Ancient Monument Group Warns Historic Sites Face Extinction; 60% Need Work in the Short Term

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 6, 2009 | Go to article overview

Ancient Monument Group Warns Historic Sites Face Extinction; 60% Need Work in the Short Term


Byline: Robin Turner

THE splendid Whiteford Lighthouse, a spectacular sentinel over the Burry Estuary in Gower, Swansea, since 1865 is one of more than 2,000 ancient buildings in Wales at risk of being lost forever.

It is joined on a new list of buildings under threat by the grade II listed pithead building at the old Navigation Colliery in Crumlin, Caerphilly.

The 100-year-old pithead buildings have now stood largely untouched for more than 30 years and Pontypool Park Estates have spent pounds 750,000 on its upkeep.

But Cadw, Wales' ancient monuments organisation warns it is at risk of being lost.

A new Buildings at Risk in Wales report by the organisation warns while the vast majority (73%) of Wales's 30,000 listed buildings are not at risk, almost 10% of the total (2,882) are classified at risk, while another 5,145 are vulnerable.

A spokesman for Cadw said: "Local planning authorities have powers for listed buildings in their area and can serve statutory notices if they are concerned about the condition of a listed building.

"It is hoped the report, undertaken by The Handley Partnership, will be used as a tool for local planning authorities when considering their priorities and future strategies for listed buildings in their area."

Alun Ffred Jones, Welsh Assembly Government Heritage Minister, said: "I made clear in my Strategic Statement on the Historic Environment earlier this year that I wanted to look at historic structures across Wales that are at risk.

"This report is an important baseline as a guide for our future strategy in caring for the state of the historic environment in Wales.

"In planning the best way forward to bring about a reduction in risk and vulnerability in the stock of buildings, timing is important.

"The surveys carried out to date in many parts of the UK show that buildings at risk can be rescued, but often during this time further buildings have become at risk.

"This means that over the long term there is a chance that there will be little reduction in risk in real terms.

"It is not acceptable that 60% of the 'at risk' buildings need action in the short term to prevent further decay, but it should also be borne in mind however that the action required may often be small, for example, urgent works to make buildings safe or watertight may be all that is required to slow the decline to a manageable level.

"Cadw's grants are increasingly being focused on at risk buildings and are invaluable as tools to help stem long term decline. …

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