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World Heritage Sites: Protecting the Neighborhood

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  • Bob Conrich
    While neither Gough, Inaccessible nor Henderson Island is threatened with high rise buildings or intrusive home improvements, friends of the Overseas
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2007
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      While neither Gough, Inaccessible nor Henderson Island is threatened
      with high rise buildings or intrusive home improvements, friends of
      the Overseas Territories have been working in London to ensure that
      the people, environment and cultural heritage of the OTs are not
      ignored in high level policy making. I am very pleased to learn that
      the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has gotten the
      message. This is a significant step forward for us in the Colonies.

      Bob Conrich
      Anguilla, British West Indies


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      World heritage sites to get protection from high rise and TV dishes

      · Public inquiries able to block insensitive building
      · Unesco warns of sites hit by unsightly development

      David Hencke, Westminster correspondent
      Monday March 5, 2007
      The Guardian
      London

      Britain's 24 world heritage sites are to be "buffered" from unsightly skyscrapers and intrusive home improvements such as stone
      cladding and satellite dishes, Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, will announce tomorrow.

      The new laws will create "buffer zones" around the country's most treasured sites to prevent their being degraded by nearby
      high-rise buildings. More stringent powers will be given to public inquiries to block insensitive development, and the move will
      make it easier for controversial building schemes to be "called in" by ministers to protect world heritage sites.

      Details will be published in a white paper. It follows concerns from Unesco inspectors that Britain has been putting "at risk"
      world heritage sites, such as the Tower of London, by allowing huge skyscraper developments. Unesco inspectors will rule in June
      whether the Tower should be put on a blacklist of endangered heritage sites, making it the only building in the developed world
      to be classified in this way.

      The white paper proposals are certain to lead to a clash with the London mayor, Ken Livingstone, a supporter of high-rise
      developments in London and the suburbs. Mr Livingstone is promoting tall developments in the City of London, Waterloo, and
      Lambeth as part of regeneration in the capital.

      The paper will impose stringent conditions to protect also Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Kew Gardens, and
      Greenwich, all world heritage sites. It will be introduced just as the mayor will get extra planning powers from parliament over
      new developments in the capital.

      Ms Jowell's proposals will have wide ranging ramifications outside London. As well as protecting historic city skylines, the
      white paper will propose controls to limit stone cladding, dormer windows and satellite dishes at sites.

      Effectively this puts those sites on the same footing as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The heritage
      site designation covers not only historic centres such as Edinburgh, Canterbury, Durham and Bath, but rural and industrial sites
      - Stonehenge, the Giant's Causeway, Hadrian's Wall, the coastline from Exmouth to Lyme Regis and around Northern Ireland, and
      industrial sites such as the Cornish tin mines and the Welsh Blaenavon industrial site.

      The white paper will also seek to protect three world heritage sites that may need negotiation with the governors of former
      crown colonies. The sites include the historic town of St George and its fort in Bermuda, the two wildlife reserves of Gough
      Island, part of the crown dependency of St Helena and rated as being the world's most important bird sanctuary, and Henderson
      Island, in the Pitcairns.

      A Whitehall source said: "Our world heritage sites are incredibly important to the UK...whether it's large-scale and unsuitable
      property developments nearby, or the cumulative drip-drip of lots of tiny changes, the government wants to make it an absolute
      requirement that proper consideration is taken."


      Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007



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      Robert S. Conrich, CIArb
      Box 666
      Anguilla bob@...
      British West Indies Tel: 264 497 2505
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