The demolition of The Crooked House in Dudley was "not agreed or deemed necessary", it has been revealed. Enforcement action could now be taken against those who bulldozed 'Britain's wonkiest pub' to the ground.
South Staffordshire Council said that following the fire, which ripped through the much-loved pub on Saturday night (5 August), its officers visited the site to assess the damage and speak to the landowner's representative.
It was agreed that three elements of the first-floor front elevation would be removed to avoid the weak parts of the structure from falling. But at "no point" did the council agree to the demolition of the whole structure, which went ahead on Monday afternoon (August 7).
It comes as West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has called for the pub to "rebuilt brick by brick" after bulldozers were sent in to demolish it.
The West Midlands Mayor has also said any attempt to change its use in the future should be blocked, insisting he would not let the iconic pub "be consigned to history".
Council leader, Roger Lees, said the manner in which the situation was managed following the fire was "completely unacceptable".
He says: "The agreed course of action included the removal of three elements of the first-floor front elevation only. This was only to avoid the weak parts of the structure from falling.
"At no point did the council agree the demolition of the whole structure nor was this deemed necessary."
Mr Lees says the situation following the fire was "completely unacceptable" and "contrary to instructions" provided by their officers.
The Council says they are now investigating potential breaches of both the Town and Country Planning Act and the Buildings Act. They have now referred these matters to their legal team "with a view to taking enforcement action."
Mr Lees said as soon as the council were made aware of the breaches during the demolition, the Health and Safety Executive as well as Historic England, were notified.
"These bodies will take the lead on investigating the issues surrounding the fire, safety of the unauthorised demolition and securing the ongoing safety of the site.
“Our own investigation is in its early stages and whilst it continues at pace, we as ask for time to consider the facts thoroughly to ensure any future actions are meaningful and proportionate.
"The council is incredibly saddened by the loss of the building which, whilst not listed, was a heritage asset and important landmark to the local area and community.
"Over recent months, the council had been in conversation with the relevant national bodies regarding how best to protect and preserve this important heritage asset.”