Foundations and bricks from the Crooked House to stay on site

It’s been confirmed that the foundations and bricks from the Crooked House will stay on site after contractors moved in to store them securely.

South Staffordshire Council officers have been working with contractors who are onsite, and have issued an update, following concerns from local campaigners.

The Council issud he following statement:

"Following reports of activity at the Crooked House site on  Monday morning, a number of council officers attended the site to ascertain what works were being carried out.

“Officers spent a considerable time on site and following detailed discussion with the contractors it was agreed that the contractors’ work would cease so that a comprehensive schedule of works could be submitted by them and reviewed by the relevant authorities.

“The council is not the enforcing authority for the health and safety of the works on site. This responsibility lies with the Health and Safety Executive and concerns about site management will be dealt with by them.”

As the local planning authority, the council has been engaging with the site owners and contractors to understand the scope of works proposed on site. We are very pleased that we now have agreement that the bricks will remain on site, and that the foundations and slabs will remain to assist our future investigation.

This is a positive step and the council continues to engage with the site owners, contractor, HSE, police and other partners to ensure the site is made safe from hazardous substances.

However, this means that there will be activity on site over coming days to remove hazardous waste and to make the site safe, and this will be closely monitored.

The council is undertaking a thorough and active investigation and is committed to working with partners using the legal powers available to us. It is extremely important that the council acts prudently and judiciously so that any legal or enforcement action is effective and future action is not prejudiced.

As was stated at the beginning of the investigation, this will be a long process and the council needs time to investigate properly and take appropriate action. We are aware of the strength of feeling of the local community and will continue to use all the resources available to us, including expert legal advice to move the matter forward.

Updates will be available on the council website when they are available. Councillor Roger Lees, leader of the council and local member for Himley added:

‘‘The council is continuing to work behind the scenes with the relevant organisations and it’s important our focus is on a robust and thorough investigation.

"I would ask that we are given time to do so and I can reassure the public that we are doing everything in our power to investigate the matter thoroughly."

Campaigner Paul Turner, whose online petition Save The Crooked House has attracted more than 21,000 signatures, said he had met with a contractor at the site and a representative of a second firm overseeing work taking place and trusted that it would be the only work carried out. He said:

"Basically, they will be using a grabber to pick up bricks with as much care as possible to avoid damage," he said.

"These will be laid aside for the specialist asbestos workers to clean by hand and stack on pallets. There may be bricks which are too badly damaged to be of any use and these will be put aside."

The campaign to rebuild The Crooked House has recieved support from historian, writer and broadcaster Professor Carl Chinn, who visisted the site earlier this week.

Councillor Bryn Challenor, from Dudley Council. said he and fellow councillors, with support from the Council, have secured tree preservation orders on all the trees on the east and south side of The Crooked House.


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