A DILAPIDATED historic fort and town centre conservation area are in desperate need of rescue according to a national “at risk” register.

Beacon Hill Fort in Harwich is a scheduled ancient monument of national importance.

It includes a number of buried and standing remains of the coastal artillery batteries, the earliest thought to date back to 1812.

But the fort, which overlooks the mouth of the Stour Estuary, has fallen into disrepair over the years, blighted by litter, vandals and graffiti.

It’s on this year’s Historic England Heritage At Risk register, which says the site has “extensive significant problems”, is deteriorating and in need of management.

The Historic England website says: “The more extensive modifications to the fort in World War II survive in exceptional condition.

“It is one of very few World War II batteries to survive almost fully intact, and therefore allows a comprehensive picture of operational use at this crucial point in British history.

“The retention and adaptation of earlier features throughout the evolution of the fort, together with the extensive range of documentary evidence, provides a significant insight into the development of military theory and technology from the later 19th century onwards.

“The continuous use of the fort is a reflection of the military importance of the harbour, most especially during the world wars when it provided the only deep water naval base between the Thames and the Humber.

“It is therefore of considerable interest in terms of the history of the town, the harbour and the more general defence of Britain.”

Historic England also says there is particular concern about the high number of conservation areas on the At Risk Register.

In the East of England, 49 conservation areas are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change.

Dovercourt’s conservation area is one of them. It is listed as being in a “very bad” condition and deteriorating significantly.

The area includes Cliff Park gardens and Orwell Terrace as well as the High Street from Victoria Street to the junction with Kingsway, the station and Kingsway Hall.

Garry Calver, Tendring and Harwich councillor for the area, said: “The two sites included on the register have been areas of concern for many years and it is no surprise that they are listed as such.

“In both cases there is reason to be a little optimistic that the tide is turning and we may begin to move forward.

“In particular, the £1million allocated by Tendring Council for public realm work in Dovercourt Town Centre will be a massive positive step and the project has our total support.”

It is understood a new town square could be built and one of the potential regeneration areas could be the former Starlings site, in Main Road, which was torn town after being left derelict following a fire in 2012.