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Crooked House owners propose rebuilding at new location

The current owners of the demolished Crooked House public house in Staffordshire have applied for it to be rebuilt at another location. 

Matt Girling / CC-BY-SA-3.0:

Following a suspected arson attack last year on what was then the UK’s wonkiest pub, the owners demolished the pub, but have since been ordered to rebuild it in February this year by South Staffordshire Council.

According to the owners ATE Farms, who are appealing the decision, that it had discovered a “genuine and practical” solution to the issue by rebuilding the pub on another plot of land which was also owned by the company.

ATE Farms said in a statement: “In its current location, should it be rebuilt, there is no doubt that there would be a huge amount of interest in the first few months, however, this does not translate to continued and sustained interest to make the building work as pub going forward.”

But the company said the rebuilding of the pub at the new location would offer “a real chance of success as a community asset”.

The story of the pub began last August, when it burnt down only weeks after being sold by pub company Marston’s to a new owner.

Police then investigated the fire, with suspicions that it may have been an arson attack, and two men were arrested later in the month.

Public outcry over the incident followed the pub fire ever since its blaze and prompt demolition. A group of more than 21,000 people forming on Facebook and campaigners continually rallying to preserve the site calling for the beloved pub to be rebuilt brick-by-brick.

A stand-off between protesters who are angry at the demolition of the historic venue also ensued last summer, with many local residents, frustrated at the lack of communication over what would happen to the site.

Gavin Williamson MP, who represents the South Staffordshire constituency where the historic pub once stood, called for the pub to be made an Asset of Community Value so that it could be rebuilt in order to “bring back an important piece of Staffordshire heritage”.

Then in February this year it was announced that South Staffordshire Council has issued an enforcement notice the “demolition of an unlisted building” without “planning permission”.

The enforcement notice “requires the building to be built back to what it was prior to the fire”, and that the “time for compliance is three years from 27 February 2024”, with the Taylors having a 30 day appeal period where an independent planning inspector can hear the owners’ case.

“If the notice is not appealed and not complied with within the time limit it will be considered that an offence has been committed and the council can prosecute for failure to comply with the notice,” it explained.

“The Crooked House was not a listed building,” the council said in a statement, “but was a non-designated heritage asset, registered on the Historic Environment Record as a building of local importance.”

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