Crimp leaves trees across tavern driveway

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 28/05/2011
trees
NICOLE GOURLEY/The Southland Times

NO WAY: Branches chopped off the trees at the left have been placed across the entrance to the Invercargill Licensing Trust-owned Newfield Tavern, at the Regent St access. Invercargill businessman Louis Crimp instructed workmen to cut the trees down.

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Invercargill businessman Louis Crimp is in yet another fight with the Invercargill Licensing Trust.

This week he instructed workmen to fell trees beside an entrance to a tavern owned by the trust, with the tree branches appearing to have been strategically placed to block access to the tavern.

Mr Crimp has a history of run-ins with the trust, which he is in business competition with in the city. He said yesterday he had told the workers to chop the trees down on Thursday, and he was also considering getting them to chop down some more trees and also take away fencing on the site.

He had signed a contract with the trust to buy a carpark at the tavern but had yet to take over the land, he said. "It's our land."

However, Invercargill Licensing Trust general manager Greg Mulvey, when contacted for comment yesterday, said Mr Crimp did not own the land because he had not yet paid for it.

Mr Crimp said he was waiting for the ILT to subdivide it, and when that happened he would consider building a hospital on the site for Alzheimer's patients.

When asked why tree branches were chopped down and placed across the driveway, which is a secondary access to the tavern, he said it was to "see the texture of the trees and see what we can do with them. We might sell them for firewood. It doesn't matter where they fell. The (Newfield Tavern patrons) can use the other (Centre St) entrance."

Mr Mulvey said the trust had agreed to sell Mr Crimp a portion of the tavern's carpark land that was surplus to its requirements. But Mr Crimp had taken possession and allowed himself access to the area before he was entitled to it. "He isn't entitled to do what he has done. He has strategically placed those trees over the driveway so no vehicles can gain access."

Several weeks ago Mr Crimp had also ripped palings off a fence, Mr Mulvey said, but the trust was not taking either incident too seriously.

"On the scale of things, this isn't a major event, but it was something he wasn't entitled to do and it would have been a courtesy to approach us first. I am sure it's something Mr Crimp wouldn't like happening to him."

Mr Mulvey hoped "common sense" would prevail and the trees would be removed. They block the Regent St entrance to the Newfield Tavern at the road end, while felled tree trunks and branches also block the driveway a further 100m up towards the tavern.

Mr Mulvey said he would not be contacting police.

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