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English Heritage Reveals Heritage At Risk in the East of England 2014

  • 65 historic sites in the East of England rescued including Langham Airfield Dome Trainer, Norfolk, Clophill Old Church, Bedfordshire and Theobalds Palace, Hertfordshire.
  • But 74 sites added, including Stow Maries Great War Areodrome in Essex, Great Gransden Windmill, Cambridgeshire and the Martello Tower at Felixstow, Suffolk.
  • Denver Mill in Norfolk - one of English Heritage's Priority Sites in the East of England - set to benefit from significant grant aid.

Medieval Pentney Priory Gatehouse, Norfolk, removed from the Heritage at Risk Register after a major English Heritage restoration
Medieval Pentney Priory Gatehouse, Norfolk, removed from the Heritage at Risk Register after a major English Heritage restoration

At a glance by county

  • Bedfordshire, 3 sites added and 6 sites removed
  • Cambridgeshire, 9 sites added and 10 removed
  • Essex, 14 sites added and 8 removed
  • Hertfordshire, 0 sites added and 9 removed
  • Norfolk, 37 sites added and 26 removed
  • Suffolk 11 sites added and 6 removed


Stow Maries First World War Aerodrome in Essex where half of its 24 grade II* listed buildings need urgent repair, the Martello tower at the seafront in Felixstowe, Suffolk and one of England's oldest remaining mills, Great Gransden Windmill, Cambridgeshire are among those vulnerable historic gems added to English Heritage's Heritage at Risk Register 2014 in the East of England announced today (Thursday 23 October, 2014).

Across the region, 74 sites have been added to the Register because of concerns about their condition, while 65 sites have been repaired and removed from the Register, including 58 places of worship. Over the past year, £1.7 million in grants has been offered by English Heritage to help some of the region's best loved and most important historic sites.

The Heritage at Risk Register 2014 reveals that in the East of England, 95 Grade I and II* buildings, 207 scheduled monuments, 115 places of worship, 6 registered parks and gardens and 39 conservation areas are at risk from neglect, decay or inappropriate change. Over the past year, 16 grade I and II* listed buildings and structures have been successfully removed in the region because their futures have been secured, but 6 have been added.

Greg Luton, Planning and Conservation Director for English Heritage in the East of England said: "We have made great strides in the East of England in removing historic sites from the Register including the restoration of Langham Airfield Dome in Essex, Pentney Priory in Norfolk and Old Clophill Church in Bedfordshire.

Greg Luton continued: "However, we face challenges in the years ahead to help save many other at risk sites including nationally-important windmills, earthworks and archaeological sites under cultivation. The way forward is to build on partnerships with owners, developers, HLF, Natural England, councils, trusts and local groups."

Last year, English Heritage announced a programme to find out how the one major element of our heritage not already covered by the Heritage at Register - the nation's Grade II listed buildings - can be assessed.  These buildings make up the bulk of our heritage with 345,000 Grade II listed buildings in England, accounting for 92% of all listed buildings.

The next stage of English Heritage's work to survey these Grade II listed buildings, and see how many are at risk and why, is due to start soon in Essex. Essex County Council will be working with local volunteers to visit a range of grade II listed buildings in Harlow New Town and Clavering. They will be testing the online survey tool that English Heritage is developing, to record the buildings' condition. These test projects are preparing the ground for hundreds of volunteers across the country to take part in the nationwide survey next summer.

 

Grade II* listed Denver Mill, Norfolk. An English Heritage priority site for rescue in 2014
Grade II* listed Denver Mill, Norfolk. An English Heritage priority site for rescue in 2014

Highlights by county

Norfolk

One of English Heritage's new priority sites in the East of England for rescue and removal from the Register  is Grade II* listed crumbling Denver Mill, Denver, Norfolk. The mill is suffering from extreme damp and this is threatening the structure of the mill. It was added to the Register in 2013 and the good news is that it is set to benefit from a substantial grant from not-for-profit business WREN which will fund urgent repairs to the render on the walls and repair the leaking cap on top of the mill tower.

Another new priority site identified in the East of England for rescue is the ruins of St Mary's Church, Kings Lynn which urgently needs high level works to its chancel and is at risk of losing its stone fabric.

A site in Norfolk that has been saved and removed from the Register 2014 is Langham Airfield Dome Trainer which has been transformed into a living history centre and museum. It is one of only six Second World War training domes in the country and substantial grants from the HLF and English Heritage have resulted in the structure being fully restored and reopened.

One of English Heritage's most ambitious projects in the East of England is the conservation of the impressive medieval gatehouse at Pentney Priory in Norfolk. The imposing, 14th century gatehouse is the only surviving monastic building from the once powerful and prestigious priory. Thanks to a significant grant and expert advice from English Heritage its future is now secure. Pentney Priory has been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register after the completion of major structural repairs and a new roof in the Spring.

Suffolk

In Suffolk, English Heritage has added three new priority sites to its list of nationally-important sites in the East of England for rescue and removal. They are grade II* listed Bentley Hall Barn, Babergh which is at risk of collapse and is also an important habitat for bats. Some timber and roofing repairs have been made to the barn but more urgent repairs are needed. The second site is Friston Post Mill, Alderburgh which has been propped up by a steel frame for the past decade. Urgent repairs are needed to the central post which is leaning and death watch beetle is attacking supporting timbers.
The third new addition to the Register in Suffolk this year is the Martello Tower at the western end of the sea front, Felixstowe. Water is penetrating its roof and there are serious problems with damp. Some progress is being made with conservation works carried out over the summer.

Close cooperation with Natural England has resulted in Euston Park in Suffolk, a Registered Park and Garden being removed from the Register in 2014 following works to de-silt and restore the lakes.

Cambridgeshire

In Cambridgeshire, 9 sites have been added to the Register this year. The list includes the post mill at Great Gransden Windmill, which is in a very poor condition and its sails were dismantled late last year for safety reasons. The mill was once owned by Queen Maria of Yugoslavia and her son, who became King Peter II, the last Yugoslav King. They lived in the mill house during the Second World War after being exiled to England.

Emergency works are scheduled and discussions are ongoing with Cambridgeshire County Council about the creation of a local trust to manage this important mill which has a lively history.

Grade II* listed Little Chishill Mill, South Cambridgeshire is a new entry because it is slowly decaying. Some repairs have been made but the sail housing of the post mill is leaking and requires new weatherboarding.

Another new addition is Wisbech Conservation Area which has a number of vacant buildings and gaps where buildings once stood, especially in Wisbech High Street. English Heritage has been working with Fenland District Council and other partners to address a number of key architectural buildings at risk and to build a positive strategy for regeneration and conservation of the wider townscape.

Bedfordshire

In Bedfordshire, grade II* listed Old Clophill Church has been repaired and removed from the Register this year after a major restoration programme led by the Clophill Heritage Trust. English Heritage grants helped fund the conservation of the ruins and the building of a spectacular viewing platform in the church tower. A series of eco lodges have also been created for walkers. It is hoped that now the site is restored and has a viable new use, the problems of vandalism and antisocial behaviour will lessen.

A new entry in Bedfordshire is grade I listed Church of St Peter and All Saints, Battlesden. The church tower is suffering from cracking and the stonework is decaying.

Grade II* listed Old Clophill Church, removed from the Heritage At Risk Register 2014 after a major English Heritage restoration project
Grade II* listed Old Clophill Church, removed from the Heritage At Risk Register 2014 after a major English Heritage restoration project

Essex

In Essex, Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome has been added to the Register this year after being purchased for the nation with grants from English Heritage, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and local authority loans. Some 10 of the 24 grade II* listed buildings on the site are in a poor or bad condition, despite active and ongoing conservation work recognised by an Angel Award to the former co-owner Russell Savory in 2012.

Grade I listed Church of St George, Great Bromley is another new entry to the Register in 2014 as it is at immediate risk of rapid deterioration. The church dates back to the 14th and 15 centuries and is unusual in that it has a double hammerbeam nave roof with surviving original medieval decoration. Some grant-aided repairs have been made but the church is in need of urgent repairs to its roof and masonry.

Two sites removed from the Register in Essex are Bury Hill, Castle Lane, Saffron Walden following grant-aided repairs and the Dovecote to the east of High House, London Road, Purfleet due to improved management.

Hertfordshire

In Hertfordshire, one of English Heritage's priority sites in the East of England, Croxley Great Barn, Rickmansworth, has been removed from the Register after being rescued and restored to its former glory following English Heritage grant-aid. The five bay timber-framed barn dates from around 1400 and measures nearly 40ft in width and over 100ft in length.

Theobalds Palace, Waltham Cross has also been removed from the Register following extensive repairs to the surviving remains of the site including stabilising the walls and restoring the brick and flint arch with help from English Heritage and HLF grants.

Places of Worship

In Norfolk, 31 additions to the Register this year were places of worship. Over the past year, English Heritage has been working closely with the Church of England, Roman Catholic Church, Baptist Union, Methodist Church and United Reformed Church to find out more about the condition of places of worship.

This builds on the information gathered by five-yearly condition reports by independent architects and surveyors to help English Heritage identify and support those buildings most in need. Across the East of England as a whole, 115 places of worship are at risk. Nationally, 6.0% of listed places of worship are on the Register and in the East of England, that figure is 4.9%.

Of those places of worship considered at risk, congregations will face a combination of failing roofs, broken gutters and downpipes, and damage to high level stonework, which are huge challenges requiring not only large amounts of funding but determination and expertise to repair.

Four of English Heritage's top 10 priority sites for rescue and repair in the East of England have been saved this year. They are:

  • Church of St Mary the Virgin (Old Parish Church), Clophill, Bedfordshire
  • Croxley Great Barn, Three Rivers, Hertfordshire
  • Langham Airfield Dome Trainer, Langham, Norfolk
  • Pentney Priory Gatehouse, Pentney, Norfolk

Langham Arifield Dome Trainer, Norfolk. Removed from the Heritage at Risk Register 2014
Langham Arifield Dome Trainer, Norfolk. Removed from the Heritage at Risk Register 2014

Key facts from the East of England Register 2014 are:

  • 2.8% of grade I and II* listed buildings (excluding places of worship) are at risk in the East of England - 95 buildings. Nationally, 4.0% of grade I and II* listed buildings are at risk.
  • Of the 358 places of worship surveyed in the East of England, 115 are on the Register. 27 places of worship have been removed from the Register following repair work.
  • 3,012 (15.2%) of England's 19,833 scheduled monuments are on the Register. 207 (11.9%) of the East of England's 1,734 scheduled monuments are on the Register.
  • 93 (5.7%) of England's 1,628 registered parks and gardens are on the Register. Of the 211 registered parks and gardens in the East of England, 6 (2.8%) are on the Register, a decrease of one on last year's Register.
  • 497 (6.1%) of the 8,206 surveyed conservation areas in England are on the Register. 39 (4.4%) of the 895 conservation areas surveyed in the East of England are on the Register. Over the past year, 12 have been removed but 8 have been added.
  • In 2013/14, £1.7 million in grants was spent on 21 sites on the Register.
  • More than half the buildings on the original Register in 1999 have now been saved - 54%.

The 6 Buildings and Structures added to the Heritage at Risk Register in the East of England East are:

  • Grade II* listed Stow Maries Airfield, Cold Norton, Maldon, Essex
  • Grade II*listed Great and Little Chishill Mill, Barley Road, South Cambridgeshire
  • Great Gransden Windmill, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire
  • Grade I listed St Peter Hungate Museum, Prince Street Norwich
  • Martello tower at western end of sea front, Felixstowe
  • Latton Priory, London Road, North Weald Bassett

The 16 Buildings and Structures Rescued and Removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in the East of England are:

  • Doolittle Mill, Totternhoe, Bedfordshire
  • Stevens' Mill, Burwell, Cambridgeshire
  • The Great Barn, Croxley Hall Farm, Hertfordshire
  • Royston Manor House, Royston, Hertfordshire
  • Manor House, Baldock, Hertfordshire
  • Langham Airfield Dome Trainer, Langham, Norfolk
  • Dovecote to east of High House, Purfleet, Essex
  • Old Keeper's Lodge west of high Lodge Farm, Mildenhall, Suffollk
  • St James' Hospital Chapel, Horning, North Norfolk
  • Castle Acre Priory precinct wall, Castle Acre, Norfolk
  • Remains of Augustinian Priory Gatehouse, Pentney, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
  • Church of St Mary the Virgin (Old Parish Church), Clophill, Bedfordshire
  • Waltham Abbey Monastic Site, Waltham Abbey, Essex
  • Eye Priory Guest House, Eye, Suffolk
  • Bury Hill, Saffron Walden, Essex
  • Waltham Abbey Monastic Site, Waltham Abbey, Essex

For more information on heritage successfully rescued and removed from the Register this year please see the East of England fact sheet.

To search the Heritage at Risk Register 2014, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/risk.


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