Thanks to the generous support of these sponsors, World Heritage UK is able to keep the costs of delegate’s attendance affordable at its latest conference ‘Setting the Scene for World Heritage’, at the Tower of London, 15th and 16th October 2018. This is the 4th annual conference of the charity organisation and it promises to be the most compelling yet, not just for the prestigious venue in the city of London but also for the controversial nature of its subject matter. Development in and around World Heritage Sites is often in the news and here will be discussed such topical places as Stonehenge and its road issues, plans affecting the sites in Liverpool and London with tall buildings and other factors, plus many more examples from around the UK and its Overseas Territories. The event is already attracting international interest so best secure your tickets soon to avoid disappointment. You can register for the conference here
WORLD HERITAGE UK’S RESPONSE TO DRAFT REVISED NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR ENGLAND
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
Blenheim Palace will be alive to the thunder of hooves and the clash of lances on shields as it hosts the Knights of Royal England’s Jousting Tournament from May 5th-7th. Visitors will be transported back in time to a medieval tournament; complete with authentic tilt yard, royal box, falconry, archery and hand to hand combat.
Recreating the glorious jousting matches of Britain’s past, knights in shining armour will take to the field on their noble steeds in a momentous display of bravery and skill beneath the spectacular backdrop of Blenheim Palace. Knights and horses will be costumed with chainmail and steel armour for the period 1200-1250. The knights will be using 14-foot-long lances and riding at full gallop. There will be approximately 15 participants all dressed to assume their part in this authentic and thrilling re-creation of the Tournament.
The weekend will be packed with historic action and family friendly entertainment, from thrilling falconry displays to ‘have-a-go’ archery. For the younger children there will be baby dragons to meet and the chance to join the Dragon Procession. Hatched from a small dragon sanctuary in the Welsh Marshes, these delightful creatures are very friendly and well mannered, although a dragon is never entirely predictable… Families can enjoy food, refreshments and tournament treats on the South Lawn along with a medieval stand with lots of historically themed goodies.
The Blenheim Estate is no stranger to genuine jousting tournaments. In 1389 John, Earl of Pembroke, was killed in a jousting accident while a Christmas guest at the old Woodstock royal palace.
WHAT: Spring Jousting Tournament at the Blenheim Palace UNESCO World Heritage Site
WHEN: May 5th-7th
WHY VISIT: Knights on horseback, battles, falconry displays, dragons, archery and much more!
ADMISSION: Park & Gardens ticket required: Adult £16.00, Child £7.40, Family (2 Adults & 2 Children) £43.00
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.
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.
Britain’s largest mechanical puppet to begin 2018 tour at the Blaenavon World Heritage Site
The largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain will start its tour of Wales with an opening ceremony in Blaenavon on Sunday 8 April 2018.
The colossal Man Engine will begin his journey at Big Pit National Coal Museum before parading down to Blaenavon Ironworks accompanied by choirs, brass bands and theatrics as part of his journey across Wales, entitled: Man Engine Cymru: Forging a Nation.
From Blaenavon it will visit Parc Bryn Bach, Cyfarthfa Park and Castle, Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, the National Waterfront Museum Swansea, Swansea City Centre and the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks.
The Welsh tour is a collaboration of the cultural sector in Wales, with Swansea University working in partnership with the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw), Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, five local authorities (Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Swansea), Head 4 Arts and Golden Tree Productions.
The team behind the Man Engine, Golden Tree Productions, are creating a bespoke visual and aural experience for the Welsh expedition set to include theatrical shows, live music and storytelling to highlight the rich industrial heritage of south Wales.
Visitors will be able to view the event outside the Big Pit Museum and parade through the Gilchrist Thomas Industrial estate. Tickets to view the main event at the Ironworks can be booked via www.ticketsource.co.uk or through the Blaenavon Box Office 01495 742333.
Delegates attending the World Heritage UK workshop ‘Commercial Best Practice in World Heritage’ at Kew Gardens on the 6th and 7th March will be experiencing an extra and very special treat if they come to the workshop drinks, dinner and demonstration on the evening of the 6th – we shall be dining amongst the engines at the London Museum of Water and Steam! Why not join us for the workshop? – last remaining tickets can be found at the registration page where you will also find details of the event’s programme which includes unique behind the scenes tours at Kew Gardens, workshop sessions and top class speakers.
Remaining tickets for this event are available HERE
World Heritage UK workshop, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew:
‘Commercial Best Practice in World Heritage’
6th and 7th March 2018
Tuesday 6th March
09.00 to 12.00/13.00 – Special ‘Under the skin’ tours
Restricted numbers are able to visit the Pagoda restoration project and delegates will be among of the first people to see the dragons and the amazing colour scheme. This is a Historic Royal Palaces project and would be led by one of their conservation team or the lead project manager. The location will still be a construction site so time will be needed to change into Personal Protection Equipment.
Also included is a tour of the refurbished Temperate House which is the largest remaining glass house in the world. This will also be a construction site at the time of the visit. The party will be split into two groups visiting both sites in turn.
13.00 to 14.00 Lunch (Cambridge Cottage)
14.00 to 14.15 ‘Welcome to Kew’, Richard Deverell, CEO and Director of RBG Kew
14.15 to 14.45 Lead presentation: ‘Evolution of Kew’s commercial strategy and major events – the difficulties, opportunities and benefits’, Adam Farrar, Head of Commercial Activities, Kew Enterprises
14.45 to 15.45 Workshop 1 ‘Understanding the market’
In this workshop we shall explore in small groups what your ‘market’ is and how you have undergone identifying it. Please be prepared to share the methods have you used and what results you have achieved if you have them.
15.45 to 1600 Tea/coffee break
1600 to 1700 Workshop 2 ‘How to develop your package’
In this workshop we shall examine how the activities explored in workshop 1 have helped you to develop your offer and ask what your package now looks like? Please be prepared to share your experience and the results you have achieved if you have them.
1700 to 1715 Commercial context from the UK World Heritage Site Review – Chris Blandford
1715 to 1745 Elevator pitch style presentations from World Heritage Sites
1745 to 1900 Free time
19.00 Meet in Richmond – Dinner (venue to be confirmed)
Wednesday 7th March
9.00 to 10.00 Kew site tour by Explorer Bus – whole site tour and back of house nursery visit
10.00 to 10.30 Tea/Coffee break
10.30 to 10.50 Lead presentation: ‘The Hive – delivery challenges’, Andrew Williams Director of Estates and Capital Development , Kew Gardens
10.50 to 11.50 Workshop session 3 – ‘How to deliver commercially’
In this workshop we shall consider how you make sure your offer is commercially sound and what you have learnt from the process (positive and negative). Please be prepared to share the methods have you used and what results you have achieved if you have them.
11.50 to 12.30 Questions and general discussion
12.30 to 13.30 Lunch
13.30 to 1430 Feedback presentations from the four workshop groups
1430 to 1500 Summary of learning, next actions
Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site is working with another famous historic defensive structure, The Great Wall of China, to encourage tourism and increase cultural understanding of the respective World Heritage Sites.
John Glen, then Britain’s minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, announced the agreement which will see representatives of both UNESCO sites explore the challenges and opportunities of managing large and complex archaeological remains, and to examine the potential tourism growth in both countries.
“The Wall to Wall Collaboration is the perfect example of how heritage can be used to strengthen international partnerships, grow tourism and build a truly global Britain,” said Glen.
The agreement is the first of its kind and was instigated by the Chair of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site Partnership Board and World Heritage UK member Humphrey Welfare. Talks took place during a high-level meeting in Beijing between British and Chinese heritage experts in February 2017, led by the British Council.
Humphrey said ‘The two Walls are very different in many ways, but we have much in common and can learn a great deal from each other. The enthusiasm, friendliness and professionalism of our Chinese colleagues have been inspiring and hugely enjoyable: a terrific example of UNESCO values in practice.’
Historic England and the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage signed an official agreement on December 7th 2017, the first actions of which will be a professional seminar to be held in Newcastle in March 2018. This will focus on the conservation of the Walls and the impact of visitors; it is the first step in a wider programme of collaboration between the two Sites which will also encompass exhibitions, lectures, technical discussions and educational exchanges.
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.
For One Night Only! On the evening of Monday 9th of October from 6.00pm – 8.00pm for the delight and delectation of delegates desiring dining diversions, and with the cooperation, collaboration and combined coalition of Telford and Wrekin Council and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, we are pleased to announce an ‘Evening of Victorian Entertainment’ at Blists Hill Victorian Town.
With traditional fayre (sausage and mash (non-meat options available) and a cash bar you will be sufficiently refreshed, renewed and revived to respond to requests for rhymes and reveries from the repertoire of our revered role-players.
Songs will be sung! Jigs will be jigged! Victorians will be venerated!
To attend this unique event you must be registered as a delegate to the 9th and/or 10th October days of the ‘Communicating World Heritage’ conference being held at Enginuity at the Ironbridge Gorge. Furthermore you must register again with Gemma Aston at email@example.com to let the organisers know: a/ that you are intending to come to this evening event b/ if you have any dietary requirements c/ if you have any access requirements.
There will be coach transfer from the conference to Blists Hill, which will also take delegates back to central Ironbridge and on to Telford Town Centre and Shrewsbury at the end of the evening.
Photo credit IGMT