I'm a restorations expert… rebuilding Crooked House could take three years & cost £3m – but it's been done before | The Sun

A RESTORATION expert says it could take three years and up to £3million to rebuild the Crooked House pub.

Danny Bennett, director of Walsall-based Farcroft Restorations, has been involved in numerous high-profile rebuild projects.

He says restorations of pubs in a similar position to the Crooked House have taken place successfully across the UK.

It comes after Britain's wonkiest boozer, in Himley, Staffordshire, was destroyed in a devastating fire on August 5.

The pub's scorched remains were then flattened by diggers 36 hours after the suspected arson attack, leaving the site filled with piles of rubble.

But Mr Bennett said there is history when it comes to pubs being rebuilt following an unauthorised demolition.

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He cited the Carlton Tavern pub in Maida Vale, West London, which was demolished without permission before a council ordered it to be rebuilt exactly as it was.

The restoration expert told The Express and Star: "Could you recreate the building from its remains? Yes. Could you get it 100 per cent accurate? No.

"It's not terribly unusual to build a replica based on the original design, using exactly the same methods.

"You would want to keep the original materials where possible. It's amazing what you can pick up from the remains, and if you can find old drawings.

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"The design and approval process is probably going to take something like 12 months."

The Crooked House had been put forward for listed status protection shortly before the blaze.

Planning officials from South Staffordshire Council also say they had insisted the pub must not be demolished – and its lawyers are now looking into potential planning breaches.

Mr Bennett said the pub's famous slope, cause by a mining subsidence in the 19th century, would make restoration more difficult.

He estimated a price at between £2.5m and £3.5m and a time frame of "two-and-a-half to three years".

The expert said an alternative option, and perhaps more financially viable, would be to use its remains to create a new building altogether.

Using the pub's original bricks within a new building would help to honour its memory, he added.

It comes as Black Country Living Museum boss Andrew Lovett ruled out relocating the pub to the site.

The pub was purchased by Adam Taylor, 44, and his glamorous wife Carly, 34, last month.

A landfill site owned by AT Contracting and Plant Hire Ltd, of which Mr Taylor is a director, was also caught in a huge blaze in August 2018.

A cause of the fire was never established, the BBC reports.

Around 400 tonnes of waste caught fire at Findmere landfill, with firefighters from three counties attending the scene.

But there remains hope for the Crooked House after Historic England said it is "considering all possible avenues" over its future.

This could include a potential rebuild of the pub, the public heritage body has hinted.

Historic England says it has received 36 applications for the Crooked House, though no final decision on its future has yet been made.

A spokesperson told The Telegraph: "This is a complex case and we are still processing the applications we received just before and after the fire occurred last week."

Historic England will act in an advisory capacity to the Department or Culture, Media and Sport, which will ultimately make the final decision.

Local residents held a vigil after the pub burnt down, while more than 9,000 have also joined a Facebook page calling for the site to be rebuilt.

Staffordshire Police revealed last week it is treating the fire as arson.

The pub was purchased by Adam Taylor, 44, and his glamorous wife Carly, 34, last month.

The purchase came after the couple had allegedly been at stuck in a row with the brewery which had owned the pub over an access road shared by the boozer and a neighbouring landfill site.

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The depot is operated by Himley Environmental Ltd – a firm Mr Taylor is a shareholder and former director of.

A source told MailOnline that the couple's decision to purchase the pub was "all about access" due to the dispute between Himley Environmental and the Marston's brewery.

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