A photograph of a pier at sunset.
Birnbeck Pier, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset. The Grade II* pier has been on the Heritage at Risk Register for 25 years, but a solution is now in sight. © Historic England Archive DP218331
Birnbeck Pier, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset. The Grade II* pier has been on the Heritage at Risk Register for 25 years, but a solution is now in sight. © Historic England Archive DP218331

Heritage at Risk: Latest Findings

There are 4,871 entries on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2023.

We published our most recent Heritage at Risk Register on 9 November 2023. Our Register identifies sites most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Our regional teams work with communities, owners, developers, and funders to focus on the country's most vulnerable historic places and find solutions to rescue them.

Heritage at Risk in 2023

Explore the map below to find Heritage at Risk in your area.

25 years of the national Heritage at Risk Register

2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first national Heritage at Risk Register in 1998 (then known as the Buildings at Risk Register) highlighting the most important historic buildings and structures in England in need of help and care. Much progress has been made over the past 25 years and around three quarters of the entries on that first national register have been removed. Many of the remaining entries from the 1998 Register have seen good progress despite often being the hardest cases to solve.

Achieving this much over the past 25 years has depended on the sheer determination and dedication of local people, communities, charities, owners and other partners including funders. Historic England’s expert advice, grant aid and creative thinking have also been key in helping to deliver people’s visions for these places and securing them for future generations to enjoy.  

Historic places saved in 2023

Over the last year, 203 historic buildings and places have been saved. Looking after and investing in these historic buildings and sites is key to creating successful places that help to improve people's lives.

The buildings and sites rescued from the Heritage at Risk Register can:

  • help boost people's pride in their local place
  • level up economic opportunity
  • support skilled local construction jobs
  • build resilience in private and public organisations
  • boost tourism
  • positively impact on the wellbeing of people and communities

More examples of this kind of work can be found in our work on High Street Heritage Action Zones. Reusing historic buildings and taking care of our building stock also speaks directly to addressing climate change

South Cliff Gardens

South Cliff Gardens were removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in 2023, thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the South Cliff Gardens and Scarborough Borough Council (now North Yorkshire Council) together with funding of a £7 million restoration project from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Lottery Community Fund, the Council and local fundraising.

What's new in 2023?

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In 2023, 203 entries were removed from the Register for positive reasons, and 159 were added.

Grant aid

Grant aid from Historic England and other funders is one reason for removals. In 2022/23 Historic England gave grant aid of £7.63 million to 155 sites on the Heritage at Risk Register. 

Challenges ahead

Heritage sites continue to be added to the Register every year. In 2023 there were 159 new entries, made up of 44 buildings and structures, 53 places of worship, 55 archaeology entries, 3 parks and gardens and 4 conservation areas.

Looking to the future, the Heritage at Risk programme will continue to grow and evolve, finding new ways to involve communities in caring for and enjoying their heritage. 

The Great White Horse Hotel, Ipswich

Originally a 16th- to 17th-century timber-framed building, the Great White Horse Hotel was refronted, using Suffolk white bricks, in the early 19th century. A regular guest was Charles Dickens, who drew inspiration from the Great White Horse for the inn in his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, published in 1836. The Hotel was placed on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2023 due to the active dry rot in the second-floor ‘Dickens room’, loose cornice in the ballroom, detaching plaster ceiling and deteriorating windows and exterior joinery. The gutters and drainpipes are in poor condition. Historic England is discussing its concerns with the local authority, the tenant and landlord.

Finding solutions

Through advising communities and owners, working in partnership with others, and targeting our own grant where it is most needed, we will continue to reduce heritage at risk. 

Sadly, some owners do not take responsibility for the condition of their sites. In these cases, Historic England can assist local planning authorities in exercising their statutory powers to prompt action.

Historic England can provide bespoke advice to councils, and we can also offer grants to support the cost of underwriting action.