NW historic sites at risk of being neglected, says survey

Michael Hunt

A total of 5.1% Grade I-listed and Grade II-listed buildings in the North West are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change, according to the latest edition of English Heritage's annual Heritage at Risk register.

The review also said 3.9% of North West registered parks and gardens, five in total, are also at risk.

A further 15.1% of North West scheduled monuments, 198 in total, were also said to be at be at risk.

English Heritage's survey gives details of 5,094 nationally designated sites which are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change.

Nationwide, the survey said one in seven English Heritage conservation areas are at risk, with many more a cause for concern.

Although the review recognised the condition of the nation's Grade I-listed and Grade II-listed buildings has improved, it said England's other heritage treasures face much greater levels of risk and highlights the challenges, particularly in the current economic climate, of saving sites which do not generate an income.

The results of English Heritage's first ever survey of the condition of conservation areas shows the top threats to be:

  • Plastic windows and doors (83% of conservation areas affected)
  • Poorly maintained roads and pavements (60%)
  • Street clutter (45%)
  • Loss of front garden walls, fences and hedges (43%)
  • Unsightly satellite dishes (38%)
  • The effects of traffic calming or traffic management (36%)
  • Alterations to the fronts, roofs and chimneys of buildings (34%)
  • Unsympathetic extensions (31%)
  • Impact of advertisements (23%)
  • Neglected green spaces (18%)

Based on the findings of the survey, English Heritage is launching a Conservation Areas at Risk campaign to get residents, local groups and councils working together to improve these special places before it is too late.

The Heritage At Risk 2009 review is sponsored Ecclesiastical. The heritage insurer has been working with English Heritage for more than 20 years across various initiatives and will be working to see where shared research and data can give greater depth to the Heritage At Risk project.

The areas in the North West, English Heritage carried out its research, included Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.

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