English Heritage broadens its annual survey of buildings at risk to include 70,000 historic sites across the country
English Heritage has launched its “heritage at risk” register, which for the first time includes ancient monuments, historic parks, ship wrecks and battlefields.
For the past 10 years English Heritage has published a yearly register of buildings at risk, highlighting listed buildings that are falling into a state of decay because of a lack of funds.
Now the heritage body has broadened the scope of its annual survey to include assessments of some 70,000 protected heritage sites.
Lord Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of English Heritage, has said that one in 12 of the sites assessed is at “high risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change”.
The survey shows that:
The results of this first Heritage at Risk report show that everybody must live near, walk past or know of a heritage treasure at risk near them
- 1 in 5 scheduled monuments is at high risk
- 1 in 5 registered battlefields is at high risk
- 1 in 5 protected wreck sites is at high risk
- 1 in 14 registered parks, gardens and landscapes is at high risk
- 1 in 30 grade I and II* buildings is at high risk
- 1 in 40 grade II buildings in London is at high risk.
The major threats to these sites include ploughing, scrub and tree growth, lack of funds, neglectful owners, burrowing animals, development, vandalism and natural erosion.
The report highlights inappropriate development as a particular danger to battlefields, which are not formally protected.
In particular it pinpoints two civil war battlefields in Newbury, where the local council wants to build 4,000 houses. One corner of the battlefield has already disappeared beneath the A34 Newbury bypass.
English Heritage is calling on councils to make such sites conservation areas.
Bruce-Lockhart said: “Our ambition is nothing less than to compile a database of all of England’s designated heritage which is at risk of neglect or decay. The results of this first Heritage at Risk report show that everybody must live near, walk past or know of a heritage treasure at risk near them.”