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Risky Business? New Report Finds Investing in London’s Heritage Delivers Good Growth in Deprived Communities

A new report by Historic England demonstrates that investing in historic buildings at risk in London, and bringing them back into use, delivers regeneration and renewal in some of the most deprived communities in the country.

Following 10 case studies from across London, the report quantifies the environmental, social and economic impacts that investment into Heritage at Risk can deliver. The results demonstrate that investing in these buildings leads to 'good growth' - unrivalled regeneration, from economic and employment outputs to community engagement and education.

The report was launched on Tuesday 6 February in partnership with U+I.

People in business attire in discussion at the launch of a report entitled Risky Business
Recent launch of Risky Business, a report investigating the impacts of investing in heritage at risk © Historic England

The 10 case studies, from Poplar Baths in Tower Hamlets, to Deptford Railway Ramp in Lewisham, largely fall in more deprived neighbourhoods, with some in areas of greatest deprivation in England.

The report shows that focussing heritage-led regeneration on sites at risk in these areas targets the communities in greatest need. It supports social and economic inclusivity, brings the best out of communities and has the potential to pay a meaningful, lasting social dividend.

Emily Gee, London Planning Director at Historic England said:
"Looking back at London's Heritage at Risk revivals from recent years, we are fascinated by the impact on their wider communities. Our report shows that investing in some of the city's most 'at risk' sites, in some of our most deprived neighbourhoods, has the potential to help revive and make good places where it is needed most. To us it's clear that heritage-led regeneration should be at the heart of  planning for London's future."

Swimming pools in the basement at Poplar Baths in Tower Hamlets, London.
Poplar Baths,170 East India Dock Road, Poplar, Tower Hamlets is one of the case studies in the 'Risky Business?' report. This view shows the new swimming pool in the basement © Historic England, DP183375
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