Context 155 - July 2018

38 C O N T E X T 1 5 5 : J U L Y 2 0 1 8 NICK BISHOP and REBECCA BARRETT From risk to regeneration Investing in sites on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register can make a significant contribution to an area’s regeneration, often benefiting the most deprived communities. This year Historic England’s heritage at risk programme will be celebrating its 20th anniver- sary. Since 1998 the Heritage at Risk Register , published annually, has provided a snapshot of the health of our historic environment and helped focus resources on the most urgent and deserving cases. We know that tackling these sites – bringing them back into good repair and finding imaginative new uses – has the potential to deliver considerable public benefits, including opportunities for ‘place-making’. There are challenges too. There are currently over 5,000 assets on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register nationally, from iron-age rampart walls to a mid-19th-century temporary iron mission church. Finding solutions to these sites requires a collaborative approach and the sup- port of volunteers, local authorities, charitable organisations, private owners, funders and com- mercial developers alike. In spring 2017 Historic England commis- sioned Lichfields to help quantify the economic, social and environmental benefits of investing in heritage at risk, with a focus on London. The purpose of the research was to help showcase the role and value of heritage in delivering good growth across the capital, and to ensure that heritage at risk has a robust policy hook both regionally and locally. The research also helped to plug an important gap. The impact of investing in heritage is well documented at a national and regional level.The Heritage Lottery Fund’s The Case for Heritage web pages and Historic England’s annual Heritage Counts series are important examples. By comparison, analyses of local impact are much harder to come by, other than through the differing evaluation tools of individual funders. Project approach Ten case studies were selected to reflect the diversity of successful heritage at risk projects in London – in respect of geographic loca- tion (inner/outer London); asset type (listed buildings/conservation areas/registered parks and gardens); ownership (public/private); and delivery vehicle (statutory action/grant funding). The chosen cases were all recent removals from the Heritage at Risk Register , where project information was more readily available. Deptford Railway Ramp, London Borough of Lewisham (Copyright Deptford Market Yard)