A landmark pub in the Black Country which has been hit by fire and vandalism could be saved from demolition after English Heritage launched a study of the building which could result in it receiving listed status.
Residents living near the King Arthur pub, on the corner of Priory Road and Birmingham New Road in Dudley, say it has blighted the area since it was closed two years ago.
The owner of the site has applied to Dudley Council for consent to knock the building down.
But today, English Heritage said it was assessing the historical value of the gateway pub with a view of potentially recommending it for listed status.
The body would send a recommendation to the Department for Culture, which would decide on the move.
If listed, the owner will face further hurdles to get the site demolished.
Maddy Wall, spokesman for English Heritage, said the organisation was consulting with the owner and council.
She said: “The pub isn’t actually listed now, but it is currently being assessed for listing.
“We will prepare an advice report which will then be sent to the Department for Culture to make a decision.”
In response to the owner’s application, Dudley Council is also proposing a move that would mean a full planning application was needed to demolish the site.
Councillor Judy Foster, the regeneration cabinet member on the council, said: “It is considered that the uncontrolled demolition of the locally listed building would result in the loss of a local landmark and leave a large vacant space at a key gateway to Dudley.
“This could have wider implications for the general character and appearance of the area for the future.”
The pub was built in 1939 by Dudley-based architects Webb and Gray.
Called a roadhouse, it was aimed at the growing number of people driving in private vehicles.
But it closed in December in 2011.
A planning application was then approved by Dudley Council to convert it into a 70-bedroom hotel.
In recent years, however, it has laid empty and has been targeted by arsonists, including in December last year.