Campaign 'saved 2,000 at risk London listed buildings'

Wellington Arch and the Albert Memorial are among the 2,000 buildings in London which have been restored by a 20-year campaign, English Heritage has said.

The group said its decision to start an 'at risk' register in 1991, to include buildings which had fallen into disrepair, saved iconic properties.

English Heritage's Philip Davies urged councils not to let conservation become an "easy target" of spending cuts.

More than 90% of the buildings in the 1991 list have been rescued, he said.

English Heritage said five of the capital's "gems" - Camden Roundhouse in north London, Wellington Arch in Hyde Park Corner, the modernist Isokon Flats in Hampstead, the Albert Memorial in Kensington, and Danson House in Bexley could have been lost if they had not been restored.

These are among the landmarks being featured in a book, Saving London, published by the group.

Mr Davies, the planning and development director for London, said: "We understand that local authorities are under huge pressure to slash spending.

"Resources for heritage and the built environment might be identified as easy targets - but short term financial considerations should not cause long term damage."

Image caption The Wellington Arch is also known as the Constitution Arch

He urged councils to "think before they cut conservation officer posts and funding".

"Conservation officers have a crucial role to play in helping to achieve the government's new agenda of localism. Heritage is core - not a luxury," he added.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said English Heritage's campaign was "breathing life back into some of the city's most important buildings".

"Developments such as Kings Cross Central are leading the way in proving how the old can be integrated with the new, with the once-bustling Granary now looking forward to a bright future as the home of the University of the Arts," he added.

In 1998 the at risk London Register was expanded to include vulnerable buildings across the country and now includes archaeological and historic sites, parks and coasts.

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