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Search is on for country’s most neglected buildings – with Hartlepool’s Tunstall Court among the contenders

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THE search is on again to find the country’s most neglected buildings.

Nominations are open for the Top 10 Victorian and Edwardian buildings most at risk across England and Wales – whether from demolition, neglect or inappropriate redevelopment.

The controversial Tunstall Court, in Hartlepool, which has regularly been a target for arsonists and vandals, and could be demolished to make way for 14 homes, narrowly failed to make last year’s top 10 despite receiving several nominations.

But individuals, organisations and campaign groups are again being invited to name the buildings and structures that are most at risk in their local area as part of the national “league of shame”-style campaign, run by the Victorian Society.

Society chiefs say appearing in the Top 10 helps to draw attention to a building’s plight and can help save it.

The society, along with English Heritage chiefs, have written to Hartlepool Borough Council in a last-ditch attempt to save it from being flattened.

Plans to demolish it for housing had been due to go before the council’s planning committee last month but were delayed so that the results of a structural survey of the 1897-built building can be known.

Chris Costelloe, director of the Victorian Society, said: “All over the country there are wonderful examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture but sadly even the finest architecture is no match for sustained neglect or poor planning.

“We want to ensure that the best examples are still there for future generations to enjoy.

“To do this we need to know what is most at risk, so if you know of a vulnerable school building, or an empty pub, a redundant chapel or a crumbling but magnificent feat of engineering, we want to hear about it.”

Some of the buildings from last year’s Top 10 have seen a turnaround in fortune, including the Palace Theatre in Swansea, which has just been allocated £75,000 by Swansea Council for emergency repairs, and the owner of the Jumbo Water Tower, in Colchester, has put it up for sale, with local campaigners hoping to buy it.

Nominations close on Friday, July 4.

All the buildings nominated will be considered by the Society’s experts on architecture and conservation.

The Top Ten list will then be announced in October.

To nominate a building, email sophie@victoriansociety.org.uk, tweet @thevicsoc or write to The Victorian Society at 1 Priory Gardens, London W4 1TT with brief details of the buildings at risk. Buildings must have been built between 1837 and 1914 and do not have to be listed.

 

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