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Strategic Condition Monitoring NHPP 6B1

Work carried out 2011-2015 to increase our knowledge about the condition of key elements of our heritage; both on land and in English waters. This Activity within the National Heritage Protection Plan incorporated the Heritage at Risk Programme.

Detailed colour photograph showing hotel interior with damaged ceiling moulding and cornice.
Interior detail showing damage at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham, taken for Heritage at Risk 2012 © Historic England, image reference DP153957

Scope of the activity

Successful protection and management of change in the historic environment needs a clear understanding of the condition of heritage assets and places.

Through our Heritage at Risk programme (HAR), during the plan period we continued to monitor, analyse and publish information on those heritage assets known to be at risk as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

We also carried out annual surveys on heritage assets in English waters, on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Through our advisory work for HM Revenue & Customs, we continued to recommend outstanding historic buildings and land for beneficial tax treatment available under the Conditional Exemption scheme and to monitor their condition.

Limehouse Public Library, London
Limehouse Public Library, London

Areas for action

Gathering evidence of condition of England's designated historic environment through strategic monitoring

We continued to monitor the condition and management of designated sites eligible for inclusion in Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register. In 2013 we funded 19 pilot projects to understand more about the condition and management of grade II listed buildings outside of Greater London. You can download an overview report evaluating all the projects. Part of the methodology included testing the use of volunteers to carry out condition surveys.

We are now working up a framework for a national roll-out of a survey of Grade II listed buildings.

We also commissioned a strategic assessment and condition survey of Wanstead Park in London to help inform future decisions about its conservation.

Gathering strategic condition data on heritage assets in English waters

We will gather data through National Marine Heritage Assets Condition Surveys and through commissioning work on Heritage at Risk in the marine environment. This work will run from 2012-2015.

Assessment of the effect of piece-meal change on the distinctiveness and value of conservation areas

Between 2013 and 2015, we ran surveys to assess gradual loss of significance in conservation areas.

Snailbeach Lead Mine, Worthen, Shropshire. HAR site. The Candle House.
A derelict building at Snailbeach lead mine; one of the sites visited in the Industrial Heritage at Risk survey of 2011

Protection results

The evidence gathering and analysis work from this Activity will enable English Heritage and other heritage sector partners to get a better picture of the condition of these key parts of our heritage, which are at risk. Knowing the extent and details of the problem is key to finding the best way forward for the management of this vulnerable heritage.

Condition monitoring helps to prioritise resources, for both Historic England and the wider heritage sector, so that we can work together towards an exemplary standard of heritage management.

Links with other NHPP activities

  • We fed the results of condition monitoring activity into our wider foresight work making up Measure 1 of the plan. This involved looking to see what future threats or opportunities there are likely to be emerging for our heritage, so that we can prepare for them.
  • This Activity related to work in Measure 2 of the plan, aimed at reducing threats to heritage. In particular, it linked to efforts towards reducing neglect (Activity 2B1) and Heritage Crime (Activity 2B2): since in some circumstances heritage assets at risk may become neglected or even the scene for anti-social behaviour or theft.

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