Historic sites taken off ‘at risk’ register

FIVE historic sites in Suffolk have been taken off an “at risk” list after undergoing successful restoration projects, it can be revealed today.

However, three iconic structures have this year been added to English Heritage’s annual At Risk register after falling into serious disrepair.

The list, published yesterday, aims to catalogue the country’s Grade I and II-listed buildings and monuments in greatest need of help.

Among the sites taken off the list this year is the Mettingham Castle ruins, near Bungay, which had been deteriorating at an alarming pace over many years.

However, it now has a long-term future thanks to a �330,000 grant from English Heritage.

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Three sites – Blythburgh Priory, St Mary at Quay in Ipswich, and South Elmham Gatehouse – have in turn come to the attention of the organisation for being in a critical condition. Urgent work will now take place to find funding for these as soon as possible.

John Ett�, English Heritage’s inspector of ancient monuments in Suffolk, said: “Suffolk has got some exceptional heritage buildings due in part to the wealth of the county from the Middle Ages onwards. The challenge is trying to make sure that the available resources, of which there are never really enough, go to the most urgently needed projects. That is why we use the At Risk register.

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“My job is to go round the sites and help the owners come up with the right project. Sometimes, it can turn around quite quickly, others can take a few years.”

In the East of England, 32 (3.9%) conservation areas, 209 (12.1%) monuments, and eight (3.8%) registered parks and gardens are deemed to be at risk.

Launching the register, Greg Luton, regional director for English Heritage, said: “The register has two vital contributions to make. First, it gives communities and councils accurate information about the condition of neighbourhoods, encourging them to become actively involved. The second is our expertise and grants.

“In the process, we will be making our region a better place now and for future generations.”

To view the Heritage At Risk register, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/risk

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