Saving the Past; Millions Needed to Restore County's Historic Buildings That Face Decay

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Byline: ERYL CRUMP

SOME of North Wales' most historic architecture of North Wales is at risk of neglect and decay, a new report warned yesterday.

Millions of pounds needs to be spent on restoring hundreds of historic buildings in Gwynedd,according to a study for the county council.

More than 60 buildings of architectural and historic interest are at serious risk while a further 210 buildings are ``at risk'' unless immediate action is taken.

The problem will be highlighted for councillors this week -just hours before a television programme which could help restore one of Gwynedd's most historic buildings.

Council planning director Henry Roberts said: ``Some buildings are in good condition and require no work but there are a small number in very poor condition on the brink of collapse.''

Four of the buildings in the worst condition were listed by Cadwduring the council's review,he said.

Cadw, the Welsh Historic Monuments agency, said buildings often become ``at risk'' because of lack of resources for their maintenance,or when they were no longer needed for their original purposes.

The hard-hitting report notes 65 buildings in the county are at ``exceptional risk'' with a further 15 at ``serious risk''.

Officials found there were a higher proportion of buildings in disrepair in remote and rural areas.

Mr Roberts said: ``The matter is most obvious in some of the main towns and villages of the county but not with buildings in rural areas, especially traditional agricultural buildings.

``This could be as a result of a fragile economy,owner's financial situation,owner's lack of interest and so on.

``It also reflects the failure of public authorities to use their powers and the absence of pro-active programmes to secure the buildings for the future.''

Gwynedd council are being urged by senior officers to set a ``good example'' by creating a fund for historic buildings.

But farmers claim the council can do more by allowing land owners to re-develop redundant buildings for other uses. …