Bricks and foundations WILL be kept at site of Britain’s ‘wonkiest pub’ The Crooked House after campaigners stage sit-down protest when heavy machinery moved in
- The bricks and foundations will be kept at the site of the Crooked House pub
- READ MORE: Protesters block workers trying to remove rubble from pub site
The bricks and foundations will be kept at the site of the ‘wonkiest pub’ in Britain after campaigners staged a sit-down protest when construction crews moved in heavy machinery, South Staffordshire Council has revealed.
The local authority said the ‘positive step’ at the fire-hit and now demolished Crooked House pub in Himley, near Dudley, followed ongoing engagement with the site’s owners, a contractor, the Health and Safety Executive, and police.
Campaigners took direct action, including a sit-down protest yesterday, after heavy machinery and staff moved on to the site, amid claims that checks for the presence of asbestos were taking place.
The burnt-out shell of the landmark pub, famed for its wonky walls and floors due to mining-related subsidence, was demolished within 48 hours of a suspected arson attack on Saturday, August 5.
The council has said it is undertaking a thorough and active investigation into the incident and is committed to working with partners ‘using the legal powers available to us’.
The bricks and foundations will be kept at the site of the ‘wonkiest pub’ in Britain after campaigners staged a sit-down protest when construction crews moved in heavy machinery, South Staffordshire Council has revealed. Pictured: Remains of the Crooked House pub immediately after the fire earlier this month
The burnt-out shell of the landmark pub, famed for its wonky walls and floors due to mining-related subsidence, was demolished within 48 hours of a suspected arson attack on Saturday, August 5. Pictured: The Crooked House pub engulfed in flames
Campaigners took direct action, including a sit-down protest after heavy machinery and staff moved on to the site, amid claims that checks for the presence of asbestos were taking place. Pictured: Community members protesting outside the pub earlier today
In a statement issued today, South Staffordshire Council explained how several council officers attended the site of the fire yesterday morning to ‘ascertain what works were being carried out’.
READ MORE: The Crooked House ‘clean-up’ begins: Workers move onto site of Britain’s wonkiest pub which burned down in ‘arson attack’ after protesters demanding it be rebuilt ‘brick by brick’ block lorry from getting to site
The council said that officers spent a ‘considerable time’ at the site and held ‘detailed’ discussions with contractors, resulting in an agreement that their work would cease so that a ‘comprehensive schedule of works could be submitted by them and reviewed by the relevant authorities’.
As well as confirming that the council was not the enforcing authority for safety of works on site, the statement continued: ‘As the local planning authority, the council has been engaging with the site owners and contractors to understand the scope of works proposed on site.
‘We are very pleased that we now have agreement that the bricks will remain on site, and that the foundations and slabs will remain to assist our future investigation.
‘This is a positive step and the council continues to engage with the site owners, contractor, HSE, police and other partners to ensure the site is made safe from hazardous substances.
‘However, this means that there will be activity on site over coming days to remove hazardous waste and to make the site safe, and this will be closely monitored.’
The statement added: ‘As was stated at the beginning of the investigation, this will be a long process and the council needs time to investigate properly and take appropriate action.’
Protester Emma Smith (pictured today) has designed her own t-shirts and is vowing to stop rubble being removed
Locals (pictured today) have demanded answers as to how the pub came to be destroyed
Friends Kerry Goodman (left) and Hayley Mason, both 36, set up camp in the road earlier today
READ MORE: Having a scorcher! Owners of Britain’s wonkiest pub at centre of ‘arson’ probe enjoy spot of paragliding and lunch at a beachside restaurant after jetting off to luxury £2.3m villa in Corfu
Councillor Roger Lees, leader of the council and local member for Himley, said: ‘The council is continuing to work behind the scenes with the relevant organisations and it’s important our focus is on a robust and thorough investigation.
‘I would ask that we are given time to do so and I can reassure the public that we are doing everything in our power to investigate the matter thoroughly.’
Campaigner Paul Turner, whose online Save The Crooked House petition has attracted more than 21,000 signatures, said he had met with a contractor at the site and a representative of a second firm overseeing work taking place.
Mr Turner, from nearby Wombourne, said in a Facebook post on a group calling for a brick-by-brick rebuild of the pub: ‘I have seen the Method Statement which has been agreed with South Staffs District Council and I fully trust that the work that has been described within that is the only work that will be taking place.
‘Basically, they will be using a grabber to pick up bricks with as much care as possible to avoid damage.
‘These will be laid aside for the specialist asbestos workers to clean by hand and stack on pallets. There may be bricks which are too badly damaged to be of any use and these will be put aside.
Local people want the pub to be re-built and restored to how it originally looked
The pub was bulldozed without council permission – to the horror of locals – two days after it was gutted when it went up in flames on August 5
The clean-up of the beloved 18th century boozer started while the owners are away on holiday
‘Other items in the rubble which are clearly unable to be used will be placed in a skip for disposal but South Staffs Council will need to examine and approve any waste that is removed from the site.’
Staffordshire Police have said their inquiry into the suspected arson attack is ongoing, with a CCTV trawl, forensics and witness accounts continuing to be worked through.
While this fracas has rolled on, the couple at the heart of the storm – 34-year-old owner Carly Taylor and her husband Adam- have removed themselves from the situation and are currently on holiday in a luxury £15,000-a-week villa.
Yesterday, Mr Taylor refused to respond to requests for a statement about the destruction of the much-loved 18th century pub that was about to become a listed building after he was confronted by a Daily Mail reporter.
MailOnline has approached the council for comment.
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