Crumbling English landmarks are left 'in peril'
Neglectful owners of historic landmarks risk being named and shamed by English Heritage, which has placed one fifth of all the nation's monuments and battlefields on a register of threatened structures and warned that they are in danger of being lost.
The country's steward of significant historical and archaeological sites has put 1,680 sites on its annual "at risk" register – a rise since last year of 87 grade I and II listed buildings, eight battlefields, and 10 underwater wrecks. About one in every 14 parks, gardens and landscapes is also threatened. Overall, this amounts to one in 12 heritage sites across the nation classed as "high risk", in need of urgent preservation, with £400m needed to save them.
For the first time, the organisation has created a map that ranks local authorities in order of the highest quantity of monuments at risk. In all, 27 authorities, including councils in Birmingham, Gateshead, Rotherham, Leeds and Coventry, have monuments that are listed in the "high risk" category. They include the crumbling grade II-listed Battersea Power Station, a doorless listed telephone box in Whitechapel, east London, a vacant housing estate in Newcastle and battlefields of extraordinary importance – including a Civil War site in Newbury, Berkshire – which are owned by local authorities that are under pressure to use the space for "new build" housing developments.
English Heritage, which released its Heritage at Risk Register yesterday, said owners of homes and monuments that were of national importance and were woefully neglectful could have their identities exposed in the register next year, if the situation is not improved. The heritage body, which is attempting to compile a comprehensive database of sites at risk, which has been called a Doomsday Book, said some of these owners had been hostile to the idea of preserving important sites even when offered money for the task. Simon Thurley, the chief executive of English Heritage, said this wilful neglect and hostility only occurred in a minority of cases. "The first purpose of this register is to spur people into action. There are some who are irresponsible, but they are a very small proportion," he said.
One such example, he said, was the crumbling, overgrown remains of Snodhill Castle, in Herefordshire, dating from the 13th century, which he said, was owned by a group of people and "will not be there in 20 years time if they carry on like they are doing".
Mr Thurley said it was a "scandal" that half of the 572 listed buildings that were at risk in London were currently standing empty. He said he was heartened by the £60m pledge by London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, to transform these neglected structures into homes for Londoners.
Meanwhile, the heritage body SAVE released a compilation of buildings at risk, highlighting the shame of Britain's historic cinemas, which had been left to decay, including the Derby Hippodrome, part of which was illegally demolished.
Vandalised, eroded and in need of repair
Uxbridge Lido, Uxbridge, Middlesex
The grade II-listed lido, 1935, is the only example of a 12-sided "star" swimming pool in the country.
The Gatehouse, Selby, Yorkshire
With the western end of this 15th century gatehouse in ruins, repairs are to be carried out by the Vivat Trust, which intends to convert the gatehouse into a holiday cottage. English Heritage hopes that it will be removed from the list soon.
Bowes Railway Incline and Springwell Colliery, Gateshead
One of the world's first railways, the Bowes Railway Incline is a section of the 1826 Stephenson rope-hauled colliery railway. Along with the Springwell Colliery, it is considered to be the hub of Stephenson's system of rail and tramways. The track is suffering from severe erosion and the buildings on the site have been vandalised.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food