Pubs successfully submitted for Grade II listed status
Published: Tuesday 06 Feb 2024
An initiative to help protect historic and cherished pubs following the destruction of the iconic Crooked House has seen the first five locals submitted for Grade II listed status by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The Mitre, The Duke William, The Queens Head, all in Stourbridge, Pretty Bricks, in Walsall, and Ye Old Leathern Bottel, in Wednesbury, were nominated by the public as part of the List Your Local initiative which was launched last September by the WMCA in partnership with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
The initiative encourages residents to submit the pubs they believe are of historical significance to the region.
The WMCA has sent a list of pubs to Historic England for recommendations to be listed. If agreed, Historic England will then ask the secretary of state for culture, media, and sport, for approval.
By taking the first steps into listing local pubs, the WMCA hopes the initiative will spearhead efforts to stop historical pubs being lost for good. More pubs are due to be submitted for listed status in the next few weeks.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, and Chair of the WMCA said: “Six months on from the Crooked House tragedy, it’s a reminder to appreciate our precious cultural heritage - not least our local pubs. They are vital community assets deserving of protection and we’re working with CAMRA to do just that.
“That’s why I’m pleased we’re able to announce that we’re recommending several pubs for listed status.
“We’re lobbying the government to approve these pubs for listed status with a degree of urgency befitting of their importance to local people.”The pubs have long held historical significance in the West Midlands.
The Duke William was rebuilt in 1903 as the flagship taproom of nearby North Worcestershire Breweries with distinctive terracotta and glazed brickwork. The Mitre, meanwhile, originally dates from 1714 but was rebuilt in 1935 by local architect, Percy Clark. It retains several features of the original pub. Both pubs are within an existing Conservation Area.The Queen's Head Inn dates from 1862 and was home to Edward Rutland's brewery.
The Pretty Bricks dates from 1845, taking its name from the coloured glazed bricks on the front. Ye Olde Leathern Bottel dates from 1510 and is said to play host to paranormal activities.
Graham Manwaring, managing director of Black Country Ales, which owns the Queens Head among other pubs in the West Midlands, said: “These pubs are some of the most historic and interesting pubs in Stourbridge.
“There used to be a boxing ring and a gym behind it. It’s a great real ale pub with lots of traditional features”. We purchased it in 2017 and re-established it as a local pub with a great selection of cask ales. There is now a room where skittles can be played at the rear of the pub which is also used for functions. I’m really pleased to see both the WMCA and CAMRA lead on this, preserving local heritage.
“It’s fantastic for the licensed trade to preserve these pubs in history. People will visit pubs, for all sorts of reasons and pubs that have history and are significant locally, are a lifeline for our community.”
It comes after campaigners held a poignant memorial over the weekend for the Crooked House in Himley, Dudley marking the six month anniversary since its demolition. Campaigners pinned their memories of the pub to a tree and a specially erected display board.
Meanwhile, the WMCA has received over 150 submissions to protect pubs by members of the public for planning protection, with some pubs as far away as Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
Gary Timmins, pub campaigns director for CAMRA, said: "Six months on from the loss of the Crooked House which continues to be a nationwide scandal, I am pleased to see the excellent progress which had been made through CAMRA's ongoing partnership with WMCA.
"The 'List Your Local' initiative has proved to be an outstanding success and shows how passionately people feel about their pubs. They are a vital part of all of our communities and play an essential role in our society, helping to create a sense of belonging and providing important social hubs.
“We want to ensure they are not lost for good and our joint work into listing our historic pubs is a positive step in the right direction - to both protect and preserve them.
"However, our work does not stop here; we will continue to fight to save our beloved pubs across the country and campaign to ensure developers do not flout the rules without the proper planning permissions in place.
“We are renewing calls for all UK governments to commit to improving protection laws and ensuring local authority planning departments are equipped to stop them being illegally converted or demolished, while sending a very clear message to owners."
The ‘List Your Local’ campaign encourages residents to nominate pubs for Historic England and asset of community value listing. The WMCA and CAMRA have drawn up a ‘target list’ of suitable heritage pubs, which, alongside the public’s recommendations, are being examined on a case-by-case basis to see if and how they can be protected.
Other options include putting pubs into community ownership.
The WMCA has received 155 nominations for protection. Out of the 155, 49 pubs are outside the WMCA area – some by metres but others by hundreds of miles, proving the popularity of the scheme.
Of the 155 submitted, 65 are classified as individual pubs. Of those, 25 already have Historic England heritage listed status.
As well as reviewing historical sites, the WMCA and CAMRA’s are also exploring how local plans can be better utilised to protect pubs, as well as recommending an extension to the hospitality discount rate. Pubs currently benefit from a 75% discount on their business rate bills, capped at £110,000, but this is due to end in March 2024.
Since April 2021, CAMRA has identified 81 pub closures in the West Midlands. In the first six months of 2023, CAMRA identified 21 pubs in England which had been demolished without planning permission.
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