MP pledges to push for Crooked House law

Wednesday, August 16, 2023
MP pledges to push for Crooked House law
By Arya
5 Min Read

The Crooked House on fireImage source, PA Media

Image caption,

Emergency services were called to a fire at the Crooked House pub on 5 August

By Susie Rack & Tracey Higgins

BBC News, West Midlands

An MP has told a public meeting he will pursue a law granting better protection for heritage venues in the name of a pub which was demolished after a fire.

About 100 people attended the meeting after the 18th Century Crooked House, near Dudley, was destroyed less than two days after the fire.

Marco Longhi, Conservative MP for Dudley North, said he would love to see a Crooked House law protect other venues from the same fate.

The fire is being treated as arson.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption,

Marco Longhi, MP for Dudley North speaking at the public meeting in Himley near Dudley, about The Crooked House pub, more than a week after its burnt-out shell was demolished

South Staffordshire Council has said it was looking at possible enforcement action against those responsible.

Speaking at Himley Hall, Mr Longhi urged patience and asked residents to avoid speculating about the circumstances of the fire on social media.

Image caption,

Organisers of The Crooked House campaign group, Ian Sandall, Jackie Marsh, Paul Turner, Jacqueline Arriola and Tony Chen, were among about 100 who attended the meeting

He said the building, which sank due to subsidence caused by mining works in the area, would “rise from the ashes”, but it would be a “marathon, not a sprint”.

“I don’t believe our current legislative framework is strong enough,” he said. “I would love to see, in future, a Crooked House law.

“It is important we make a change in the law. Our historic pubs and buildings are not protected adequately.”

Image caption,

The MP expressed disgust that people had removed bricks and debris from the site to “make a quick buck2

The MP pledged to bring the matter to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as soon as parliament reconvened in September.

The pub, known for its sloping walls and floor, was bought from Marston’s by ATE Farms Limited in July.

On Tuesday, the BBC revealed its owners had experienced a huge fire on other land they owned.

Image caption,

Paul and Dawn Craig say the pub was a “landmark” and part of their heritage

Members of the public voiced concerns about a smell from the stream that runs alongside the pub and rubbish being dumped at the site.

Speaking after the meeting, residents reiterated their support for the venue to be rebuilt.Dawn and Paul Craig said the landmark should be reconstructed in the same spot, but better lighting would be needed on the approach to avoid people using the driveway as a “tip”.

Image caption,

John Hutchinson managed The Crooked House for several years

John Hutchinson, who ran the pub as a relief manager in the 80s and 90s called for the new owners to explain what had happened. “Where are they, why haven’t they come on camera and faced the public?” he asked.Others expressed disappointment South Staffordshire Council did not attend the meeting.

Fencing has now been erected around the ruins, after the Health and Safety executive ordered the owners to make the site safe.

Mr Longhi said the behaviour of people who had been removing bricks and other debris from the rubble was “disgusting” and said he was happy the fencing was up.

South Staffordshire Conservative MP Sir Gavin Williamson has also voiced his support for restoration of the site.

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