I know many people in Stourbridge are as upset as me over the devastating fire and then demolition of the Crooked House Pub.
It was an amazing and much-loved part of the Black Country and the wider West Midlands region. Its quirkiness told the story of our area and how industry has changed the landscape. It was also a pub that had a world-wide following and its demise is tragic while the manner of it has generated much anger.
Staffordshire Police is continuing its arson investigation and officers must be allowed to do so. Speculation is not helpful. I understand the anger but we need to be patient.
I certainly back our Mayor Andy Street when he said he and the Staffordshire Council were ‘laser-focused’ on rebuilding the pub ‘brick by brick’. In this he and the council have my full support and I am sure the support of everyone in the Black Country and the rest of the country.
Andy also said this: “Whoever has targeted this beloved landmark in this way has messed with the wrong pub, the wrong community and the wrong authorities. The Crooked House will not be consigned to history on our watch." I couldn’t say it any better. I look forward to seeing this pub rise from the ashes and the rubble.
The council is now looking at enforcement action against those who demolished the building the day after the fire. It was an insult to injury.
The consultation on railway station ticket office closures has been extended to 1st September. I have had a full mailbag on this subject and I urge everyone to give their view.
I have written to Anne Shaw, Executive Director of Transport for West Midlands, to outline my concerns. I am unable to support the proposals as they currently stand.
The questions I asked were: how will the closure of ticket offices impact passenger assist services and the last-minute requests such as turn up and go. This seems to have been overlooked. Many don’t want to have to arrange assistance in advance via the passenger assist service, and want to rely on a staff presence.
Also, I want to know how this will work if staff are to be deployed on a flexible basis. How will they be able to undertake customer service, passenger assistance, safety and general upkeep duties if there is a mobile workforce.
I have seen where stations work very well without a ticket office with staff being front of house, on the concourses to sell tickets and offer travel advice but I want to know what the impact will be on our ticket offices in Stourbridge as I don't think it will work for our stations.