Protesters have blocked the burnt-out remains of the Crooked House – after builders moved in to clear the rubble where the pub once stood.
Work to clear bricks at the West Midlands pub site has reportedly started two weeks after it was destroyed by a suspected arson attack.
But yesterday afternoon a sit-in protest on the road leading to the pub prevented a lorry from reaching the pub.
Local Jane Baker, 59, said: “We and all the people who have arrived today do so because we care deeply about our heritage, our history and the Crooked House.”
“She was always at the end of that lane. She means a lot to all of us.”
“What happened is wrong and we all need to take a stand.”
She added: “We just want her back to where she was. It affected us all, far and wide.”
“We just want it to be rebuilt – by hook or by crook.”
“We are championing a very iconic building. That’s why we’re sitting on the street.”
Resident Bethany Carpenter said that BBC: “There is a lack of transparency and communication and we really had to fight for answers today – and to find out the truth.”
“We’re concerned that maybe something could happen that they tear the whole thing down and remove the foundations.”
“That would make reconstruction impossible.”
South Staffordshire Council said: “The Council is aware that a contractor is on site and is working with the property owners and contractors to investigate what work is taking place.”
“We are currently still in the process of determining all the facts and can therefore not provide any further information on this specific matter.
“The Council is still investigating the entire incident and determining next steps.
“We cannot comment on any aspect of the ongoing investigation, so we do not potentially compromise our enforcement efforts.”
“We will provide updates to our website as soon as we are able to do so.”
Staffordshire Police said: “We are aware of a small protest earlier in the day in Himley as we continue to investigate an arson attack at Crooked House.”
“At 1.26pm yesterday we received reports that a group of protesters had turned up at the scene.
“Local officials are currently on site as a precaution and to reassure the community.
“We recognize the strength of local sentiment following the loss of a significant cultural landmark.
“Our investigations are still ongoing. CCTV surveillance, forensic investigations and witness testimony continue to be conducted as we attempt to determine the circumstances leading to the fire.”