For many years the Government and English Heritage encouraged local councils to prepare lists of Buildings at Risk. These lists were designed to draw attention to the state of derelict buildings and, at the same time time, to prompt (and sometimes shame) owners into keeping their historic buildings in good order.
Previously, this function was carried out by the Canterbury City Council. However, the City no longer has the resources to do this so The Canterbury Society has recently taken on the task of preparing these lists. We have made an application to the Civic Trust for funding to assist with the costs of preparing and publishing the lists. Actually, the building stock of the City is generally in far better condition than it was, say, 30 years ago, when many of the city’s building were in a dreadful condition – but there remains a number of intractable cases where disuse, change of ownership, or neglect by owners has led to the rapid decline in the condition of historic or listed buildings.
The Society has applied pressure and publicity to encourage the renovation of Buildings at Risk. Notable successes include the renovation of completely derelict foundry buildings at the rear of the High Street (now the Cuban Bar) and the renovation of The Three Tuns public house in Watling Street.
Today, problem buildings include the derelict 16th century merchant’s house at 5-6 St Margaret’s St (and the adjoining Slatter’s Hotel); a charming 19th century timber framed store building at 2a Duck Lane which has been left to rot, and a range of 1930s showrooms next to Wincheap Service Station which have remained vacant and derelict for over 30 years.
The Society continues to apply pressure to the owners of currently derelict buildings and to the City Council, to encourage their renovation. The compilation of the Buildings at Risk List further adds to this pressure.
Observations and recommendations from the public are always welcomed and will be helpful in piling up pressure on owners to renovate their buildings. Email us if you know of other buildings you feel to be ‘At Risk’