A HERITAGE group is calling for an historic North East building to be saved for future generations.
Conservation charity SAVE Britain’s Heritage has placed Balgownie House, in Jarrow, South Tyneside, on its catalogue of buildings at risk.
The annual report throws a spotlight on around 100 structures in need of repair throughout England and Wales. The study aims to restore the crumbling properties to their former glory.
Balgownie House, on Bede Burn Road, has been empty for several years. Campaigners say that any new plans to develop the site should seek to retain and safeguard the building.
The property was built in 1875 for surgeon Frederick O’Neil and was later converted for use as a dentist’s surgery. Its next use was as council offices.
A spokesman from SAVE Britain’s Heritage said: “The charity has been compiling a register of buildings at risk since 1989. The register highlights historic buildings that are vacant and whose future is uncertain with the aim to identify new owners able to repair them and/or find a new use for them, which will secure the building’s future.
“Balgownie House is an imposing historic building in Jarrow. It is made of brick with stone dressings. It has extensive gardens and an enclosed yard.
“The building, which was recently sold, has been empty since 2008. No planning permission has been submitted but there are concerns that, despite the fact that there is room elsewhere on the site for new development, a residential scheme might involve the destruction of the building.”
The charity’s call to preserve the landmark has been echoed by community leaders.
Coun Kenneth Stephenson, who represents the Primrose ward on South Tyneside Council, said it was important to safeguard the town’s heritage.
He added: “Balgownie House has been standing in Jarrow for a very long time and has historic value.
“I would very much support the idea of preserving it for future generations. It’s a part of Jarrow’s heritage and should be kept.”