Crooked House demolition ‘completely unacceptable’

Credit: The Crooked House

The demolition of The Crooked House pub in Dudley following Saturday’s fire was “unacceptable” says South Staffordshire Council.

The pub, which was originally built in 1765, was demolished by its new landowner two days after the blaze, whilst police said an investigation into the cause of the fire was ongoing.

There’s also been reports that fire engines were unable to get through to the building, as piles of dirt blocked the road, resulting in firefighters using extra long hoses to get to the flames.

South Staffordshire Council leader Cllr Roger Lees said officers had agreed to works with the landowner’s representative on Monday (August 7) to “ensure the safety of the building and the wider site”.

The Guardian has revealed that the new buyer of The Crooked House was a property firm named ATE Farms Ltd, which is registered to the same address as Himley Environmental Ltd – the company that runs the quarry and landfill next to the site.

Cllr Lees said prior to the demolition he said that “the agreed course of action included the removal of three elements of the first-floor front elevation only. This was only to avoid the weak parts of the structure from falling.

“At no point did the council agree the demolition of the whole structure nor was this deemed necessary.
“This council finds the manner in which the situation was managed following the fire completely unacceptable and contrary to instructions provided by our officers.

“As such, we are currently investigating potential breaches of both the Town and Country Planning Act and the Buildings Act”.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and West Midlands Night Time Economy Advisor Alex Claridge, called for The Crooked House to be “rebuilt brick by brick and any attempt to change its use blocked.”

The pair vowed to “not let the Crooked House be consigned to history.”

The pub began which began life as a farmhouse in 1765, began to sink on one side due to mining activity in the area and was named The Siden House in 1930, with siden meaning crooked.

In the 1940s the pub was set for demolition due to safety concerns, but the Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries purchased the site and added buttresses to make the structure safe. It’s been known as The Crooked House ever since.

Last week, former owner Marston’s sold the pub to a “private buyer for alternative use” and was “unlikely to open its doors again”.

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