World Heritage UK responds to draft National Planning Framework

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WORLD HERITAGE UK’S RESPONSE TO DRAFT REVISED NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR ENGLAND

 

cityscape St Pauls and The Shard

The Government’s planning policies for England are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The Government has recently announced its intention to revise the Framework and has consulted on a draft revision.  World Heritage UK (WH:UK) responded to the consultation.

As a State Party to the World Heritage Convention, the United Kingdom is required to protect, preserve, present and transmit to future generations its World Heritage Sites.  It does this primarily through its planning systems. In the last 18 months, WH:UK has been working to suggest how the UK’s planning systems could be improved further to meet these responsibilities.   It based its response to the Draft Revised National Planning Policy Framework largely on this work.

In its response, WH:UK pointed out that England’s World Heritage Sites include a wide range of historic monuments and past industry, landscapes, townscapes, and natural and ecological features.  Therefore they will be affected by many of the policies in the NPPF. They cannot be treated as a single homogenous entity.

The full text of WH:UK’s response can be found under Correspondence and Consultations on its website Response to draft NPPF May 18 – resubmission final.

The key points in WH:UK’s response are:

  • Recognition.  WH:UK welcomes the recognition given to the protection of World Heritage Sites in various places in the Draft Revised NPPF.  It urges that, in due course, such protection should be enshrined in primary legislation.
  • Development Plans. WHUK strongly disagrees with the proposed changes to the nature of the “development plan”.   The Draft Revised NPPF states that, while local planning authorities will be obliged to produce a plan that addresses the strategic priorities for their area, there would be no obligation on them to produce more detailed policies in a Local Plan.   However Local Plans contain the very policies that currently protect, preserve and help present World Heritage Sites. They cover issues such as good design, the type of development that is or is not acceptable at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites, the protection of Sites’ settings and/ro buffer zones and the promotion of conservation.   It cannot be assumed that local authorities will voluntarily produce local plans. If they do not, this would severely weaken the effectiveness of the planning system in helping to deliver the State Party’s obligations on World Heritage Sites.
  • Pre-application engagement. WH:UK welcomes the continuing support for pre-application engagement.  It has encouraged its members to be more actively involved in decision-making processes and recognises the value of early dialogue.
  • Economic value of World Heritage Sites. WH:UK suggested that the NPPF should recognise the economic value of World Heritage Sites both locally and nationally.
  • Good design. WH:UK strongly supports the encouragement of good design.  It does not agree that it would be acceptable for increased densities to overrule local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting.  Such an approach could threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of a World Heritage Site or its setting and/or buffer zone, all as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.
  • Green Belt. Similarly, while WH:UK understands the need to make best use of urban land and to protect the Green Belt, it is important to appreciate that this policy approach can threaten the Outstanding Universal Value and/or setting/buffer zone of some World Heritage Sites by increasing development pressures within urban areas.    This is a question of priorities, which the Revised Draft NPPF does not resolve. Instead it states that development in Green Belts may be approved in “very special circumstances” while “Substantial harm or loss of …World Heritage Sites should be wholly exceptional.” WH:UK believes that, given their worldwide importance, World Heritage Sites should take precedence over Green Belts, and therefore there may be circumstances where it would be appropriate to review Green Belt boundaries to relieve development pressures at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites.
  • Natural World Heritage Sites.  WH:UK is seriously disappointed that the chapter on conserving and enhancing the natural environment does not recognise or set out policies for England’s natural World Heritage Site (the Dorset and East Devon Coast) or any such sites that may be inscribed in the future. The existence of such sites is recognised only in a footnote in the chapter on conserving and enhancing the historic environment, and then no indication is given as to whether the policies applicable to World Heritage Sites in that chapter apply to natural sites.  Nevertheless, WH:UK warmly welcomes the new reference in the first paragraph of that chapter to World Heritage Sites, which provides a clear signal in respect of the Sites’ importance.
  • Heritage Impact Assessments. WH:UK  strongly encourages the use of Heritage Impact Assessments to help local planning authorities determine development proposals, and considers these should be mentioned in the NPPF.
  • Development within World Heritage Sites. WH:UK supports of the proposed retention of the requirement on local authorities to “look for opportunities for new development within World Heritage Sites…to enhance or better reveal their significance;” while recognizing that not all elements of a World Heritage Site will necessarily contribute to its significance.
  • Minerals development. World Heritage UK welcomes the continued protection of World Heritage Sites through the provision of landbanks of non-energy minerals from outside these areas as far as is practical.  However that protection should also be applied to areas that form part of the setting and /or the buffer zone of Sites, as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.  Also the text addressing the issues on oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction is very weak in relation to heritage issues. In this respect, WH:UK advocates a similar approach as for non-energy minerals.

Author credit: Donald Gobbett, World Heritage UK Board Member

World Heritage UK Welcomes Change of Mood on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site

Advocacy, Announcement, Culture, Liverpool, News, Planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK
800px-Liverpool_skyline,_closeup

Liverpool World Heritage Site Credit: Wikipedia commons

 

Liverpool’s World Heritage Site has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites ‘in danger’ since 2012.  UNESCO’s primary concern has centred on the tall buildings in the ‘Liverpool Waters’ development proposal, put forward by Peel Holdings, which was given outline planning permission in 2012.  The perceived negative impact of these proposed tall buildings was on long distance views of the Liverpool skyline from the other bank of the Mersey.  Of particular concern, it appears, were the tall buildings proposed for the former Clarence Dock site, which is within the World Heritage Site buffer zone.

See also: https://lbndaily.co.uk/world-heritage-uk-backs-liverpools-push-preserve-world-heritage-status/

https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/heritage-body-takes-up-liverpools-case/

World Heritage UK, the body representing all 31 UK World Heritage Sites, is aware that in response to UNESCO’s concerns, Liverpool City Council and Peel Holdings have together recently taken three positive initiatives to minimise the risk of Liverpool losing World Heritage Status and to ultimately take it off the ‘endangered’ list.  These include a new high level task force to raise the profile of the World Heritage Site and address the concerns raised by UNESCO; a ‘Desired State of Conservation Report’ to set out their view of the city’s World Heritage status as it stands; and a review of the master plan for the Liverpool Waters area, where in fact no new development has actually taken place since outline permission was granted in 2012.

From its national perspective, World Heritage UK warmly welcomes all these initiatives and believes that they signal a genuine change of mood in Liverpool.  On behalf of all of the UK’s World Heritage Sites, we ask UNESCO to open a process of constructive dialogue with the UK Government and Liverpool’s stakeholders, in the hope that this will lead to a change in the position they have previously taken on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site.  We further hope that, as the ‘State Party’, the Government will fully engage with the process, thus enabling then to fulfil their international obligations and responsibilities under the World Heritage Convention for the protection and enhancement of the outstanding universal value of all the UK’s World Heritage Sites, not least Liverpool.

As Liverpool’s ‘Desired State of Conservation Report’ notes, there has been spectacular progress in restoring Liverpool’s historic buildings, in the World Heritage Site and beyond. The number of heritage ‘buildings at risk’ has been reduced to only 2.75% of the building stock – far below the UK national average. The restoration of the once derelict Stanley Dock for a new hotel and residential accommodation is a shining example of achievement and work in progress.

World Heritage UK has been briefed on the initial work on Peel’s revised masterplan for Liverpool Waters.

Chris Blandford, World Heritage UK President, said: ‘Whilst the revised plan is still at an early stage, we believe that it has the potential to deliver a far more coherent, sensitive and appropriate development form, one which better respects the Site’s outstanding universal value, and is better integrated with Stanley Dock and the adjacent Ten Streets regeneration area’.

Sam Rose, World Heritage UK Chair, said: ‘Cities grow and change, as they always have done, and there will always be conflicts and tensions in the protection of the outstanding universal value of urban World Heritage Sites. We see no situation that is not resolvable with early and constructive dialogue, and we encourage that now in the case of Liverpool.  It would be a big loss for the outstanding heritage of the UK, and for the people and businesses of Liverpool if this iconic city was to lose its deserved global status’.

The UK has six World Heritage Sites that fall into the ‘cities’ theme, the largest and most complex three being Bath, Edinburgh and Liverpool.

UK Government Heritage Statement on Heritage Day

Advocacy, Publications, world heritage day, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Announced at a Heritage Day event organised by Heritage Alliance on the 5th December, you can read the Minister’s speech here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/john-glens-speech-launching-the-heritage-statement

The Heritage Statement is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-heritage-statement-2017

See pages 25 and 26 for references to World Heritage Sites. Measures in the statement include launching a new Heritage Council, chaired by the Minister, to emphasise the value of the historic environment, build consensus and ensure greater coordination.

Meeting the Minister

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WP_20171018_10_53_51_Pro (2)

World Heritage UK’s Chair and President have met with John Glen, the Under Secretary of State for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism at Whitehall in London. Sam Rose and Chris Blandford introduced the Minister to the goals of World Heritage UK and a range of issues were discussed. One of the significant outcomes was an invitation to meet with a senior representative of Visit Britain, a meeting which will take place next week.

Seen here with one of Visit Britain’s ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign posters, the UK’s 31 globally recognised UNESCO World Heritage Sites should fit nicely into this theme.

‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference tickets deadline #communicatingwh

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Communicating World Heritage Conference

7-10 October 2017

Enginuity, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, UK

Bookings close on 29th September!

www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/tickets

There are just a few weeks left to book for the eagerly anticipated Communicating World Heritage Conference which will take place at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site from 7 to 10 October 2017. Tickets for the conference, and accommodation close to the venue, are being booked up quickly so don’t miss your chance to join a growing group of professionals, academics and practitioners to explore the many ways of communicating World Heritage to a variety of audiences, and discuss the latest research and global policy in relation to key themes such as World Heritage tourism, communities, education and specialist groups.

With conference tickets and local accommodation selling quickly, it’s best to book early. Take a look at the programme on our website to find out more about the speakers and sessions. Of course, within the programme there will be plenty of opportunity to network with colleagues, enjoy   informal drinks, conference dinner and walking tours to be announced.

Programme Highlights

We are delighted to be welcoming such a diverse and exciting group of speakers from organisations such as UNESCO, Historic England and the Heritage Alliance, as well as leading academics from around the world. Their specialist knowledge and expertise will provide a unique cross-disciplinary perspective on the communication of World Heritage, and a range of interesting talking points for colleagues throughout the conference.

Our full programme is available on the conference website, and a few of the many highlights over the four days include:

Michael Di Giovine, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Professor Di Giovani will present “Communicating Sustainability through World Heritage Tourism,” examining the ways in which world heritage practitioners can engage with tourism to communicate sustainability values to a diversity of audiences. (Saturday 7th October).

Dr. Sophia Labadi, Senior Lecturer and co-Director of the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent (UK). Dr Labadi will present the paper “For Everyone? Communicating World Heritage values and Stake Holders.” This presentation will explore how the World Heritage terminology is difficult to understand, even for specialists, making it even more difficult to communicate to the public. There will be a focus on how communities are increasingly associating World Heritage with exclusions and how these communities have acted upon these exclusionary trends. Finally, Dr Labadi will examine the approaches that aim to bring about solutions to these issues. (Sunday 8th October)

Andrew Stokes, England Director for Visit England will join the join the ‘Heritage Leaders’ session to present the latest information on the value of World Heritage to the tourism market and how this can be communicated. (Monday 9th October).

Mr Bo Jiang, Vice President of ICOMOS-China and Mr Yimeng Zhang, Great Wall Protection Project at the China Academy of Cultural Heritage, will be giving presentations about two icons of World Heritage, the Silk Road and the Great Wall of China. This is a rare opportunity to hear speakers from this country on their specialist subjects and will provide great insight into communicating World Heritage with the wider world. (Tuesday 10th October).

 

To book your place, please visit www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/tickets

Silk Road and Great Wall World Heritage to be major feature at #communicatingWH conference

Advocacy, Business, China, communications, Conference, Conference Ironbridge 2017, Conservation, Culture, Events, lecture, News, Tourism, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

 

Delegates at the ‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference (7-10 October, Ironbridge) will be honoured by the presence of two expert speakers from China who will be giving presentations about two icons of World Heritage, the Silk Road and the Great Wall of China. This is a rare opportunity to hear speakers from this country on their specialist subjects and World Heritage UK has been working closely with the British Council to enable this special occasion to happen.

Mr Bo Jiang is the Vice President of ICOMOS China and works for the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. He is Director of the Institute of Underwater Archaeology and the National Centre of Underwater Cultural Heritage. He will be speaking about the Silk Road and Belt and its maritime component.

Mr Yimeng Zhang is the Great Wall Research Specialist and works on the Great Wall Protection Project at the China Academy of Cultural Heritage, also under the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

It is hoped that they will be joined by the Vice Principal of Shanghai University, Duan Yong, who is setting up a new cultural heritage academy at the university, with the Shanghai Municipal Government and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

The expert speakers will be presenting in the ‘Communicating with the wider world’ session on the 10th October but the Chinese delegation will be participating in the whole 4-day conference so there will be opportunities for delegates to speak with them throughout the event.

Today, 31st August, is the last day for early bird discount conference tickets after which the price will move to the standard rate. Book now to save at:  www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com

 

Business speakers for ‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference announced #communicatingWH

Advocacy, Business, communications, Conference, Conference Ironbridge 2017, Conservation, Education, Events, News, Opportunities, Tourism, training, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK
Dominic Harecropped

Dominic Hare

In the ‘Communicating with business and funders’ session of the conference we are pleased to have the new Chief Executive of the Blenheim Palace World Heritage Site, Dominic Hare, as a speaker. Blenheim Palace is a great example of a successful World Heritage business and is particularly imaginative and creative in its thinking and practice. For the last 14 years, Dominic has served as Finance Director at Blenheim Palace and was appointed Chief Executive Officer for the Blenheim Estate in January 2017.

 

Richard Church

Richard Church

Also speaking on the business theme will be Richard Church, Project Director at BatteredSuitcase.com, who will be talking about his experiences in special interest tourism to World Heritage destinations as one of the popular 5 minute elevator pitches that are a feature of World Heritage UK conferences. Batteredsuitcase.com is one of the most recent companies to join World Heritage UK as a corporate member.

 

Hear from both these presenters on Monday 9th October and book your tickets at:  www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com

 

Google and Historic England at World Heritage UK conference

Advocacy, communications, Conference, Conference Ironbridge 2017, News, Opportunities, training, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites
Suhair Khan Bio Pic (2) (2)-1 (1)

Suhair Khan

CH Portrait (46).JPG

Duncan Wilson

Suhair Khan from the Google Cultural Institute and Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England are just two of the many speakers featuring at the World Heritage UK annual conference at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site  in October this year. They will address the conference theme ‘Communicating World Heritage’ from their perspectives, more details of which you can find at:  https://communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/

 

 

‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference 2017 – registration now open

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Ironbridge- credit thy
‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference
7-10 October 2017
Enginuity, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site 
Early Bird registration now open!
About the conference
The Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham and World Heritage UK have joined forces to hold special four-day international meeting at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site near Telford, Shropshire. The first two days will bring together academics from around the world to discuss research and global policy focusing on the communication of World Heritage Values, from 7-8 October.
This will be followed by the third annual conference of World Heritage UK where practitioners will gather to explore the many ways to communicate World Heritage to different audiences, on 9-10 October.
Together, this joint event will take place at Ironbridge Gorge which, in 1986, became one of the first UK sites to be awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO.  The designation of Ironbridge Gorge as a World Heritage Site recognised the area’s unique contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the impact of which was felt across the world. The surviving built and natural environment with its museums, monuments and artefacts, serve to remind us of this area’s unique contribution to the history and development of industrialised society.
 
About the conference programme:
 
From 7-8 October, the conference sessions will explore heritage research and global policy, drawing its themes from an AHRC Collaborative doctoral research project between the AHRC, IIICH and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust which examines the relationships that World Heritage Sites share with different communities of interest, and how World Heritage Values are communicated with these groups. The sessions will focus on sharing and discussing research undertaken by four PhD candidates from the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) at the University of Birmingham, which taken together comprises 12 years of research on a single World Heritage Site, while placing it in combination with comparative and contrasting case studies presented by researchers and practitioners from around the world. The sessions will focus on the following research themes:
·         Education within the World Heritage Site
·         Specialist Groups & World Heritage: Ironbridge Gorge as an Industrial WHS
·         Tourism within Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
·         The communities of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
 
From 9-10 October, delegates will hear from some of the most influential leaders in Heritage before considering the key audiences to target in a series of session themes which will explore how we can best communicate with ‘Governments and the Public Sector’, talk to ‘Business and Funders’, and address the needs of ‘Young People and Communities’, as well as how we communicate with each other (World Heritage Sites, Europe and the UNESCO family) and with the wider world, including the media.
 
Book your tickets
To see our draft programme, and book your tickets for the conference, please visit our website at:
www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com Don’t forget to take advantage of our early-bird booking discount by 31st August!
If you are attending the conference as a representative of a World Heritage UK Voting Member organisation, that organisation is entitled to ONE free ticket. For this ticket allocation please register via this Eventbrite page:  https://communicatingworldheritage.eventbrite.co.uk
Additional representatives from your Voting Member organisation are welcome to attend the conference at the standard ticket rate using the conference registration link at www.communicatingworldheritage.wordpress.com/tickets
We look forward to seeing you there!

Parliamentary Reception for World Heritage

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Celebrating 30 years of World Heritage in the UK

Guest blog by Henry Owen-John, Head of International Advice, Historic England

On November 29th Historic England, in partnership with WHUK and others, organised a parliamentary reception to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UK’s first World Heritage Sites. At the event hosted by Historic England Commissioner Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey on the terrace of the House of Lords, the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, spoke of her own enthusiasm for some of the UK’s WHSs that she had visited with her family. She also drew attention to figures just published in Heritage Counts https://content.historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/heritage-and-the-economy/heritage-and-the-economy-2016.pdf/ that show that 40 million people, participate in heritage – almost 75% of the population. The Secretary of State praised the work done by all those involved in the management and promotion of the UK’s WHSs.

Baroness Lola Young and Secretary of State Karen Bradley (all images copyright Historic England)

40 MPs and 20 members of the Upper House were present together with 150 people from across the heritage sector in the UK to hear Sir Laurie Magnus the Chair of Historic England and Duncan Wilson talk passionately about WHSs and what they mean to communities across the world. Duncan suggested that the words of Croatian writer, Slavenka Drakuliç, on what the destruction of the bridge at Mostar meant to her, epitomised everyone’s passion for outstanding heritage: ‘We expect people to die; we count on our own lives to end. The destruction of a monument to civilisation is something else. The bridge in all its beauty and grace, was built to outlive us; it was an attempt to grasp eternity. It transcended our individual destiny. A dead woman is one of us. But the bridge is all of us forever.’ The backdrop to these words was an image of a joyous celebration of the reconstructed bridge at Mostar.

Sir Laurie Magnus and Duncan Wilson, the Chair and CEO of Historic England

Historic England advises government on meeting the UK’s obligations under the terms of the World Heritage Convention and works closely with World Heritage UK in promoting good practice in the management and presentation of our WHSs and championing their value, not only as places of outstanding universal value, but also as drivers for economic, environmental and social benefit. Duncan Wilson said that while in other parts of the world there were threats from armed conflict and natural disaster, in the UK we had our own challenges in protecting some of our WHSs from over development. However, he also made clear that in the 30 WHS in the UK and its overseas territories we have many examples of good practice which is widely respected on the world stage.

During the event a short video was shown which captured the essence of many of the UK’s WHSs and put over some key messages about the value of world heritage. The video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhidUvtRR-M&t=15s