Long Sutton pub builder ‘fuming’ over tree cutting row

TREE ROW: Sean Portass, with partner Dana Garkavaya, outside one of his pubs in Long Sutton.  Photo (TIM WILSON): SG220515-107TW.
TREE ROW: Sean Portass, with partner Dana Garkavaya, outside one of his pubs in Long Sutton. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG220515-107TW.
  • Developer slams Long Sutton Parish Council over legal action threats
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A Long Sutton-based property developer is at odds with parish councillors over the cutting back of a tree outside one of his pubs.

Sean Portass, who owns The Old Ship Inn next to Long Sutton’s Common Pit, has been left “absolutely fuming” by a letter from Long Sutton Parish Council threatening legal action over a branch he cut off outside the pub.

In a blistering attack on social media, Sean accused parish councillors of being “complete nobodies who just want their five minutes of fame”.

Sean said: “I received a letter from the parish council’s solicitors threatening me with legal action after I cut one tree branch that was lying on the roof on my pub.

“I’m absolutely fuming about it, one of the reasons being that instead of someone walking down and asking me to tidy up the rubbish from the work we’re doing, they used the public purse to instruct solicitors to send me a threatening letter.

“When you look to the right of Common Pit, there have been tree branches cut down and Long Sutton Parish Council has paid workers to do it.

Instead of someone walking down and asking me to tidy up the rubbish from the work we’re doing, Long Sutton Parish Council used the public purse to instruct solicitors to send me a threatening letter

Sean Portass, owner of The Old Ship Inn, Long Sutton

“I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve got a number of properties in the town, so I can say that I’ve done a lot more for Long Sutton than any of them on the parish council.”

Sean and partner Dana Garkavaya currently run six pubs in the South Holland area, including Palmers Ale House and The Granary, both in Long Sutton, and The Rising Sun in Gedney Drove End.

The couple are busy working giving The Old Ship Inn a makeover, with new furniture, carpets, curtains, kitchen, cellar and bar area.

Speaking to our sister newspaper, the Spalding Guardian, in August, Sean said: “There’s not a great deal wrong with The Old Ship Inn, but the pub just wants a revamp.

“Hopefully, me and Dana are quite good at running pubs and we believe The Old Ship Inn will be a roaring success.”

But a resident’s complaint after a tree branch was cut down by Sean four weeks ago ended up reaching South Holland District Council whose staff instructed Long Sutton Parish Council to send a letter threatening the pub owner with legal action.

Sean said: “I was told that I could be threatened with charges of trespassing, criminal damage and a few other things regarding the Common Pit, which is next to The Old Ship Inn.

“Long Sutton Parish Council is happy to pay for one set of trees to be cut back, but when I cut one branch off it, they threaten me with legal action.

“I’m going to totally ignore it because the branch I cut was on my land and I’m perfectly allowed to do that legally.

“The reaction and support I’ve had has left me gobsmacked and so many people have got behind me.

“Someone needs to tell Long Sutton Parish Council to wind their necks in and sort themselves out because they should be behind me, not causing me headaches about my work.”

Long Sutton Parish Council issued a statement saying: “The original complaint about The Ship and Common Pit was made to the District Council, who referred it to the Long Sutton Parish Council for action. No one associated with the Parish Council made a complaint in this matter.”

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