Quite often these people don't understand the full horrors of what they are taking on. Examples are Butterley Ironworks and Heanor Grammar School.
The owners of listed buildings have a legal obligation to maintain the building for the benefit of a handful of architectural historians.
I know the finances of Chesterfield Borough Council are pretty desperate but they should arrange for the planning department to carry out an inspection under the LBCA Act.
They can then serve a repairs notice on the Estates Department. These usually demand all possible work for a life of at least 50 years.
The council could get a better price if the repairs demanded are known in advance.
It might be possible to arrange an indication that a grant would be available from Historic England. Applications are not so expensive if there is a repairs notice and a II* building stands a good chance.
This would also apply if local residents became responsible for the building.
They would find it easier to get grants for purposes other than historic buildings. Small business offices are currently in fashion in Whitehall.
My main worry is that the council will dump the building onto a local trust without the substantial funds needed to comply with the repairs notice.
There is a private body called the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust.
Since this includes nearly all those interested in historic buildings, efforts should be made to involve them.
For another Derbyshire Times letter click here:
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