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Heritage at Risk: Latest Findings

There are fewer entries on the Register in 2015 than in 2014.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of our teams with local and national partners and funders, a third of all sites that were at risk in 2010 have been rescued.

Building on this success, we aim to take a further 750 sites off the Register by 2018.

We can't give up on these incredibly important historic sites; getting them back in use will contribute towards the country's growing economy.

Infographic showing how many sites were removed from the Register

The good news

We continue to fund diocesan Support Officers who play a key role in helping parishes to manage their places of worship, plan for the future and apply for grant aid.

We also continue to provide specialist advice to the Heritage Lottery Fund on applications for Grants for Places of Worship.

Our support is much needed. Despite over a 100 places of worship being removed from the 2014 Register, overall the number of entries has risen to 930.

The bad news

Although there are fewer buildings and structures on the Register than ever before, it's getting more expensive to save them.

On average, it costs £501,000 more to repair a building than its eventual end value. The estimated difference between the amount it would cost to repair all buildings on the Register to a minimal standard, and their eventual end value has risen by £10 million since 2010.

We will continue to focus our resources on those sites where we can make the biggest difference.

The octagonal Naze Tower in scaffolding
The Naze Tower, Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, was built in 1720 as a navigational tower for sea-farers. It was used as a lookout post during the Napoleonic and First World Wars, and a radar station in the Second World War. It is now an art gallery, tea room and education facility. It is undergoing urgent grant-aided structural repairs, and being re-pointed in breathable mortar to solve problems related to moisture.

Finding solutions

Through advising funders on which sites are most at risk, and directing our own grant aid where other funders cannot, we will continue to reduce heritage at risk.

Some 135 entries were taken off the 2014 Register, thanks to funding from Natural England. We will be encouraging owners of archaeological sites to apply for grants from the new Countryside Stewardship scheme.

The Heritage Lottery Fund is also instrumental and contributed towards over a 100 entries being removed from the 2014 Register.

Other grant givers also provide funding to historic sites.

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.

Our dedicated Heritage at Risk Solicitor provides bespoke advice to councils, and we can also offer grants to support the cost of underwriting action.

Which types of site are most commonly at risk?

For the first time, we've compared all sites on the Heritage at Risk Register - from houses to hillforts - to help us better understand which types of site are most commonly at risk .

There are things that make each region special, from the coastal defence sites in the South East to the wind and water mills in the East of England that, once gone, will mean a sense of that region's character is lost too.

Nationally, ancient burial mounds known as barrows make up 15.6% of the 2015 Register (853 entries). However, since 2014, we've reduced the number of these barrows 'at risk' by over 130, working with our local teams, owners and, in particular, Natural England, to find and implement management solutions.

Below you can see which areas in England have the highest number of barrows on the 2015 Register.

Barrows on the Heritage at Risk Register

The map below shows the percentage of site types on the national Register that are found in each region, highlighting the most common.

Map of England showing the most common site types on the national Register in each region


Heritage at Risk Team