This article appeared in the Winter 1978 (Issue #54) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Britain's Historic Buildings.
Funds available for repair and conservation grants for historic buildings by the Department of the Environment increased from £4,200,000 in 1976/77 to £4,645,000 in 1977/78, but the additional amount was not sufficient to meet increases in wages and materials.
By the end of 1976/77 there were 246,000 buildings in England statutorily listed as being of special architectural or historic interest; 16,423 of them being added to the list during the year under review. No listed building consent for complete demolition of a Grade I building was granted in 1976; but 17 consents for partial demolition were given. There were also 104 consents for total, or partial, demolition for Grade II and II* buildings.
There were 704 applications for repair grants during the year and offers were made in 473 cases. £622,203 went to help the 90 town schemes in operation including nine new schemes that were approved during the year. Town schemes are arrangements between the Department and local authorities for making joint grants in historic towns for the repair of selected buildings which taken singly may not be of particular importance but do form part of an outstanding group.
By 31st March 1977 there were 4,038 conservation areas in England; an increase of 444 during the year. This figure includes 414 areas designated as "outstanding". The number of grants for work in outstanding conservation areas doubled; 801 applications were received and 433 offers of grant were made. When it became apparent that the available money would soon be exhausted by the number of applications for grants the HBC recommended that the rate of assistance should be reduced from 50% to 25% in all but exceptional cases.
Several Kent towns and listed buildings were amongst those receiving grants during the year. Town schemes included Canterbury, Cranbrook, Faversham. Milton Regis and Rochester. Of the houses, Knole received £47,278; Terrace Wall, Rowarden £8,000; Italian Conservatory at Ramsgate £6,075; Poor Priests Hospital, Canterbury £6,075 and Cobham Hall £4,320 and several others smaller amounts. Herne Windmill received £708 being its fourth grant from the Council.