STALYBRIDGE’S town centre has remained in a ‘very bad’ condition on a Heritage at Risk register – but things are improving.
The area is named on the latest list issued by Historic England – one of several sites in Tameside to feature.
But the organisation believes work being done by Tameside Council is putting the area on an upward trajectory.
Historic England told The Correspondent: “Stalybridge’s conservation area has been on the at risk register since 2010.
“Tameside Council last reported in 2017 that the condition of the conservation area was ‘very bad’ due to the loss of historic details and inappropriate changes to shopfronts, windows and doors.
“The number of vacant buildings within the conservation area was also a concern, together with a lack of maintenance and the generally poor condition of the public realm in the area.
“The trend of the condition of the conservation area is now characterised as ‘improving’ as plans are in place and being implemented by the council through the Stalybridge High Street Heritage Action Zone, in partnership with Historic England.
“Improvements to Market Street are near completion and we are exploring options with the council to bring forward building repair grants for businesses, which would lead to a marked improvement in the appearance of shop fronts, leading to a better experience for locals and visitors alike.”
The Heritage at Risk Register gives an annual snapshot of the health of England’s valued historic buildings and places.
In the north west, 77 buildings or structures, 139 places of worship, 82 archaeological sites, seven parks and gardens and 72 conservation areas are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change.
More locally in Tameside, Hyde’s Apethorn Farmhouse ‘continues to deteriorate as the lightweight temporary weather protection is ineffective and the structures are unstable and in varying states of collapse.’
Part of the roof structure at Hyde Hall, on Town Lane, has failed and weather is destroying the interior.
“There is no long term proposal to repair or re-use the hall,” the register states. “The building is in need of urgent works to offer temporary roof protection and to facilitate a proper assessment of the condition and structural support requirements.
“The associated outbuildings are also in varying states of collapse.”
Dukinfield’s Old Hall and Old Chapels, Ashton-under Lyne’s Holy Trinity, Albion and St John the Evangelist Churches, St Anne’s in Denton and St Mary’s in the Newton area of Hyde are also mentioned.
Overall, 159 historic buildings and sites have been added because they are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate development, while 203 sites have been rescued and their futures secured.
In total, there are 4,871 entries on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2023 – 48 fewer than in 2022.
And the organisation’s chief executive Duncan Wilson said: “Protecting our heritage is so important.
“It is truly inspirational to see communities coming together to help save historic buildings and places and find new uses for them.
“The Heritage at Risk programme shines a light on our historic sites most in need and can help to attract funding and help.
“After a quarter of a century of the Heritage at Risk Register, we are celebrating how many places have been saved and continue to find new ways to involve local people in caring for and enjoying their heritage.”