Crooked House owners' links to previous major fire


Crooked House pubImage source, PA Media

Image caption,

The 18th Century Crooked House building was gutted by fire on 5 August

By Liz Copper & Susie Rack

BBC News, West Midlands

The owners of a Black Country pub which was gutted by fire and then demolished two days later experienced another huge fire on land they owned.

The Crooked House, near Dudley, had recently been sold to its new owners.

Adam Taylor is director of AT Contracting and Plant Hire Ltd, which, according to Land Registry documents, owns the Finmere site.

His wife, Carly, controls the company ATE Farms Limited, which bought the “wonky” Black Country landmark in July.

Mrs Taylor also currently controls AT Contracting and Plant Hire Ltd, which the BBC understands rented a digger a week before flames engulfed The Crooked House on 5 August.

Two days later the 18th Century building on Himley Road was flattened, leading to widespread protests.

Mr and Mrs Taylor have not replied to the BBC’s requests for an interview.

Image source, Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service

Image caption,

Fire crews worked through the night to extinguish the blaze at Finmere landfill site, Buckinghamshire, five years ago

Four hundred tonnes of waste caught fire at Finmere landfill on 4 August 2018.

Firefighters from Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire worked through the night to extinguish it.

Image source, AT Contracting and Plant Hire

Image caption,

The landfill facility at Finmere is accessed from the A421 Banbury Road

Almost exactly five years later, firefighters worked overnight to save the historic Himley pub, which began to subside in the 19th Century.

Staffordshire Police confirmed last Wednesday the blaze was being treated as arson.

South Staffordshire Council said it was conducting an investigation into the “demolition of the entire building, without appropriate permissions”.

Detectives on site on Tuesday told the BBC the force’s investigation would be “robust”.

Protests against The Crooked House’s destruction weeks after it was sold by previous owner Marston’s have seen signs and other tributes placed among the rubble.

A petition to rebuild it has amassed more than 13,000 signatures.

Contractors have told the BBC fences were being erected around the remains for “safety reasons”.

A nearby notice states two adjacent footpaths have been closed to the public by Staffordshire County Council, including one leading to the pub’s car park, due to concerns over the instability of the ground.

Image caption,

Fencing has been placed around the site for “safety reasons”

Dudley North MP Marco Longhi said a public meeting at Himley Hall on Wednesday at 18:00 BST would be a chance for concerned residents to “vent their anger” and voice ideas for the building’s future.

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