HERITAGE supporters have welcomed the addition of ancient Dorset buildings to a national 'at risk' list.

They hope the move will enable money to be made available to halt the decay of the structures.

English Heritage yesterday included 18 of the county's old or ruined edifices - five of which are new entries - in its annual register of buildings under threat.

West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin welcomed the decision to add the Literary and Scientific Institute in Bridport to the record for the first time.

Mr Letwin said: "This is good news because it should now be eligible for further funding. Many groups are working to put together a scheme that will preserve all its tremendous architectural features and bring it into use by the community.

"I am optimistic about its future, although it will involve raising quite a lot of money from grant bodies."

Arts group PVA Media Lab recently moved out of the Grade II listed building because of its derelict state.

Another new entrant is Sandsfoot Castle in Weymouth which has become unstable because the soft clay it stands on is eroding.

Weymouth West councillor Nigel Read said he was pleased that English Heritage had highlighted the old fortress.

He said: "It will not be an easy solution on how to stabilise it because the cliff is so unstable but I welcome the building's inclusion on the register."

Richard Price, chairman of Wyke Preservation Society, agreed that the move would give the medieval ruin added importance and hoped it would lead to a source of funding so work could get under way.

The other three newly-listed sites are Marshwood Castle in Marshwood, West Dorset, a stone manor house within the grounds of Sturminster Newton Castle in Sturminster Newton, North Dorset, and the remains of a medieval building on the outskirts of Witchampton in East Dorset.

Also on the register are:

St Giles' House in Wimborne St Giles, East Dorset, and the grotto 250 metres away from it.

A barn and outbuildings on Tarrant Abbey Farm, Tarrant Crawford, North Dorset.

Manor Farm Barn in Winterborne Clenston, North Dorset.

The North Lodges at Lulworth Castle, Coombe Keynes, Purbeck.

The Riding School in Wolfeton, Charminster.

Lyscombe Chapel in Cheselbourne, West Dorset.

The remains of the Old Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene in North Wootton, West Dorset.

Sherborne House in Newland, Sherborne.

The former Methodist Chapel in Dorchester Road, Tolpuddle.

Lower Lewell Barn on Lower Lewell Farm in West Knighton, West Dorset.

Rufus Castle in Church Ope Road, Easton, Portland

Church of St Peter, Grove Road, Grove, Portland.