City centers strongly threatened by the loss of heritage
Ross-on-Wye and Kington town centers have now been on the Historic England List of Endangered Heritage for more than a decade.
The latest edition of the register describes conservation areas as both âvery badâ and âdeterioratingâ.
Both have been “regulars” on the register since 2009.
Read more: Future of Leominster heritage plan unveiled
And both are rich in heritage, with the Ross Conservation Area having 153 listed buildings and Kington, 124.
Louis Stark, a member of Ross West County Council, said the town had suffered “systematic underinvestment under previous administrations, while much of any investment was concentrated in Hereford and the surrounding area”.
But he stressed: ‘When you face a funding gap of some Â£ 60million a year, historic infrastructure may not be high on the county’s agenda compared to the need to maintain essential day-to-day services. “
Ross’s former advisers also passed up the opportunity to bid for funding for Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone, which Leominster successfully claimed some Â£ 3.6million for town center improvements earlier this year, said Councilor Stark.
Ross City Councilor Jane Roberts said the city council had done what it could, such as stepping up the protection of the conservation area as part of the city’s development plan, and taking control and reviving the Market House, a downtown landmark, and the Old Chapel on Route Cantilupe.
But the city has “very limited powers and a budget” compared to Herefordshire Council, she said.
Nick Joyce, building conservation consultant with Herefordshire Council, said: âFunding is extremely difficult – we are all doing what we can with limited resources. “
Meanwhile, the council has recently been “inundated” with applications for permission to build and build lists, meaning that conservation work on existing listed buildings “had to be put aside,” he said. he declares.
He thinks rethinking what city centers are for could help solve the problem of underinvestment.
âRetail is changing, so we need fewer stores than we have,â he said. âWe have to get people back to living more in the city centers, which I think will happen. “
Many stores in the old market towns were previously residences, which could be reinstated, he said. âIt would help the remaining small stores. We are also seeing more demand for apartments than for stores.
This has remained the norm in parts of mainland Europe, which âlook better at it,â he said.
âKington is charming and the fact that there hasn’t been a lot of investment historically means that the fabric of the city center is largely unchanged.â
Kington County Councilor and City Council have been approached for comment.