Plans are needed to stop ‘culture of neglect’

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W hen it is facing financial pressure on all fronts, the last thing the Ministry of Defence needs is to come under attack for allowing historic buildings to crumble into decay.

But today we report on how The Naval Dockyard Society has fired a broadside, calling on the MoD to bring a halt to the ‘culture of neglect’ which has put buildings at risk through years of inaction.

Of course, you could argue that any building is just a collection of bricks and mortar.

But within those walls lie hundreds of years of history.

And it’s not a question of being over-sentimental about things – these buildings are an important part of our cultural heritage.

As the oldest building in the Historic Dockyard, the former naval academy is only just over a decade short of 300 years old. To lose places like this would be a tragedy.

We know money is tight, but sadly a ‘quick-fix’ would prove to be a false economy. Plus, it is exactly that kind of thinking which has led to the current situation.

Balancing the books when there are so many other essential projects is a logistical nightmare, and we wouldn’t argue that money should be channelled away from schemes that are clear priorities.

But this is not a new problem – it is not as if this has come out of nowhere. It has clearly been known about and brushed to one side exactly because it has not been a priority.

And now we have a situation where at least £7m is needed to make the site structurally safe, let alone the £15m the society says would be required to fix up all of the affected buildings.

However, a definite plan of action needs to be created to stop the literal rot before it is too late.

Such buildings are part of not only the city’s heritage, but also our nation’s.