Former Wolverhampton EDL haunt becomes second abandoned pub to catch fire in 24 hours

A long-abandoned pub which once hosted regular English Defence League meetings has become the second derelict bar in the Black Country to catch fire in 24 hours.

The Rookery Tavern in 2015, a year after it closed down
The Rookery Tavern in 2015, a year after it closed down

The blaze started at The Rookery Tavern, on Wood Street in Wolverhampton, on Sunday afternoon, hours after West Midlands Fire Service attended a fire at the remains of The Sneyd in the Bloxwich area of Walsall.

Four fire crews, made up of teams from Wolverhampton, Bilston and Dudley, attended and found a fire on the ground floor of the two-storey building.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Fire Service said it was believed that the fire at the former Wolverhampton pub was started deliberately.

The Rookery Tavern, known locally as "The Rook", on Wood Street in Wolverhampton, was closed down in late 2014.

Previously it had been known for regularly hosting meetings for the English Defence League (EDL).

Police were called to the pub in May of that year after a car was driven through a crowd of people.

It was also well-known for its community events, charity fundraisers and pool, dominoes and darts team.

By 2020 the site had become overgrown

The pub was listed as an asset of community in 2015, but since closing down has become overgrown and a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

It had previously been known for regularly hosting meetings for the English Defence League.

In 2017 plans to convert the building into 12 flats and build two semi-detached houses on the site were approved, those these never materialised.

In September last year Bond Wolfe had been set to auction off the pub, listing it with a guide of price of £299,999. But the two-storey building was sold for an undisclosed amount before the auction started.

A new planning application to flatten The Rookery Tavern and build 24 flats has also been submitted to Wolverhampton Council.

In the application, developers say: "Notwithstanding the community listing, in the intervening period the site has exhibited signs of anti-social behaviour, fly tipping and general neglect.

"The current Covid 19 situation has effectively reduced the pub returning to a viable business as virtually zero.

"As a result there is now an overwhelming case for supporting the demolition of the pub and allowing the redevelopment of the site to a productive and socially beneficial residential use."

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News