Call for care of built heritage

The PEOPLE of Scotland are being encouraged to take a more active role in safeguarding the nation’s built heritage, after figures showed the majority of pre-1919 traditional properties are in need of urgent repair.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, highlighted the problem last week at a Stimulating Demand for Traditional Skills Ministerial Summit at Forth Valley College in Stirling

Ms Hyslop announced that Historic Scotland, which organised the meeting will pilot a Traditional Building Healthcheck scheme to help owners identify problems and suggest how they can best be tackled. She said traditional skills could also encourage employment and sustainable housing, tackle climate change, and assist economic recovery.

Figures released by Historic Scotland revealed that 75 per cent of the nation’s 455,000 traditional dwellings show disrepair to critical elements, such as roofing and external walls, with 53 per cent in need of urgent repair.

These properties, around a fifth of the national total, comprise the bulk of the vernacular architecture which gives Scotland its unique character.

Ms Hyslop said: “Scotland’s built heritage is central to our understanding of who we are and where we come from. It defines our character and reveals much about our interaction with the natural world. Traditional dwellings are a hallmark of our creativity, ingenuity and practical prowess, yet few people realise that much of this irreplaceable resource is in serious decline.

“The evidence produced by Historic Scotland is unequivocal. These are good buildings, some of which have been poorly maintained, and their declining condition is a cause for serious concern.”

ConstructionSkills Scotland will work with Historic Scotland on the Traditional Building Healthcheck scheme with the aim of stimulating the repair and maintenance market.