Buildings at risk
The national Buildings at Risk Register is published annually by English Heritage. It brings together information on all Grade I and II* listed buildings, and scheduled ancient monuments (structures rather than earthworks), known to English Heritage to be 'at risk' through neglect and decay, or vulnerable to becoming so.
The National List can be found at www.english-heritage.org.uk/bar
South Tyneside keeps a Buildings at Risk Register of all the Grade II Listed Buildings in the borough. This helps to monitor the condition of the majority of our listed buildings, which are not covered by the English Heritage register. The local register is not available online but if you are concerned about a particular building and you know it is listed, please contact the council's Historic Environment Officer.
The council, in partnership with the North of England Civic Trust is currently bidding for English Heritage funding that would allow the council's buildings at risk register to be brought up to date. This is part of a pilot project in which English Heritage are looking for the best ways of surveying, collecting and maintaining data on the condition of grade II listed buildings.
Where buildings are left in an underused and poor condition, there are some powers available to seek to remedy the situation. These include:
- Urgent Works Notice
- Repairs Notice
The first step is always to negotiate with owners and offer practical advice before taking any formal action.
A Repairs Notice can be served under Section 48 of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, only in relation to a listed building.
The Notice requires the building owner to comply with a schedule of works, which can be used to put the building back into the condition as of the date of listing.
The works allow for a much more comprehensive repairs scheme than the Urgent Works Notice.
Once served, the owner has two months to demonstrate that he / she is progressing works. If the council is not convinced of the level of progress on site, the method of enforcing this notice is to make a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).
The compulsory purchase power is provided under Section 47 of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990. This provides for the compulsory acquisition of a listed building in need of repair, and is usually the last resort to secure a listed building.
It is usual in such cases for the council to identify a development partner, usually a Building Preservation Trust or other such charity, which would receive the property if the CPO was successful, to begin repairs and identify a new use.
Once made, the CPO needs to be confirmed by the Secretary of State, which usually follows a public inquiry where both sides state their case.
Urgent Works Notice
An Urgent Works Notice is served under Section 54 of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended, and can be served on a vacant or vacant parts of a listed building where works are urgently necessary for the preservation of a listed building.
In exceptional circumstances there are special powers available to the Secretary of State to authorise the use of these powers to an unlisted building in a conservation area, where the preservation of the building is important for maintaining the character or appearance of the area (Section 76 of the Act). The works that can be implemented include:
- Making the building weather tight
- Making the building safe from structural collapse
- Preventing unauthorised entry, vandalism or theft
The council must serve a notice giving the details of what is required, seven days before it intends to enter to implement the works. There is no appeal against this notice.
Upon completion of the works, under Section 55 of the Act, notice may be served on the owner of the building requiring repayment of the costs incurred during the works to the building. The owner does have a period of 28 days to appeal against this notice, but only, however, on the following grounds:
- Some or all of the works were unnecessary
- Temporary works have continued for an unreasonable length of time
- The amounts were unreasonable
- Recovery would cause hardship
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