Pub landlord threatened over huge mural painted on side of historic inn

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-Credit: (Image: No credit)

A pub landlord is facing legal action from his local council for having a massive bull painted on the side of his 400 year old inn. Martin Peel paid a local artist £1,200 to have the 8ft mural displayed on the side of The Bull's Head.

The artwork was completed in April and Mr Peel says it was a big hit with visitors to the pub in the picturesque village of Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire. However, last week Mr Peel, 52, received a letter from Stratford District Council stating it violated planning rules for listed properties.

The father-of-two, who has run the 16th-century pub for three years, has four weeks to paint over the giant Hereford bull or face legal action. Mr Peel, who runs the pub with his partner Omm, 43, said: "It's a beautiful pub and the painting just communicates what we do."

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"It was meant to be eye-catching and a bit of fun while respecting the heritage of the building. It's an impressive structure. It's historic but a lot of people think we're just a big house which can be confusing for people.

"We feel it's a mural that works in line with the era of the heritage. We take the heritage very seriously. We've put a new bar and period fireplace and chimney in a room that's been ignored which was all done at our own personal cost.

"That has been done through planning but we just didn't realise this was a crime. The council just said 'it's not acceptable'.

"We get a lot of positive comments from people in the pub, you get people stopping and taking pictures with it. It doesn't detract from the heritage of the building. We did have a large vinyl banner at the front which looked awful, it didn't suit the pub."

The ex-aircraft mechanic Mr Peel believes that just one villager who wasn't a fan of the design tipped off the council. He's vowed to contest the verdict, saying the painting was created by an artist using old-fashioned techniques.

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The new mural at The Bull's Head Pub in Wootten Wawen. -Credit:No credit

Adding to this, he said: "We're getting special consultation from a local planner but we've been told we can't get planning retrospectively."

"We want to approach the council formally and need to do things properly. There will be someone in the village who has lived in an old house for years, checked in with the council maybe and didn't like it.

"We are determined to keep the bull painting. We'd be obliterating three days of work by an artist using skills which are dying out."

"Everything we do is with an eye on heritage. We see ourselves as temporary custodians of this wonderful pub. Every piece of art is unique."

Artist Phil Taylor, who has put his signature on signs for 40 years, painted the painting. Echoing Mr Peel's sentiments, numerous residents rallied around him, stating the painting helps "put the village on the map".

One resident, Jim, expressed his disappointment: "It's a real shame someone living here has moaned to the council for no reason. This person has probably never even set foot inside the Bull. If they had they'd see what an amazing job Martin and Omm are doing."

Another said: "Typical bully council throwing their bloody weight around. Why punish someone like Martin for doing something positive? ".

"The bull mural looks amazing and has put this place on the map."

Mr Peel has instructed lawyers to investigate appealing the decision. Stratford District Council refused to comment on the case, with a spokesperson saying: "Unfortunately we don't comment on live enforcement cases."

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