World Heritage UK has now completed its response to ‘Planning for the Future’, the government’s consultation on planning reform in England, and commented on its potential effects on World Heritage Sites. You can read the response in full HERE
Exploring the implications for World Heritage Sites of the proposed reforms to the planning system in England, as outlined in the Government’s recently published consultation document ‘Planning for the Future’.
Online event: 10.30 – 12.30 (maximum), Friday 9th October 2020 via Zoom
Chaired by World Heritage UK’s Vice Chair, Prof. Ian Wray, who will introduce the speaker’s presentations and field questions.
Assisting us with their views and providing context we have:
Vincent Goodstadt, Honorary President of the European Council of Spatial Planners
Katie Wray, Assistant Director in Deloitte’s Real Estate team
Lisa Lamb, Head of Planning and Major Infrastructure at the National Trust
Don Gobbett, World Heritage UK Trustee and planning advisor to the World Heritage UK Board.
The online webinar link with be sent to those who register for the event via Eventbrite here. This is a free event for subscribing World Heritage UK Members. Tickets for non-Members are available at £20.
Katie Wray – Katie is an Assistant Director in Deloitte’s Real Estate team. Prior to this she worked for The Co-operative Group managing and advising on their non-trading portfolio across the country. Katie specialises in heritage and has a strong background in development management and strategy. She has particular experience in strategic advice on the management and development of historic assets and strategic regeneration areas. She also undertakes more focussed heritage work and has completed numerous Heritage Statements for a variety of clients across the country, including on the Hyde Park Estate and UCL. She was the IHBC NW Events Co-ordinator for 8 years; often presents at heritage-planning CPD events particularly on the application of Heritage Partnership Agreements; and has recently become a member of Historic England’s Places Panel.
Lisa Lamb – Lisa is Head of Planning and Major Infrastructure at the National Trust. She is the professional lead and is responsible for co-ordinating responses to significant external developments including NSIP’s and DCO’s, as well as schemes with pan-regional impacts such as the Ox-Camb Arc. A significant part of her role is external engagement and advocacy work, joining up with other heritage sector organisations and responding to key consultations. She joined the National Trust in 2016 and has over 20 years experience working as a planner in both development management and planning policy gained in local government environments. Prior to joining the Trust she worked as Principal Planner at Cambridge City Council and has more rural planning experience gained at a National Park Authority. Her Masters specialism is in Urban Design and she has a passion for heritage and design.
Vincent Goodstadt – Vincent has worked for a range of public, private and voluntary sector bodies, and Government agencies. He has held senior management roles in local government for all levels of local and strategic planning services. This has included heritage policy, regional archaeological services and the implementation of strategic and national heritage projects. His recent activities have involved providing strategic planning advice in across the UK and Ireland, including Cambridge, London, Oxford, Sheffield, Scotland and the Irish Border region. Vincent is an Honorary President of the European Council of Spatial Planners, an Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester, Vice-President of the Town & Country Planning Association, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science and a former President of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Don Gobbett – Don Gobbett is a member of the WH:UK Board, where he advises on planning matters. He authored WH:UK’s Planning Position Statement, wrote WH:UK’s response to the revision of the National Planning Policy Framework and in 2019 wrote an article in the Journal of the Town and Country Planning Association on the effectiveness of the UK’s planning systems in relation to World Heritage Sites. Before retirement Don was the Head of Planning at Dorset County Council, where he was responsible for the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site team and chaired the Site’s Steering Group. As well as his involvement with WH:UK he is a vice-chairman of Bournemouth University’s Research Ethics Committee, a member of Princeton University Schools Committee, and a member of the Bournemouth Branch Committee of Friends International.
Ian Wray – Ian Wray is Vice Chair of World Heritage UK and a Visiting Professor and Fellow at Liverpool University. He is the author of ‘Great British Plans: Who Made Them and How they Worked’ (2016), and ‘No Little Plans: How Government Built America’s Wealth and Infrastructure’ (2019). He is a former TCPA Trustee and was Chief Planner, Northwest Development Agency, 2000-2010.
Edinburgh World Heritage has announced the appointment of Christina Sinclair as the new director of Edinburgh World Heritage, replacing Adam Wilkinson.
Born and raised in Aberdeenshire, Christina studied at both the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee before working in England in a number of heritage and conservation roles for, among others, Historic England, the Design Council and various consultancies. Specific projects she has worked on include the restorations of both Manchester and Rochdale Town Halls. Most recently, Christina has been working for the Scottish Borders Council as lead advisor on heritage.
Professor James Garden, Chair of Edinburgh World Heritage commented: ‘We’re delighted that Christina will be joining us at this crucial time for the charity, and for Edinburgh. Christina brings a wealth of experience in both design and heritage, in both England and Scotland, and has a huge amount to contribute. She is taking over at a challenging time for the city, but she has an excellent team of experts behind her, and the charity is on a very sound footing. We wish her the very best of luck’.
Christina Sinclair added: ‘I’ve always wanted to return to Edinburgh, and joining Edinburgh World Heritage at this time is a great honor. I fell in love with this extraordinary city while studying here, not just with the architecture and heritage, but also with the people, the culture, and the sheer creative energy of the place. I look forward to listening to, and working with the leaders of the city, and well as residents, community groups, and business owners so that together we can continue to build a flourishing and sustainable Edinburgh.’
Christina Sinclair will be in position from September 2nd 2020.
We are pleased to share the news of the announcement that applications are now open for the £92 million Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, which is aimed at helping heritage organisations to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new Fund is part of the wider £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden earlier this month, which is the Government’s biggest ever one-off investment in the sector.
The Fund offers grants from £10,000 to £3 million and is open to applications from heritage organisations, private owners of heritage sites, businesses that are a vital part of the heritage ecosystem and others. Visit the fund webpage for more information.
Please share this good news across your channels and encourage your members, contacts and followers to apply by 17 August.
You can read more about today’s Government announcement of its consultation on proposals for reform of the planning system in England at:
World Heritage UK will be hosting an online event before the consultation period ends on 29th October 2020, to discuss any implications for World Heritage Sites. Watch this space for further details including confirmed date and speakers.
The UK’s 32 World Heritage Sites should not be viewed as a burden which the government are simply obliged to protect. They should be empowered to reach their full potential as generators of jobs, economic regeneration, and joy. This would not only greatly assist these special places’ own post-Covid recovery but also support the wider heritage sector, the tourism industry and the UK’s local and national economy.
This is something the government must understand and provide support for but it is thankfully becoming part of the conversation – a discussion on the UK’s World Heritage recently occurred in the House of Lords where Baroness Andrews asked “is the Minister aware that all our 32 world heritage sites need urgent help to recover from the impact of Covid-19? If our heritage assets are to help in the rebuilding of Britain, their custodians need sustainable funding to do so. When will they know what share of the DCMS cultural package they will get?”
Since the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, World Heritage UK has been supporting the UK’s World Heritage Sites by facilitating a monthly online Site Coordinators’ meeting. Much like our physical events (sadly not possible this year), this digital space has become a valued forum for sites to support one another and to share advice, expertise, and intelligence, both about the ongoing situation and wider World Heritage issues.
The discussions we have facilitated have also identified common themes and shared concerns, including how to adapt sites for social distancing, funding challenges, green recovery, and the decolonisation of heritage. The presence of DCMS and other heritage NDPBs at these meetings is a testament to the importance of these conversations.
Though many UK World Heritage sites were originally forced to close, as they have reopened, they are already proving their value as important places for pandemic recovery. Most sites, especially natural or mixed sites, are outdoors or have large spaces compatible with social distancing and have become vital assets for wellbeing. This can be seen in the changing audiences coming to UK World Heritage Sites over the past four months: The English Lake District, for example, is seeing a totally new demographic of visitors who have never been to the lakes (or indeed the countryside) before. However, other sites have struggled with access and social distancing requirements, making reopening more difficult – this has been the case for Orkney where ferries have been very limited and their normal tourism from cruises has bee wiped out this year.
World Heritage UK wishes to ensure that our world-class sites – both cultural and natural – not only survive the pandemic and its associated economic downturn but also thrive and positively contribute to national recovery. There are many lessons to be gleaned from two recent reports published on the subject: The 2019 World Heritage UK Review, published last year and the recently published UKNC National Value of UNESCO to the United Kingdom Report have both highlighted the enormous untapped potential of our World Heritage Sites, pointing out that with the right support, they can be strong drivers of economic regeneration.
In the short term, World Heritage Sites can contribute to economic recovery by driving inbound and domestic tourism. Longer term, they can support the creation of jobs and employment in tourism, traditional building skills and the construction industry, contributing to sustainable regeneration and place-making. Finding new uses for old buildings is also an inherently green approach to recovery which maximises the use of our existing assets.
Increasing capacity, diversification and upskilling in the management of World Heritage Sites is vital to enable sites to realise their potential benefits. Furthermore, higher levels of awareness of World Heritage sites within the UK and internationally will have an enormous beneficial impact for Global Britain, its cultural diplomacy and soft power.
As the UK moves into recovery post-Covid, every industry has the chance to forge a new, more sustainable path. For the heritage sector in particular, the UK’s World Heritage Sites can lead the way in fostering sustainable development by supporting local, regional, and national communities and economies whilst promoting culture and tourism in our own back yard.
Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus, the government announced today.
- Future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will be protected with emergency grants and loans
- Funding will also be provided to restart construction work at cultural and heritage sites paused as a result of the pandemic
Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans.
The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic. It will help them stay afloat while their doors are closed. Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.
Many of Britain’s cultural and heritage institutions have already received unprecedented financial assistance to see them through the pandemic including loans, business rate holidays and participation in the coronavirus job retention scheme. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.
This new package will be available across the country and ensure the future of these multi billion-pound industries are secured.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.
This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.
Oliver Dowden Culture Secretary said
Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries.
I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer said:
Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they’re the lifeblood of British culture.
That’s why we’re giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for.
The package announced today includes funding for national cultural institutions in England and investment in cultural and heritage sites to restart construction work paused as a result of the pandemic. This will be a big step forward to help rebuild our cultural infrastructure. This unprecedented package includes:
- £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants.
- £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
- £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The new funding will also mean an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).
Decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.
Repayable finance will be issued on generous terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable. Further details will be set out when the scheme opens for applications in the coming weeks.
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said:
Covid-19 has hit all sectors of our economy hard, including our heritage. The historic places that help define our country are at risk of being lost forever. This emergency funding package from the Government, including £50m for heritage put at risk during the pandemic, will be a lifeline for our sector, kickstarting repair works at our historic sites which matter most to local communities. It also helps the organisations which look after so many of our precious historic sites, and protects livelihoods of skilled craft workers and businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. It will help to secure a sustainable future for the sector and those working in it, often with years of irreplaceable experience.”
Blenheim Palace is set to open its doors to visitors again from Saturday, 4th July.
Widely regarded as a masterpiece of 18th century Baroque architecture, ‘Britain’s Greatest Palace’ was built as a gift to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, from Queen Anne and a grateful nation in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim on 13th August 1704.
The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site houses one of the most important and extensive collections in Europe, which includes portraits, furniture, sculpture and tapestries.
To mark its re-opening the Palace is also putting on display a set of four Marlborough family portraits; one of which features the 4th Duke of Marlborough as a child and has never been on show to the public before.
Other new features will see the Library decorated in the style of the 1920s and the coronation robes, chairs and coronets used by the 10th Duke and Duchess for the crowning of King George VI in 1937 will also be on show.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy al fresco dining in a series of outdoor marquee pods in the Italian Garden next to the Orangery restaurant, which will be serving lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
As part of its re-opening Blenheim Palace has introduced a series of ‘keeping safe’ measures.
Daily visitor numbers are limited and admission is only via online pre-booking. Visitors will be welcomed at a safe distance, all transactions are cashless and staff in key engagement areas will be wearing personal protective equipment and be behind protective screens.
New signage, barriers and announcements form part of the visit, and additional staff are on hand to provide advice and information. Extra temporary outdoor toilets with washing and hand sanitising areas have also been set up.
Visitors can also watch an explanatory video online prior to arriving on site, which clearly explains the new procedures.
- To book and reserve time slots to visit go www.blenheimpalace.com/tickets . To book one of the marquee pods visit www.blenheimpalace.com/visitus/cafes-restaurants/orangery/.
Note: The Untold Story and the Churchill Exhibition will remain closed, although visitors will have access to the bedroom where Churchill was born.
Published today (25 June 2020) by the UK National Commission for UNESCO, new research shows UNESCO projects can help build a greener, more equal and more peaceful world, while also creating financial value.
UK Government Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston MP said: “From Stonehenge to Jodrell Bank, our UNESCO sites tell the story of our shared history and attract visitors from all over the world. This research is testament to the important role these sites play in their local communities and, once it is safe to do so, we will be encouraging people to visit.”
UNESCO projects in the UK generate an estimated £151 million of financial benefit to local communities each year and help bring them together to protect and conserve some of the most important places across the country.
Set up as a specialised agency of the United Nations in the wake of the Second World War, UNESCO harnesses the power of education, culture, science, communication and information to advance global peace building, sustainable development, intercultural dialogue and the eradication of poverty.
From expansive mountain ranges in the Highlands of Scotland to densely populated urban areas such as Belfast, Bradford and Manchester, UNESCO certified projects include Global Geoparks, World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves and Creative Cities. The projects span 12% of the UK’s land area and comprise of partnerships between 1,300 organisations, charities, and businesses.
These partnerships are made mainly on a local level, between hundreds of groups all working together to support efforts in conservation, research, education, capacity building and tourism. This new research shows that continued investment in UNESCO projects is critical in helping the UK and devolved governments meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report is the first to examine the cultural, environmental and financial benefits to UK life from these diverse UNESCO projects, and their active contribution to the SDGs. Along with preserving precious landscapes, buildings and archives, UNESCO projects are also leading research on vital issues such as water scarcity, refugee integration, climate change and child literacy.
“This research shows the unique value offered by UNESCO projects in the UK. They embody community and enable us to preserve and enjoy our most special places and culture. They also pioneer solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems and inspire hope in these unprecedented times. Within this report are a number of case studies that can help inform the UK’s path towards a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis.”
James Bridge, Secretary-General of the UK National Commission for UNESCO
Environment and Community
The research highlights the cultural, environmental and financial value of 76 UNESCO projects in the UK. It reveals a creative network rooted in community, rich in potential, and impacting lives here and around the world.
Examples of UNESCO projects with a positive impact on the environment and communities:
- The Jurassic Coast Trust in Dorset is an umbrella organisation responsible for a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering 95 miles of beautiful coastline. The Trust believes the Jurassic Coast is best looked after by the people who visit it, use it and love it, and are focused as much on the people and communities as upon the rocks, landscape and fossils. They are working to ensure a financially sustainable coastline that is supported by a network of dedicated schools, community groups, volunteers and businesses.
“We are part of this huge global family of World Heritage Sites that celebrate these outstanding features, natural or cultural; it is a very powerful concept that these values transcend national and political boundaries.”
Anjana Khatwa, Programme Manager, Learning at the Jurassic Coast Trust.
- Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark is the first cross-border Geopark in the world, and crosses the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The geopark is dedicated to telling the story of our planet through its unique natural, cultural and geological heritage, and its cross-border nature forms a crucial part of the Geopark’s outreach and engagement programme. The Geopark Science Week brings 500 schoolchildren from both sides of the border together to study their shared geological heritage. Demand for the Science Week is high, but a lack of resources restricts the Geopark from hosting it more often.
“The job and excitement and delight when we present material to young people in a fashion that engages them – you can see that you are igniting that enthusiasm in them for our geological heritage and they want to find out more.”
Martina O’Neil, Marble Arch Caves Geopark Development Officer.
- The Isle of Man UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has launched a badge with the UK’s Girlguiding charity. The initiative seeks to support girls and young women to get closer to nature, learn more about sustainability and tackle issues such as hunger, poverty, gender inequality and climate change.
“The badge encourages young members and leaders in our organisation to think about the world around them – to understand the meaning of ‘community’, get involved and make things better. If we can instil these thoughts and actions in our young people, it will make our Island and beyond a better place.”
Karen Walker, Commissioner of Girlguiding Isle of Man.
- The UNESCO trail in Scotland is a digital asset to be launched in partnership with VisitScotland, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and Scotland’s UNESCO designations. The trail connects 13 UNESCO designations and aims to increase the value of tourism to these sites by encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more locally, improving, in turn, the quality of life of the local communities. The trail was due to be launched in early 2020 but has been delayed until after the coronavirus crisis.
“If we lost UNESCO status, what would make us different from any other community organisation? I feel that it gives me more confidence both to be entrepreneurial and to write a funding application. It’s not just us that thinks we’re special, the UN thinks that it’s special. It shows you that you’ve got the outside support – that something beyond the UK, Europe, globally, has said that “We believe that this organisation has the ability to manage this heritage and we believe that it’s special.”
Dr Laura Hamlet, Geopark Coordinator at the North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark
- The Dyfi UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Wales has been struggling to make the desired impact on the region and local communities. There is a commitment to celebrate and support the Welsh language and culture, but a lack of resources limits the necessary collaboration needed. Vital funding is essential to strengthen the network and support sustainable development, in line with Wales’ Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015.
“The visitors and potential visitors are an important audience but actually not really as important as the local community, including business. So, it’s critical for us that we have that sort of groundswell of support.”
Andy Rowland, Coordinator, Dyfi Biopshere Reserve
“Particularly striking is how all designations place the community at the core of their work. Their commitment to UNESCO’s values and objectives means they share a strong interest in bringing people together to build and nurture meaningful relationships with nature, heritage and each other.”
2020 UNESCO National Value Report
UNESCO World Heritage Sites rank among the most visited attractions in 2018 and are significant contributors to the UK economy. The research analysed the impact of being granted official UNESCO status, which has helped the 76 sites and projects surveyed generate an estimated £151 million to the UK economy in just one year.
However, the total figure disguises significant variations, even before the challenges brought by Covid-19. Some sites struggle to secure sufficient funding whether through tourism or other means, due to a low profile and lack of resources, and these problems will have been exacerbated during the lockdown. Investment in these sites is critical to increase cross-disciplinary work and enhance their contribution to the UK economy.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, said: “At a time when we all look for solutions to build more resilient societies after Covid-19, UNESCO sites offer a wealth of concrete actions to reinvent our relationship with nature, to develop decent jobs and foster social cohesion. This report by the UK National Commission to UNESCO is a blueprint for sustainability, and I believe all Countries can take inspiration from this research.”
On behalf of all the Board of Trustees at World Heritage UK, I wish all our members, supporters and your families a very happy and restful Christmas.
2019 has been a busy year, set against a turbulent political back-drop and with the need to urgently address global environmental challenges which are undoubtedly becoming the defining issue of our age. We know through our networks the hard work that goes on every day at all of our 32 UK World Heritage Sites, often undertaken by just a few dedicated people and a pocketful of change. Hard work, creative minds and professional expertise then turn these ingredients into heritage protection and interpretation which is the envy of the world.
Christmas is a time for thankfulness and optimism. Perhaps we can look forward to a little more political stability in 2020? …and maybe even the prospect of more funding?! Whatever the New Year will bring, we will face it collectively with enthusiasm, mutual support and the knowledge that what we deliver, in conserving our irreplaceable cultural and natural heritage, is cherished by so many in this generation and those who will succeed us. They can’t always say thank you for all that you do, but I can.
Chair of Trustees
World Heritage UK