Thursday, 6 September 2007

Losing our heritage at Kirkleatham

Liberal Democrats in Redcar have called on the Government to act now to save historic buildings before they are lost forever.

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Ian Swales (pictured above with local conservationist Alexandra Stamp) made the call following the publication of the 2007 English Heritage “Buildings at Risk Register”.

Of the 119 buildings and structures listed in the North East of England no less than 6 lie in Kirkleatham village near Redcar.

Ian Swales said "These buildings are important to our local heritage. Kirkleatham is a beautiful mixture of glorious nature and distinguished early 18th century buildings and monuments unique in the Redcar and Cleveland area. A place that should be a magnet for visitors has now become a cause for local shame ."

Chief among the buildings at risk is the Kirkleatham Hall Stables, a handsome 18th century Grade II listed stable block set near charming walks and woodlands. The stables are approached through elegant gate piers topped by large lions which are listed Grade I. A conservation plan and options appraisal was commissioned by the Council in 2005 but the condition of these magnificentl structures continues to deteriorate.

Ian Swales said "the stables could be converted into highly desirable luxury accommodation by a specialised developer provided that public access was maintained and no further building was permitted in this sensitive landscape."

To the North East of the stables lies a romantic gatehouse badly in need of repair and dating from around 1780.

Ian Swales said “English Heritage have suffered a drop of nearly £20m over the last 6 years in the grant provided by the Government. The heritage lottery funds are now also being raided by a Government who seem to have undermined the independence of the lottery by announcing what will happen to the funds raised.

“As well as restoring the heritage grants the Government should change the VAT rules. The present system favours green field development as that is VAT free whilst repair and renovation attracts VAT at the full rate."

1 comment:

Patricia Tutt said...

I used to work with Alex Artley at the AP and would like to contact her. Would you be able to pass on my email - first name.surname at manx.net ? Many thanks.

It's good to see Alex is still involved.