Thursday, 20 October 2011

News - Architectural heritage under threat of permanent decline

NOTTS has no shortage of important historic buildings – with landmarks like Newstead Abbey and Hodsock Priory attracting thousands of visitors each year.

But a new survey by English Heritage has shown that many of the county's most loved buildings are in danger of a rapid decline if more is not done to look after them.

The charity has published its annual At Risk register today and 11 extra buildings in the county make the list for the first time, with none having been removed.

Overall the East Midlands has the third highest number of buildings at risk in the UK, with 192 identified – 4.5 per cent of all buildings.

Notts sites make up 33 of those.

Planning director for the East Midlands Anthony Streeten, of English Heritage, said the high number of new buildings this year is not surprising given that this is the first year that churches have been included in the register.

"If you think about places in the city and the county it's very often the churches that have the greatest architectural quality," he said.

"In rural Nottinghamshire, for example, it's very often the parish church that's the most highly graded building, so if it's in poor condition it's a matter of great concern."

As well as churches, the register includes country houses, collieries, viaducts and hotels.

Mr Streeten says the fact no buildings have been taken off the list shows how difficult it is to restore listed buildings and how important it is that people take ownership of them.

"I think it's a pattern we've come to expect," he said. "Very often you get a pattern of some coming on and some coming off, but this year there weren't any that came off and that shows how difficult it is with some of the big projects – to get the funding together and to get the project off the ground and ready to deliver.

"That doesn't mean people shouldn't try, though. As traditional manufacturing across the East Midlands' has shrunk over the years, we have a responsibility to safeguard the visible reminders of our industrial heritage.

"Everyone has a part to play in ensuring that significant survivals from our industrial past do not fall prey to dereliction, decay and ultimately demolition."

English Heritage is launching a national five-point action plan, which will include help for developers, owners, heritage rescue groups and industrial sites preserved as visitor attractions.

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