[T]he inclusion of part of a local village on a national heritage at risk register should help to secure a sustainable future for a number of its most important buildings.
Burton-in-Kendal is one of South Lakeland’s most historic villages and this rich heritage is reflected in its status as a Conservation Area, with 23 listed buildings and more than 60 other properties which add to the special character of the area. .
The passage of time and traffic has taken its toll and a recent survey revealed that five prominent buildings which are in private ownership, including a listed building, were either unoccupied or unused.
Some are showing signs of deterioration including decay and loss of historical detail and some may deteriorate beyond economic repair if no action is taken.
South Lakeland District Council alerted Historic England to these early warning signs and the Burton-in-Kendal Conservation Area has now been included in the National Heritage at Risk Register.
This means SLDC can bid for funding from English Heritage to help fund enhancement and restoration work to secure the future of important buildings in the village.
Cllr Matt Severn, SLDC’s Portfolio Holder for Culture, Media and Leisure, says the announcement that the village is being added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register will help to kick-start its recovery.
“This is a wake-up call which will be heard and acted upon. This council is determined to nip these early signs of decline in the bud and ensure Burton in Kendal’s historic environment is improved and cherished for generations to come,” he said.
“We approached Historic England to seek their support in highlighting the condition of Burton’s heritage and their future assistance will be vital in helping us to understand the pressures, overcome the challenges and revive the fortunes of this proud South Lakeland village.”
Cllr Severn added: “Now is the time to act to secure the future of these buildings, if not they might not have one. We need to find ways to reverse this decline, find new uses where appropriate and ensure that these properties and the distinctive character of the area isn’t lost to future generations.”
Working with Historic England, SLDC will now be able to get access to specialist advice, help and be able to bid for potential funding.
The council says it also hopes to work closely with the local parish council and the community to produce a management plan and a design guide to help residents and developers implement more sympathetic and sensitive changes.
A spokesperson for Burton-in-Kendal Parish Council said: “We enthusiastically support any conservation initiatives that will help to preserve the infrastructure of the historic buildings and open spaces at the heart of the village.”
Cllr Roger Bingham, a professional historian who represents the district ward of Burton and Holme, said: “Burton is very proud of its architecturally varied and generally well-cared for historic buildings. Consequently I am sure most local people and our welcome visitors will join with the parish council and myself in welcoming any professional advice or funding which will contribute to enhancing this important ancient village.”