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Architecture needs you! 'Heritage army' enlisted for big survey of England’s 345,000 Grade II listed buildings

English Heritages' annual 'at-risk' survey has found 5,700 listed buildings or sites deemed to be imperilled by neglect or decay, a fall of 131 from the previous year

A “heritage army” of volunteers is to be recruited to help survey England’s 345,000 Grade II listed buildings and halt the damage to dozens of structures every year. English Heritage said it hopes to persuade thousands to carry out visual surveys of the UK’s entire catalogue of noteworthy architecture to build up the first comprehensive picture of listed buildings.

The organisation said its annual “at-risk” survey had found 5,700 listed buildings or sites deemed to be imperilled by neglect or decay, a fall of 131 from the previous year. English Heritage has set itself a target of reducing by a quarter the number of at-risk buildings from its 2010 survey by 2015. Simon Thurley, the conservation body’s chief executive, said 19 pilot projects around England, which surveyed 5,000 buildings, suggested there was a “vast army” of volunteers willing to undertake survey work.

He said: “For English Heritage it means we will eventually get, for the first time, a complete picture of the condition of all England’s listed heritage. We can use this information to decide how best to deploy our national expertise to help owners and all those tackling heritage at risk on the ground.”

The first surveys are expected to take place next autumn with volunteers being offered training via English Heritage and other organisations. It is hoped participants will be able to then take part as rescue projects are identified. Volunteers taking part in pilots carried out an average of 13 building surveys a day.

In need of attention

1. Oldknow’s Limekilns, Marple

2. Sandycombe Lodge, Richmond

3. Baker’s Hole palaeolithic site, Dartford

4. Green Lane Works, Sheffield

5. HMS Invincible wreck, Horse and Dean Sand

6. Langham Airfield dome trainer, Langham

7. The Orangery at Blithfield Hall, Staffordshire

8. Ushaw Home Farm, County Durham

9. Gunn’s Mill, Littledean

10. Croxley Great Barn, Three Rivers