Number of heritage buildings at risk at new low

The former Royal Insurance Building, one of several formerly derelict buildings the council has helped bring back into viable use

The number of historically-significant listed buildings in Liverpool deemed to be ‘at risk’ of falling into dilapidation, has fallen to a 24-year low, according to new figures.

As of the end of June, just 96 out of a total of 2,679 are said to be ‘at risk’. This is down from 351 in 1991 and 142 in 2009.

It’s anticipated that a further 25 buildings across the city will have either been repaired or undergoing full refurbishment within the next 12 months, including St Luke’s Church near the city centre and Heaps Rice Mill which is set to become residential accommodation as part of a larger development project in the Baltic Triangle

Historic England, the government heritage body that oversees buildings and monuments, says the average number listed buildings at risk in a city like Liverpool should be around six or seven per cent.

By the end of 2016, Liverpool City Council estimates the figure will have fallen to just 2.6 per cent, less than half the national average.

Recent success stories include the North Warehouse at Stanley Dock, the Royal Insurance building on North John Street, the Laundry and Laundry Cottage at Croxteth Park and St Andrew’s Church on Rodney Street.

Welcoming the figures, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, said: “It’s important that we protect and enhance the heritage of our great city for future generations. These buildings have shaped not only the Liverpool’s history, but the country’s and the wider world’s.”

He added: “The team responsible for these impressive figures have my thanks – and I’m sure the whole city’s – for the important work they’ve done in preserving our civic heritage. It’s a huge challenge because many of the buildings are not in the ownership of the council.

“However we are not complacent and know there is more work to be done.”

Chris Griffiths from Liverpool City Council’s Urban Design and Heritage Conservation team added: “For a number of years, we have set out to get to grips with the issue, putting in place sound working practices, protocols and experienced staff to make sure that the city’s historic buildings are cared for and preserved.

“The approach is paying off, with the number of at risk buildings now at the lowest for a generation.”

Last year, Historic England (formerly English Heritage) praised Liverpool for its approach to preserving its historic buildings, highlighting the work to preserve Stanley Dock North Warehouse by transforming it into a five star Titanic Hotel, and the restoration of the former Royal Insurance Building into the Aloft Hotel.

Buildings currently on the list include the Wellington Rooms and churches including St Bride’s, St James and the Welsh Prebyterian Church – all in Liverpool 8, All Saints Church in Liverpool 7, Greenbank Drive Synagogue in Liverpool 17 and Holy Trinity Church in Liverpool 5. Liverpool City Council is working in partnership with Historic England on rescuing each.

A new bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for Townscape Heritage Funding has been prepared for the Ropewalks and Chinatown area of the city and, if successful, will provide funding for the Nelson Street area, as well as other key sites in Ropewalks, part of which is in the World Heritage Site.