Two men arrested by police investigating the fire at the Crooked House pub, in Himley, West Midlands, have been released on bail.
The Crooked House prior to its sale by Marston’s
A 66-year-old man from Dudley and a 33-year-old man from Milton Keynes were arrested on Thursday, on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.
They were questioned by Staffordshire police and released later on bail.
“We understand the strength of feeling in the community following the fire and later demolition of the building, given the significance and popularity of this cultural landmark,” said Staffordshire Police last night.
“Detectives are continuing to trawl through CCTV, forensics, and witness accounts, and are keen to hear from anyone with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
“There continues to be widespread speculation circulating locally and online in relation to this incident, which we understand. We would like to reiterate that speculation is unhelpful at this time and we are working hard to provide timely updates.”
Meanwhile, an article by John R Bryson in the Architects’ Journal, says the pub’s destruction highlights the planning and listing systems’ failure to put value on essence of place.
“There is an ongoing and real threat to the identity of all UK villages, towns, and cities that comes from the planning process and building regulations,” writes Bryson. “Supporters of the planning process would argue that it is sensitive to place, but this sensitivity fails to protect what can be labelled as the essence of a place.
“Himley’s essence was directly linked to the presence of The Crooked House, and yet the planning process failed to protect this structure or even to formally recognise its importance.”
He goes on to highlights problems with the system of listing buildings. “Listing does not provide full protection, but the key issue is the overemphasis placed on architectural significance rather than place-based significance.
“There is an urgent need for a new grading category that could be allocated to all buildings, collections of buildings, or streetscapes that make a special contribution to the essence of a place.
“There should be no sub-categories to this new listing as all buildings, irrespective of age or architectural significance, would have the same level of protection as a grade I building. One could argue that the level of protection should, in fact, be even greater, as this new category tries to protect a place’s distinctive essence.”