Interior of a white painted room with tables and chairs and desk lamps. Around the walls, large metal-framed windows let in lots of light and reveal trees and a brick wall outside.

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The former School of Art, Moseley Road, Birmingham, has been repaired with grants from Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It is now a vibrant community hub and studio space © Historic England Archive DP236208

Heritage at Risk: Latest Findings

There are 5,073 entries on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2019, 87 fewer than in 2018.

We published our most recent Heritage at Risk Register on 17 October 2019. Our Register identifies sites most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Reducing the number of sites at risk is an important part of Historic England's strategy. Our regional teams work with owners, developers, funders and communities to focus on the country's most vulnerable historic places and find solutions to rescue them.

Over the last year 310 historic buildings and sites have been saved. Imaginative uses have been found for empty buildings, providing new homes, shops, offices and cultural venues. Monuments in our landscapes have been lovingly cared for, often by dedicated teams of volunteers. Communities up and down the country have celebrated the things that make their conservation areas special.

The message is clear – investing in heritage pays. It helps to transform the places where we live, work and visit, creating successful and distinctive places.

But there’s more work to do. There are 500 buildings still on the Heritage at Risk Register that are capable of being used and generating an income. These are the homes, shops, offices and cultural venues of the future.

Our experience shows that with the right partners, imaginative thinking and robust business planning, we can be confident in finding creative solutions for these complex sites.

Four women sit sewing at a large table. The high ceiling with open rafters is visible and the walls are decorated with photos of the mill and old flour sacks.
Moulton Windmill in Lincolnshire was removed from the Register in 2019, following repairs part-funded by a Historic England grant. With its sails turning once more, it's a unique and inspirational community venue © Historic England Archive DP261437
Infographic text reads:
There are 5,073 entries on the 2019 Heritage at Risk Register, 87 fewer than in 2018.
Entries on the 2019 Heritage at Risk Register for England by category:
Buildings and structures 1,462, down 27
Places of worship 913, up 2
Archaeology 2,089, down 62
Parks and gardens 102, up 3
Battlefields 3, down 1
Protected wreck sites 3, down 1
Conservation areas, 501, down 1

The number of entries removed from the Register over the last three years has been steady. The percentages of different categories of heritage at risk remain stable, but the Register is dynamic, with changes happening every year. In 2019, 310 entries were removed for positive reasons, but 247 were added.

One battlefield, The Battle of Braddock Down, was removed from the Register this year, leaving only three battlefields at risk across the country. A Countryside Stewardship grant helped to improve the condition of this battlefield.

One wreck site, HMS Invincible, was removed from the Register. Funding from the LIBOR fund enabled a large-scale excavation, resulting in the site being removed from the Register. There are now only three wreck sites at risk across the country.

We have seen many more Monument Management Schemes resulting in removals of archaeology entries from the Register this year. In 2019, 28 scheduled monuments were removed as a result of these schemes, 6 had been removed in 2018 and 14 in 2017. These removals from the Register are a great example of our partnership working.

Unfortunately, there has been a steady increase in the number of Parks and Gardens on the Register over the last five years. There were 94 parks and gardens on the Register in 2015 and this year there are 102. Three parks and gardens were added in 2019. Parks and gardens are often large sites with complex management needs which can be difficult to resolve.

Grant aid

Grant aid from Historic England and other funders is one reason for removals. This year Historic England gave grant aid of £8.5 million to 319 projects. This grant aid is often the first step to securing the future of a site and helps give confidence to other funders as their support is sought.

A summer house with missing tiles and flaking exterior walls viewed across a bed of pink poppies.
Stoney Road Allotments in Coventry were added to the Register this year (2019). They include 19th- and early 20th-century summerhouses in poor condition. Members of the Stoney Road Gardens Association are preparing a grant application for their repair © Historic England Archive DP248601

Challenges

Despite significant progress, heritage sites continue to be added to the Register every year. In 2019 there were 247 new entries, made up of 53 buildings and structures, 106 places of worship, 70 archaeological sites, three parks and gardens and 15 conservation areas.

Looking to the future, we will continue to champion heritage at risk, ensuring that valuable and irreplaceable heritage can make its fullest possible contribution to society now and for many years to come.

High streets

High streets are critical to the success of our towns and cities. They are places where people meet, where they shop and run businesses; they are the beating hearts of our communities.

Through our Heritage Action Zones programme we will work with communities and partners to help shape the future of 69 high streets across the country. All of these high streets are rich in heritage and sit within conservation areas, many of which are at risk. Others will include buildings at risk in need of a new lease of life. We will work with each of these places over the coming years, using the power of heritage to effect positive change.

Finding solutions

Through advising funders on which sites are most at risk, and targeting our own grant aid to areas that are far more difficult to fund in general, we will continue to reduce heritage at risk.

Sadly, some owners do not take responsibility for the condition of their sites. In these cases, Historic England can assist local planning authorities in exercising their statutory powers to prompt action.

Historic England can provided bespoke advice to councils, and we can also offer grants to support the cost of underwriting action.

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