Government Called On To Save Hounslow's Historic Buildings

English Heritage place five local landmarks on their Buildings at Risk Register

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Liberal Democrats in Hounslow have called on the Government to act now to support Hounslow Council’s efforts to save local historic buildings before they are lost forever.

Cllr Andrew Dakers, Leader of Hounslow Liberal Democrats, made the call following the publication of the 2007 “Buildings at Risk Register” by government heritage organisation English Heritage. This listed the following historic buildings in Hounslow as being at serious risk of further decay and damage:

  • Boston Manor House, TW8 (List grade I – priority C)
  • East stables in Gunnersbury Park, W3 (List grade II* – priority A)
  • The Large Mansion, Gunnersbury Park House, W3 (List grade II* – priority C)
  • St Lawrence's Church (former), High Street, Brentford, TW8 (List grade II* – priority C)
  • Roman Bridge, Jersey Road, Osterley Park, TW7 (List grade II* – priority A)

Cllr Andrew Dakers said, “These buildings are important to our local heritage. Their loss would be a big blow and my fear is that with funding so limited to prevent further decay, restoring them in future would be even more expensive.

“English Heritage have suffered a big drop in the amount of money the government provides to support our heritage. In 1999, the cash available for these building’s was £6.6 million. Last year that dropped to £4.4 million.

“Building and repair costs are rising and without government action to stop the rot now, it may become too expensive to save some of our great historic buildings.

“After many years of in action Hounslow’s new adminstration are showing renewed interest in our historic buildings and are starting to put in place new plans for Gunnersbury and Boston Manor Park.

“Twelve months after the local elections and Cllr Lynch was appointed as Hounslow’s Heritage Champion. He has busy times ahead and can not risk complacency as some of these heritage assets are quickly crumbling away.”

Cllr Andrew Dakers added:
“One practical measure the Liberal Democrats are proposing the government can take is to lower the VAT charged on renovating or extending homes and buildings. It is unfair that when a building is converted into housing or is renovated or extended, VAT has to be paid at the full rate on the building materials.

“In contrast, a house that is built from scratch on a greenfield site is charged no VAT at all. The effect is to encourage more new houses to be build in greenfield areas and to make it more expensive to improve and renovate existing buildings.

“Our proposal will make it cheaper for many people who own older, historic buildings to carry out repairs and renovation. We would pay for this by charging the same lower rate of VAT on materials used in building new houses built on greenfield sites.

“This will also mean owners of historic buildings rely less on grants from the government to improve and protect their property. We believe buildings here in Hounslow would benefit greatly from this.”


August 30, 2007