Council speaks out after Britain's wonkiest boozer is demolished one day after mysteriously catching fire
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The council in the location of the historic Crooked House pub has released a statement following the devastating fire and subsequent demolition of the iconic building.
It had gained notoriety in recent years as a place where coins would appear to roll up the bar due to the odd angle. This was caused by a subsidence issue underneath it from mining, which left the building looking like the pub equivalent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
But on Saturday night (5 August), a fire swept through the pub - which has been open since the 18th century - gutting the building. Nearly 36 hours after the fire, demolition vehicles turned up at the site and, by Monday, had destroyed what was left of the historic structure.
The building had recently been sold by Marston's Pub Company to an unnamed buyer. The conditions of the sale allowed for a transfer of the building's use from a pub to something else.
However, South Staffordshire Council has since released a statement.
Leader of the council, Roger Lees, said: "At no point did the council agree the demolition of the whole structure nor was this deemed necessary. This council finds the manner in which the situation was managed following the fire completely unacceptable and contrary to instructions provided by our officers.
"As such, we are currently investigating potential breaches of both the Town and Country Planning Act and the Buildings Act.
"We are also liaising with many other relevant statutory bodies, including Historic England, the police and fire services, amongst others..
"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 blaze and speedy subsequent demolition have drawn a lot of speculation from the local community, something authorities are discouraging as the active investigation gets underway.
Chief Inspector Chris Cotton of Staffordshire Police said: “I’d like to reiterate that speculation into the cause of the fire is not helpful at this time. Officers have been working hard to examine all of the evidence available and continue to speak to members of the public who have been forthcoming with information which can help our investigation."
Police and the fire service have confirmed that the fire is currently being treated as suspicious. An investigation is ongoing.
LADBible has reached out to Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service for a comment.