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EH warns of threat to 'architectural icons'

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English Heritage has published the 2003 edition of its Buildings at Risk Register (BAR), highlighting a number of 'outstanding historical buildings' currently under threat of demolition.

EH timed the document's publication to coincide with the unveiling of a new Channel 4 Big Brother-style programme, called Restoration, in which viewers will be invited to vote to save and restore a listed building.

This year's BAR Register has gained another 98 buildings, all Grade I and II* listed, including the medieval Manor Farm House in Meare in Gloucestershire, the ancient home of the Abbott of Glastonbury. Others include the 1939 Farnborough Wind Tunnel (AJ 15.11.01), Edgar Wood's 1903 First Church of Christ the Scientist in Manchester and the 1865 Crossness Pumping Station in Belvedere Road in London by the engineer Joseph Bazalgette.

Since the first register was published in 1999, 25 per cent of buildings on it have been saved.

EH chief executive Simon Thurley said the register often represented the last chance for some very important buildings.

'The cream of the nation's architectural inheritance is being squandered through neglect and a lack of awareness. This year, 114 entries have been taken off the register, but sadly 98 new buildings have taken their place, ' he said. 'Although we have battled to secure the future of many of the buildings, there remains a core of nationally important historical assets that EH does not have the resources to save.'

Thurley added: 'Last year we offered nearly £5 million in grant aid, which amounts to just over one per cent of what's needed. If more resources are not made available, many of the nation's architectural icons will pass the point of no return.'

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