Heritage under threat

A MARTELLO tower perched on eroding cliffs and a leaking 15th century barn are among the buildings that are now "at risk" in East Anglia.English Heritage launches this year's edition of its Buildings At Risk Register for the region today .

A MARTELLO tower perched on eroding cliffs and a leaking 15th century barn are among the buildings that are now "at risk" in East Anglia.

English Heritage launches this year's edition of its Buildings At Risk Register for the region today .

And while senior officers in the East of England have hailed the annual list as more successful this year, the battle to save Suffolk's heritage is continuing.

Andrew Derrick, assistant regional director of the organisation, said the preservation of the landmark buildings was vital to ensure the survival of "our collective memories."

He added: "Looking more widely, the real challenges facing Suffolk and the region are that there are a lot of historical building types that are redundant and no longer needed for their original purposes."

Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, added: "Ideally, the resources would be available to secure the future of the entire register; in the meantime, our aims are to make sure the nation's most vulnerable buildings are not forgotten and to help save every one that we can."

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There are a total of 124 vulnerable buildings in the region that the organisation has highlighted as needing urgent action.

While the register contains seven new entries there are also 11 buildings that have been removed.

Among the 27 Grade I and II* (starred) listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments deemed "at risk" in Suffolk are the Martello Tower "W", in Bawdsey, and a barn, near Bentley Hall, both of which have been added this year.

The inhabited Martello Tower, in East Lane, is in danger of being swept into the sea.

Rapid erosion caused by stormy weather means that the Napoleonic tower, which was converted into residential use in the 1980s, could crumble into the sea within four years if a vital coastal protection scheme does not receive Government money.

English Heritage is considering jacking up the privately-owned tower and bringing it inland.

The 15th century barn, in Bentley Hall Road, Bentley, is built of timber frame and brick nogging.

The occupied structure is unstable and water is penetrating the walls in places, which is accelerating the decay of the building. The owner is currently seeking sources to generate money for its repair.

Mr Derrick said: "This is a typical example of a very commonly threatened building type in Suffolk.

He added: "It has only recently come to our attention. It's a wonderful historical building and it also contains bats, which are a protected specie."

Three buildings in Suffolk have been removed from the register after dramatic turnarounds in their fortunes.

The once crumbling 16th century Freston Tower, which is owned by The Landmark Trust, is now available for holiday retreats after a £400,000 year-long restoration project.

The ruined church at Fornham St Genevieve, has also been preserved, with help from a £15,000 English Heritage grant.

The owner of Ashmans Hall, in Barsham, has also embarked on a massive restoration project, but without any grant aid, rebuilding the house and saving it from a state of virtual dereliction.

The 27 buildings in Suffolk on the register are: Church of St Andrew, in Hall Road, Stratford St Andrew; St Margaret's Chapel, in Mells, Wenhanston with Mells; Moat Farmhouse, in Shadingfield, Beccles; Transmitter Block, Bawdsey Manor, Bawdsey; Glevering Hall Orangery, in Easton Road, Hacheston; Remains of Sibton Abbey, in Sibton; Martello Tower "Z", near Buckanay Farm, in Alderton; Martello Tower "W", at Rose Cottage, in Bawdsey; Martello Tower "Y", on Bawdsey Beach, Bawdsey; Culford Hall, Culford Park, Culford; Church of St Mary, Ickworth Park, Ickworth; The Umbrello, Great Saxham Hall, in Chevington Road, Great Saxham; Moreton Hall, in Bury St Edmunds; Abbey West Front, in Bury St Edmunds; 48 Curchgate Street, in Bury St Edmunds; Eye Priory Guest House, in Eye; Church of St Andrew, in Mickfield; Barn, near Hall's Farmhouse, in Hall's Lane, Norton; Badley Hall barn, Badley; Badley Hall dovecote, Badley; Drinkstone Post Mill, Woolpit Road, Drinkstone; St Lawrence Church, Dial Lane, Ipswich; 45 and 45A St Nicholas Street, Ipswich; Badley Hall, Badley; Barn, near Bentley Hall, in Bentley Hall Road, Bentley; Lawshall Hall, in The Street, Lawshall; Church of St Peter, in College Street, Ipswich.

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