Battle to save Sunderland’s historic buildings

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THESE ramshackle buildings are at the centre of a campaign to preserve Sunderland’s history.

English Heritage has launched its Heritage at Risk Register 2012, which flags up 69 of the North East’s Grade I and II-listed buildings that are in particular danger – including several in Sunderland.

Old Sunderland (c) English Heritage

Old Sunderland (c) English Heritage

It fears if action is not taken soon, time will run out to save them.

The old orphanage in the East End and buildings in High Street East and West are among those singled out as being of particular concern.

The new register shows the North East has the highest percentage of Grade I and II-listed buildings at risk.

Now, English Heritage is urging the public to think of new ways to save the region’s historic sites from the demolition ball.

Old Sunderland (c) English Heritage

Old Sunderland (c) English Heritage

Kate Wilson, head of Heritage at Risk for the North East, said: “We want to know what people would like to do with these buildings and how we and the local authority can help.

“These buildings are crying out for someone to bring them back into use.

“Something like the East End orphanage, for instance, you could just mothball it, if you keep the building water-tight and the vandals out, but we are looking for someone to take a longer-term view.

“We need to find ways to help owners identify new uses for buildings.

“It doesn’t have to be as a shop, it could be some other use that keeps them there on our high streets.

“We are going to work with the local authority to look at all the options for these buildings.”

Buildings already at risk had suffered particularly hard in the region during the economic downturn, she added.

“If anyone has got any ideas, they need to come forward – now is the most opportune moment,” said Kate.

“The North East has been hit hard in this recession. We have got more problems here than they perhaps have down south.”

English Heritage has offered to fund up to 15 pilot projects nationwide, working with councils, heritage and community groups to identify options for buildings which are particularly at risk.

To apply, visit

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