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Swale's Heritage at Risk

Every year Historic England updates the national Heritage at Risk Register. This is a list of the nation’s most important heritage which is most at risk and most in need of rescuing from vacancy, neglect, decay and/or inappropriate development. These include listed buildings (grade I and II* only), conservation areas, registered parks & gardens and scheduled monuments.

The Council works with Historic England, owners, developers and local communities to safeguard the future of our most vulnerable designated heritage assets. You can view the list of heritage assets at risk in Swale Borough on the national Heritage at Risk (London & South East) Register 2019. You can find the Swale entries within the Kent section, on pages 172 – 174.

The Council also maintains its own local register, and this has just been updated to provide baseline heritage at risk data for the Council’s adopted Heritage Strategy 2020 – 2032. For more information on Swale’s heritage strategy, please visit our separate Swale’s Heritage Strategy web page.

For the first time, this local heritage at risk register is being made available to public view via the Council’s website. In addition to the items contained on the regionally organised national list, the local heritage at risk register also considers grade II listed buildings as well as buildings/structures considered to be of heritage interest at a local level but which are not of sufficient heritage significance to warrant formal listing by Historic England. This local heritage at risk register will also be updated annually from now on, and you can download the current 2020 Heritage Strategy baseline version (PDF 2MB).

Table showing percentage of heritage at risk
Swale Heritage at Risk 2020 headline data Comparison data % at risk
Scheduled Monuments, 3 at risk  Scheduled Monuments Total: 22  13.6
Grade I Listed Buildings, 3 at risk  Grade I Listed Buildings Total: 37  8.1
Grade II* Listed Buildings, 3 at risk  Grade II* Listed Buildings Total: 89  3.3
Grade II Listed Buildings, 25 at risk  Grade II Listed Buildings Total: 1314  1.9
Curtilage Listed Buildings, 3 at risk  (data currently not available)  -
Conservation Areas, 8 at risk  Conservation Areas Total: 50  16
Registered Parks and Gardens, 0 at risk  Registered P & G’s Total: 4  0
Local interest heritage assets, 3 at risk  (data currently not available)  -


It is first and foremost the owners of listed buildings and other heritage assets that are responsible for the proper upkeep of their properties, and it should be recognised that they do so as the current guardians of a little piece of the nation’s heritage, however modest the buildings or structure in question may be.

Because of the particular responsibility such owners carry, the Council is here to provide support as far as it is able to do so. Unfortunately, we are not currently able to offer any conservation grants for repairs due to ongoing year-on-year budget cuts to local government funding, but we are able to offer free advice concerning repairs, either in response to a telephone or email/written enquiry or via a site meeting. For anything more than some quick advice over the telephone, this will necessitate the filling in of a short enquiry form, which can be emailed or posted to us. Please click here for more information on how to use this service, provided as part of our pre-application advice service.

For the avoidance of doubt, please note that in many cases, repairs to listed buildings do not require listed building consent or planning permission, but it is always a good idea to check, and an easy way of doing so is via our free enquiry service.

The Listed Property Owners Club (which is based in Swale, but operates nationally) is another good source of advice for the owners of listed properties and the Council would encourage all listed property owners to consider joining this very worthwhile club.

Regular and appropriate maintenance is key to the good stewardship of listed and other historically or architecturally important building, in particular those that are of traditional timber framed or masonry (brick and/or stone) construction. The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) which promotes and helps to regulate best practice in the historic environment field produces a guide called A Stitch in Time which property owners may find helpful in working out an appropriate maintenance regime (PDF 976kb).

For larger and/or more significant listed buildings the production of a conservation management plan can be a worthwhile investment. Amongst other things, this can help to identify key areas of repairs that need to be undertaken, a regime for necessary ongoing maintenance (to limit the need for future repair) and planned improvements which could be undertaken to enhance the amenity of the building, without compromising its heritage significance. Note that such improvements might necessitate listed building consent and/or planning permission so any such element of a conservation management plan would need to be discussed with the Council’s Heritage Team.

Breaches of Planning Control and Failure to Properly Maintain

The Council takes very seriously the matter of working with owners to ensure that the historic environment of Swale is properly cared for and respected. As such, it rightly gives a high priority to dealing with owners that carry out unauthorised works or development in relation to a heritage asset. In the most serious cases where irretrievable harm has resulted to a heritage asset, actions taken by the Council may include prosecution of all relevant parties (owners, lessees, tenants, contractors and consultants, etc.). Listed building and/or planning enforcement notices will be used to reverse harmful change where feasible, and the Council will also use the full range of powers available to it in addressing the failure of owners to properly maintain their buildings. This includes Repairs Notices, Urgent Works Notices, and in the most serious cases, the use of compulsory purchase powers.

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