Conservation Areas are located across the country. So too, are Conservation Areas ‘at risk’. According to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk database, 512 Conservation Areas are now known to be ‘at risk’.

A Conservation Area is deemed to be ‘at risk’ by Historic England if it has either, deteriorated in the last three years or is expected to do so within the next three years. It is also considered to be ‘at risk’ if it is in danger of losing its historic significance. Issues such as development pressures, erosion of historic detail, insensitive highway schemes, empty buildings and lack of investment are factors which are considered when assessing whether an area is improving, stable or declining.

 

According to Historic England, ‘Of England's 336 local authorities, 308 (91.7%) have carried out surveys of their Conservation Areas, a slight improvement over 2016, despite the continuing pressure upon resources. Historic England has aided and encouragement to help ensure the surveys continue to be completed.’

Of the 91.7% of local authorities who submitted returns, they collectively cover 8,500 Conservation Areas across England.

The 8.3% of local authorities who did not submit the annual return, collectively cover approximately 1500 Conservation Areas. Clearly, therefore the data is not complete. Through Civic Voice’s research, we were also told that certain local authorities do not submit the annual return as they do not want to highlight the “heritage at risk” for political reasons and a danger of negative public relations. Through anecdotal evidence, we were also told that Conservation Areas can also conflict with council priorities for development.

 

If we know that there are approximately 10,122 Conservation Areas, and approximately 8,500 have been surveyed, it means that approximately 6% of all surveyed Conservation Areas remain ‘at risk’.

According to the National Heritage at Risk database, 5254 heritage assets are listed on the ‘at risk’ register. This means, therefore, that 10%[1] of the nation’s heritage at risk is a designated Conservation Area.

Within the 512 Conservation Areas ‘at risk’, there are over 11,000 Listed Buildings, 140 Scheduled Monuments and 10 Registered Parks and Gardens[2].

 

[1] Heritage at Risk. Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/heritage-at-risk/search-register/ 5254 assets on register / 512 = 10%

[2] Heritage Counts 2017. Available at: https://historicengland.org.uk/research/heritage-counts/

© 2018 by Civic Voice.

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