Lincoln fails World Heritage Site bid

Lincoln did not make the final UK shortlist to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site after it was nominated for the status last year.

Eleven sites across the UK and its overseas territories will form a new UK tentative list for potential nomination for world heritage status.

Lincoln was part of the initial list of 38 places bidding to join the ranks of the Taj Mahal, The Statue Of Liberty and Stonehenge among 887 other locations.

But the Department for Media Culture and Sport announced on Tuesday that Lincoln was not shortlisted among the final 11 UK sites.

The announcement follows a review of the UK’s tentative list in which applications were sought from local authorities and the public.

Among the sites found in the final tentative list are Chatham Dockyard and its Defences in Kent and England’s Lake District in Cumbria.

City officials ‘disappointed’

Roy Bentham, the Chief Executive of Lincoln Cathedral, spearheaded Lincoln’s bid to become a World Heritage Site:

“Lincoln Cathedral is obviously disappointed, but when you look at the list of those chosen, none fall into the traditional ‘historic heritage’ category.

“World Heritage Sites have clearly moved on from this with much greater emphasis now on natural environments and industral archaeology… e.g. the Lake District, Cresswell Crags in Derbyshire and the Forth Bridge.

“We wish the successful bids well,” Bentham added.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said Lincoln has done well to have made it in the initial longlist of 38 sites going for World Heritage Sites (WHS) status:

“Obviously I am disappointed, especially as the opportunity that presented itself involved several Cathedral and County Council officers and elected Members who put together the initial bid document.

“I have kept in touch with representatives of these various local agencies, and also secured and attended a visit to Liverpool for us all when we were kindly given a detailed briefing and then had discussions that centred on how Liverpool had attained WHS status.

“What was clear to us all, that came through loud and clear from that meeting, was that to achieve WHS status a large amount of financial outlay and officer time would need to be invested, with no certainty that the rewards would be forthcoming if Lincoln failed to make the grade, as set by the WHS Selection Committee.

“I would hope that in the future our city would again be included in the longlist of potential new World Heritage Sites, with perhaps some adequate funding and strategic planning in place to enhance our options and ensure a more positive outcome, at least perhaps making the short list.”

Councillor David Gratrick, Heritage Champion at the City of Lincoln Council, also said: “It’s disappointing news that Lincoln hasn’t been named a World Heritage Site, especially as it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the country in my opinion.

“I’ve travelled all over the world, and I don’t think there is anything that compares to our cathedral on the hill, which is stunning up close and from as far as ten miles away. It’s disappointing that this has been ignored,” Gratrick added.

The view from above

The sites on the list announced by Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose are:

  • Chatham Dockyard and its Defences, Kent, England
  • Creswell Crags, Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire, England
  • England’s Lake District, Cumbria
  • Gorham’s Cave Complex, Gibraltar
  • The Island of St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean
  • Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, England
  • Mousa, Old Scatness & Jarlshof, Shetland, Scotland
  • Slate Industry of North Wales
  • The Flow Country, Scotland
  • The Forth Bridge (Rail), Scotland
  • Turks & Caicos Islands, West Indies

Two sites considered by UNESCO already also joining the tentative list are:

  • Twin Monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow, Sunderland and South Tyneside
  • Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory, Kent, England

Minister John Penrose said “Few places in the world can match the wealth of wonderful heritage we have available in the UK.

“The 11 places […] are fantastic examples of both our cultural and natural heritage and I believe they have every chance of joining famous names like the Sydney Opera House and the Canadian Rockies to become World Heritage Sites.”