Leeds Civic Trust launch scheme to chart city's heritage

Former Methodist Chapel, Branch Lane, Leeds An ex-Methodist Chapel, in Branch Lane, currently being used as a carpet salesroom, will be surveyed

Volunteers in Leeds have begun an ambitious project to survey 1,000 of the city's Grade II-listed buildings.

Leeds Civic Trust is working with English Heritage to inspect hundreds of structures and identify those at risk of neglect, decay or dereliction.

Fifty volunteers have been trained to conduct the survey of the city's listed buildings over the coming months.

Jenna Richardson, chair of the trust, said it was important not to let the city's heritage go to "rack and ruin".

The survey is part of a plan to record all of England's 345,000 Grade II buildings, in particular those deemed to be "at risk".

They are not currently covered by English Heritage's Heritage at risk register.

Ms Richardson said: "I think the fact English Heritage do not have an up-to-date list and survey of Grade II-listed buildings is concerning and I think they realise that themselves.

"There are about 3,000 [Grade II buildings] in Leeds and we're aiming to survey about 1,000 of them.

"It's not just White Cloth Hall and Leeds Market that need protecting, it's the ones that tend to be forgotten about but are just as important."

Categories of listed buildings

  • Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important; only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
  • Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*
  • Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest; 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home-owner
  • In England there are approximately 375,000 listed building entries

Source: English Heritage

'Interesting mix'

The project in Leeds is one of 19 pilot schemes across England.

Buildings will be logged as either "at risk, vulnerable, or no problems".

English Heritage said it looked forward to the results of the Leeds pilot.

"We chose [Leeds] as it proposes to survey an interesting mix of around 1,000 urban and rural buildings in the city centre and north-west of the city, finding out what poses the most risk to these important historic places," said a spokeswoman.

Both White Cloth Hall, in Kirkgate, and Leeds Markets are Grade II*-listed buildings.

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