A historic Somerset landmark has been included among the top 10 most endangered buildings list in the UK for 2023.

The list from the Victorian Society has featured the Rockwell Green Water Tower among sites that are "desperately in need of help".

The distinctive, conically capped, red brick Victorian water tower has stunning views towards the Wellington Monument and the Blackdown Hills.

It is described as a "wonder of Victorian engineering" by the Victorian Society, that created an organised, safe public water supply to protect public health.

The tower was commissioned in 1885 following an epidemic of typhoid fever, where it replaced 286 wells that had become polluted.

Somerset County Gazette: A before and after comparison of the tower being cleanedA before and after comparison of the tower being cleaned (Image: Somerset West and Taunton Council)

A second tower was later built in the 1930s in the village, with the first one gaining Grade-II listed status.

Why is the Rockwell Green Tower endangered?

Both towers were refurbished by Wessex Water and then sold to a developer in 2013 but have remained vacant and neglected, said the society.

Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society President, said: “These are beacons. Titans. These water towers are tremendous.

"In the glorious Somerset countryside, with views towards an area of natural beauty, they would make a special home, or an unusual holiday let.

"This has been achieved with similar structures in many other places. Conversion is far greener than building something new. We can’t throw away our industrial history.”

The society is concerned that the water tower is being left to deteriorate and that there is no plan for it at the moment.

Back in January the Somerset West and Taunton Council issued legal notices to the owner, ordering them to clean up the buildings and remove vegetation from the exterior which threatened their structural integrity.

Somerset County Gazette: A before and after of the area around the water tower being clearedA before and after of the area around the water tower being cleared (Image: Somerset West and Taunton Council)

Following inaction, the council intervened on January 16 to undertake the necessary work itself, with the costs being claimed back from the owner.

Joe O’Donnell, Director, of The Victorian Society, added: “A common factor with most buildings on our list this year is responsible ownership.

"Despite all these buildings being Grade II listed they have been neglected for years. Regular, appropriate, maintenance is vital for older buildings.

"The owners of the buildings on our list should be responsible stewards of these nationally significant buildings. 

"If they can’t or won’t, be that they should sell them so someone else can try and secure their futures before it is too late.”