Buildings at risk
Heritage at risk
The Heritage at Risk (HAR) programme is managed by Historic England and was set up to understand the overall state of England's historic sites. The programme identifies those sites that are most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development. Every year Historic England updates the Heritage at Risk Register. Every year Historic England updates the national Heritage at Risk Register. This is a list of the nation’s most important heritage which is most at risk and most in need of rescuing from vacancy, neglect, decay and/or inappropriate development. These include listed buildings (grade I and II* only), conservation areas, registered parks and gardens and scheduled monuments. You can view the list of Grade I, Grade II*, conservation areas and scheduled monuments at risk on the national heritage at risk register. You can search for the Maidstone entries within the Kent section.
Our buildings at risk
We maintain our own local register, focussing on Grade II listed buildings that are not on the national Heritage at Risk Register. The purpose of the register is to identify the most vulnerable heritage assets in the borough and to establish necessary actions to ensure their preservation. While most of the borough’s listed buildings are well-maintained, a small number are in poor condition and have deteriorated either due to lack of maintenance, vandalism or fire damage. As of 2023, half of local authorities in England maintain heritage at risk registers. We have produced this in response to a concern at the growing number of listed buildings and buildings in the borough that have fallen into a state of disrepair. The aim of the register is to highlight the buildings at risk which cannot be added to the national list. We will engage with owners of listed building and local communities to find a suitable use and to help improve the condition of buildings at risk with the aim of eventually removing them from the register.
Regular maintenance is the key to avoiding expensive repairs and forms a cornerstone of building conservation. The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), a leading advocate for and regulator of best practices in the field of historic preservation, has produced A Stitch in Time. This document provides advice and can assist property owners in formulating an appropriate maintenance strategy. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) also offers technical advice on repairs and maintenance of historic buildings.
For more sizable or historically significant listed buildings, investing in the development of a conservation management plan can yield substantial benefits. This plan serves to identify critical repair areas, establish an ongoing maintenance schedule (thus minimising future repair needs), and outline potential improvements that won't compromise the building's historical value. Importantly, it's noteworthy that such enhancements could require obtaining listed building consent and/or planning permission. Consequently, any component of a conservation management plan should be thoroughly discussed with the heritage team. We offer conservation advice through our pre-application service and can advise on works to listed buildings.
Unauthorised development may seriously harm the character of listed buildings, conservation areas and non-designated heritage assets as well as causing other problems. We are fully committed to using powers under Section 172 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to serve enforcement notices, where expedient, to allay breaches of planning control. Section 9 of the act sets out the relevant offences. Parallel powers to serve listed building enforcement notices regarding unauthorised works to listed buildings also exist by virtue of Section 38 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, and these too will be used to their full. In suitable cases we may also exercise the legal provision to seek a prosecution for unauthorised works to a listed building or the unauthorised demolition of an unlisted building. We will also use the full range of powers available in addressing the failure of owners to properly maintain their buildings. This includes repairs notices, urgent works notices, and in the most serious cases, the use of compulsory purchase powers.