Victorian Society urges local people to ‘seize the opportunity’ and campaign to save them

Barnstaple?s Oliver Buildings have been included on a list of top 10 endangered buildings. Picture: Andy KeebleBarnstaple?s Oliver Buildings have been included on a list of top 10 endangered buildings. Picture: Andy Keeble

Barnstaple’s Oliver Buildings have been included on a list of the top 10 endangered buildings in England and Wales.

The annual list has been published by national architectural charity, the Victorian Society, today (Wednesday).

The Grade II-listed former Shapland and Petter factory buildings could be transformed into a mixed use development as part of the new Anchorwood Bank development.

But with uncertainty still surrounding their future, the Victorian Society has urged local people to ‘seize the opportunity’ and campaign to save them.

Society vice-president Griff Rhys Jones said: “The nationally important buildings on the Victorian Society’s top 10 list are in dire need of help.

“Many of them are in prominent locations in their towns and cities. Following my experience with the Hackney Empire I know how difficult finding funding can be – especially outside London.

“However, restoring important historic buildings is worth investing in as it can be a catalyst for wider regeneration. I hope people living near these buildings will seize this opportunity and campaign to save them.

“Ultimately, it is the support of local people which will ensure that they are not lost for ever.”

The society said that North Devon Council had a duty to ensure the buildings are not left decaying with no plans being brought forward.

Victorian Society director Christopher Costelloe said: “I hope inclusion in the top 10 will spur North Devon Council and the owners to urgently set out plans to bring the Oliver Buildings back into use.

“Simply stating that the buildings will be included in plans is not enough. These buildings need urgent action to prevent further decay. Retaining historic buildings like those in the top 10 is vital to maintaining local identity and creating places in which people want to invest, live and work.”

Other buildings on this year’s list include a former cotton mill in Wigan; a church in Chester; old hospitals in Wakefield and Preston; an old library in Stafford; and a former railway station in Cardiff.

For the first time there are no buildings in London and the South East on the list.