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 1,489 buildings and structures on the Register, ranging from a medieval timber-framed hall in Manchester to a 1950s concrete sculpture in west London.
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.
The current situation
Our data continues to show a steady decline in the number of buildings and structures at risk. This year we are celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Heritage at Risk Register and we are delighted to have helped to save a total of 1,326 entries which were on our first national Register, complied and published twenty years ago. This means that nearly two thirds of the original 1,930 entries on the 1998 Register have now been removed from it.
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 1,489.
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
There are still significant challenges, with 604 historic buildings and structures still at risk after twenty years of being identified as such. These buildings and structures appeared in our very first national Register in 1998.
Our big challenges are:
- 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 which are capable of use but which 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 Heritage Lottery Fund, charitable trusts, private investors and developers are all key partners.