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Tassaduq Ahmed MBE Tassaduq Ahmed

The Evening Standard

9 July 2002

Landmark Buildings at risk due to neglect

Mira Bar-Hillel. Property Correspondent

Many rare and historic buildings will disappear from London unless their owners stop neglecting them, a report warns today.

More than 30 of the sites contained in the Buildings at Risk Register, compiled by English Heritage, are Grade I listed - the highest category of importance.

The organisation found the number of buildings "at risk" from serious disprepair has increased compared to last year. Many are owned by local councils and wealthy organizations that have ignored EH's calls to ensure the sites are safeguarded. EH chief executive Dr Simon Thurley said that over the past five years the body has given more than 22 milllon to buildings at risk, but is powerless to stop the gradual ruin of many of the finest because the 44 mlllion needed for repairs isn't there.

The picture which appeared in the newspaper. 19 Princelet Street, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. Grade II*. Built 1719, synagogue added in 1869.
A Hugenot merchant's house with weaving garrets and a rare surving synagogue. The Spitalfields Centre is raising funds to repair the whole building and re-open this unique site to the public as a museum and "celebration of cultural diversity"

"Buildings at risk are an invaluable part of our lives and our culture" he said. "They are not just castles and stately homes but the familiar landmarks, public halls, old pubs and houses that define the character and appearance of our streets. Losing these, through neglect and decay changes the way a town, city or village looks forever and squanders its most valuable assets".

The register contains almost 750 buildings in London which EH considers in urgent need of

saving, including windmills in Brixton and Uxbridge and art deco cinemas in Streatham, Greenwich, Eltham, Harrow and Woolwich.

A 17th century Gothic revival house in Twickenham; a Decimus Burton house set in a Humphry Repton park in Bromley and a Palladian orangery in Clapham areon the list alongside the modernist gorilla house at London Zoo. There are many churches, including buildings by Sir John Dane, Hawksmoor, George Dance, Charles Barry Thomas Wyatt and James Wyatt. There are 17 cemeteries and churchyards as well as swimming baths in Inslington, Uxbridge, Brentford, Tottenham, Hackney and Westminster Since last year 102 buildings have been removed from the register because they have been saved, but 135 new cases have been added. One in four of the buildings at risk are owned by local councils including several town halls such as Finsbury and Shoreditch. Adam Wilkinson, secretary of conservation watchdog Save, said that as local councils are responsible for enforcing listed building rules on private owners, "their own negligence is totally unacceptable "

Last monthly compulsory purchase order was issued to save Grade 1 listed Apethorpe Hall in Northamptonshire, England's most neglected country house - derelict for more than 20 years.