Historic buildings can make a substantial contribution to the environment and our sense of “place“. They represent fixed points in our shared history and can be landmarks in an otherwise, unremarkable location.
North East Essex is fortunate in having a high density of buildings of historic interest which greatly add to the character and identity of the areas of Braintree, Colchester and Tendring. However, a significant number of these buildings are deemed to be “at risk“.
What is the national Heritage at Risk Programme?
Historic England are responsible for publishing an annual Heritage at Risk Register which compiles national statistics on a wide range of heritage assets that receive some measure of legal protection including:
- Listed buildings and structures
- Places of worship
- Archaeological sites
- Conservation areas
- Registered parks and gardens
- Registered battlefields
- Protected shipwrecks
The intention of the programme is to protect and manage our historic environment so the number of “at risk” historic places and sites across England is reduced. The term “at risk” is used when the condition of the fabric of a building becomes a cause of concern. In some cases, this may be no more than the existence of rotten windows but in others it can mean that the entire building is at a point of collapse. As a part of the national picture, Historic England publish a list of findings which summaries the progress from year-to-year. Please click here to read the statistics.
The Local Picture
The Colchester & North East Essex Building Preservation Trust exists to help bring buildings at risk back into good health. Working with local councils, it can acquire, repair and re-sell buildings, using the proceeds to buy and restore further heritage at risk.
Buildings become at risk for a variety of reasons but most commonly because of:
- wilful neglect
- redundancy forced by changes in industry, technology, demography and legislation
- buildings blighted by their surroundings
- buildings within the curtilage of a larger building on private land
- economically deprived location
The Trust is currently working with Colchester Borough Council on securing the repair of several, key buildings in the town centre.
Essex County Council periodically publish, a Heritage at Risk in Essex Register, which can be accessed here.
The latest information shows the following figures for Buildings at Risk in local authority areas in 2013:
- Braintree – 22
- Colchester – 37
- Tendring – 34
Source: Heritage at Risk Register (2013), Essex County Council
For a copy of the 2013 Heritage at Risk in Essex Register … please click here, or on the image above to download.
Previous copies of the registers can also be found:
How you can help
“Think that you know of a building which you believe is at risk?”
“Know of a local building which is being neglected?”
If so, please let us know by visiting our contact page – we could help save it!
News of progress on securing the repair of specific buildings will be posted here.