The rubble left after Britain’s wonkiest pub was destroyed will not be removed after locals protested on Monday.
South Staffordshire Council has said it will closely monitor work at the Crooked House pub after securing an agreement that bricks and foundations will be kept at the site.
The local authority said the “positive step” at the fire-hit and now demolished structure in Himley, near Dudley, followed ongoing engagement with the site’s owners, a contractor, the Health and Safety Executive, and police.
Campaigners staged a sit-down protest on Monday, 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.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, South Staffordshire Council said: “Following reports of activity at the Crooked House site on the morning of Monday, August 21, a number of council officers attended the site to ascertain what works were being carried out.
“Officers spent a considerable time on site and following detailed discussion with the contractors it was agreed that the contractors’ 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 the 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 an 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 the coming days to remove hazardous waste and to make the site safe, and this will be closely monitored.”
Staffordshire Police has said its inquiry into the suspected arson attack is ongoing, with a CCTV trawl, forensics and witness accounts continuing to be worked through.