Whitby old town from east with red pantile roofs & harbour frontages
Whitby old town from east with red pantile roofs & harbour frontages © Historic England Archive PLB-K011536
Whitby old town from east with red pantile roofs & harbour frontages © Historic England Archive PLB-K011536

How to Save a Building

Are you worried about a building in your area? Perhaps it is an old stalwart, a bit battered around the edges, or a landmark building that means something to you and your neighbours? Perhaps it is not now getting the care it needs or is the subject of rumours that it is going to be redeveloped? Here are some of the ways which might help you save it.

Listing: Buildings which are of national "special architectural or historic interest" can be listed, although the tests are strict. If you do think there is an unappreciated gem in your neighbourhood you can find out more about listing or see our step-by-step guide to making a listing application.

Local Listing: Your local council may keep a "local list" of buildings which make a strong contribution to the character of the area. It is worth checking the council website to see if there is a local list, and what kind of buildings are on it. Historic England has published advice for local authorities on how to prepare a local list, which you may find helpful.

Assets of Community Value (ACV): The Localism Act 2011 allowed communities to ask their local council to list certain assets, for instance, shops, pubs or other local facilities, as being of value to the community. If an asset is listed, and comes up for sale, the community then has six months to put together a bid to buy it. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has published advice specifically relating to pubs. Your local council should provide further information and a nomination form.

Local Civic or Amenity Societies: Local societies interested in the historic environment or maintaining valued local facilities may be a good source of support. Civic Voice publishes information on how to find a civic society local to you.

Charitable or not-for-profit organisations: Public funding is available to those working to save heritage at risk, with support and guidance provided by the Heritage Trust Network (HTN). Through events, peer-to-peer networking, advice and a step-by-step toolkit, HTN aids regeneration for broad ranging end uses.

National Amenity Societies: These voluntary societies were set up to preserve the art and architecture of past centuries and promote appreciation of such buildings and the cultures that produced them. They may be able to advise you on particular types of building.

The societies are:

  • Historic Buildings & Places
    Concerned with the study and conservation of historic buildings of all ages and types with a particular interest in everyday heritage, hidden treasures and community favourites.
  • Council for British Archaeology
    Concerned with historic buildings and sites of all periods with a focus on vernacular and industrial buildings, and with promoting appreciation of their archaeological significance.
  • Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
    The oldest conservation society in the English-speaking world, concerned with pre-1700 buildings and technique and philosophy of repair.
  • The Georgian Group
    Concerned with architecture from the late 17th century to the early 19th century, but with a watching brief over earlier and later Classical buildings.
  • The Victorian Society
    Concerned with Victorian and Edwardian buildings, 1837 - 1914.
  • The Twentieth Century Society
    Concerned with buildings from 1914 onwards.
  • The Gardens Trust
    Promotes the protection and conservation of historic parks, gardens and designed landscapes, and advises on their restoration.