Listed Buildings At Risk
Grade I and II* buildings are monitored annually by Historic England and those buildings that are considered to be at risk are entered onto a National Buildings at Risk Register.
However, due to the lack of monitoring of Grade II listed buildings which make up the majority of listed buildings in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire County Council conducted their own survey of Bassetlaw and all other districts in Nottinghamshire to produce the Nottinghamshire Register of Buildings at Risk.
The Register has recently been updated by Bassetlaw District Council.
Why do Buildings Become ‘at risk?’
Buildings may become at risk for a number of reasons:
- Lack of maintenance can lead to the rapid decline of decay and structural deterioration of a building;
- Redundancy – many buildings within Bassetlaw, particularly agricultural buildings have become redundant because they are now too small to accommodate modern farm machinery and farming methods.
- Owners – one of the most common reasons for a building to become at risk. Often owners are oblivious to problems or have neither the will nor the means to rectify problems. However, inclusion on the list should not be regarded as a criticism of all owners as many are actively seeking ways to secure their future.
- Location – this can often be detrimental to buildings; locations in unattractive areas e.g. busy areas or those that fall into industrial areas can become ‘blighted’.
- Economic climate of an area, lack of investment and maintenance regime leading to subsequent deterioration.
- Catastrophic events such as fire damage or vandalism can destroy the fabric of buildings.
What can be done?
Providing a building at risk with a new use is one way to give life to an historic building and preserve it for future generations. The re-use of historic buildings also promotes sustainability in reducing the requirements for development of previously undeveloped land and the construction of new buildings.
In some instances, the owner may not be aware of deterioration, and a gentle reminder may be served to prevent more expense at a later date. In more serious cases involving advanced dilapidation which prove difficult to resolve through discussion alone the Council will reserve the right to proceed with relevant legal action against owners. Where ownership is unknown this may be identified via the Land Registry, or may be known amongst the local community.
Legal Powers Available
If negotiations fail to bring about a solution or even temporary measures to prevent decay, and the owner is considered to be deliberately allowing the building to deteriorate, the Council has a range of legal powers available.
Under the provisions of Section 54 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, the Council may serve an Urgent Works Notice. This can be served to either prevent deterioration from starting by attending to a problem, or to prevent deterioration from getting worse. Initially, a property owner would be contacted in writing, setting out the provisions of the 1990 Act. If no action is evident, a second warning letter is issued with a draft schedule of works which the Council considers necessary for the preservation of the building, and a date on which the notice will be served if the works are not carried out. If the notice is served and the works are not carried out within 7 days in accordance with the works schedule, the Council may carry out works itself. It may also recover the costs from the owner under the provisions of Section 55 of the Act.
As an alternative, or if following an Urgent Works Notice, the property continues to be of concern, Section 48 of the Act enables the Council to serve a Repairs Notice. This would specify the works considered necessary for the proper preservation of the building, and is more comprehensive than an Urgent Works Notice, and can require the full renovation of a building. The procedure of 2 warning letters and a draft schedule is the same, but if after 2 months following the service of a notice, the Council remains dissatisfied that the building is being properly maintained, it may commence Compulsory Purchase Proceedings under Section 47 of the 1990 Act. In this instance, the Secretary of State when issuing their authorisation of Compulsory Purchase, may also authorise minimum compensation.
Bassetlaw District Council currently has a grant scheme available to help owners of listed buildings at risk repair them or carry out investigative work. Further details are available on the Grants page.