Crooked House inquiry delayed as future of Staffordshire landmark still unclear

The fate of The Crooked House pub demolished following an arson attack remains uncertain as an inquiry into its future has been postponed. The Himley pub was purchased by ATE Farms just weeks before the devastating fire, and in February, they were ordered to rebuild the historic building by South Staffordshire Council.

The council had issued an enforcement notice for unlawful demolition, giving them three years to restore the building to its pre-fire state. However, after the owners contested the notice, a public inquiry was scheduled to rule on the appeal.

The council has now been informed by the Planning Inspectorate that it has agreed to ATE Farms' request to delay the inquiry, originally set to begin in August. It stated that it would be preferable to deal with the planning enforcement appeal after any potential separate court action relating to the fire had taken place.

The inquiry is now expected to take place next spring.

A council spokesperson said: "The council has no jurisdiction over when the public inquiry will be held."

The height of the blaze at The Crooked House -Credit:BPM Media
The height of the blaze at The Crooked House -Credit:BPM Media

The delay in proceedings has been linked to a document revealing the owners' intention to reconstruct the pub on alternative land they own, aiming to boost visitor numbers with additional developments.

The document stated: "The appellant has not refused to rebuild the building and has actively engaged with the council regarding this. Requiring a re-build in the same location, whilst reflective of popular opinion, will not change the fact that the building in that location is not viable as a public house," reports Birmingham Live.

Staffordshire Police are investigating the fire at the Crooked House as arson and have arrested six individuals in relation to the incident.

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