Council Takes Action On Heritage Concerns

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Sefton Council takes the importance of its built heritage extremely seriously and has recently carried out a proactive review of all assets across the borough.

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This detailed exercise involved Sefton’s conservation experts undertaking surveys of all privately and publicly owned assets and notifying English Heritage of those areas identified as being ‘at risk.’

The results of this review, and surveys by other councils, have now been published by English Heritage in its annual Heritage At Risk Register.

The register provides a health check of England’s built heritage, and lists sites most in need of protecting for the future.

Flagging up these areas enables Sefton Council to prioritise heritage work, build community understanding, and maximise opportunities for alternative sources of future funding through heritage-led regeneration initiatives.

New additions to the register include the conservation areas of Lord Street, the Promenade and North Meols in Southport, and Christ Church and Waterloo Park in Waterloo.

Ince Blundell Old Hall, the scheduled monument of Sefton Old Hall and the West Birkdale conservation area also remain on the list from previous years.

As the council compiled the information, Sefton is already taking steps to remove as many sites as possible from the register by identifying specific causes or solutions.

This includes appointing a ‘Heritage At Risk’ officer for two years whose specific responsibility will be to identify potential solutions to reduce risk.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Environment, said: “We spent a lot of time on this survey because we recognise the importance of identifying these sites and, more importantly, getting a process in place to try and rectify any issues by achieving positive management of these areas.

“These assets at risk are both publicly and privately owned and I have no doubt that their condition has deteriorated as a result of the economic downturn and, in the case of publicly owned assets, cuts in government funding.

“Despite us now facing even deeper cuts in government funding, we remain committed to the heritage and built assets of our borough. Therefore we have managed to set aside funds for a dedicated officer who will work closely with local communities, owners of buildings and our partner organisations – including English Heritage – to address specific issues and hopefully ensure sites are removed from the at risk register.”

Charles Smith, English Heritage – Heritage at Risk Principal Advisor for the North West, said: “We are delighted that Sefton have taken the positive step of appointing a Heritage at Risk officer in recognition of the valuable contribution that the historic environment makes to the cultural, social and economic life of the local area.

“We look forward to working closely with Sefton Council in addressing the most significant threats to its heritage.”

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