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Number of historic buildings ‘at risk’ drops

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The number of buildings on the ‘at risk’ register has declined, English Heritage has revealed

The 2013 Heritage at Risk Register which was unveiled at Central St Martins yesterday (10 October), includes 5,700 listed buildings and historic sites – down from 5,831 in 2012.

Nationally more than 4 per cent of all grade I and II*-listed buildings are on the register, which also includes archaeological sites, registered parks, gardens landscapes, places of worship and protected wrecks.

More than 75 buildings were removed from the register, as future plans for their redevelopment or maintenance have been revealed.

Yorkshire still has the highest number of heritage gems on the critical list - a huge 823.

Buildings on the register by region

RegionGrade I and II* listed buildings
North East299
North West104
South East90
South West154
West Midlands103
East Midlands389


Despite the fall in the number of buildings on the list, English Heritage has warned that the costs of repairs is on the increase. The average difference between the cost of repair and the end value of buildings on the register now stands at £450,000, making it more expensive to bring them back into use.

Winner of the 2013 Stirling Prize Witherford Watson Mann’s Astley Castle was on the Heritage at Risk Register before it was transformed. The Grade II* 12th-century fortified manor had been lying in ruins since a fire gutted it in 1978.

The organisation has also announced a new ‘heritage army’, which will provide means for members of the public to volunteer to carry out surveys of England’s 345,000 grade II-listed buildings.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: ‘For the heritage sector, this will be a project in which we can all pool our expertise to best effect. Organisations such as the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Victorian Society and Civic Voice could not only run local surveys but help volunteers move on from identifying buildings at risk to doing something about them. Surveys should also prove a good way for heritage organisations to engage existing members and attract new ones.

‘For councils, the grade II surveys will mean support to help local communities engage with their heritage and the data collected can be used to prioritise scarce resources on buildings and areas most in need. Surveys could reveal areas of decline before they become apparent, be used to evaluate planning applications or spur enforcement notices. Ultimately, councils should reap the social, cultural and economic benefits that come with heritage regeneration.’

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