Essex buildings at risk

TWO churches and three Martello towers are among the historic buildings in Essex revealed as being "at risk" by English Heritage.The conservation charity has listed 27 buildings in Essex, which it has put on its annual Buildings At Risk register.

TWO churches and three Martello towers are among the historic buildings in Essex revealed as being "at risk" by English Heritage.

The conservation charity has listed 27 buildings in Essex, which it has put on its annual Buildings At Risk register.

English Heritage said the buildings are at risk through neglect or decay, or are vulnerable to becoming so. The organisation stresses inclusion on the register implies no criticism of the owners of the buildings, many of whom are actively seeking ways to secure their future.

Three Martello towers along the Tendring coast are included, they are tower F at Clacton; tower C at St Osyth; and tower K at Walton-on-the-Naze.


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All are Grade II listed scheduled ancient monuments and are said to be in a "poor" condition. They all have damp problems, while the St Osyth tower also has a rotten timber floor, a poor roof and the external render needs replacement.

The Clacton tower is owned by Tendring District Council, although a member of the public is trying to buy it to turn it into a restaurant, plans which English Heritage are looking at closely. The other two towers are privately owned.

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Other buildings at risk in Tendring are Beacon Hill Fort, Harwich, a ruined coastal artillery fortification from the late 19th Century, which was refortified during the two world wars. It is in a poor condition due to decaying concrete, damp and vandalism; and Spring Valley Mill, Ardleigh, a grade II* listed 18th century watermill.

The ruins of the church of St Mary, in the grounds of Birch Hall, in Birch, near Colchester, are said to be in a "very bad" condition. It is a small Norman church, a roofless ruin with some structural problems. English Heritage is working with Colchester Borough Council to find money for its restoration.

An ice house at Braxted Park, Great Braxted, is on the register. English Heritage says it is suffering from structural movement and partial collapse.

In the Braintree area, a grade II* barn in Piccotts Lane, Great Saling, is on the register. English Heritage says it is in poor condition, needing cladding and general repairs.

Other buildings in north and mid Essex on the register are Mashbury parish church, near Chelmsford, now redundant; and Creeksea Place, an Elizabethan mansion at Creeksea.

None of the buildings are new to the register.

English Heritage spokeswoman Gaynor Roberts said the East of England has a lower proportion of buildings at risk than the rest of the country.

She said sea defences and forts such as the Martello towers are a particular problem in Essex.

"These building should be there for the appreciation of the public in future generations," she said.

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