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Demolished pub needs rebuilding brick by brick

The owners of Britain’s wonkiest pub have been instructed to reconstruct the Crooked House following its unauthorised demolition.

South Staffordshire Council issued an enforcement notice to the pub's owners after a fire and subsequent demolition in August. Despite ongoing discussions with the owners following the demolition, formal action was deemed necessary by the council. The notice mandates the restoration of the Crooked House to its original state within three years, with a 30-day window for owners to appeal.

The 18th-century pub, situated in Himley near Dudley in the West Midlands, was razed to its foundations following a fire, which authorities suspect to be arson. Several arrests were made in connection to the incident. Prior to the fire, an application for listed status for Crooked House had been submitted. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street advocated for its reconstruction "brick by brick."

Marco Longhi, MP for Dudley North, expressed relief at the enforcement notice served on the owners, emphasising the significance of the Crooked House to the local community. The notice was addressed to Adam and Carly Taylor, along with the company secretary of ATE Farms Ltd, the firm that purchased the inn from Marston’s. The notice deemed the demolition a violation of planning controls, resulting in the loss of a historically significant community asset.

The order specifies the reconstruction of the pub to closely resemble its original structure. The fire occurred shortly after Marston’s sold the pub
to ATE Farms. The Taylors, believed to be the owners, faced scrutiny from the council after beginning renovations without proper authorisation. The pub has remained closed since.

Council leader Roger Lees emphasised the seriousness of the situation, highlighting the council's commitment to holding the owners accountable and ensuring the reconstruction of the Crooked House. Meanwhile, an ongoing investigation by Staffordshire Police seeks to determine the circumstances surrounding the blaze.

Mayor Andy Street extended gratitude to the community for their relentless advocacy to restore the pub. Lee Goodchild, the last landlord of Crooked House, welcomed the decision for its reconstruction, though the prospect of its future as a trading pub remains uncertain.


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