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MP calls for Crooked House to be rebuilt

Six months after the “UK’s wonkiest pub” was set on fire and then demolished, Gavin Williamson has called for the Crooked House site to be made an Asset of Community Value.

Matt Girling / CC-BY-SA-3.0:

The circumstances surrounding the destruction of the Crooked House, which was shut, sold, mysteriously caught fire and then (what was left) swiftly knocked down, sparked national outcry.

Marking half a year since the loss of the historic building, which stood at its jaunty angle for two centuries, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) chairman Nik Antona urged politicians to act and help preserve pubs: “We are renewing calls for governments in Westminster, Cardiff and Edinburgh to commit to improving planning protection laws and to make sure local authority planning departments are equipped to stop pubs being illegally converted or demolished without permission. Otherwise, we risk seeing more beloved locals across the UK being illegally taken away from the communities they serve.”

At least one MP has heeded the call.

Williamson, formerly Secretary of State for Defence, has been MP for South Staffordshire, the constituency where the Crooked House once stood (at a 16 degree angle), since 2010. Invited to an event by Paul Turner, who has been campaigning for the restoration of the pub, Williamson expressed a desire to see the boozer returned to its former, skew whiff glory.

“It is hard to think that it has been six months since we lost the Crooked House,” Williamson said. “It’s been a long journey, but the anniversary event showed us that people are willing to fight for re-building the landmark pub. By nominating the site as an Asset of Community Value, I’m hoping to provide the opportunity for the re-building to take place. What happened here will not be forgotten, and we’re doing all we can to bring back an important piece of Staffordshire heritage.”

If listed as an Asset of Community Value, the local community will be informed when the site of the pub is listed for sale within the five year listing period. They would then be able to enact the Community Right to Bid, which could hand the site over to them and give them the right to restore it.

“Restoration” may be slightly underplaying it – all that is left of the Crooked House is bricks.

“It’s a pile of rubble at the moment [South Staffordshire Council ordered to bricks to be kept on site], but we know that this site has value historically,” Turner explained. “1765 the house and pub was built there, it became crooked, and it’s been burnt and it’s been demolished. We’re now in a position where we’re aiming to get it rebuilt.”

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