Crooked House owners win right to postpone public inquiry into whether pub should be rebuilt

The owners have won the right to postpone the inquiry Credit: PA Images

A public inquiry to decide whether the owners of the Crooked House near Dudley should rebuild the historic pub "brick by brick", has been pushed back to next spring.

It's following a decision by the Planning Inspectorate at the request of the owners.

The 258-year-old pub in Himley, near Dudley, was reduced to rubble following a fire on 5 August 2023.

The owners, ATE Farms Ltd - who had bought the pub from Marston's just weeks before it was destroyed by a fire - were ordered by South Staffordshire Council to rebuild the historic building in February.

The enforcement notice for unlawful demolition gave the owners three years to bring the building back to "what it was prior to the fire”, by February 2027.

But they lodged an appeal in March and have now won the right to postpone the inquiry which was initially scheduled for this summer.

The inquiry has now been delayed until Spring 2025 pending the outcome of potential court actions related to a recent fire.

The Planning Inspectorate acknowledged the complexity of the case, noting that resolving the planning enforcement appeal after the conclusion of any related court cases would be ideal.

However, the Inspectorate also emphasised that the delay should not be indefinite, assuring that new dates for the inquiry have been scheduled.

A Planning Inspectorate spokesperson said:

“With regard to appeal reference 3341483, the Inspector has looked at the Appellant’s representations and agreed that it would be preferable to proceed with the Enforcement appeal after any potential legal proceedings are concluded.

“The Planning Inspectorate is not in a position to comment further at this stage.”

Six people have been arrested in connection with the fire, which is being treated as arson by police.

Staffordshire Police says the suspects currently remain on conditional police bail as the investigation continues.

Supporters argued that restoring the pub to its former glory was essential for preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the area.

An initiative was launched following the destruction of the iconic inn to help protect historic and cherished pubs in the area.

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