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Number of historic sites in the East 'at risk of being lost' increases

The number of historic sites deemed "at risk" in the East England has increased, according to conservation body Historic England.

The overall figure has gone up by three this year after 42 sites were added to the annual Heritage at Risk Register and 39 were removed.

The sites cover buildings, churches, archaeological sites and conservation areas deemed to be at risk of "being lost forever" due to "neglect, decay or inappropriate development."

"The message is clear - our heritage needs to be saved and investing in heritage pays. It helps to transform the places where we live, work and visit, creating successful and distinctive places for us and for future generations to enjoy. But there's more work to do.

"There are buildings still on the Heritage at Risk Register that are ideal for rescue and capable of being brought back into meaningful use and generating an income, contributing to the local community and economy. These are the homes, shops, offices and cultural venues of the future."

– Tony Calladine, Regional Director for Historic England

The majority of the structures added to the register in our region are places of worship - with 25 joining the list.

They include the Parish Church of St Mary at Fen Drayton in Cambridgeshire, All Saints Church at Brightlingsea in Essex, and the Church of St John the Baptist in Royston, Hertfordshire.

Also joining the register is Harwich's Electric Palace Cinema which was built in 1911. It has received funding from Historic England and the National Lottery for a restoration project which is due to finish next year.

The Dovercourt lighthouses and causeway and John Webb's Grade II listed windmill at Thaxted are also now considered at risk because of concerns about their condition.

You can see the full list here: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/har-2019-registers/ee-har-register2019/

Church of St Mary, Baconsthorpe, dating to 1260 has been rescued by Historic England Credit: Nicholas Warns Architects

On the positive side, 39 historic buildings in the East of England have been saved in the last year.

Among these are:

  • The Gatehouse North of Denver Hall
  • The Congregational Chapel, Roxton, Bedfordshire
  • Little Chishill Mill, South Cambridgeshire
  • Bowl barrow in Tingley Field Plantation, near Pegson, Bedfordshire
  • Denver Mill, Denver, West Norfolk
  • Billingford Windmill, Scole, Norfolk
  • Roman Fort at Brancaster
  • St John the Baptist church at Needham Market, Suffolk
The Gatehouse North of Denver Hall, The Congregational Chapel, Roxton and Little Chishill Mill, South Cambridgeshire Credit: Historic England

Overall, there are now 391 entries on the East of England "at risk" register - 106 of those are listed buildings and structures, 106 are places of worship, 122 are archaeological sites, eight are park or gardens and 49 are conservation areas.

Historic England said it had awarded more than £1.6m in grants over the last 12 months to help improve many of the region's historically important sites.

Also rescued sites in the East of England are Denver Mill, Norfolk and St John the Baptist Church, Needham Market Credit: Historic England

Although the East of England register has grown, nationally it is an improving picture with 87 fewer sites on the list compared with 2018.

A total of 310 have been saved across the country, with 247 added, leaving the overall figure at 5,073. They include three battlefields and three protected wreck sites.