkiest pub", which was gutted in a fire police are treating with arson on Saturday then demolished without permission.
Police are "engaging" with the couple but they have not been identified as suspects.
Neighbours close to their home in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, say the pair previously ripped up mature trees and hedges, which ruined a wildlife habitat, on former quarry land.
They then put in planning applications for log cabins for holidaymakers, a solar farm and equestrian facilities.
The land was described by a Dunton Bassett villager as a "mini personal New Forest", complete with 20ft trees and orchids growing in grassland.
The trees were torn down and the grass was ploughed after the Taylors bought it, The Times reported.
Locals complained several times about the plans.
It comes after it emerged Adam Taylor also owns the Sarah Mansfield Country Inn, in Willey, five miles from their home.
He is alleged to have bought the community pub - the only place for the village to socialise - then gutted it.
Workmen appeared the day after he successfully appealed a bid to have it designated a community asset.
While plans suggested he would bring back the pub in some form after converting part of it into bedrooms and adding new properties to the land, a planning inspector warned it "may ultimately be lost" because it was uncertain if the relevant work would even take place.
Meanwhile, the company that hired out demolition equipment to the Taylors has denied any wrongdoing or involvement in the Crooked House's destruction.
Lyndon Thomas, owner of Lyndon Thomas Group, said that while his firm provided the excavator used to tear down what was left of the Crooked House, none of his men were involved in the demolition itself.
"If you give me your insurance and all your details and I deliver [equipment] to you and then you just tried to knock down your neighbour's building, what can I do? I have done nothing wrong," he said.
"We just hire a digger to a customer. I can't be responsible for what they do with the machinery."
He added: "If I knew this was going to happen I probably would have done something different, but I'm not Mystic Meg."
There are calls for the pub to be rebuilt brick by brick.