UK

Owners of Crooked House ordered to rebuild West Midlands pub destroyed by fire

South Staffordshire Council announced that it had served an enforcement notice on the owners on Tuesday.

The Crooked House pub once stood near Dudley, West Midlands
Crooked House pub fire The Crooked House pub once stood near Dudley, West Midlands (Matthew Cooper/PA)

The owners of the Crooked House have been ordered to rebuild the pub “back to what it was” prior to the suspected arson attack which destroyed it last year.

South Staffordshire Council announced that it had served an enforcement notice on the owners on Tuesday.

The owners have 30 days to appeal and the notice must be complied with within three years.

If work is not completed within the time limit, the local authority can prosecute for failure to comply with the notice, it added.

The historic West Midlands pub, in Himley, near Dudley, was demolished without permission two days after it was gutted by a fire on August 5 last year.

South Staffordshire Council said it had engaged with the owners since the blaze but had “reached a point” where the enforcement order was “considered necessary”.

The burnt-out remains of The Crooked House pub near Dudley
Crooked House pub fire The burnt-out remains of The Crooked House pub near Dudley

Council leader Roger Lees said: “A huge amount of time and resources have been put into investigating the unauthorised demolition of the Crooked House.

“We have had great support from the local community, our MPs and the Mayor of the West Midlands, and from the campaign group whose aim is to see the Crooked House back to its former glory which is the key objective of the enforcement notice.

“We have not taken this action lightly but we believe that it is right to bring the owners, who demolished the building without consent, to account and we are committed to do what we can to get the Crooked House rebuilt.”

A Staffordshire Police investigation into the circumstances around the blaze continues, and anyone with information is urged to contact the force.

The force previously said that it is treating the blaze as a suspected arson attack.

Five men and one woman were arrested in connection with the fire. They remain on bail pending further inquiries.

It was called the Crooked House because it leaned to one side as a result of land subsidence.

The Crooked House was not listed at the time it was destroyed but was a non-designated heritage asset registered on the Historic Environment Record as a building of local importance.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street welcomed the order for the 18th-century pub, known as Britain’s wonkiest pub, to be restored.

He posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Crooked House ordered to be rebuilt.

“An enforcement notice has been issued against the owners for its unlawful demolition.

“They have been ordered to rebuild the pub back to what it was before the fire – just as we’ve been lobbying for.

“Fantastic work from South Staffordshire Council.”

In a message posted on the Save The Crooked House (Let’s Get It Re-Built) Facebook page, Mr Street thanked the group’s 35,000 members for their “tireless” campaign.

Mr Street wrote: “Hi everyone, today is obviously a monumental day in the campaign to get the Crooked House rebuilt.

“South Staffordshire District Council deserve enormous credit for holding their nerve and pursuing this enforcement action.

“However it would never have happened if it wasn’t for the tireless work of each and everyone one of you in this group. What you have done to keep the Crooked House at the forefront of people’s minds has been exceptional, and as Mayor I want to personally thank you all.

“I said at the time of the tragedy that the owners had messed with the wrong community, and you haven’t half proved that right. Thank you.”

Gary Timmins, from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) welcomed the news.

“The destruction of the Crooked House was a national tragedy, so it’s fantastic news that the owners have been ordered to rebuild the pub brick by brick,” he said.

“This is exactly what we were hoping to hear from South Staffordshire Council, and it’s a testament to the hard work of all the dedicated campaigners who stepped up and fought for the Crooked House.”