View of blacksmith at work on specialist repairs to metalwork forming part of Dalton Mills, Norton, Yorkshire

The future of Grade II* Dalton Mills, Norton, Yorkshire, is now looking bright under the care of its new owner and with an extensive programme of repairs which we are part-funding. © Historic England
The future of Grade II* Dalton Mills, Norton, Yorkshire, is now looking bright under the care of its new owner and with an extensive programme of repairs which we are part-funding. © Historic England

Buildings and Structures at Risk

Historic England has long been recording the condition of our built heritage. With information going back to 1998 we can track trends over time. This helps us to understand why historic buildings or structures are at risk, how to improve their condition and how they can make the best contribution to the vitality and success of our communities and places.

The following buildings and structures can be included on the Heritage at Risk Register:

  • Grade I and II* listed buildings not in use as places of worship
  • Grade II listed buildings in London not in use as places of worship
  • Scheduled monuments with above ground structural remains

There are currently 1,462 buildings and structures on the Register.

Stone church with people enjoying a park in the foreground.
Bombed during the Bristol Blitz of 24–25 November 1940, the ruins of St Peter’s – thought to be Bristol’s first church – are a monument to the civilian war dead of the city. Its stonework is deteriorating and internal paving needs attention. It has been added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 2019 © Historic England Archive DP248579

Buildings or structures are assessed for inclusion on the Register on the basis of condition and occupancy or use.

Their condition can usually be improved by finding imaginative new uses, inspirational owners, alternative sources of funding or new partners.

However, not all buildings or structures are capable of being used. These often present the biggest challenges and hardest problems to solve. From medieval ruins to redundant bridges and cemetery monuments, these sites lack an economic incentive for owners to care for them. In these circumstances our grants and those of our partners are critical. 

Stone tower lit against a clear sky at dusk.
The West Mural Tower at Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham; formerly the Bishop of Durham’s Palace. After extensive repairs the Tower has come off the Heritage at Risk Register in 2019. The castle is owned by the Auckland Castle Trust and the repairs were grant aided by Historic England as part of the Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone project © Historic England Archive DP248702

The current situation

We have reached the 21st year of the Heritage at Risk Register and our data continues to show a steady decline in the number of buildings and structures at risk.

However we add new entries to the Register every year, which is why the overall number of buildings and structures at risk has only fallen to 1,462. There are 27 fewer buildings or structures on the Register which although small in number reflects a positive trend. There have been 76 buildings or structures removed from the Register in the last year for positive reasons.

The Register really works to focus our efforts, the attention of the public, investors and other stakeholders on the most deserving cases.

The challenge ahead

We still face a number of significant challenges:

  • Continuing to champion the important role of historic buildings and structures in creating successful and vibrant places
  • Finding ways to bridge the funding gap for buildings and structures that are capable of use but aren't currently economically viable
  • Finding solutions for buildings and structures that are not capable of beneficial use
  • Supporting local authorities to use their legal powers to secure repairs, particularly given the ongoing decline in local authority resources
  • Understanding the condition of Grade II listed buildings not eligible for inclusion on our Register (with the exception of those in London)

We prioritise our grants to meet these challenges but partnership is also critical in delivering solutions. Local authorities, Natural England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, charitable trusts, private investors and developers are all key partners.

Builders in the Alexandra Palace theatre. Shot shows the venue's magnificent ceiling and stage area.
Alexandra Palace is a rare survival of a large-scale Victorian exhibition and entertainment complex. The Grade II listed building has been on the London Heritage at Risk Register for over 20 years, but it's reached a significant milestone: with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Haringey Council, the Victorian theatre has been meticulously restored and is now open once more to the public © Historic England Archive DP232574

Our regional teams continue to work with owners and local authorities across the country, providing bespoke advice, offering grants where needed and working closely with all partners to secure the best outcomes for our historic buildings and structures at risk.

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