The Buildings at Risk Toolkit is part of an initiative funded by Historic Scotland and managed by The Architectural Heritage Fund. It explores and guides on ways to tackle Scotland’s most endangered historic buildings.
The Toolkit comprises advice on a range of matters relating to buildings at risk and should be of value to anyone who owns an old building, which is deteriorating. It brings together information not readily accessible elsewhere.
The toolkit is aimed mainly at those engaging with buildings at risk cases and contains technical and practical information and guidance gathered from a range of sources including the experience of a number of highly experienced practitioners and stakeholders.
01 – Introduction and Contents
The toolkit is intended to offer effective guidance, information and knowledge of good practice.
The toolkit pages are made available to all via the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland web site.
02 – Duties and Responsibilities
Apart from issues of public safety there is no statutory obligation upon the owner of a listed building or a building in a conservation area to keep their property in a good state of repair, although it is usually in their interest to do so. Despite the lack of an explicit duty there is an informal structure of checks and balances, moral obligations and public expectations found in published statements, charters, professional codes of conduct, guidance, opinions, provisions and regulations and in established practice and convention that affects behaviour around historic buildings, including those at risk.
03 – Legislative Context and Powers
The current laws and regulations surrounding day to day issues of buildings at risk lie within the area of Town and Country Planning legislation.
04 – Surveys and Monitoring
Exploring different methods of surveying and monitoring the historic environment.
05 – Strategic Approaches
Using data to identify key issues, set priorities, make recommendations and programme action.
06 – Property Asset Management
Managing heritage assets within local authorities.
07 – Owners and Ownership
Establishing positive dialogue with building owners.
08 – Planning or Conservation Briefs
Through a Planning or Conservation Brief, planning and listed building issues can be explored and agreed in advance of marketing and it can inform deliberations over a building’s future, including consideration of applications for planning and listed building consent.
09 – Marketing Buildings at Risk
Any strategic approach to buildings at risk, or council property asset management plan, should include provisions for the effective marketing of building at risk in a manner that ensures the special qualities and conservation needs of buildings at risk are taken into account and ensure in its future.
10 – Community Asset Transfer
Asset acquisition may not be right for every community, as much will depend on local circumstances, but where it is appropriate there are a number of benefits that can be realised.
11 – Buying Time
All buildings deteriorate over time unless subject to careful attention. The preservation of a historic building therefore requires regular maintenance and timely repair which should, ideally, be based on a planned programme of preventative conservation implemented in accordance with a prioritised schedule.
12 – Urgent Works Notice
Section 49 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 enables local authorities to carry out any emergency works which appear to them to be urgently necessary for the preservation of a listed buildings in their area and, as modified by section 25 of the Historic Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2011, to undertake preventative works necessary to limit the deterioration of a building.
13 – Repairs Notice
Section 43 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 enables local authorities to serve a notice (the Repairs Notice) on the owner of a listed building specifying those works which it considers reasonably necessary for the proper preservation of the building. If, after a period of not less that two months, it appears that reasonable steps are not being taken for its proper preservation, the local authority can begin compulsory purchase proceedings under section 42 of the Act. A Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) requires the Scottish Ministers’ confirmation. Scottish Ministers also have powers to acquire and must consult Historic Scotland before exercising them, or confirming a CPO made by a local authority.
14 – The Amenity Notice
If a planning authority considers that the amenity of any part of land in their district is adversely affected by the condition of neighbouring land, they may serve a notice (an Amenity Notice) under section 179 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 requiring that steps be taken to tidy up the site. The use of such notices is not limited to land but can be applied to buildings and structures although not to a scheduled ancient monument. While not specifically designed for dealing with building at risk cases, the use of this notice can be highly effective in removing ‘infectious’ blighting effects and stressing to the owner the seriousness of a situation and the unfortunate consequences it is having for the wider community.
15 – Dangerous Buildings and Demolition
It is clear that it is Scottish Government policy that no worthwhile building should be lost unless it is demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that every effort has been made to find practical ways of keeping it.
16 – Compulsory Acquisition
The Planning and Housing Acts contain a number of provisions that allow local authorities to acquire buildings at risk compulsorily. This can be an action of last resort where a listed building or building in a conservation area is not being properly preserved and an effective technique for ensuring that a property is transferred to more sympathetic hands.
17 – Toolkit Funding
This section comprises a series of short texts on unrelated aspects of funding and financing buildings at risk projects. This does not attempt to replicate the advice guides of the principal funding agencies nor does it seek repeat the case studies of funding arrangements for completed schemes published in the annual reports of the Architectural Heritage Fund and elsewhere.
18 – Case Studies and Pilots
This section picks up and illustrates several of the themes covered in the Toolkit by looking at them in more detail. 18 Case Studies and Pilots April 2014.pdf
The Tin Tabernacle Dunbar is no more. Thank you Google for the historic images.
Thank also the ELC planning committee and Dunbar Community Council for their efforts to wipe out the old.