Members of the public are being asked to comment on plans to enhance Bath’s World Heritage status.
The City of Bath World Heritage Site Management Plan – devised by B&NES – has been renewed with a draft published for public consultation. Bath is an exceptional site in that the entire urban area is inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Venice is the only other city within Europe which holds this honour.
Bath and the surrounding area benefits from World Heritage Site status as it attracts millions of visitors each year.
The unique merits of this prestigious city help to support many businesses to thrive, and makes Bath and North East Somerset even more attractive to companies looking to invest in the area. People living in and around the city can also benefit from the better quality of life that can be gained from a well-maintained conservation area.
Cities are dynamic places of change where people live and work, so the key challenge is to balance this thriving atmosphere alongside conservation of the globally important heritage.
The World Heritage Site Management Plan will cover the next six years and is produced and overseen by a well-established Steering Group with Bath & North East Somerset Council taking lead responsibility for the site.
Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The state of conservation in Bath is currently exceptionally good, with considerable new investment being made to protect and preserve many of Bath’s landmark structures. Collectively we need to maintain this whilst carefully delivering growth to ensure the vitality of our world renowned city.”
The purpose of the Plan is to set out how this management takes place, what the main issues affecting the site and its landscape setting are likely to be, and how they will be addressed.
Looking to the future, World Heritage Steering Group Chairman Peter Metcalfe said: “Bath is a living city and the quality of our environment is a product of our exceptional people, both past and present. This is an ambitious new plan which positively seeks to enhance Bath’s position as a centre of heritage excellence and an outstanding place to live, work and visit”.
The draft plan can be viewed and commented upon at http://www.bathworldheritage.org.uk/management-plan or at Council One-Stop-Shops and libraries. The public consultation runs until Friday 15th July.
Key Facts about Bath World Heritage Site
What is World Heritage?
World Heritage Sites are ‘places of Outstanding Universal Value to the whole of humanity’. ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries. There are currently (Jan 2016) 1031 WHS world-wide, and UNESCO adds a few new sites each year. Famous sites include the Taj Mahal, Pyramids of Giza, Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon. The UK signed the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1984 and in doing so committed to identify, protect, conserve and interpret its sites and pass them on to future generations.
There are 29 (2016) WHS in the UK (and its overseas territories).
The City of Bath World Heritage Site
The site was inscribed on 12 December 1987.
The site is exceptional in that the entire urban area (approximately 29 square km) is inscribed. Only Venice provides a comparable example throughout Europe.
The 3 springs at the heart of the site are the only ones classified as ‘hot’ in the UK.
The hottest spring is the Hetling at 48oC and there are 43 minerals in the water.
The most voluminous is the King’s Spring, with a continuous flow of 13 litres per second or 1,106,400 litres per day. This flow will fill a domestic bath tub every 8 seconds.
88, 859 people live within the site.
There are approximately 5,000 listed buildings in the site, with the highest concentration of grade l and ll* listings outside of central London.
The site generates approx. 1,500 applications for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent per year – undoubtedly the highest of any UK World Heritage Site.
A single conservation area of 1,486ha covers two-thirds of the site.
There are 5 scheduled monuments covering 1.4ha (approx. 13% of the central area).
The surrounding landscape is covered by the Bath & Bristol Green Belt, plus the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), surrounding the city on its north, east and south sides.
There are 9 registered historic parks and gardens within the site, with 23 Parks and Gardens of local Historic Interest and 2 Sites of Special Scientific Interest
Approximately 4.5m people visit Bath each year, adding an estimated £380m to the local economy and accounting for an estimated 10,000 jobs.
There are 21 primary schools in or adjacent to the WHS, plus two universities with over 20,000 students.