Calls for destroyed historic gem to be rebuilt

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Calls for destroyed historic gem to be rebuilt

Demolished, destroyed and razed – within days of its sale by Marston’s, the historic Crooked House pub in the West Midlands has been reduced to a smoking pile of rubble (above).

There has been an angry response to the bulldozing of the Black Country landmark without planning permission.

Chairman of the Dudley and South Staffordshire branch John Corser said: “Our members have been horrified at the loss of such an important pub in such a short space of time.”

West Midlands mayor Andy Street has called for the pub to be rebuilt – brick by brick.

Street has urged South Staffordshire Council to rebuild the iconic building.

In a statement he said: “We will not let the Crooked House be confined to history. We believe that great pubs have immense cultural and historical value here in the West Midlands and we should be taking steps to protect and preserve their heritage.

“The reaction of so many of you to the tragic fire at the Crooked House tells us we’re not alone. We’re on it.”

CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona has weighed into the argument saying developers nationally must stop flouting planning laws.

The Campaign says pub closure figures expose the nationwide scandal in wake of the unauthorised demolition of the Crooked House.

Nik said: “This damaging practice must stop, and those found to have converted or demolished pubs against planning rules must be required to restore the original building brick by brick.

“If local authorities won’t provide adequate planning enforcement, then central government needs to step in to make sure that unscrupulous developers know that they will face action if they do the same.

“It is a tragedy that loved community pubs continue to be converted or demolished without planning permission in England, and that weak planning rules in Scotland and Wales allow this to happen legally.

“Government across the UK and at all levels needs to step up and get serious about protecting the UK’s treasured pub stock.”

Now, CAMRA’s Pub Campaigns director Gary Timmins has written to housing minister Rachel Maclean asking for central government to take action to deter unscrupulous developers and ensure that illegally demolished pubs are rebuilt.

Gary said: “The complete destruction of this iconic pub has brought the nationwide scandal of the non-enforcement of pub protection legislation to the forefront of people’s minds.”

A statement from South Staffordshire Council said the full demolition of the building was not mandated by the safety inspection that took place after the fire. Staffordshire Police and fire service are investigating the cause of the fire.

In 2017, planning law was changed so that pubs in England could not be converted or demolished without planning permission, but figures published by CAMRA show more than 30 may have been demolished or converted without planning permission in the last six months.

CAMRA’s Pub Data Team now carries out checks against reported conversions and demolitions to see if planning permission has been granted. In 31 out of a total 95 cases in the period January to June 2023, CAMRA could not find a registered planning application, suggesting the demolition or conversion has taken place without the required permission.

CAMRA’s Pub Closure Data is compiled from its database at and a full report can be downloaded from the Campaign website at

Pictured below: Crooked House following fire. Bottom: before blaze.


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