The sale of Somerlea Farm presents not only the chance to live in a Grade II listed farmhouse, but the opportunity to repair and reuse a building at risk, the neighbouring Malthouse.
The cost of restoring a historic building can be high and can easily rise above initial estimates as unforeseen problems are often encountered during building work. It is important that you don't underestimate the expense only to find half way through that you've run out of money. These are a few points which need considering:
Most grants cannot be applied for retrospectively. You must establish as early as possible what, if any, financial assistance you will receive. This is a fairly bleak section I'm afraid because there simply aren't enough funds available to grant aid Grade II listed buildings.
Further comprehensive and up to date information on sources of financial support can be found on the Heritage Funding Directory run by Heritage Link.
English Heritage can only offer grants on buildings which are listed Grade I or II* (which excludes most of the buildings in this catalogue) and only on works which they have approved. Its budget is under enormous pressure and in most circumstances it will only grant aid 40% of the fabric repair costs. It would be a good idea to look at the grants page of their website for further details about how to assess whether or not your building is eligible for grant aid and also what kinds of work the various grant programmes fund.
Cadw can, in theory, grant aid repair work to all grades of listed buildings. The re-survey in Wales is not yet complete and there is a clear understanding that there may be many buildings which have yet to be listed but which deserve listed building protection. Many will also be upgraded from their initial listing. However, like English Heritage, its budget is under extreme pressure and there is no guarantee that you will get any grant aid.
Local authorities may be able to offer limited grant aid for certain works.
Moderately good news here. The number of mortgages available for empty and dilapidated buildings has doubled in the last year. But as far as we're aware that only brings the grand total up to two.
The Ecology Buildings Society will lend money on derelict but sound houses. Ecology Building Society, 7 Belton Road, Silsden, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD20 0EE Tel: 0845 674 5566
The building society offers the Brown Mortgage for buildings which need to be repaired. Principal Office: Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6WZ Tel: 01733 372372
We would be interested to hear of any other companies that offer similar mortgages. Most other money lenders will only give a mortgage on buildings which are habitable, although you may be able to organise a loan for uninhabitable buildings.
A pair of late 19th-century houses in the Prittlewell Conservation Area in Southend, Essex listed on Essex County Council's Buildings at Risk Register have been saved from demolition giving renewed hope for the future of 59 and 61 East Street.
Extensive nation-wide coverage of the new Buildings at Risk Catalogue, Dare to Care, has already begun.
Know of a building at risk? Please get in touch with SAVE's Buildings at Risk Officer with any suggestions. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you! Please spread the word.