'Magnificent legacy' of public buildings at risk

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In Leeds, a former police station has found new life as a bar and restaurant, while the old Shoreditch town hall in the East End of London has become a venue for community events. Yet, all around the country many public buildings are facing an uncertain future through simple neglect of their worth, English Heritage says.

The conservation body warns that many of the nation's redundant town halls, fire stations, courts, schools and libraries are in serious danger of decaying over the next decade unless new uses can be found for them.

Simon Thurley, the government-funded agency's chief executive, said at the launch yesterday of the annual Heritage Counts report on the state of the historic built environment, that there was a "magnificent legacy" of public buildings left by earlier generations, particularly the Victorians, which embodied the spirit of their age. But some were at risk and their number could increase dramatically if action was not taken.

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