THE Campaign for Real Ale has slammed the decision by the owners of the Crooked House to appeal against an order to rebuild it brick by brick.

South Staffordshire Council confirmed yesterday (Wednesday March 27) that an appeal had been lodged after an enforcement notice was issued on February 27 calling for the historic Himley pub, which was destroyed last August, to be rebuilt.

Campaigners have done their best to keep the once beloved pub in the public eye since it was bulldozed two days after an arson attack on August 5 and news of the enforcement notice had buoyed spirits that the famous wonky boozer might one day be rebuilt.

But now an appeal has been lodged it will be up to a Government planning inspector to determine what should happen.

CAMRA pub and club campaigns director, Gary Timmins, said: “To hear that the owners of the Crooked House in Himley have appealed against South Staffordshire Council's enforcement notice to rebuild the demolished pub is concerning albeit fully expected news.

“The complete destruction of the Crooked House shocked the nation and struck a chord with the public, exposing a wider scandal of potentially unlawful pub conversions and demolitions.

"The appeal is a mockery of all the hard work put in by dedicated campaigners who championed for the pub’s future.

“CAMRA is following the case of the Crooked House closely and believes accountability needs to be taken for the obliteration of the iconic pub. Systematic change to bolster planning policy is needed to avoid situations like this arising again in the future.”

South Staffordshire Council said it would await the appointment of a planning inspector and a date for the appeal to be heard.

Meanwhile, a Staffordshire Police investigation is continuing into the circumstances around the blaze - which was found to be arson.