London Risks Losing 1,000 Key Historic Sites to Decay; Crumbling: Some of the Buildings Being Highlighted by English Heritage. Its New Heritage at Risk Register, out Today, Also Includes Parks

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Byline: ELIZABETH HOPKIRK

NEARLY a thousand of London's most historic buildings, parks andmonuments are at risk of decaying beyond repair, the country's leading heritagebody warns today.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, condemned the "acts ofbarbarism" that allow nationally important sites to be lost forever, and calledfor urgent action to save them.

He said: "These are places, buildings and landscapes that have the potential toshape the quality and even the course of our lives. Yet their future isuncertain.

"In today's fast-changing society this heritage is arguably more important thanever, providing a sense of permanence and continuity, a focus for socialcohesion and a sense of identity." The organisation today launched a newHeritage At Risk register, which reveals that 572 buildings, 153 scheduledmonuments and 148 parks and gardens in London are in danger. The list, whichreplaces its annual Buildings At Risk register, has been expanded to includethreatened landscapes and monuments.

New entries in the buildings category include a [pounds sterling]4million Grade II*-listedhouse in Belgravia's Eaton Squareone of London's most desirable addressesand an 18th-century townhouse in Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair.

The Union Chapel in Islington, an Edwardian court building in West Kensingtonand a former theatre in Tottenham have also been added.

Landscapes and monuments making their debut on the register include the EleanorCross outside Charing Cross station, the Sixties Commonwealth Institutebuilding and garden in Kensington, a 16th-century conduit that once suppliedwater to Eltham Palace, and Gunnersbury Park in west London.

This 186-acre open space was once the garden of a 17th-century Palladian house,and contains 21 listed buildings, nine of them at risk. …